Friday, June 30, 2006

Less Genocide, More Comedy Servants

We are nothing without our sense of humor, as Kate proved today when she uttered those words. Over and over again I am constantly amazed at how damn GOOD some of these actors are. The fact that someone can pull a backstory, intention, motivation and action out of literally three lines of dialogue is incredible. And also proves to me that I clearly don't have to work as hard, since actors can do anything with nothing. The scene we rehearsed today involved a young priest serving an older priest tea, and the two actors worked it out that tea was a constant source of irritation to both of them, since the young priest always forgot the cake, and the old priest thought the tea was always too strong, and spinning it out into a grinner of a bit. Of course, being The Representative, the scene quickly moved into more serious territory, but the mere FACT that a conversation could take place around the serving of the tea...but then again, I may just be showing my inexperience. Clearly they've all had more training than me...but watch out, I'm paying VERY close attention.

I am very organised today. Spent an hour on the phone getting the schedule for next week arranged, just in time for it to be changed (aaargh), called up all the kiddies for their first rehearsal, updated the props list, sat on book in the afternoon to feed lines to the actors, sent out a rehearsal report, and now I'm on my way to pull props. Love it. LOVE IT. I can't think of any better way to spend a Friday night. Except maybe, SLEEPING. And tomorrow we're starting early so we can end early because the footy is on. I won't be watching however--at SOME POINT I've got to work on this brilliant Tony-Award winning play of mine.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Never could get the hang of Thursdays

Today one of the actors was accidentally not called for an afternoon rehearsal, so I had to telephone him and ask him if he wasn't busy if he could quickly come. Luckily he was available, and the rehearsal went really well, but I was furious with myself for such a stupid mistake. I felt like Dobby after he let it slip that Malfoy was a bad master. Kate said to me, "in your defence, he was there when we changed the schedule..." but I still felt really dumb. Grrr. Feeling more confident, but also more uptight about things not going wrong on my watch.

Today on the way home I was nauseous with homesickness. Something about the sun on the trees set me off and I nearly sobbed into the train window. One of my friends laughed at me when I said that I hadn't seen my family since Christmas. "Neither have I!" she said, but then I reminded her that she could get to them in an hour if need be. One of my classmates has gone home to Chicago and I am ferocious with jealousy. Lucky she didn't tell me before she left or I might have been forced to kill her and assume her identity. I was talking to my tutor yesterday about what I'm going to do with Tha Future, and I was telling him how I miss the states and how I want to go home but...oh, but there's always a but isn't there...but I know that I would miss the museums and the city life. The history. He said, "well, you don't have to go tomorrow. See what happens." I could stay in London for a while. But the thought of commuting an hour each way on a crowded train for the rest of my life makes me want to pull my hair out. (haven't quite lost my love for the Underground...but I'm getting there...) This Sunday I'm going to go see a movie, do something fun with friends. I have spent too much time on my own, or watching people talking about the Holocaust. I think I'm just tired.

Then again, I might have been nauseous because I had a pie on the train home.

Shepard's pie.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

again with the personal hygeine!

This morning I saw a woman plucking her eyebrows on an incredibly crowded, moving train. I kept waiting for her to stick herself in the eyball with her tweezers every time we rounded a bend. Alas, she took the turns gracefully. I'm grateful that the train was as crowded as it was, or I've no doubt she would have been attemping to put on panty hose or something. honestly.

again with the personal hygeine!

This morning I saw a woman plucking her eyebrows on an incredibly crowded, moving train. I kept waiting for her to stick herself in the eyball with her tweezers every time we rounded a bend. Alas, she took the turns gracefully. I'm grateful that the train was as crowded as it was, or I've no doubt she would have been attemping to put on panty hose or something. honestly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

more bad poetry

Rehearsal today went really well. We spent all afternoon in Auschwitz debating theological ideas, which was very intense. Even without costumes or lights or even being off book, the power of the play is starting to come through. And the rehearsal was uneventful, which means I'm going to take advantage of this lull to inflict some more bad poetry on you. This is something I scribbled in my journal last night, but it really should be read aloud. Flee now if you like.

