Friday, November 28, 2014

So very proud.

First night down and on the surface of things, it was a pretty polished show. Some technical snickets got in the way of whatever passes for perfection. As did some jumbly renditions of lines. But I don't know that many but those paying closest attention to the script would have noticed.

Last night. Night two. Night of the SCDA Adjudicator. (Pretty carelessly, without any sort of sense or logic being applied, I've pitched myself against David's August: Osage County in the Full Length Play Competition. Stupid. As that was a stupendous show that deserves to win for bravery alone. But you add excellent execution in on top of that and really, I've wasted my £70 entry fee. But maybe I'll get a pity booby prize.) Night of Hugh, Thom Dibdin's reviewer. Night of a(nother) limited audience.

But the vague sense of pride hanging over everyone as a consequence of the Adjudicator's presence meant they turned in a brilliant brilliant show. Or maybe they would have anyway and I'm being unjust.

There were a few stomach flip-flopping moments. One of which I'm far too embarrassed to mention but they all flocked round me like starlings to anxiously share when I slipped backstage in the interval. One of which involved a lost shoe. One of which involved the most erratic lighting set up in the world. So we started act two with full house lights on. V professional. Not.

But you know what? No-one would've noticed these. Well, except for The Embarrassing Thing. And the house lights which any fool could see. The shoes. David hid it like a master. I had no idea it'd happened. And on the whole, it was a snippy snappy pacey heartfelt performance.

The last page of the last but one scene, I'm sitting in the audience. And six excellent actors are standing / sprawling on the stage. Universally sobbing. Tremendous theatre. It's obviously all their own tears but I felt ridiculously chuffed that we got there.

Enjoy the last two nights, my cast. You've worked like very hard working things. Any few small audience claps you get are very well deserved.

Photos courtesy of J Gordon Hughes. With many appreciative thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Harem scarem.
A tech full of unexpected and hard to fix problems that were nothing to do with sound or lights. 
A following day full of suspense and a oh for a pesky day job that means I can't run for the hills screaming. 
And an utterly unexpected it'll be alright on the night moment, bursting from the gloom like a knight on a bright white charger. 
Thanks to my cast for having faith. Thanks to Dulcie and Tammy for not laughing in my face. And thanks to everyone involved who got on and did it anyway, so very superbly. 
Proper (unpaid!) professionals. I salute you.
And I wish you many broken legs (not you, Gregor. Or you, Chris) for opening night tonight.

Kim, the cook, shares his thoughts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So oldest son Christian is really really looking forward to his dad's birthday party.

See for yourself here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The get in. Day of longness, frayed nerves, things not working, lots and lots of things breaking (Brian, we're so sorry about your beautiful wine glasses) and small slow baby steps towards having a show in a theatre-type space that works without half the cast getting stuck in the corridor (oh for a theatre with proper wings!) and the sound of clacking crockery drowning out the most poignant moments and the sound desk not burying everyone's ear drums with a tender and thoughtfully chosen track relayed far too loud and and and.

But twelve hours of running up and down stairs and a horsebox later, we limped to the end of a run through. Job done. Most thanks, everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I bet John Tiffany doesn't have his lighting guy drop out eight hours before the get in. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Helene is preening prior to the party...
As a little bit of fun - and to tempt you to come see them next week - welcome to the first of an exquisite little series of "why I'm looking forward to Helge's birthday party" films.

First up, Michael Hansen. Beloved son. Adored husband. Loving father. In his own words.
Then. More bad fortune. Poor adorable Sarah-Jane had to pull out, having done a stoical job at her first dropped in at the deep end rehearsal.

A restless (part of a) weekend. And an excellent brainwave in the form of (best if you can find someone with exactly the same name to keep the programme tidy, right?) SJ. Whom I will always remember for having done a fantastic and fantastically funny monologue at a sort of cabaret style evening thing performed at a disused church in the Grassmarket some years back. She's a whizz at improvisation - not that this would be necessary, of course, given that she would have one whole week and a half before the show started. So I phoned her with trepidation and you could almost hear the cogs in her head grinding and clicking: could she squish it in amongst everything else at this impossibly short notice? And like an angel, she say yes.

Bless her with bells on.

She gobbled up all of the stage directions in a frenzied half hour briefing and was Ready To Take To The Stage. Just in time to coincide with a message to say that poor Chris has topped off his bike and shattered his bone so he wouldn't be at that night's rehearsal.

Well, you win one. You lose one. Seems to be the rule.

But SJ is two whole rehearsals in, now. Chris rejoined us last night. And I had, for perhaps the second time since we've begun, The Whole Cast in one place. Incredible.

And it was a little tinged with sadness as I always regret the move from rehearsal rooms to venue. I go from having them pranking and fighting and loving and bitching all of two feet away from me to distance - cold and heartless distance - between me and they. Pesky stage. Pesky gap between audience and stage. And suddenly they're a little bit less mine and a little bit more their own thing. Like sending a child off for its first day at school.

Cast. My cast. You've been brilliant company. Now go have a brilliant show.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Last Monday night and I got a call from lovely lovely Alyssa who plays the little girl.

This Alyssa.

(Just for context.)

She's got herself a job in a panto, due to start the very next day, rehearsing in Newcastle and roaming through England and Germany. 


Delighted for her. 

Ouch ouch like a stabby jabby pain in my ribs for me. 

Panic emails. Would you could you know it's short notice but? Who who who can we ask?

To my great sorrow, my lovely Soothsayer  from JC days has moved to Dumfries and Galloway. So that maybe involves too much of a commute. Not anything on the scale of Liverpool of course, but still.

An anxious night. A 4am awake. A staring into the dark thinking and wondering how this might be resolved. Could we just Cut - but no but no. Could we just?? But wait. Be patient my friend. Providence will probably help out. 

10:30am on Tuesday. Sarah-Jane. She of Jerusalem fame. The lovely. Can I call her? An inconsiderate meeting in my pesky day job. Soon, my lovely, soon. 

1:30pm. Tuesday. We speak. She says she will. She is delightful. My heart dances. 

So last Thursday night, we took one little girl ghost and tried to make her real again. With luck with luck. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good grief. I'm sending emails about promises to boil six fresh eggs every day. The fun never stops.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I went to see the venue earlier this week. Along with Ste, one of our lighting guys. 

Luckily, he knew what he was looking for. I was able to count the number of lights hanging from the rig. And I helpfully took a photo of the sound desk as my contribution to answering Richard's question about whether or not it works. I've seen been asked how many specials are available. Highlighting my limited knowledge.

Honestly, I continue surprised that I'm entrusted with directing shows.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

From Martha Graham to fellow dancer and choregrapher Agnes de Mille.