Saturday, 24 July 2010

Trial and error

This is the result of my photo shoot for the Skylight publicity last week - the chosen one, if you will. Unfortunately, however, it was decided there wasn't enough blank space around my boat race (I've cropped this one even further) to fit the title of the play and all the necessary wordy gubbins, so on Wednesday it was back to the drawing board, as 't'were.

Trying to recreate a picture, it turns out, is nigh on impossible, so we ended up with a different image altogether. It's going to be black and white, there may well be more flesh on show (although nothing X-rated I should point out, I'm really rather a modest lass when you get down to it) and I look a lot crosser. Not a hint of a smile in sight. I don't know why I look cross, I wasn't aiming for cross - I actually think the photographer caught me in an unprepared moment when I was feeling annoyed that I couldn't pull quite the same expression as last time - I mean, how hard can that be? Apparently, very. So anyway, there you have it, this old photo will never see the light of day other than on here. When the new image has been poster-fied I shall upload a copy.

First rehearsal last Sunday was good - there are an awful lot of props involved and trying to read my lines whilst unpacking shopping bags and making tea for two proved awkward. However, by what can only be described as a small miracle, I had my lines learnt for that scene for the second rehearsal on Wednesday, which made life much easier. I should point out that being off book by any sooner than six weeks before first night is unheard of for me, and it's unlikely I'll manage it ever again, so this was indeed an impressive coup.

I'm also not sure whether I mentioned that I will have a working kitchen on set and will have to not only really make cups of tea (getting the kettle to boil on cue should be interesting), but I will also have to rustle up an edible spaghetti bolognese. Fact is, in real life I can't cook, so I am faced with a double whammy here - remembering my lines whilst endeavouring not to burn onions.

I am, it has to be said, somewhat concerned about the logistics of this - there are many, many things that could go wrong. Let's hope they all happen during rehearsals and not in a performance. On the plus side, my family are looking forward to being able to come round for dinner and enjoy a meal they can actually eat (the last attempt, many months ago, having ended up in the bin - yes, I really am that bad). Surely after four months of cooking the same dish, I'll be able to make one I'm not scared to serve up to my nearest and dearest without fear of poisoning?

Friday, 16 July 2010

'Are you ready for your close-up?'

It's been a funny old couple of weeks. I've been working a lot, which is great - it's always a comfort when you're a freelancer to see a few pennies rolling in!

I have found the time for a creative venture or two, although unfortunately no writing. I have spent a large chunk of my day today critiquing the work of fellow writers on the forum I'm a member of - it's been fun, and hugely interesting, to read so many pieces of great writing, so many individual takes on everyday ideas, and so many unique ideas turned into clever stories and moving poems. I feel very honoured to be able to share my work with such a talented group of people. Not that I have any to share so far this month! Perhaps tomorrow I will find some time to sit and write something of my own.

I went pottery painting last week - it's a lovely way of passing an afternoon. There is a small and friendly farm shop near my home, where I'm now something of a regular. They set me up with my little table and my paint and brushes, supplied me with some marmalade on toast (an excellent source of energy when painting), and away I went. I have taken photos of my finished items, but they're a present for someone, so I shan't post the pics until the present has been given, just in case I spoil the surprise! I met and chatted with some nice people during the course of my afternoon, as when folk pop in for a cup of tea, they invariably wander over to take a look at what you're working on and conversations ensue. One lady I spoke to was a self-confessed Bloomsbury addict and we had a great chat about Vanessa Bell and Virgina Woolf, and it made me keen to get back to Charlston Farmhouse, which, if you haven't been, is a truly inspiring place.

Also last week, I went to see a play called The Boy Juliet. It's basically Shakespeare in Love, but unfortunately without Joseph Fiennes. It was a good production, the set was very clever and held it's greatest surprise until the end, when the back panels, which for the duration of the play had been the rough wooden boards of a barn or similarly rustic rehearsal room, opened out towards the back of the stage, revealing a misty darkness lit by a line of tea lights. The cast walked away from the audience and out into the darkness, the candles, of course, denoting the edge of a different stage, as they commence their production of R&J to a different, imaginary audience. Very clever indeed. The script (by Royce Ryton) was basic and slapstick in places, but produced laughs and did its job. Perhaps not the highest praise, but I think I've seen plays and read scripts that have been cleverer and made more of the English language. That said, I've also seen a lot worse. A terrible play called The Man Who Left the Titanic, springs to mind.

I went to see this a couple of weeks ago, and actually left at the interval in favour of going to the pub for a gin. The play was a two-hander, about Bruce Ismay, he of the White Star Line who hopped off the literal sinking ship into one of the lifeboats. The script contained no drama, but appeared to be merely a vehicle to convey the facts of the case. The performances were lack-lustre and the actor playing the ghost of Andrews did an excellent job of carrying the show, as Bruce himself seemed deeply uncertain of his lines in places. It's a touring production - should you find it coming to a theatre near you any time soon, I'd be inclined to give it a miss. The pub was much more entertaining.

This week I went to the photographer's studio to have my photo taken for the publicity for Skylight. I have never sat for a professional photo before and found it to be an unusual experience. There were lights upon me from many angles, and a silvery space-age contraption that looked like it had been designed by NASA, was stuck under my chin. The resulting photos, however, made me wish I could take all the lighting and photographic paraphernalia with me everywhere I go, as they clearly work miracles. Once the poster has been designed and I have a copy in my hot little hands, I shall scan it and upload it here so you can enjoy my discomfort. First rehearsal on Sunday - I'm feeling quite excited about it.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Inspiration blockage

I have an idea for a story - it's full of joy, sorrow, history, romance, familial duties and pressures, teenage rebellion - it has potential I think. But can I write it? Can I heck as like.

I've started - there's an opening to be sure, but now what? I've written a couple of middling paragraphs, shuffled them around a bit. And I know how I want it to end, but haven't attempted to put that down on paper as yet. It's like doing a dot-to-dot with an invisible pen.

I need to write this story - it is too early on in this fledgling fiction writing career of mine to be thwarted by writer's block and a lack of inspiration. The question is, do I slog away at it, or do I put it to one side and try and write another?

On a different subject - rehearsals for Skylight will be starting in just over two weeks, and the issue of publicity has arisen, i.e. the poster/flyer/programme image and the photographing thereof. Turns out, the publicity image for this particular play is... my face.

Hadn't reckoned on that.