"No more actors.
4 wheeled bicycle.
Belly rub.
Sweet Warm Rain.
Clutching at bendy straws.
Veiled black cloche hat.
Eyes cheerfully dampened.
A Wide Variety of colours.
Tobacco and wool.
Partly disappointed.

Monday, June 26, 2006

and how was your Monday?!

"If your house is on fire, you concentrate on putting it out. You don't run around blaming your neighbors." --This is from the show we're working on. It applies to the response to the Holocaust: don't point fingers, just fix it and we'll deal with the cause later. I was thinking about it on my way home today because we had a bumpy rehearsal today. Well. Rehearsal went really well, but at five we had photocall, so we had to get the costumes from Southwark to Earl's Court, which is about 45 minutes to an hour via tube and 20-30 minutes via car. Not a big deal, really, only no one had a car. When the director found out that transport had not been arranged, and that I had sent an email to the cast asking if anyone had a car, she got very upset in a very short amount of time. I can understand if she felt we weren't being "professional" by asking actors to help out, but with a company this small, I thought people would understand. My theory is "all hands on deck" but I forget that in the real world, everyone has their own job to do. I ended up going to Southwark to help the costume designer bring things over to the theatre, and we got a cab since it was raining and there were a LOT of clothes. Well, when you're dressing a pope and a cardinal, you can't just have any old suit. The pope's cloak is a GORGEOUS hunk of white satin, but it was busily being finished--they didn't get a chance to put the collar one because the designer and I were literally pulling it out of their hands to get to the photocall on time. On the way over in the cab I was calling the producer to find out how to turn on the lighting board, and the photographer to make sure that he wouldn't get there before we did. Then when I did manage to turn the board on, I promptly overloaded a circuit and popped a breaker--and no one could figure out how to turn it back on. Luckily Kate had a friend in her cell phone who directed me to the breaker box and we managed to get in a good half hour of photo time, with the actors improvising scenes.

So it was really confused and stressful--more than once I had to summon up my favourite scene from "Shakespeare in Love"--but the important part was the rehearsal went off without a hitch, and the costume designer got to see some of the costumes on the actors and take a few notes. (ps: is it wrong to find an actor dressed as a priest incredibly hot?!) I tend to thrive on a little caos, becoming very focussed on one task and entirely goal oriented, because if I take on the responsibility, then it's no ones fault but mine if things go haywire. In retrospect, I don't think any one person was to blame for the jumble of today. I probably wasn't needed to go pick up costumes, but I thought up until i got there I would be helping to carry them on the Underground. I sort of feel now Admiral Nelson spotting the French in the Mediterranean, getting all men to action stations and ready to engage and then suddenly becoming becalmed. Now that it's all over, I'm left wondering what went wrong, and realising nothing did. It's just live theatre.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Scene: An Underground Station

(A woman with a babystroller is standing next to a man in a yellow shirt and a Green Bay Packers hat.)

Nicki: (poking the man in the hat) Excuse me. (she gestures to hat) Are you from Green Bay?
Man: (looking confused) No.
Nicki: Oh. I'm from Green Bay. (helpfully) Wisconsin.
Man: Oh.

(behind them, a train begins to pull into the station. The woman smiles encouragingly.)

Nicki: Where are you from?
Man: Germany.
Nicki: Oh!
Man: I just like the Green Bay Packers.

(the train opens its doors)

Nicki: Well...go Pack!
Man: Go Pack go!

(they get on different carriages. The train pulls out of the station. The end.)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

war, war, what is it good for?

Well, for one thing it makes for a hell of a museum. Kate, in a spirit of generosity matched only perhaps by Lord Hamilton, gave me the day off today, so I suddenly found myself in the middle of central London with a travelcard and nothing much to do. I decided to take advantage and go see the Imperial War Museum, which is south of the river. I got there about one o'clock and was heartily welcomed by a Glaswegian named John who found out that I was there for the WWII and Holocaust exhibits and who told me, in the course of about five minutes, that Hugo Boss once designed Hitler's uniforms, Siemens supplied some of the chemicals used in the camps, the Nazis used IBM computers and if I went down to case no. 42 I could see a portrait of der Fuhrer painted with blond hair and blue eyes. I managed to extricate myself from the conversation about fifteen minutes later, only after John had told me the best way to visit Scotland, and that his sister and mother were going to see Pavarotti in concert a few weeks from now.

