It’s been a great adventure, but after six performances it’s time for “Waiting” to leave the building. REDFest’s audience didn’t vote for us to go through to the next round, but that should in no way detract from two engaging and sincere performances from Lucy and Llewella. It was an honour to be involved on this project and I hope my efforts did a great script justice. The feedback from friends and fellow practitioners throughout the week has been uniformly positive and I appreciate all the support we’ve had. The play has just started to find its feet – and I sympathize with the frustration of my two actors that this could do with a bit of a longer run, but at least we had the chance to perform it to some very good audiences. The Old Red Lion has about 60 seats and on most nights we were getting close to a full house. Congratulations to the 2 winners of the audience vote: “Soul Destroying Finger Food” and “Feral”. There is the chance of a “wild card” entry for us into the final round, but as that won’t be decided by the venue management for another two weeks it’s best to put it out of my mind. For all that, still a bit disappointed not to get some kind of acknowledgement of the great job I feel all three of us did in a very short space of time, but in the words of Chinese Jean, it’s all “donkey shit”. Onto the next project!
18 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Well, I’m glad to get that out of the way. It was an amazing performance from the girls of course. All afternoon they diligently ran their lines in the pub downstairs and it really paid off. One woman at the bar asked me if we were doing a play as she couldn’t help overhearing a very heated conversation, only to twig a few minutes later that the two women she was observing were now repeating exactly the same words. Just got to do it all again now! The whole night was a big success, with the quality of the acting in all 6 plays really shining and a packed house willing us all on. Thanks to Carla, Ella, Henry and Nick for getting us this far.
16 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Here we go. Tomorrow is the big day. Dress rehearsal from 3pm. Unsuspecting members of the public due at 7.30. Thanks to the friendly gang at the Old Red Lion and a very undemanding set of technical specifications from a smart if unadventurous director I’ve got all my lighting and sound cues programmed in today. The computer did crash just the once, but we tried turning it off and on again and that seemed to work. Full steam ahead. There was a terrible moment this morning when I found that both my local tube stations were shut due to a “passenger incident” – how the **** was I going to get to Angel on time? Worked it out of course, cursing the poor soul who’d thrown himself onto the tube tracks. What a desperate and horrible way to go. I hope the staff at Finchley Road who witnessed it are ok.
15 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
One hour to get the lights pointing in the right direction and the birds twittering at the correct volume. One hour to see if the right kind of chairs are available and whether actors enter from stage left or right or wherever. One hour to get this play to work. No pressure.
13 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
There’s never enough bloody time in the theatre is there? So you have to make the most of what you’ve got. Luckily Lucy was able to cram in an extra session on Wednesday and we did a line run. Relieved that her lines were nearly there, with the inevitable couple of “sticking points”. Bit worried about the forgetting of the name of Jean’s daughter -in-law! Llewella joined us for rehearsal on Thursday night. Lucy in fine form as it was easier to have a proper actor to work against. Llewella got right into it this week. She’s one of those performers who can just switch on a fully-realised character, with some great pauses and reactions which cracked me up. With the tight 10 minute limit I just hope we’ve the time to mine the comic potential in some of the best lines. Also attempted to add in my precious sound effects but playing from an ipod speaker dock wasn’t really convenient – still, gave both actors a preview of what they have to listen out for in terms of slamming doors, alarms and music. Tech run in the Old Red Lion on Monday so we can iron out the niggles and experiment with the lights!
08 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
It’s only a short play, so not a heck of a lot of time to establish the setting. So, Lucy’s stage directions involve a few sound effects. Back in the day there were the legendary BBC Sound Effects records (later reissued on CD). Like this rather amazing disc (I’m tempted to order it just for the sleeve). However now we have something called the internet. And various mad people who stick a microphone out of their window (or press a button on their iPhone) and record literally every sound. Like twittering birds. Random sirens. Or the rain on their roof. These rather wonderful nutters then upload them onto sites like freesound.org leaving me to choose between a dozen versions of “hospital noises” for this play. I’ve now just mixed in these effects with some music clips (using Garageband) and I’ll be playing what I’ve found back to the cast on an iPod this week so we can incorporate them into the action. Modern technology eh?
06 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
If any of you lovely people want to come and see the play here’s a link for booking tickets in advance. We’re in Group 1 so running in the first week of the festival: http://bit.ly/rforltix
05 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Our first rehearsal together today was a challenge, but an enjoyable one. With two focused and generous actors the performances grew nicely during the three hour session. Lucy had produced a third draft of the script, Jean is now sounding even more fiery! We even had an audience with Llewella’s sister and son joining us. Apologies to them if the language was a bit “colourful”. We read through the new draft and then embarked on some extremely fruitful impro. Finally we experimented with a bit of blocking. There is a lot of pressure to make Enid quite dynamic, simply because Jean is essentially static in her chair for almost the whole play. But I mustn’t get carried away forcing poor Llewella to go marching around the stage on each line. Next week we’ll be off-book so we’ll be able to pin down the physical side of the play, but for now I’m extremely happy that the play is starting to sound right, with two distinctive voices taking Lucy’s excellent lines to another level.
04 Apr 2012 1 Comment
I am utterly bowled over by our casting of Enid, Jean’s nurse. Llewella Gideon, star of “The Real McCoy” and “Absolutely Fabulous” is joining the company. One of the UK’s most versatile performers Llewella has appeared recently in her own solo stage show “Little Big Woman” (also a successful Radio 4 sitcom) and “Family Man” at Theatre Royal Stratford East. I’m so grateful she’s able to be our Enid, bringing all her comic talents and natural warmth to this vital role.
04 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Working with a living writer has its advantages. And when said writer is also one of your actors then there’s an opportunity for interaction and negotiation that a director can really benefit from. Lucy’s performance of Jean is brittle and raw – even when listening to her read from the script sitting in my flat. The situation also means we are constantly working on the text, with me being (hopefully) a sensitive and honest editor. Thankfully Lucy’s disciplined approach meant that our second read through had a new and improved draft of the script. I read in for Enid again (!!) and the running time was down to about 11 minutes. We’re nearly there. And I have an announcement pending about an exciting addition to our cast…