Sunday, September 30, 2012

I've failed on my first (admittedly self-imposed) 2013 show deadline already.

Actually, that's not true. Chronologically, I've overdelivered with bells on for potentially the first show of 2013.

But if the laps of the gods aren't favourably arranged, then my overly conscientious deadline-meeting diligence may all be in vain. And I will have failed on my first 2013 show deadline.

I've apologised within the deadline to the gentleman in question and prompted a prompt resolution. I'm not an entirely bad girl.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Because I have a bit of a horror of anything in Scots, I was going to give The Guid Sisters at the Lyceum a wide berth. But then I relented. Because I discovered Michel Tremblay wrote the original. The one other play of his that I know is one I love. Because a cast boasting 15 of Scotland's brilliantest women doesn't come along every day. Because a preview ticket was £7.50 and I thought I should force myself to be broad-minded.

And I'm glad I did.

The other play I know of his, Solemn Mass For A Full Moon In Summer, is beautiful but, it would be fair to say, mournful. It does however feature a lovely lovely use of language.

This play boasted a much more riotously delightful plot. A woman wins a whole bunch of stamps in a competition which will entitle her to claim items to the value of a million whatevers from the stamp catalogue. She must stick the stamps into the little stampy prize books to claim the big biiiig prizes. And so she invites her assorted women friends, relatives and acquaintances to complete the sticking.

So we have lovely womeny cameraderie, soul bearing, bitching bickering banter and general drivel from a final collection of fifteen assortedly pinafored ladies sat around the over-expanding table. (I did think Joyce was unnecessarily dismissive about the set. I liked it very much.)

But what set this aside from Coronation Street on stampy acid was the occasional strikingly lit aside from a heartfelt downtrodden "see all that I put up with?" soul. And a slightly surreal but none the worse for all that collection of little songy recitationy almost rap-like ensemble deliveries. My favourite of which spoke of bingo.

Where the rest of the piece hopped skipped and dashed along with the occasional soulful interruption, these little stylised asides were a complete delight. Polished perky and delivered with excitable panache. A treat.

For these alone, I would sit through the play again.

For these plus the mournful Amy Winehouse tribute drunken wayward Pierrette, I would buy another preview price ticket.

For these, Pierrette / Amy and the final chorus of (well, I was always going to like this, wasn't I?) the hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising Burns' A Man's A Man For A' That, I might even be tempted to lash out on a fully priced ticket.

Fabulous fun. Thanks, ladies.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

For your delectation this morning, I present...

A monkfish.

To resolve a debate which began at dinner two days ago about the wisdom of eating a rare species.

(I ate.)

And then what its tail might look like.

(Spindly as it turned out.)

My fellow debate-e kindly emailed me this pic this morning.

So now I (and you) know.

(Though you (Siobhan and BS) probably knew already.)

Enlightened (me).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Guid Sisters at the Lyceum is very good.

But I don't have time to tell you about it now.

More anon.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I almost didn't go and see this on account of this resolutely perky poster. Which, incidentally, does the film a terrible disservice. Though you can see why they did it. But because I'm very impressionable and because my new boss has made several references to it in the past week, I trotted off to my favourite multiplex to see it this afternoon.

Well. Glad I did.

It's a gorgeous film.

I love Meryl Streep infinitely. She seems to be able to turn her hand to any role she fancies. Or maybe she just cleverly accepts parts within her 'range'. Much like myself. (Magician in Bugsy Malone, aged 9. Second leper in Jesus Christ Superstar aged 19. Bo Peep in a pantomime aged 21. Sexually frustrated fairy in Polishing Harlequin, aged - ah-hm-hm. (That's a cough, by the way.))

Tommy Lee Jones on the other hand doesn't figure all that highly on my list of actors whom I admire / respect / want to be.

But they both did a beautiful job of telling this plaintive little tale of a couple who'd been married for 31 years and long since ceased to notice each other. Fabulous, attentive, intricate performances.

That'll come down to the skill of the director of course.

I wept my way through it. But in that wholly satisfying sprawled out in a half-empty multiplex screen with a bag of popcorn reassuringly at hand way. Perfect Sunday afternoon fodder.
I was just in Sainsbury's. Like a maniac, I found myself looking at the biscuit shelves and wishing I had a cast to buy biscuits for.

To be fair, specifically wishing I had a hashtag Forgive Us cast to buy biscuits for.

