Friday, June 28, 2013

There isn't much to say about (last) Saturday night and the show. Aside from a marvelling at the unalloyed remarkable delicious wonder at seeing the product of lots of hunched over my laptop till 1am nights suddenly swaggering about on 'stage' in front of me.

And the band. Excuse my foul tongue but the aptly named Jo, the initially apparently surly sound engineer who turned out to be like a god of pressing buttons and making auditory magic, made the band sound f*****g amazing.

The tech was terrifying. The band's sound check took two hours. We had three - and six radio mics to get fastened onto anxious actors' bodies. I paced like a pacing prowling cat. And did my best to get in the way as much as possible.

The pre-show ritual was much more fun.

Most favourite moment: Le Grand Amant in black tie and tails playing the piano in my spare room as Cassi applied jewels to her face, Matt sat slouched on the sofa muttering lines behind his hand and I pressed biscuits on a - for once - utterly disinterested audience.

Second most favourite moment was less of a moment and more of an episode but involved my miniscule bathroom being turned into a tiny tattoo parlour. (Thanks, Chris.)

So two hours of band sound checking. One hour to go. And I'm trying to disguise how feverishly I've wrenching open the huge heavy cases (handy timing for Le Grand Amant to put his back out, for sure) in my pants and fishnets, trying to look like a director in control and thrusting these tiny mics at people as if I know what I'm doing. ("And you really attach them to your hair???" "Oh yes" says she, trying to sound like she does this all the time, "you just need a couple of hairgrips.") (Most many thanks for the micropore plus good old-fashioned plasters go to the ever practical without whom this whole venture would have been a major shambles Chris. Not just a pretty face Leonard.)

Sudden pre-show intimacy and I'm sliding my arms down all sorts of naked backs to get wires concealed under clothing. Jo's doing his clever stuff with all the buttons on the huge enormous sound desk and I want to screech out "I can't hear them at all. It doesn't sound like they're amplified AT ALL. Are you SURE you know what you're doing, Jo? Because this is IMPORTANT." But I think it's best to keep these words inside my head as the Director Does Not Panic. Particularly when she's in pants and fishnets. And even if she did panic, a tiny top hat would ensure that no-one took her seriously.

And then we're on. 7pm. Doors. And people start hurrying in which does surprise me a little bit as I don't really expect anyone to come. But I'm so worried about the sound that the people are really just an inconvenience that get in the way of me standing over Jo, breathing threateningly. Except for then suddenly, at 7:10pm, Jo says "well, I'm going to go and get some tea" and slides out of the door.



Obvs, Jo comes back after a while stuffing some sort of sandwich down his throat. We haven't discussed cues or the nature of the show really and his mouth is full of bread and I'm in my pants and trying to show people to seats and lecture them sternly on the fact that the first half will LAST AN HOUR AND FIVE MINUTES AND THEY SHOULDN'T GO TO THE BAR DURING THE SPEAKING BITS PLEASE OH PLEASE DON'T.

And I say tremulously to Jo: "So would you like me to talk you through the script?"

"No, no, let's just wing it."

Right. Great.

So I give everyone a number. Every actor. And make him listen to the basic concept. And casually leave the script lolling open in front of him. And pray.



Le Grand Amant staggers onto the stage. Mic 1. Go.

And we're off.

And Jo is amazing.

Nothing but nothing (sound wise) goes wrong.

The band sounded outstanding. I'd always known that they were tinkly gorgeous. I had not always known that there was so much - So much - going on in amongst all the tinkly gorgeous. That man who sits with that flat thing in his lap and looks a bit intense. So that's what that does, then? Right. Amazing.

The band into radio mics sections which had been my principal terror was a breezy breeze. Jo, thank you.

And the actors. Some hilarious straggly moments aside (favourite? Hmm. Either Le Grand Amant snarling his chair in the wiring and lack of space on stage while Tiogar's ever patient, ever-unflappable face looked on. Or Alexei the clown being so irreparably sad that he forgot to speak.), they were magic.  

And then it was 10pm.

We packed up our sequins and our greasepaint.

And the circus left town.


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