Monday, 29 November 2010

O frabjous day!...

‘Callooh! Callay!’ I chortle in my joy!

Skylight is done and my life is, for a short time at least, once again my own. I will very soon be back at the theatre as I’m an assistant stage-manager on the theatre’s upcoming Christmas production of Darker Shores, but for now at least I have a few days off.

I can forget the reams and reams of lines I’ve been holding in my head for the past forever – not as easy a task as you might imagine as they are still assaulting me in my near-sleep, near-waking moments and will do so for a week or so yet I should imagine – and I can sweep the unhappy last few months under the dusty rug of things best forgotten.

I am however, a glass-half-full sort of gal, so have thought long and hard on what I can take away from the experience that is useful, and my overall umbrella realisation is that I now know exactly what not to do when Jak and I direct Irma V next year. A bit of a negative positive to be sure, but a positive nonetheless.

Despite the unfortunate rehearsal process, the run itself was a great success, excluding one performance where I dried so faked a crying fit to cover it up, and another where my opposite number dried, couldn’t hear the prompt, and I rewrote David Hare for a while in order to help him back to the script – in fact, even those two performances with their minor disasters were still good. We had some terrific feedback from audience members, not the least of which was how we’d managed to learn all the lines in the first place, and on from that, how did I manage to cook whilst remembering lines? To both these questions my answer was, and still is – I have no freaking idea!

The added bonus to the play being over, finito, done, dusted and heartily kicked to the kerb, is that my face is no longer displayed giant-size on the poster boards outside the theatre. No-one needs their head that big – literally, metaphorically or photographically.

...and so, her sigh of relief could be heard far and wide, whirling amongst the trees and skyscrapers and issuing forth across oceans and streams, and her smile, which had for a time become a stranger, once again made its home on her face.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper... or did he?

Okay, so I will admit that I'm on a bit of a Jasper Fforde bender at the moment and have just last night finished The Fouth Bear. I know I've been going on about him a lot lately, but he really IS worth the fuss! The Fourth Bear is one of the Nursery Crimes series and involves Goldilocks and the three bears, as well as a cameoes from the Gingerbreadman and Punch & Judy, amongst many other literary references. It's stacked to the rafters with golden moments but the one below is genius and made me laugh out loud. Detective Jack Spratt is imparting gossip to Sergeant Mary Mary...

     "Pippa's pregnant by Peck."
     "Pippa Piper picked Peck over Pickle or Pepper?" exclaimed Mary incredulously. "Which of the Peck pair did Pippa Piper pick?"
     "Peter 'pockmarked' Peck of Palmer Park. He was the Peck that Pippa Piper picked."
     "No, no," returned Mary, "you've got it all wrong. Paul Peck is the Palmer Park Peck; Peter Peck is the pockmarked Peck from Pembroke Park. Pillocks. I'd placed a pound on Pippa Piper picking PC Percy Proctor from Pocklington."
     There was a pause.
     "It seems a very laborious set up for a pretty lame joke doesn't it?" mused Jack.
     "Yes," agreed Mary, shaking her head sadly. "I really don't know how he gets away with it."


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

It's too early for the hangover!

Oh... my... life. It's just over two weeks until curtain up on Skylight and it can’t come soon enough. It’s been immensely hard work one way and another, and not just because I've had so many lines to learn and the play is technically incredibly tricky, what with the cooking and everything – other factors, theatre-related and otherwise, have played a big part in making the last few months a less than wonderful experience.

It upsets me that I haven’t been able to enjoy the rehearsal process this time – normally it’s what makes the whole thing worthwhile. I suffer so badly with nerves that, believe it or not, being on stage in front of an audience is not why I do this, it’s terrifying, and curtain calls are my bĂȘte noire – I’d rather just finish the play and go home or up to the bar for a gin, without all that bowing and clapping nonsense! Fun rehearsals, a challenge and the chance to wear wigs and false eyelashes(!) have always been the draw for me – and although it’s been a great challenge for sure, for one reason and another it's fallen flat this time. They say, when you don’t enjoy something anymore, stop doing it, but unfortunately when you’re tied into it like this you can’t just walk away.

Right now, even though it hasn’t finished just yet, I’m in that ‘hangover’ phase – you know, when you had one (or several) too many the night before, and this morning you’re holding your aching head and rocking back and forth, swearing ‘never again’. I wasn’t planning to act next year as I want to concentrate on directing Irma Vep, but at this point, I feel like I don’t ever want to act again – my stress levels are at an all-time high and my finger nails are being bitten shorter by the day. I’m really hoping that’ll pass as acting’s been part of my life forever and I would hate to lose it.
Whinge, whinge, whinge!

I am, however, looking forward to immersing myself in the directorial side of things next year. I am currently getting to write, albeit not ‘properly’, as I’m putting together the audition notice. It’s a fine line between conveying your enthusiasm for a play and encouraging people to audition, and being overzealous and sending folk running for the hills. I hope I get the balance right!

Also, I’m enjoying a book by one of my favourite authors at the moment – Jasper Fforde. As a rule I find it hard to read when I’m learning lines, but as my lines are learnt now and I must derive pleasure from somewhere, I have picked up an old favourite. If you consider yourself a writer in any capacity, or simply love words and literature and you have never read any of his books before, you absolutely must. The man is a genius – if I’m not laughing at something funny, I’m marvelling at something clever.

Finally, I joined the Rach Writes Inaugural Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade the other day, a marvellous idea and a lovely way of knitting together the blogging community - pop along and join. And welcome to my newest followers who've found me via the Crusade!