26 July 2008

Liverpool (part one)

Coming to the end of one of the most interesting weeks. I arrived in Liverpool last Sunday and have barely had a moment to stop and think. But here we are on Saturday lunchtime, and I am ensconced in a corner of the FACT cafe with its delicious coffee and free wifi. Here´s a rundown of the week, in instalments. Sunday I was kindly hosted by Suzanne Bell, Everyman´s literary manager and Everyword Festival supremo. First thing Monday I met Flavia at the theatre, Miniaturists producer, and we embarked on an all day technical rehearsal in the space, with hour-long slots for the five plays (see my last entry, below). This went so unusually smoothly that by 6pm Flavia and I were nicely perplexed. But the credit goes to Suzanne and her assistant Lindsay, who worked with us last year and had briefed everyone exceptionally well. I did some props buying in the afternoon and found myself at the Tesco´s checkout with the following in my basket, Take A Break magazine, a packet of ginger nuts and 20 Richmond Superkings. Hey ho. So at 6.40 I was outside the Everyman on my phone, chatting to B about how it was going, wondering aloud about where I might grab a bite before going down to the Playhouse to see Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi. And B says, ´So what time´s your radio interview, have you done it already?´ Ah. I get her to log into my email, check the message from Radio Merseyside, eleven days previous, long enough ago for me to have clean forgot. ´Um, says you´re to arrive at 6.40 to go on air at 6.45...´
6.41 Cab.
6.42 Cab driver taking the mick out of me for poor time management.
6.43 Cab driver calling me a lucky so and so, every light is green.
6.44 Cab driver chuckling at my disappearing hide.
6.45 Reception.
6.46 Calming down, drinking water.
6.47 Remembering sitting in same chair pre-interview last year, May Queen production week.
6.48 Into studio, chat with presenter Lucinda while record plays.
6.49 A little more chat about what we are going to chat about. The slot is an ongoing series of interviews with fifty of Liverpool culture´s ´movers and shakers´. I am flattered and not a little disbelieving, but I am of course very happy to talk for ten minutes about my playwriting. Determinedly shutting out the vertiginous idea that there might be thousands of people listening.
6.50 Lucinda (sitting in for Claire Hamilton) asks me to tell the listeners what got me started as a writer, and off I go.
6.59 What seems like two minutes in, Lucinda uses the immortal ´Í´m afraid that´s all we´ve got time for´.
7.00 Off air, I thank Lucinda for making the whole thing easy.
7.01 I´m back on the street, and on the phone to B. What the hell just happened??

14 July 2008

The Miniaturists are gearing up for a couple of away games. One is at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, this very weekend. We were kindly invited by Arcola to represent them there, and we are delighted to do so. We´re taking three of our best:

Time Spent On Trains
by Elizabeth Kuti

Death Of The Small Independent Retailer
by Glyn Cannon

Match Play
by Frederic Blanchette, translated by Christopher Campbell.

Hannah Eidinow is directing all three.

The other is in Liverpool the following Tuesday. For that I am resurrecting Hell and High Water, the one I wrote for the first show way back when. Serdar Bilis directing. The other four:

Liar, Liar
by Judith Johnson, dir. Gemma Kerr

Bark
by Kellie Smith, dir. Elli Johnson

The Circulatory System
by Laurence Wilson, dir. Matt Wilde

The Ducks
by Michael McLean, dir. Adam Cross.


So that´s all very engaging. I have a further two pieces on at the Everyman that week, all part of the extraordinarily jam-packed two week festival of theatre and writing that is Everyword. Kicking off tomorrow, in fact. On the second Friday is the BBC Docks Project event, and my play Trucking Sugar will be one of nine given an airing. Three Ev writers (me and Kellie Smith and Jonathan Larkin) plus three each under the banner of Live Theatre, Newcastle, and Paines Plough representing the capital. On Saturday I´m on a bill of plays loosely interested in / inspired by the question, What Does Europe Mean To Me? My thing´s called You Can Be With Me.

And did I mention I´m writing a Hansel and Gretel? First draft deadline fast approaching... Bye for now.