Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've just been to a rehearsal. I arrived at 7:31pm, I thought about no-one but myself and when I wasn't 'on stage', I sat about and (shivered) read a book.

It was AMAZING. More please.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I had a flash of inspiration when I was completing the various bits and pieces of paper and application forms required by the Big Burns Supper to allow them to consider our application as potential performer.

They'd invited us a Big Burns Supper. And oh my goodness me, does the script for my (sorry, Paul Higgins') beloved play not feature some words from the great man himself?

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that. 

(I confess I always thought there was bits missing from the above as Dad recited it until I just the noo checked the original. Shows you how deeply my nigh on sixteen years in this fair land have embedded themselves.)

So it seemed only fitting that those of us that arrived in DF on the Friday night found ourselves sitting, come something past 11pm in the show-coated Spiegeltent, sprung up just off Whitesands (look at me with ma local knowledge...) waiting for Cari to fetch us our whisky and Eddi Reader to serve up some songs.

Ironically, for a girl not raised in this land, I grew up listening to bits of her during her Fairground Attraction era as my dad happened to favour the album. (On cassette.) So I knew a sliver of her repertoire.

What I didn't know was the she not only delivers a finely sounding tune on a cassette tape. No, indeed, good sirs. This girl can really truly sing. And you don't encounter that all that much in the - shall we say - popular music repertoire these days.

Obviously I shun a cliche but a nightingale might just about do her justice. Or vice versa.

So take someone that can sing like a dream, take a heavy flollop of snow, a cherry red and bottle green stained glass Spiegel, a bunch of my favourite people, take an accordion player, guitarist, double bassist (I think - this one behind a pillar) and too much whisky. And you're left with a pretty heady cocktail.

I'm still singing (a poor parody) The Moon Is Mine.

I'm still dwelling on her lovely delivery of another of Burns' great works. His Red Red cherry red Rose. This is a rather grander version. But you get the general idea. Beautiful.

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my
bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!

And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'll do this in reverse order. So Sunday night first.

I came back from Dumfries, despite every mean thought that has passed through my head since - well, let's see - approx the start of December, full of new love for the TheATer.

So settled in to watch Le Gout des Autres. Year: 2000. Genre: world cinema. Dir: Agnes Jaoui.

It promised to be a tale of a "successful industrialist who, out of boredom, allows his wife to drag him to an amateur stage show. Much to his surprise he is overwhelmed by the power of the lead actress, Clara (i.e. he fancies her something rotten). He becomes so infatuated with her that he goes back to the play night after night."

Actually, he went back to the theatre twice. Adding up to a sum total of three visits.

And this was my main source of disappointment with how The Others Tasted (yes, yes, I know that's not a good translation).

I had envisaged a film full of the beautiful French that essentially depicted my weekend in Dumfries. Except featuring a cast that was more beautiful (if that's even possible) and French.

What I got was the usual slightly inpenetrable slightly ponderous and apparently without point French film with a couple of scenes briefly located backstage at a very smart little studio theatre with a few people wearing slightly clumsy costumes milling about in the background.

Agnes Jaoui needs to get herself along to the Masonic Hall - I'm sorry. I mean to say Secret Venue - in Dumfries.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I bid the greater proportion of the cast farewell at Haymarket train station less than five hours ago.

It's indecent, shameful and a sign that I should get out more that I'm missing them already, right?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dress rehearsal last night.

When they're good, they're very very good and when they're bad, they're ____________. (I'll let you fill in the blank yourself. I couldn't be so disloyal.)

I'm at the point now where I'm so hopelessly in love with all of them and the show that if Cari said she felt she had to paint herself in blue and grey stripes to fully express the frustration of her life, I would nod and smile warmly. If Gavin said he should sing his lines to express his unfulfilled ambitions as a musical artiste, I would encourage him. If Gary said he felt he should perform pant-less... well, maybe not.

I find that doing a show - doing this show anyway - twice over doesn't mean that you love it any the less. Maybe you even love it more as you've had a few months off from the "whoofs" and the beautiful Kirsty's "I love chups". To my horror and embarrassment, I still find there are things I want to fiddle with. How did I not see these things first time round?

My only regret is that we're missing out super-efficient Stage Manager this weekend. We wish her well and invite her to send military-efficient thoughts to the pranky, losing-loads-of-stuff cast backstage at about 8pm tomorrow.

And if you have any space in your thoughts today, if you wouldn't mind diverting them to wish us a snow-drift-less passage to DF from our respective parts of the country when our respective charabancs set out, I would be very much obliged.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Of course of course! A flash of blinding revelation.