(Interesting note: When I got down to case 42, and was able to examine the aforementioned portrait in all it's history-defying glory, I was joined by a pair of Germans who had apparently not been warned about the sudden bleach job. Nor were they aware I could speak German and was listening with a half-grin on my face while they made disparaging remarks about der Fuhrer's attempt to live up to his own standards. At least I think that's what they said. Been awhile since Frau Smith's 4th year German class...)

The last time I was at the Imperial War Museum I hadn't planned on going either, I just kind of wandered in there with Andy Claude and proceeded to have a thoroughly horrifyingly educational time. This time I skipped "The Trench Experience" and "The Blitz Experience" and headed for the Holocaust exhibit. The exhibit is really thoughtful and thorough, starting after WWI and setting up the backstory for the Holocaust before hitting you with the reality of Auschwitz and the effects afterward. Throughout there are testimonials from people who lived through the experience, so as you are looking at photos and artefacts, these ghostly voices are following you, telling you about the ghettos, about being herded onto trains. I found it interesting to see how a British museum dealt with the delicate task of telling people about this time, without mentioning their own policy of turning away Jewish refugees or the appeasement that lead to WWII. Then again, I am working on a play that deals with this very issue, so I may be a little biased right now.

It took me about two and a half hours to get through the exhibit, and about halfway through I became aware of an excruciating pain in my left foot. It feels like there's an iron spike sticking into the heel of my foot and everytime I take a step it digs in a little deeper. I'm going to try and get a doctor's appointment but I'd have to leave rehearsal early, so it might have to wait until the show opens. Afterward I made a beeline for the cafe, which is nice, but the scones were a little hard. I was sitting next to a group of middle-aged Americans who were nattering on about the tanks. (Lest you think I eavesdrop on the entire world, they were nattering VERY LOUDLY in an obsequious manner) They were trying to figure out what to do next, and finally decided to go up and see the Holocaust exhibit. One of the women thought it very funny that "oh, look, they have Auschwitz in their Holocaust exhibit!" and I had to forcibly restrain myself from hitting them over the head and saying "Do. You. Not. Realise?" But I didn't have to--the photos upstairs would do it for me.

As I walked (limped) back to the bus stop to come home, I found myself being incredibly cheerful. Maybe it was the reproduction I had seen in the giftshop: "A Pamphlet for American GIs Stationed in Britain" that included helpful advice like "Do not think because they are English they are Panty-waists." Or maybe it was the fact that it is a gorgeous day. No--it must be because that in pure defiance of the fact that War and Genocide exist in this world, the sun still manages to shine in a pearl-blue sky, and people like John still manage to be cheerfully upbeat when pointing out instruments of war.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Somebody make me a t-shirt...

...that says "Playwrights Kill Their Babies" because I've heard that about a dozen times in the last week.

I KNOW we kill our babies.

That doesn't mean we enjoy it.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

shhh...I'm watching the footy

So the entire world has been wrapped up in the World Cup, which is football over here, and soccer to the Americans. By "wrapped up" I mean "obsessed in the most compulsive, preoccupied way possible." The football fans (all of 'em, not just the England fans) get so worked up that they have an unfortunate tendency to be violent. Last week a couple people were stabbed in Germany for wearing the wrong football kit. But as a world class traveller, I am keen to experience all parts of a culture, minus the stabby bits, so tonight I watched the England-Sweeden game. Well, I watched the second half. And I asked questions the entire time. And pointed out how hot both teams were. Had some tea.
Football is different from football not just because you can't touch the ball with your hands. The clock runs for 45 minutes without stopping. There were replays, but no endless discussion of strategy, no lists of statistics, and color commentating--only an occasional name from the announcer, since it was kinda hard to see who had the ball. Most of the game is in longshot because, unlike football, in football the players are actually moving around doing something. It was fun to watch. Next time I'm going to experience footy in it's native environment: the pub. England tied, 2-2, prompting the commentator to mention the only "colour" of the night--the fact England hasn't beaten Sweeden in 38 years. After the game was over the players exchanged handshakes and sweaty football jerseys, much to the delight of the female fans watching.

ps: Joy is discovering "CSI: Miami" is showing on TV. Despair is when they're showing an episode you've seen already. aaaargh...

