The reading on Sunday afternoon was perfect for the purpose. I got ten class actors to read The May Queen superbly well, after just one day's rehearsal (or none, in Cordelia Raynor's case, bless her cotton socks). There were to have been some sound effects - explosions mostly - but Peter the sound guy couldn't make it because of that explosion, in Hertfordshire. Anyhoo, the thirteen scenes came across clear as a bell, so that I could easily see the flaws in each. Only one needs proper rethinking, I thought, and there was a consensus to that effect among the writer and director pals who heard it.
All this was made possible by the generous - perhaps overly so - loan of the space to me and Ellen by Southwark, under the umbrella of their Sunday Sessions programme. The same slot was filled by the Miniaturists a month ago, you may recall, except we moved that one to the evening to allow rehearsal time in the theatre during the day. So it's with a sigh I must report the suspension of the SS's, effective in the New Year. The Playhouse is entering uncertain territory, as its lease nears expiry. The theatre is still open for business until the summer at least, but the post of artistic director will remain vacant after Gareth Machin leaves at the end of the year. And with a reduced staff, the Sundays are suddenly too much. It's a bind for me - I really wanted to have the Miniaturists on regularly at the SP. But it's so much more of a bugger for Tom and Juliet and everyone, to have the place under this cloud. With luck, it'll all be sorted out soon, and the ship can sail on unencumbered.
Meantime, the Minis were such a success, so enjoyable, and so valuable an exercise, I can't let them lapse. So I'm beginning the search for a new venue for them, at least until the SP can have us back. Suggestions and ideas (and offers!) very welcome.
Other blips. I'm becoming suspicious that my email account is well dodgy. I'm with graffiti.net, after years of hotmailing. But I've heard from friends that the odd message they've sent has bounced back, or that they've sent things I haven't received, and vice versa. Who's the most reliable of the free mail people, people?
This isn't a blip - apart from the disc getting stuck once too often - we watched Sideways last night. Such a hoot. And beautifully played, and shot. We had to google Virginia Madsen because we knew we knew her really well from somewhere. Turns out she'd played Frasier's girlfriend Cassandra.
Belated big up to Nell, by the way - while I was in Trieste she won that Evening Standard Award she was up for. Hurrah! Couldn't have happened to a nicer lady.