Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sandwich assembly.

Having spent a month hunched over dropbox, listening to Cari and Umi sing at me from my laptop speakers and hoping it would all sort of fit in real life, trepidation would best describe my approach to Tuesday's rehearsal at which band and actors were, for the first time, placed in the same room and told to get on with it.

But I don't know. Maybe I'm a sucker for a nice tune. Or maybe I have a terrible ear for music. Or maybe The Stantons just make a genuinely lovely sound.

But I thought there was something a little bit magic about our sandwich.

It's a tribute of course to Neil and Cari in particular who managed to dart, apparently effortlessly, between singing and acting. And a tribute from both band and actors to the age-old art of making it up as you go along. Particularly where the writer / director had wildly cut cue lines without bothering to inform the band.

But the songs all appeared to slide very neatly into the gaps between our slim scenes. It's a sad little tale and the lovely wistful maybe even a little bit haunting quality of this particular set of Stantons songs is the most beautiful complement. But then maybe that's because the story came from the songs so you shouldn't expect anything other.

In short, with just under four weeks to go, I think we have a fine little album launch on our hands. Just need to knuckle down now and make sure we do it justice.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday afternoon. Le Cirque de Muerta rehearsal two with books down.

Combined with a costume session with Mme Trapeze Artiste Extraordinaire at which we established that despite my wishful dreams, she will not pour herself into my 18 year old's ballet leotard as it's NOT A FLATTERING GARMENT. (Lordy, I used to wear that out to Rock City tout le temps.)

The lines? Well. One was perfect. Perhaps (contentious statement ahoy!) the one with the most overall responsibility for this gig. Actually, an inaccuracy. Two were perfect. The one with least responsibility for this gig was also tantamount to perfect.

The other three? Let's imagine a thing that's say, run a marathon and there's two miles still to go and they're pretty hot and pretty thirsty and there are still these two miles and so this thing is slowly, with some trepidation, creeping towards the finishing line. That was the Other Three. But they all assure me that, two days on, they'll be perfect tonight. We shall see.

The bubbly exciting thing is that tonight tonight, at very long last, we sandwich band and actors together. I expect glorious fireworks.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I dangerously left my cast alone for a fortnight. With instructions to learn their lines and get that first painful off the book run through out the way in my absence.

But yet. While the cat's away and all that. Much line learning went on. But despite feverish flamenco tinged emails sent from overseas (control freak), the rehearsal did not take place. Which made me a bit sad but I learnt some long time ago that you can't afford to be saddened by these things with this directing milarky.

So Tuesday was the first time I'd had them all in the same room since, I think, the read through. Easter weekend. Two of them - hats off to them - hot foot from a band rehearsal for of course now the two portions of the show are being rehearsed simultaneously.

(We sandwich them together next week and my goodness me, I cannot wait.)

First time they all had to stagger through it without the script clutched in their sticky paws. And despite my dread trepidation, master prompter Siobhan had surprisingly little work to do.

The truth will out at the weekend as we'll then caper through all the scenes we didn't fit in on Tuesday.

But so far, so very capering good.

Thanks, boys and girls.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Right boys and girls, we need to make SUCH a profit with JC that we can afford to transfer the show here. We'll make sure your costumes aren't too suffocating to cope with a performance in the unalloyed sun.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thanks, Gareth!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

There's a bridge that spans the Río Guadalquivir in Cordoba that they believe was built in the first or second century AD. Roman though repaired since. It's over 250 metres long and flanked on one side by the Torre de la Cahahorra, a medieval and fairly imposing tower that reportedly gives a fine panoramic view of the city. But I didn't fancy any more stairs.

On approaching the bridge, I heard a rowdy, insistent but tiny yowling coming from a fenced off dilapidated enclosure containing not very much from the looks of it. A car park and some hedgy stuff. And all of a sudden, a tiny very tiny kitten emerges from the hedgy stuff, demanding attention. It's way away in the enclosure so I peer over at it helplessly. A stocky couple waddle up to the bridge approach. "Awwwww" cries the woman. Australian. "Awwww!" "I wish I could take it home," I offer uselessly, "but I doubt I'd get it through customs". The woman looks at me, suddenly serious. "You can't rescue everything in the world, you know."

