24 March 2007

Now There's Posh

Chuffed and delighted am I to be able to tell you the casting news from The May Queen. Follow this link 'ere for the all the gen. Obviously I won't be blogging reports from the rehearsal room, it's all far too intimate a process, but I will tell you I'm jolly well bricking it in advance, a mix of the excitement of putting the play on its feet at long bloody last, trepidation of course about how it's going to go down, and a fair amount of giddiness from the sheer electricity of working in collaboration with such a theatre as the Everyman, and all the talented, dedicated and so on theatre nuts that comprise the team. One of whom is, quite unexpectedly, just asked him on the off chance but didn't think he'd have the time, a wonderful composer called Dan Jones, an old friend from university (or just after).

23 March 2007

We Made Our Excuses And Left

I must just tell you about this. I was with Spike at lunchtime, in the toy shop in Stoke Newington, and we caused the Eastern European lady behind the counter, and her one customer, also a young woman, some amusement by entering the shop in the midst of a lively debate about how many pounds we were going to spend. But that's not the funny thing. The funny thing was this. The young lady customer was, she said to the EE lady toyshopkeeper, after something for a three month old. And off they went perusing the staggering array of trinkets, baubles and objects furry and rattly, shiny and jiggly, beloved of the infant. Then just after me and Spike had settled on a pop-stick (a bit like a pop gun but we don't like guns so that's what we're calling it), and paid for the thing (£3, agreeable to all parties), we heard EE lady say to customer lady -
Ah! Now!
We have these vibrating rabbits!
Have you seen the vibrating rabbits?

And I catch customer's eye at the exact fraction of a second when we both think - did she just say what I think she said?

17 March 2007

Porridge Face

Who's That Girl? Anybody know? Actually we should draw a veil and spare her blushes. I hope she got the job, anyway.

This is just one small example of the wonderful work Harriet's been doing in the blottosphere for quite some time now. I met her once, quite by chance, and she's every bit as engaging as you'd expect. Love the misspelling of Almeida too, deliberate or otherwise...

16 March 2007

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About This

They didn't, and now I've hardly got enough time to get excited and sick with anticipation before it'll all be over.
I've got to get me some new (opera-going) friends.

13 March 2007

On me Jack Jones this week, B and the bairns lingering in Bristol where we had a get-together of her side of the family last weekend, in honour of Richard's 70th. Nice innings, well played, and I reckon he's on for the ton.

Tomorrow I head up to Liverpool for the press night of Michael McLean's new play The Electric Hills, looking forward to that very much. Michael's come out of the Everyman's young writers' programme, and has been on attachment there, and with it being his first press night type scenario I'm glad I'll be able to buy him a drink and say best of British. Got to stick together, haven't we.

Daring myself to watch Fire Walk With Me on my own late tonight. That film's ending frightened me so much when I saw it at the pictures, my bones are stained with it. All the promos for Inland Empire are reminding me of Lynch's genius, not least for the unsettling ease with which he switches a story from sublime horror to silly comedy, and back again.
I'll probably chicken out and watch the cricket*, I expect.

Just to give you the heads up (I've always wanted to say that) here's the line-up, and possibly the running order, for Miniaturists 6 at the Arcola on the 25th:

by Steve Waters
dir. Hamish Pirie

Mike's Wishes
by Benjamin Yeoh
dir. Hannah Eidinow

by Rachael McGill
dir. Merv Millar

Road Rage
by Dominic Leggett
dir. Hannah Eidinow

Catherine Medbh
by Declan Feenan
dir. Ciaran McQuillan.

Dec's play title rhymes with 'crave', he tells me. All of which reminds me yet again how shocking is my ignorance of Ireland and its culture. I'm supposed to be descended from there, and I don't know jack (or patrick).

* postscript: Well played, the Windies

08 March 2007

Auditioning this afternoon: priests, and villains of the piece. Every so often I catch a glimpse of this play I've written and think, How did that happen?