Getting a show off the ground is effort enough.

Getting a bundle of people across to the other side of the country to do that aforementioned show is another thing altogether.

Remind me (amongst all the other things I "must never do again" (and will definitely end up doing, no doubt and no question, at some point is the future)) is try and take a show 'on tour'. Faaaaar too much organising involved.

(It's good that I have all this in ether-print of course. To serve as a solemn prompt if ever I'm tempted again.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

At very long last and not one minute too soon, it seems that we have a bit of a plan.

It demonstrates (again) to me that I am an out and out control freak.

Don't care.

I'm glad we have (more or less) a plan.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This will count as twitter's favourite hashtag: #middleclasswoes. But I was getting anxious that I was too much of a culturally void heathen to appreciate opera.

You'll all be faint with relief to know that - culturally void catastrophe averted! - I can apparently turn my heart to feeling pretty fond of it when the occasion allows.

PHEW I hear; a collective exhalation. She, who listens to Classic FM and only likes plays with swear words in them, has some sliver of delicacy and musical appreciation lurking somewhere deep within her soul.

I'm relieved, I tell you.

The volte face may be explained by an opera that, I gather (knowing nothing of this art form) was actually rather special.

Maria Stuarda by Donizetti.

Directed by a man called David McVicar at the Metropolitan Opera House and considerately filmed and beamed to screens around the world so The Poor would watch it too.

It was much aided by the fact that I've just gobbled down Wolf Hall, have the sequel on order from the library such was my fondness and have resorted to Philippa Gregory in the interim. As I (surprise) remember nothing from being taught Tudor history by two of the foremost historians that this country can offer (fie and for shame and she still took in nothing), these two more populist works proved very informative. I wished I'd realised how interesting this period of our country's life was when I was in more of a position to indulge it. Still, if wishes were horses n'all.

The opera, anyway, was magic.

Beautiful set. The NY Times was a bit scathing.

I thought it was both beautifully (richly - MAN they've got so much money) costumed and stunningly set. The little elevating and disappearing platforms on the stage were used to great effect. (You got backstage views in the interval to entertain us. My oh my the space!) It was very nicely lit. I particularly liked the measley little windows peeking onto the stage during her confinement scene.

I must confess to a little nap. But you'd expect that of me. I woke at the end of the first scene to a sharp whisper from Mother: "did you see the table disappear? How quickly they did it. Amazing." I suspect a pretext to wake me that was less blunt than "wake up". But it did the trick and I stayed alert for the entire remainder. (Awake enough to note all the sly little sideways glances she cast in my direction for the ensuiing scenes to be sure I was still alert. What a disappointment of a daughter.)

And how glad I am. For even to my silly uninformed uninitiated ear, the singing was pretty amazing. Mary Stuart was played by a wonderful girl called Joyce DiDonato. Seems she's one that can both sing and act. I am even verging on envious.

Lizzy was pretty good too. (Elza van den Heever.) I liked her stridentness. And she sang nicely. The Earl of Leicester had been - dunno, something romantic - in The Flute (hark at me - opera buff) a few weeks back and he did have a silky voice then. Somehow his silvery silky costumes showed it off to better effect in this 'show'. (Bet you can't say that about opera.) I hated Cecil - he was sly - purposefully I might add - so I didn't like his singing either. Philippa Gregory has shown me that he was a Bad Man. But I did like Talbot who was played (sorry, sung) by a very tall Englishman called Matthew Rose. He had a kind  face. And a nice voice.

And the girl who played first clarinet was really great too.

All in all, a treat. And I'm cured! Great thanks to Mother for persisting with me.

Les Mis on the other hand. Well, it's very good. Hugh Jackman. Very well done, that man. But eeee my goodness, it's awfae long.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My gawd. (As Mum would say.)

I'd forgotten quite how many of my disreputable old clothes had bee co-opted by the hashtag Forgive Us cast as morsels of costume.

It's like watching my teenage (and sad to say, much more recent) years rear up and offer me a catwalk show.

What a pinnacle and beacon of good taste I am.

Though my good taste endures.

I went to meet Siobhan for a coffee wearing the sweatshirt jackety thing I'd optistically bought for Johnny, forgetting how broad boys can be. It did not fit him so I'd quickly packed it away into my wardrobe. Wearing it that day, happily nostalgic, Siobhan said: "hmmm, it doesn't really suit you very well, that, does it? You'd be better to unzip it like (she demonstrated) this."