Then the bridge. It must be the Cordobian (?) equivalent of Las Ramblas for at 9:30 at night as the sun sinks over the city, it's jostling with life. Couples walking babies in pushchairs. Fathers with their miniature quarter of their age copies of themselves in hand in their matching Sunday best shirts. Girls peeled into luridly patterned close-fitting garments and vertiginous heels. (These, the Spanish ladies.) Tourist ladies with overly pink flesh, those whoever thought it was a good idea to turn them into a tourist garment three quarter length grey or brown pocketed 'combat' pants and flat, practical, often rubbery, shoes. Tourist men, hundreds of pounds of photographic equipment slung round their not yet read the instruction manual necks. Two teenage girls playing identical cellos. Two teenage boys, one on the seat and one on the handlebars of a bicycle careering through the seethe of people. A little lady in a wheelchair with two similarly aged friends in here's one I brought earlier fabric seats alongside the shrine to some unspecified saint bearing an aluminium halo that catches the dying sun. A saxophonist with pre-recorded backing music at a respectable distance from the cellists.

And this is Spain, land of civilisation in which the climate smiles on people spending time together after dusk in somewhere that isn't a pub and somewhere where children are smiled upon as much as pint-wielding adults.

Opposite the medieval tower, you'll find the Puerta del Puente (Door of the Bridge!), a pretend-old archway that admits you back into the city. There's a spindly girl, maybe twenty years old, old enough to have recorded a CD anyway, wearing a what I imagine a broderie anglaise white dress would look like - if I was certain about what broderie anglaise actually is - and little white sandals and playing a well-used violin.

She plays something I've never heard, something I have heard that sounds like a tea party and something I should be able to identify. The sun sinks gently over the assorted collection of architecture and people cluster and clap with that happy lack of reserve displayed by all but the British. And a tiny child, this one maybe seven or eight, approaches in a meringue of a white dress, hem skimming the ground, presumably freshly first communioned and listens with delight to the double her age violinist in white. Under the archway of the Puerta del Puente in Cordoba.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I've got a wonderful new holiday wardrobe.

It consists of:

Some lovely polyester trousers

Three diamond-patterned viscose blouses

Twenty white shirts, mostly from the 1970s and 80s

A couple of lovely period-style evening dress waistcoasts

A slightly too small 1920s velvet evening dress. I'll wear it with a vest underneath for modesty

A pair of well-used ballet shoes

An overlarge midway sludge green fleecey housecoat for chilly nights

Several slightly moth-eaten but still stylish fox furs

Some corduroy plus fours which have seen better days but if I wear them with colourful pants, they'll seem quite visionary

An adorable red bonnet with a jaunty green feather

Seventeen pairs of unusual shoes, again mostly from the 1970s and 80s. They're not all pairs but that only adds to their charm

A delicately embroidered cotton nightdress

Three rare silk kimonos

Two nurses' uniforms which I thought could come in handy if I had to suddenly go to a uniform party

An amazing pair of thigh-high black boots that almost look like waders

A very smart 1940s khaki soldier's uniform

A really handy fur cat suit which is very of the moment given the popularity of onesies

And a cardboard crocodile's head.

What riches.

I shall be the finest dressed visitor the South of Spain has ever seen.

Thanks, Home Street.

An unusual jester's outfit made from multi-coloured velvet

Friday, May 03, 2013

Wednesday night, we bewore the Ides of March and read Julius Caesar.

It started out full of vigorous promise but as people drifted away, the cast became more - let's say - concentrated and the potential for the comic began to pour into Mr Shakespeare's darkly tragic tale.

In hindsight, I didn't allocate parts very sensibly. Ross and DG ended up shamefully under-used while BS Neill ended up reading three characters who then conversed with each other - to great comic effect, mind - in a variety of regional accents. Philippi, as a consequence of a general confusion about its pronunciation, proved the icing on the cake.

But we timed it (thanks, DG). It passed the John Kelly sense, coherence and respect for Shakespeare test (thanks, John) (Lucius aside). And in honesty, it would have been worth any ticket money to hear DG reading the part of a 9 year old girl.

Thanks to all my readers. You did such an exquisite job that I almost wonder if I should be considering it as a comedy.