I had a reply to a request I sent to my Auntie T in New Zealand, I wanted some details about the Sharkey family's movements during the war. Absolutely fascinating. My long-held suspicion is confirmed - my Nan's house in Parbrook Close, Huyton, where I spent my first eighteen months or so (Mum and Dad moved in with his mum when they got married), had indeed been part of an internment/POW camp in the early years of the war. Hundreds of foreign nationals, including many Germans of Jewish origin, were rounded up when war broke out, and this half-finished housing estate in Huyton served as a camp - they just threw a barbed wire fence round it.


Later in the war ('43 or '44, my auntie isn't sure) the prisoners moved on, the estate was finished and my grandparents moved in with their children, including my 7 or 8 year old Dad. Their neighbours were hundreds of other people made homeless, like them, by the bombing.

05 March 2007

England Expectorates

So beleaguered was I by the flu Friday last that I missed baby boy's first birthday party, absolutely all of it, unless you count bumping into one of the guests outside the loo. Oh and Dad-in-law the ex-GP came to check that I didn't have meningitis. He did this by running the blinds up, saying "does it hurt when you look at the light?" and on my reply of No he was satisfied I didn't need rushing to hospital.
But of course half the country is stricken with one thing or another just now. Impossible to get any sympathy!

Glad to say I spent some him-and-me time with Bernard this morning. He took me for a coffee at the Arcola and as usual he made a bee-line for the big glass doors, he loves to stand there looking out watching passersby and leaving mucky little handprints on the glass. Being at the Arcola of course I couldn't but be reminded that the next Miniaturists show is less than three weeks away now, Sunday the 25th. Have a look at our website for the lowdown on that. The plays are coming in thick and fast and they'll be a terrific watch, I dare promise.

Gatecrashed Serdar's meeting this afternoon with Adam Cross, Liverpudlian studying at RADA who will be assisting him on The May Queen. Very exciting talking about the whole business of production, design, research, all that. I pinch myself, as usual.

Your very good health.

01 March 2007

I've been shy about blogging what I'm working on. I do want to tell you, not that you're waiting with bated breath or anything, but I get excited and want to tell as many people as possible. Of course if I start writing here about other people's plans, the people I'm working with, that'd be unfair on them and I'd get a bollocking from my agent quicker than you could say Robinson Crusoe. But I'll venture to say I'm writing a version of Birds by Aristophanes, and planning an adaptation of A Christmas Carol for a production at Yuletide. I've also got a commission in the pipeline for a play to be written before the end of the year, about one of my heroes, the astronomer Johannes Kepler (and his mum). So the plate is nice and full and it's time to start tucking in...

Also meanwhile this sort of thing is going on, which is frankly hard to believe.

Talking of Robinson Crusoe, the rehabilitation of Virginia Woolf continues... I read her short essay on Defoe's novel and it praises with perfect clarity his genius for descriptive prose, for fixing the ordinary in language so as to make us see it, to the effect that his larger drama - a man, alone, for twenty-odd years, away from the world of people and things - is for all its extraordinariness utterly real to us:

...by reiterating that nothing but a plain earthenware pot stands in the foreground, [Defoe] persuades us to see remote islands and the solitudes of the human soul. By believing fixedly in the solidity of the pot and its earthiness, he has subdued every other element to his design; he has roped the whole universe into harmony. And is there any reason, we ask as we shut the book, why the perspective that a plain earthenware pot exacts should not satisfy us as completely, once we grasp it, as man himself in all his sublimity against a background of broken mountains and tumbling oceans with stars flaming in the sky?

There's a nice thrum of activity in the ****osphere just now. Besides the incredibly interesting post by David E on the state of the political left (inspired by Nick Cohen's new book), I've been delighted, amused and inspired by old friends like Ova Girl, Richard Herring, pm and Harriet (In The Aquarium), and people I've caught up with relatively recently, like James Martin Charlton, Ben Ellis, Lance Woodman, Emma Rosoman (Now, how did that happen), Phil Porter, Natasha Tripney (Interval Drinks), Morgan Rachel Sproxton (Are Words Enough?), and City Slicker.
To everyone on my blogroll, happy March, pinch punch!