Think I need to get out more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yes, yes. I know life moves on. But an email from our lovely SM that makes me clutch at my heart.

(Granted, this will mean NOTHING to you if you aren't intimately acquainted with the #ForgiveUs script!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

In the midst of last week, I dashed over to Dublin. Just for a night. Well, you know, it passes the time.

Little sleeps on buses and in taxis aside, I did find time (importantly) to buy a cupcake, take some pics and (most importantly) track down this visual evidence that Mum's devotion to the Lord and all his worldy devotees, as created and authored by Mr Paul Higgins, is alive and thriving in this bonny land.

I was feeling all very proud of myself yesterday. I spent big portions of last week - well, as big spare portions as you get when you have a day job and an application for a slot at the Big Burns Supper to be completed and despatched - working on the script edit for (let's just call it) Next Project. And after some hours of rare dedication yesterday, I completed draft one. O how smug. (Though the smugness was a little submerged yesterday beneath a devil's / red wine hangover.)

What a neat and trim edit I had created. How pointed, punchy and tidy the script had become.

Then I checked the page count. Original versus new draft.

Ten pages less. Only ten. Out of one hundred and eight.

Maybe there's some work yet to go.

Friday, September 14, 2012

So it happens to him too.

Curiously reassuring.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You'll forgive me one more Fringe related post, right..?

It's in an excellent cause.

And this time, it's not even me dully droning and fetching on about myself.

But look, my lovely AD!

Knew I loved her.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

One more post.

I've just packed away my Fringe press pass, my little wallet of souvenir tickets and our Evening News bits and pieces.

And in so doing, came across one of my favourite quotes, scratched onto a flyer for reviewing purposes.

Molly Taylor, in Love Letters To The Public Transport System from the National Theatre of Scotland said:

"For most of us, it's too late to find those we ought to thank."

Too true.

My other favourite quote came from Blink which was a beautifully put together little piece about a quirky romance. And this concluded that:

"Love is whatever you feel it is."

There endeth my love letter to the Fringe for another year.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Two remarkable things happened to me whilst sitting in amongst festival show audiences this year.

The first occurred during the EIF. The most marvellous piece of theatre from Guillermo Calderon (and its a measure of how good I found it that I can still remember the chap's name two weeks on!) A double bill. Villa + Discurso. Taking place at The Hub on a Monday evening.

That I got there at all was pretty lucky. I'd darted away from work to go an Edinburgh International Marketing Festival (never heard of it? Funny, that.) event at George Square and wasn't quite sure how this would pan out. I could easily have got trapped and not been able to sneak away in time to make the unnecessary to my future prospects and wellbeing (unlike my day job) EIF show. But the time ticked past, the window before The Show shrank and I Slunk. Got to The Hub with not many minutes to spare. Shot into a spare seat on the front row (terrible eyesight so an increasingly urgent habit) and took a breath.

And realised Mark Fisher was sat to one side of me, chatting chatting to his companion. And an elegant looking couple were sat to my left.

Full of residual fringe chatty chatter to strangers, I greeted - to kill the time twixt now and the show start - the couple next to me with a cheerfully tempting: "so what have you seen so far that you liked?" "In the International Festival?" he responded. This was immediately disappointing to me as I'd seen almost noEIFthing but I went with it. Well, they'd seen Watt and found it interesting though short and over-priced. And they'd seen a bunch of music things which mostly swooped over my head and anyway, took place during the working day so that ruled me out of even thinking about seeing them. What about me, they kindly said? I spoke of the two dance shows I'd seen by that point. We discussed the 'visceral' Macbeth, I expect I spoke pretentiously of the 4:48 produced by the same company a few years previously. And we petered out a bit.

The time slipped past but still minutes before the show. "And what about the Fringe?" I asked over-eagerly as they tried to consult their programmes. Well, they said, not so much so far. Could I recommend anything? Is the Pope the owner of a giant palace full of riches? I launched into edited highlights, suited (to my mind) to the sorts of things I felt they might like based on our preliminary conversation. Translunar Paradise featured heavily. The man obligingly wrote the show name down in his programme as a prompt / to get the lunatic incessant chatterer off his case.