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I just realised now--at six PM, too late to do anything about it--that today is Waterloo Day, a major holiday that no one cares about or remembers. Except for me! but I'm too tired to do anything about it. Waterloo, for all you Americans, was the sad, sad day that the proud Napoleon Bonaparte was taken down by the combined Anglo-Prussian forces as he attempted to spread his message of revolution and democracy. Granted, he did this by crowning himself emperor, but much of the legal doctrine he wrote when he first came to power (the "Code Napoleon") is the basis for the governments of Europe today.

Napoleon: Genius

He also was responsible for the Lousiana purchase, because he wanted to get that land off his hands so he could concentrate on conquering Europe. Basically without him, we wouldn't have the middle third of America. All the more reason to love the French.

The Allied forces were led at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington, who is so English, so devoted to his monarch and country that it hurts. That and he died in bed with all his limbs. Ffft. Supposedly a humble soldier-made-good, after the war Wellington spent a lot of his time in Paris picking up Napoleon trophies, including, I might add, an 11 foot tall statue of Napoleon as the Roman god of war wearing nothing but a fig leaf. (!!!) As well as paintings, china, furniture and a couple of mistresses. This collection of Napoleana is at Apsley House, Hyde Park, where Wellington lived, and which is open to the public for FREE on Waterloo Day...which I completely forgot about until about fifteen minutes ago. Damnit!!! I have very little patience with Wellington, since he spent most of his time being popular and polishing his trophies, but I would really like to see this collection of Napoleon-era stuff. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and pay the £5 entry fee.

Wellington: Wanker

I've spent the day lying around and resting my legs. Seems that commuting with a backpack full of scripts, props and books is not good for the knees and they have been very sore lately. The solution, of course, is more exercise, but today--my only day off this week--I am spending wrapped up around a good book waiting for it to be late enough so I can call home...

...and wish Dad a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!

Which I remembered because it is vastly more important than some 18th century battle.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lynx!!! yeah!!!

This blog could rapidly turn into "stories from the rehearsal room" so instead I give you a tale of commuting.

On the bus home yesterday, two boys about 12 got on, loudly. They were the swaggering, harmless yet annoying kids who are going to grow up to be the swaggering, annoying guys who wink at you and go "you all right?" in about six years. If they were birds, they'd be peacocks. Anyway, they got on, very excited because apparently they had just purchased a can each of Lynx, which is a horrible-smelling body spray that is marketed to these kind of men with the false promise that one spray makes the user irresistible to women. I know this is false, because they were loudly comparing the scents (which were, I believe "horrible" and "worse than horrible") and then spraying them in the air so they could compare them. Yet I managed to control my animal urges. The lad sitting next to me, bless him, was so excited about how this one product--one spray even!--could up his coolness quotient that he actually applied it to his underarms on the bus, having to hike up several layers of Nike apparel in the process. Luckily they rolled off the bus a few stops later (walking six blocks would have gotten their white Nikes dirty), or else I might have been forced to turn to them and say, "You know, that stuff doesn't actually work. It's all an act. Just marketing. There are people sitting in rooms who are paid to make people like you think that this is the greatest product in the world and that you will die a horrible embarassing death if you don't purchase this product and use it in vast quantities. And you know what? YOU BOUGHT THE AD. SUCKER." Then, just as his soul is on the verge of shriveling into nothing I would say, "You know what's really sexy to a girl? Someone who doesn't feel the need to peform acts of hygeine on themselves on a bus."

honestly. This is my life.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

zer play

Working with professionals is a whole different ballgame from school. I know that sounds kind of obvious, but it's worth stating. Take scheduling, for example. At school it's easy: you are here to do theatre, you do it all the time. But the company here has a dozen different projects going on at once--this one needs to leave early for a matinee, that one is flying off to Finland for a couple days. So far I've been doing a lot of observing and learning where I fit in.

