Thursday, June 26, 2014

They were astoundingly efficient. Hazel, Stage Manager, phoned me mid-afternoon to say we were their only scheduled performance that night so could they come early? For sure.

She phoned me again at 7pm on our arrival at the location to tell me we would see them at 8pm rather than 8:25pm as agreed.

They arrived at approx 7:45pm. At (thank you thank you thank you, Neil's dad) the appropriate office. Lovely Hazel. (How can you instantly tell that someone is nice? But it appears that you can.) And camera, electrician and sound man in one and owner of the world's largest backpack, Ryan.

The actors were dithering about. preparing. I felt the sly lurking impatience with actors that I always awfully feel, like they're an inconvenience, when the technical people turn up. I love to think that this is a sign that I'm beautifully well-rounded as a director. Probably just means I'm intolerant.

Ryan darted about Setting Things Up. Hazel explained the procedure. These calls here, this question there, dress rehearsal at 25 minutes before performance time, one minute countdown before the Thing Itself went love. I felt the deep sweeping gratitude that the director feels when someone eventually says "your bit is mostly done, I'm in control now, I'm calm and composed and will remain unflappable and will get this (baby) show on the road."

Hairspray. Varying colours. Suit jackets. Panic tidying of desk and re-arranging of pictures. Hanging (with cellotape) of the flag. The rampant lion. Re-hanging of the flag. Moving the desk. Moving the chairs. Taping the floor. Fiddling the (locked off) camera angle. Sneaking in a couple of run throughs amidst crouching Ryan hidden Hazel.

A gap. When it's more or less ready. Actors at rest in the "changing" (meeting) room next door.

But then. But then. The internet connection speed was sluggish. (Did it lie to me, sly tricky two Fridays ago?) The NTS baby crew tried to fix it by leeching off the office internet connection. #leechfail

So it's announced after much mysterious tinkering that we won't be streaming live at all. Which was pretty disappointing but also curiously soothing, judging from the faces of the actors at the announcement.

So we crack (they crack) on and herd the small but perfectly formed audience into position and start a whole 4 minutes early.

My perfect as a dandelion puff cast nailed it. Their one shot.

We (they) finish and there's a long silence as Ryan records the silent extra footage required to presumably allow some sort of filmic handover between pieces. And then whoop, he says!

"We could give it another go?" Ryan says wistfully. Mme Director the Pessimist says she doesn't think he should worry. It was about as good as it gets.

And so we all went home.

Another firework has its moment in the dark night sky.


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