Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's looking very good. We did acts two and three on Tuesday. Which astonishingly took the best part of two hours by the time people had fankled and remembered (sort of) their (conga) entrances and exits correctly.

It continues to amaze me how the simplest things can confound smart and intelligent people.

Despite having one cast member on the residue of crutches, one absent for work purposes and one absent for sickness purposes, it appeared nonetheless that we have more than the shell of a show.

Costume girls were in attendance. (Thank you, Charlie and Amy.) Lovely Debbie was prompting. The attendant cast mostly acted their socks off. And even indulged me in the much dreaded Exercise by way of a warm up.

I was so happy with it that I rashly dedicated tonight's rehearsal to principals (does anyone even say that anymore?) with big long speeches. So a lot of pouring over will happen tonight.

I must remember to seek out these short / compact / succinct plays more often.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The acting is good. (Mostly.) Very good.

So it's on to all the fankley bits around the edges. Chasing people. Nipping and fussing. Making lists. Wildly optimistically writing to a German dance company to try and track down a copy of a track they used in a show that I would like to use in my show. (Yes, some of these things are more urgent than others.)

The constant feeling that something is forgotten and not enough progress is being made. The lurking fear that something irreparable is about to go wrong. And who who who will take Front of House photos?

But the acting bit is easy as the cast are all brilliant and nice and fun so let's concentrate on that instead. Here they are at play. Dear things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I took a week off. (From rehearsals, I mean.) And felt enormously guilty about it. Like abandoning a battle ship just as pirates are about to pounce.

Luckily, my excellent Assistant Director did an excellent job of nagging the cast into submission in my absence. Fixed all sorts of niggly bits. Noticed all sorts of things I hadn't. Gave them all a row about not knowing the tunes for the songs.

And spared me the first two limped through rehearsals when the cast had first shed the script. These rehearsals always fill me to the brim with anxiety. So while I worried whilst I was away, it was a muted worry with nothing of the mosquito bite piquancy of sitting through it in person.

Thanks, Jenni.

Sunday saw a full run through that was very lumpy in places but extremely respectable in others.

I have high hopes.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Top Hat at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre. What a glorious treat.

I admit to being seduced by the poster, the promise of Irving Berlin and a wistful longing for tap shoes.

But almost immediately on curtain up, I was gripped (literally, by an enchanted 12 year old) by the loveliest featheriest most beautifully clad most effervescent slice of 1930s froth.

And froth may be a disservice but the plot is pretty silly, hinging (don't they always?) on a misunderstanding. But it's delivered so wholeheartedly, so engagingly, so delightedly, by an extremely talented cast of something like 30 people, that you don't mind at all that it's froth and just enjoy the ride.

The set is magic (heart-stopping something or other technical jamming / sticking / refusing to perform aside). The costumes for drooling over. The choreography neat and nifty and you'd imagine it hasn't suffered very much from being squeezed into the "provincial" stage from its London birthing place. The acting is just nicely whole-hearted rather than eye-bulgingly jazz-handedly "musical" even though it is a musical. The band sumptuous and gorgeous. The singing as perky and husky and hopeful as you'd wish. The main girl is pretty and dry and boisterous but a little bit scared of being hurt - a very nice line trodden by Charlotte Gooch.

But the hero is surely Jerry (Alan Burkitt). Whom I could comfortably and with pleasure, watch dancing all night. Even with a coat stand. We were three rows from the front (thanks, BS) so you could the sweat sliding off him. But my goodness me, sweat aside, he hardly needed to seem to breathe. Effortless would be the word.

As Mr Barry Gordon, says, it's a real treat to get a complete show from London visiting here with every original morsel intact. I hope they producers are rewarded at the box office for their "audacity".

It's a shame this isn't here at Christmas as it's that kind of feel good show. But do you know, as it's bucketing with rain outside and getting dark by 6pm, it's a pretty good antidote to October too.

Please go see. It's gorgeous.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Very very nearly hot off the press, a new installment of Salmon and Bear. Almost online now.

(See the link in my sidebar.) 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Brinkmanship. Only brinkmanship.

I really really love having someone who knows what they're doing taking care of the costumes. I have a rubbish eye for all things visual (maybe aesthetic is a better way of putting it). I'm still slightly haunted by CCC for all sorts of reasons, not least of which was my vague attempt to create a colour palette that was, in the end, made manifest in no clear way. And my imaginative default for anything modern enough is blue jeans and black tops. 

So I contacted QMU back in April to see if they might be able to find me an amazing Chloe equivalent. A one woman walking wardrobe creator if ever there was one. Now, she - or her ilk - will clearly not come along every day but still, even a fraction of her imagination and energy and inventiveness and energy would be an undoubted asset.

July, I make contact again, hiding from the heat of Menorca in the air-conditioned house.

Yes, says the poor long-suffering but eternally kind course tutor, get back in touch if I don't when term starts again. 

I get back in touch at the end of August, just to be safe.

Few weeks to go, she says politely. Remind me again soon.

Two weeks ago, a flurry of emails. Yes, here's someone. Yes, she's brilliant. She'll just design but we'll see if we can find someone who can make. (I'll hungrily take anything / anyone by now. Maybe I could make..?????) I email the brilliant girl in question bursting with enthusiasm and love.

Errrrm, she says, crossed wires. And she put it much more nicely than this but essentially, if The Worst Comes To The Worst, she'll come to us. If no better offers come meantime.

I grit my teeth, reply with supportive understanding. And Wait. 

While waiting, I have a conversation with Jenni, my AD and safety net. "I'm wondering how long I should leave it before I give in and acknowledge I'm not going to get someone," I say. Jenni shrugs. Who knows the answer to that?

I mutter something in the cast's direction about cobbling something together from "what we have". No-one looks enthusiastic.

And probably less than a week and a half later, though I have counted Every Day as we are nearly into October and that means Two Months Just Two Months to go, an email from sweet Amy. When can we meet so I can brief her and the "maker", Charlie?

I reply with shameful speed.

And the next day, we meet. That night, I take pictures of all my not absent cast. The next morning, I send her them all. Thank you so much, she says. I'll get cracking.

What will you tolerate? And how long will you hold your nerve?

Piece of cake, directing.