Friday, September 30, 2016

I love Margaret Atwood.

I love The Tempest.

So this is a lovely nostalgic revisiting of one of my other (also unexpectedly) favourite shows.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Let's remember that this is the girl who wrote and submitted a story about wanting to meet Davie Greig to Story Shop  in the hopes that he would hear it and express a wish to meet (and mentor) me. It didn't get chosen for performance so that killed that cunning plan.

This is also the girl whose boyfriend incredibly kindly wrote to Davie Greig's agent asking if he could buy me lunch with David Greig as a Christmas present. Like some sort of cultural pimp. She said he was busy so that killed that plan.

So when I spotted that the self-same was doing a workshop on playwriting as the centrepiece (to my mind!) of an open day at the Lyceum, think for a moment or two about how quickly I might have raced to get a ticket. Approx three minutes after I discovered it was happening. There or there abouts.

And I booked some other things and it was pretty exciting. 

The day dawned. It was this day - this day that is still in progress. 

I was late. Shambolic fool. I could blame trying to get the washing hung out but really it was facebook and an eminently un-urgent "conversation" (contribution to a question) about holiday reading that could have waited until I got on the bus. But no matter.

I arrived late at the long awaited workshop with my great hero. 

I tried to sit on the floor, obeisant as the spaniel who tries to press himself into the floor to show you how much he wants you to throw his special stone that looks like a potato across the room.

But they wouldn't let me so I had to run, furtive as a rat, across the plush carpet in front of a room full of people already laughing, enchanted, at his wisdom and charm, to take the seat of shame next to - arrrggg! - a woman who was speaking so I drew EVEN more attention to my rat of shame body.

He spoke wisely and charmingly about how you might go about writing plays. And then he thanked everyone humbly for coming and someone hurried up to speak to him and I sat rooted to my seat, mother "everyone loves it when you express appreciation" on one shoulder and mute fangirl on the other. 

Mute fangirl won and I slunk down to the foyer and then dithered because I wasn't sure where I should go next and I couldn't quite believe that I'd just heard this man that I've wanted to be for such a long time now speaking so nicely about a thing he did so well. And I was gazing into the mid-distance marvelling at this on the marble steps in the Lyceum foyer when


"How was that? Was that ok?"

And I stuttered like a fool.

And eventually said I really loved his writing (I expect I leant forward and my eyes bulged like a maniac) and I'd been to loads of writing workshops in my time and he had done an excellent job of articulating very precisely the construct of a good play and I could see how it would be applicable across all the stuff I'd written as I had all this stuff sitting there

"Oh, so do you write then?" (Or something like that - I don't really remember what he said as my little brain was in total HE'S SPEAKING TO ME I'M STANDING IN THE FOYER OF THE LYCEUM AND DAVID GREIG IS SPEAKNG TO ME meltdown.)

I stutter through some sort of answer about just bits and pieces of things.

"What kind of thing?" he actually looked hopeful. 

"Oh, plays. Well, I try..." and I spiral off into apology again. Stuttering and excusing myself.

"Are you going to put them on?" (I'm not actually sure he did say that but he must have said something like that as I said that yes, yes I was.)

And he seemed pleased. David Grieg, foremost Scottish playwright of our times, seemed pleased. 

I guess his job now is to see potential lurking in any old furtive late-coming rat.

And he said:

"Have you ever sent me any of your work?"

He said that. 

I wanted to laugh. 

I said I hadn't.

"Oh well (or something like this) KEEP ME POSTED."

"What's your name?" he said.

"Wood, " I whispered, thinking you'll never remember this but should I tell him that my friend Siobhan met him in the Traverse Bar and told him about me and he asked her my name and maybe I should explain that this is where, if my name seems familiar, he has heard it before. LIKE HE WOULD REMEMBER. And my head, at least this once, triumphs and stops these excitable ranting words pouring out of my mouth. "Claire Wood."

And then I spoil it all as I started stuttering on about how we did this thing at work where we could take a day out and go and do something creative and I really wanted to come and shadow him when he was rehearsing The Suppliant Women (BONEHEAD HE'S NOT DIRECTING IT!) and he looked at me like I was mad and said I shouldn't worry, he received all sorts of strange requests and I should email the general information email address for the Lyceum and they would forward it to the education department and they would probably be able to sort me out. They've had stranger requests apparently. 

And for the rest of the day, like an idiot, I've just been like I CAN'T BELIEVE HE SPOKE TO ME. 


"Have you ever sent me any of your work?" he said.

I must have looked at him like he was being stupid.

"No," in a stutter. In the tone of "why tf would I?"

Monday, September 05, 2016

A glutinous weekend gorging on the final few days of the Fringe last weekend. 
Stuart Cosgrove in the Book Festival talking about Northern Soul. A strange and emotionally unengaging play notable (to my mind) only for featuring Siobhan and eight to ten other people popping on stage for the long-awaited final five minutes to sing Happy Birthday to an unfamiliar tune under ghost sheets. The exceptionally marvellous and carefully saved for the end Bucket List by Theatre Ad Infinitum, a Bristol-based company. It was funny, surprising and an indignant howl to the futility of our ant-like attempts to make things better. 
I have no idea what The Toad Knew was trying to say, in contrast. A man (an artiste) called James Thierée had created the most wonderful spectacle featuring all sorts of clanking flying wizardry, physical theatre, music, amazingness. And a toad. I am over the moon that this was featured as part of the International Festival. I have high hopes for future programming from Fergus Linehan.
Sunday began with Once, a colourful eclectic exuberant romp through the cruel futility of love. Derevo are a Russian physical theatre company who strayed more towards the frivolous this year than I've seen them do before. Maybe old(er) age agrees with their mastermind man, Anton Adasinsky.

Then a strange but energetic and very commendable piece of dance under the EIF umbrella at the EICC. Raw might have been about street urchins being saved or might have been about people needing each other. It wasn't terribly clear but it didn't really matter. It featured a passel of brats which dance doesn't usually (unless in Miss Ermintrude's over-indulged and over-long School Of Dance showcase) and it was impressive to see how they'd been corralled into something like order.
But Flip FabriQue were more my cup of tea. Their show took place at prime time 6pm at crowd-pleasing Assembly Hall.  Attrape Moi is essentially a street circus act with some props and a massive trampoline. But they performed it with such a mischievous, delighted air and such a boisterous brazen soundtrack that they were elevated from being just another acrobatics show to being something breath-taking and marvellous. Strangely, the pirate recordings do them a bit more justice than this official trailer. Suffice to say, three out of four of the female audience in my party are now following them on instagram. 
The day was rounded off with Michel Faber, speaking about death and his wife's death and the flimsiness of life and his coping through poetry back at the Book Festival. I was more tempted by seeing him than the topic, I must admit. I love his Crimson Petal and the White. But imagine his "crude fact and dirty detail" applied to the pretty cheerless topic of death from cancer. A strange counterpart to circus, for sure. Luckily, I found his poetry vaguely repulsive so my easy to water eyes were kept in check. And for all my prudishness, the audience seemed to contain a fair quantity of people with direct personal experience of what the man described. They claimed his poems brought them comfort. Who'm I to argue with that?
We rounded off that Fringe (Book Festival, International Festival) with something of a cast reunion on the Monday (forlorn clutching at strands of midsummer dreams) and some millions of pounds of fireworks. 
As after all good Augusts, my head is stretched, my heart is tugged every which way, my eyes are dazzled, my legs are a little weary and my "Fringe jacket", a little cold and damp. 
Only 51 weeks to go till the next one.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,