Madness is...having to learn two plays at once
Posted Jun 26, 2006
I've got a part in the next play, which is a sort of comedy/drama set on a wedding day - bride's dress won't fit, best man is chasing the chief bridesmaid, parents are arguing etc. It's written and directed by a member of our group. She's written four others for the group in previous years, and has had one of them published.
I'm playing the bride . We had our first rehearsal on Monday, and it was very weird as I was still in Twelfth Night mode. How odd suddenly to be speaking contemporary English...! It was fun though, and we managed to roughly block the entire first half (not one for hanging around, this director ). We have this week off as several people are on holiday, so I'll be able to get into it before rehearsals start again.
We have to learn our lines by about three and a half weeks' time - which could be interesting as I also have to learn lines for a play we're doing down in Somerset in the middle of August. It's 'Rope' - famously made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, and I'm playing the old lady housekeeper (the director of this one seems to see me as an old lady quite a lot - I played Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest' last time.) DannyB is playing the (also old ) schoolteacher.
So it suddenly dawned on me the other day that I have to learn two plays at once over the coming month...gulp. DannyB swears he reminded me of that fact before, but I'm sure he must be lying...or I wasn't listening...hmmm, which could it be, I wonder...
Posted May 24, 2006
So, with exactly three weeks to go until the first night of 'Twelfth Night', I thought I'd start a journal on it. Won't be as in-depth as my Half a Sixpence one, as DannyB is directing and lurks round my pages to keep an eye on me, so I can't say anything rude about him .
It's going very well, and I'm loving playing Viola - it's only taken about 17 years for my ambition to play her to be realised! (Yes, at 33 I'm a bit old for the part but I don't look old...honest). It sounds really poncy and actor-like, but I love speaking Shakespeare's words - they're easy to learn as they're almost like singing, and they sound so fantastic. She's a great character too, and I find I'm bringing quite a lot of myself into her.
We're currently scouting around charity shops and the local drama wardrobe for costumes, as believe it or not, only one of the cast actually possesses the one element of costume that everyone needs and we thought would be the easiest one to sort out...a black suit.
Apart from that, we have this weeks' rehearsals in the theatre - the only ones we'll have there until the tech/dress rehearsals. It's very useful as we're finally getting a feel for how it all works in terms of positioning onstage. Although for some reason (and this happens every time) whenever I go into the theatre my sense of left and right disappears and I completely forget all my entrances and exits! I think I managed to get ONE right on Monday night. Sigh.
I was on TV the other day!
Posted Jan 9, 2006
On Friday I made a very brief appearance in the BBC2 drama 'Beyond Narnia', about CS Lewis. I played the sister of his friend who was killed in the war. It was literally a ten-second bit at the back of a shot, moaning at the woman playing my mother, but I found it very exciting and my name was even in the Radio Times - how's that for stardom!
Half a Sixpence rehearsal diary
Posted Jan 4, 2006
In a blatant and unrepentant copy of David P and Pimms' journals about their exploits in amateur dramatics, I'm starting up this journal entry on the latest show I'm doing with my local group: 'Half a Sixpence'. I don't know if it'll interest anyone, but if nothing else it'll allow me to grumble and moan about how badly they cast it (ie not giving me a main part ), how no-one knows their lines, how people don't turn up for rehearsals etc. Hopefully it'll also contain something about having fun and enjoying myself!
Half a Sixpence is based on H.G. Wells's novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul. It's one of those cheeky chappie, cockney (though we've been told it's more 'estuary English' than cockney) English musicals, with a rather thin storyline but some rolicking chorus numbers and some nice solos and duets. It was made into a film in 1967 starring Tommy Steele (scarily cheerful and now quite old rock and roll idol and musical theatre star) and Julia Foster (known to English people as the woman off the insurance commercial with Michael Winner ('Calm down dear, it's only a commercial!) and strangely enough Castaway and Animal Park presenter Ben Fogle's mother).
We've only been rehearsing for a few weeks, but as there's loads of chorus dancing and singing, rehearsals are moving along quite swiftly - much more than they did for the Mikado, our last show, where there wasn't as much for the chorus to do.
Last night we set 'Crash, Bang, Wallop' - the big chorus number and the one everyone knows (cor blimey, crash bang wallop, what a picture!). I was rather p***ed off at the beginning as I was stuck at the back on a balcony not doing any dancing at all, and I started to get paranoid about how bad my dance audition had been. Dancing is not my strong point - acting is, then singing - but I didn't think I'd done that badly. But then I was brought down onto the stage and given a little ten second bit in one of the verses, just a dumb-show thing, so I was a bit happier. I'm still concerned about how much they'll let me dance in the rest of the numbers though. I really enjoy the dancing; I don't pick it up very quickly but I practice and once I get it I'm fine.
Anyway, it seemed to go alright but there are an awful lot of people on that stage...
Then we sang through another number which is tricky for the sopranos as it's supposed to be sung by just the men, so the sopranos have to sing an octave down. Of course, half of us remembered to drop an octave but then couldn't remember the harmonies (I was in this half) and half forgot and were screeching away doing the top notes. In the last bit, everyone reverted to the tune so I gave up and joined in. There is some very hard, high stuff for the sopranos in this musical - more so than in the Mikado, which surprised me. I'm not a high soprano, I'm naturally a mezzo, so find my voice gives up on me if I have to sing lots of top Gs and As again and again, without being able to push it out.
Anyway, that's enough blathering on for the moment. I've got another rehearsal tonight, but that's for a concert we're doing in three weeks. I volunteered for it before Christmas and wish I hadn't now, as I could really do with some nights in.
My poem won the Christmas competition!
Posted Jan 6, 2005
I saw an unfamiliar page on my Entries list today and checked it out to find I'd won the Christmas Poetry competition!
I'm very chuffed - to anyone who voted for my poem. The inspirations for the poem, my two cats, had a lovely time playing with ribbons and sitting on the wrapping paper as I was trying to wrap presents this year. Fortunately though, they didn't take much notice of the tree this time. I think they've come to the conclusion that I'm completely mad and every now and again I do something like this...