"Oh but we did see one thing in the Fringe, actually, that was really good. You should try and catch that. Oh but we think it's finished..." They turn to each other to reach a consensus in that consultative way of the truly in love. "Yes, it's finished." "What was it called..?" I ask, gently, respectfully, eager to know of this missed masterpiece. "Well, it was on at - a Scots Club? I think it was called..." "Yes, the Royal Scots Club" prompts the lady wife. "Oh," quoth I, taking care to keep my face deadpan, "what was that then?" (Bear in mind the date was two Mondays after our little show had finished so the whole of Proof and Little Voice and the ongoing war poetry along with the tango show were all plumply populating the RSC programme at this point.) "It was called... now it had quite a title...What was it now?" "Forgive Us!" cried the clever lady. "Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us?" Well now knock me down with a bit of marabou feather. What could I say? "Well!" I trilled, at eight times the appropriate volume, "that's a coincidence! I directed that!"

"Oh" said the couple, "oh, it was very good." I simpered and preened momentarily and then choked it back down and asked more sensibly how they'd come to see it. "Oh well we know one of the cast" say they. Of course they did. And having randomly assumed they must know Patrick, it turned out in fact that they were friends and indeed neighbours of Dad. And so cue the usual back slappy conversation about (insert actor's name)'s wonderful talents and unrecognised potential and general all-round brilliance.

Until. "Claire! I didn't realise it was you until you introduced yourself. How are things? How was your show?" Mark Fisher. At which point I simpered and bridled like a show pony in Vienna.

Luckily the bubble of love encasing us first row luvvies was popped like a poppity pop pop thing by the fact that four weeks on, I was still coughing like a bastard from the tailend of what I presumed to be a cold but I concede, new boss may have been right, maybe I did like a nutter have bronchitis. And I coughed my way resiliently barkingly noisily all the way through the first of the one act plays. That should have been full of poignant moments of heart-stopping awe at the bravery shown by these three trapped in and trying to come to terms with an oppressive regime women.

Lovely Lady next to me, my new best friend only forty minutes before, sighed in exasperation as coughety cough cough punctured the heart-rending poignant pause for the nth time. So I couldn't speak to anyone in the interval for shame.

But my throat had calmed (and maybe I had a little sleep) for the second play, Discurso so the audience had a quieter time of it. And the friendships were restored at the close of the play. To the extent that New Best Friend suggested - as previously here referenced - that I might consider directing the second (sleepy) piece as my next directorial outing.

man I miss the fringe. (And the EIF a bit too.)

The other remarkable thing I don't think I can write about here. I'll have to leave you guessing. Like the best unpunctured by coughety cough coughs soap operas.

Discurso interrumpido.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I've been exceeding lucky this August and seen almost nothing - in fact, actually nothing - that was rubbish.

Last weekend, I enjoyed (in some cases, a great deal):

A stunning Mies Julie

A cacophonus 4:48 Psychosis (man, I love that play. Man, the group demonstrated how it can be turned into a pantomime...)

A very nice little piece called The Day The Sky Turned Black, hot footed from Australia and speaking of the forest fires in Victoria

The very beautiful Juilliard Dance at the Playhouse as part of the EIF

A slightly disappointing (but DG did warn me - after I'd raced into buying a ticket) The Trench. Well no, disappointing is wrong. Just unexpected. But they're undoubtedly very talented performers.

And a singing wise mostly very accomplished acting wise maybe a little bit less so aside from the main man, Bobby who could sing less than he could act, Company from the no longer RSAMD but cunningly acronymed RCS

Endeavouring to curb my spend, I avoided Scottish Opera's Lady Of The Sea which is a pity as I'm interested in the stage play and always up for a bit of idea stealing

And rounded off my festival(s) last night with Vanishing Point's Wonderland.

Now it's no coincidence that the thing I've liked least so far featured a girl drawing her pants off.

Wonderland featured not just one girl but two taking their pants off.

Need I say more?

Pants off and plate glass does not, to my mind, make a satisfying theatrical experience.

It had the kernel of a fine idea lurking somewhere behind the plate glass. But the feral furtive man who loitered sometimes behind, sometimes in front of the plate glass, spitting his wry commentary about excitement and exploitation toward the somewhat bemused audience (man in front of us, twenty minutes in as two of the actors sat laughing and having fun (silently) behind the plate glass, cried audibly and irritably: "come on! come on!") wasn't quite enough of a device to draw this idea out.

But what do I know?

Anyway, it looked pretty, had money lavished on it and was mildly thought-provoking. Should we expect more from the EIF?