That's me told.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank you.
Please please please please please please please please please please please.

That's all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Man oh man I love my cast.

Tonight's rehearsal.

The rehearsal of the gigglers so they should have all been slapped.

Kirsty, slightly less ailing than she has been, bless her angelchild heart, said (our collective) favourite line:

I love chups.

Emma sniggered happily, perfectly on cue.

Finally, Gary was staggering through his closing heartbreak.

And Kirsty, she of the angelchild heart, whooped WHOOPED I tell you, with laughter.

And it was ruined. Slaps all round. But how can a proud mother hen slap the prettiest collection of chickens known this side of the West Coast?

Can I pickle this in aspic and keep them for always?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Today's bag is packed with:

x1 pair of leggings
x1 Pet Shop Boys T-shirt
x1 pair of jazz shoes
x1 bottle of water
x1 notebook
x1 birthday present for a newly eleven year old
x1 pork pie
x1 bottle of perfume

First off, I shall be looking at a(nother) secret venue (for I do so love them) for a secret project that's a little closer to home.

I love Saturdays.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I suspect I'm going to absolutely HATE it when I get to August.

But in dismal January when there's very little incentive to be at all out of doors, I am strangely delighted that I can open and read this first of the year Fringe ebulletin.

And not feel the slightest twinge of guilt about things I need to Start Doing.

(For now) how very marvellous.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And about time too.

What a terribly slack girl I am.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

You know when you're waiting for a thing? Or maybe a handful of things. And you can't do a single thing until you've got that thing. And it's quite a lot frustrating?


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Regular readers of this blog might be fooled into thinking that my cultural tastes are very high brow (tchah - who'm'I trying to kid?) and so be very surprised to find that I also love - quite fiercely love - a circus.

We would fairly frequent the Moscow State Circus when they were in town as I grew up. And I was particularly delighted by No Fit State Circus from Cardiff when they visited the Fringe a few years back. So when I happened upon a tiny flyer for the Muscovites in Friday's lunchtime sandwich shop, I thought that I might give it a whirl and ascertain whether the thrills and spills were just as thrilling twenty-five years on.

I'm happy to report that they were. Though the audience was sweat-pant clad, ugg-booted and anoraked to the hilt. Though the attendance was first Saturday night in January lacklustre. Though the tent was cold. They were still thrilling.

They have less animals than they did when I was a whipper snapper. None, in fact. Circuses in the US still seem to parade elephants but the unions must be meaner here.

They have laser lights. They have pop songs. They have knee high socks and funny little space packs as part of their costumes that look all very Space Odyssey.

But they still have clowns. They still give out sweets. They still have girls in spandex and dance tights. They still have boys in too tight V-necks. They still have tight ropes and aerial acts and strong men and audience humiliation and impossible remarkable gymnastic feats.

Their star turn is a 17 year old girl who does the splits balanced with one foot on each of the heads of two nicely formed men, nine metres up from the ground on a tightrope.

At one point - was it then or at some earlier or later terrifying feat of endeavour? - I wanted to scream - scream, boys and girls - and this is the most vocally undemonstrative person in the world where any sort of raised volume is involved - at the terror of it. And I wasn't even drunk. (Except on lucozade.)

The theatre doesn't do that.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

I have been trying to learn to play the clarinet for one year and three months now. I am still barely competent.

Chatting to my neighbour this morning, she said: "oh, so you play the clarinet?"

"Oh goodness, I hope I didn't disturb you."

She's in the flat on the downstairs floor and to the left. No way she should be able to hear me through one floor and two flats. But it seemed she was passing my front door one day en route to another neighbour's house.

"Are you professional?" she says.

Oh my life.

I shall stop practising now. My work is done.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Well, some of the cast excelled themselves last night. 
(Sorry, it's a little bit pale. But click on it and you'll be able to read it.)
Guess who's my favourite at the moment.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I realise that the above reproduction is probably illegal. But I do it as a tribute to a very fine writer, Andrew O'Hagan who wrote an excellent (though tragic) book called Be Near Me. Considerately, it's all about trying to be a priest in small town Scotland. So perfect fodder for my Richard Eyre tribute exercise for my cast tonight.

I'm softening the blow with a Jewish new year honey cake. (A sweetened cake to wish sweetnesses for the year ahead.) I gather Mum's been baking too. So they'll all be nothing if not fat by the time we get to Dumfries.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wishing my three beloved readers the very happiest of New Years.

May this year be as full of fun as the last one.