29 April 2006

Oy, Lady! Get Off My Set!




Went along to a meeting on the Belfast to plot our summer extravaganza, the culminating event in the Home Front Recall drama project. The Southwark Playhouse team (me, Ellen, Amy and Tom) had a decision to make - whereabouts on the ship would we stage our play? In the end, the decision was made for us by a combination of limiting circumstances. We're very happy with the upshot, though - the children will perform with the extraordinary backdrop you see in the picture (minus the toothy lady). So that will be the audience's pov (again, sans the grinsome one). Result. We're all particularly determined to make the show a memorable occasion, as one of our two classes has suffered a terrible setback - their school building was badly ravaged by fire during the Easter break. They're currently convening in Portakabins in the school grounds, while the authorities try to salvage the building and what's left of the contents.

Heard yesterday that the piece I wrote for the 'Angry' evening at the Royal Court wasn't one of those chosen for a staged reading. Ah well. I'm disappointed - how often do I get the chance to see something of mine on the main stage of a place like the Court? - but there we are. Mustn't grumble. 12 of the 50 will see their pieces on the evening of the 12th of May, and I shall be roaring them on from the stalls. If I'm tempted to mope I just need remember that this kind of knockback comes with the territory. Also that I've actually been having a fair wind of late. There's the Night-Light show opening next week, and I've had the very good fortune to be asked to write a short monologue for the Liverpool Everyman, one of six programmed for Saturday May 27th, as part of the Everyword Festival. The evening has a sporting theme, and I'm going to write about the only sport I play myself to any sort of standard. I'll give you a clue: it happens also to be the only sport whose world championships are held in a British regional theatre.

Did the Southwark bar this week and watched the first half of Summer Begins for the second time. Marvellous stuff. Renewed my admiration in particular for the decorating scene, in which Shaun Dooley's Dave deftly makes a stencil with card and Stanley knife, then uses it artfully to paint a pattern on some window shutters. Dad would've enjoyed that - but perhaps not the accompanying dialogue with Lee (Toby Alexander), which is as lewd and rude as they come.
Anyway it reminded me of last year's Kingfisher Blue at the Bush, where in Paul Miller's lovely production there was some equally impressive real-time onstage plumbing - from Toby Alexander's character this time. Paul Moriarty was in that, and he's also in David Eldridge's upcoming Market Boy, and I served him a drink on Wednesday night at Southwark. Which is all pleasingly joined-up, I think.

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