The play is called "The Representative" by Rolf Hochhuth. It was written, in German, in verse, in 1962, and it's original running length was seven hours. The version we're doing has been lovingly cut down to three, but there's still about twenty characters between actors. The play is about, basically, the Pope's refusal to condemn Hitler's actions during WWII. The main action of the play is about the priests trying to convince the Pope to do one thing or another, but there are also smaller stories woven in, such as a Jewish family being arrested in Rome, and a Jewish man hiding in Berlin. The play ends with a priest being sent to Auschwitz and having to question his faith as he is put to work in the crematorium. Some of the characters, such as the pope, cardinals, priests, SS officers, are based on real people, which has led to some interesting casting. For example, when the actor playing, basically, Dr. Mengel (the "Angel of Death" at Auschwitz) walked in the other day, I could tell instantly who he was playing because he has a very "character" face--chisled, with dark hair and deepset eyes. It wasn't until later that we learned he's actually Jewish--and he doubles as a priest later in the play.

The past couple days have been spent with the actors doing "table work" talking about their characters, events, etc. Not much for me to do. As I cheerfully pointed out during a break, for we Americans, WWII started in 1941. It's interesting to see the gamut of actors we have working on this project: one guy graduated from drama school a week ago, another introduced himself as "having worked with Richard Burton at the RSC." So the range of experience is vastly different. The designers as well are all extremely talented and organised. Even though the space is only about fifteen feet by twenty, the scenic designer had a 40 minute presentation about his set and the motivation behind his four arches, the lighting designer actually made a Power Point presentation to show his influences, and the costume designer is planning on building, among other things, five sets of SS uniforms, cardinal's robes, a papal robe, and a Swiss Guard uniform. It's been an eye-opening experience.

My main contribution has been setting up in the morning, making tea and calling people back from breaks. (now there's a peeve--I can never tell if a director is happy I'm keeping them on time or if they just want to have a few more minutes.) We start blocking on Friday, and from then on I'll be taking notes and preparing the SM book, but tomorrow is going to be more the same. So far so good, but I hope that I'm proving capable of handling a "professional production."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

if then

if you genuinely like someone and tell them, only to have them politely rebuff you, then they go off with someone who has been flirting with you all year, then are you supposed to feel jealous, even if you have no reason to?

The first day of the SM job went well. Pretty easy: mostly watching actors talk character and drinking coffee. Blocking starts Friday; I have to get a props list together. It's good to be back in production. More tomorrow.

I'm just feeling a little disconnected tonight.

Monday, June 12, 2006

happy little day, nicki went away

I'm starting my new job on Wed, and I have class tomorrow, so I decided to take my "last" day of "freedom" and bunk off to Brighton for a day of sun, sand, salt and seafood. Brighton was one of the first towns connected to London by rail and was a very fashionable spot, helped in some part by the Prince Regent (later George IV) building the Royal Pavilion there, a pleasure-palace where he held parties.

I got there just in time to enjoy the height of the sun, of course. The beach, I was surprised to find, is stones, not sand. And I didn't have my flipflops, so getting in and out the water was a challenge. This was compounded by the fact that the tide was going out and the water was just above freezing. I would put it roughly on par with Lake Superior. All told, I spent about fifteen minutes in the water. After a bake on the beach I strolled on down toward Brighton Pier, which was built in 1899--and today has an arcade and FOOD. My God, is there a lot of food. I quickly realised this was not going to be a trip where I learned the historical elements of a town, admired antique architecture and read about local notables, no this was going to be one of those days where I ate my way through the local delicacies. With this in mind I had the biggest, greasiest pile of fish and chips you can imagine. This has nothing in common with the Friday night fish fry. Fish and chips, when done proper, is served in this paper cone and you have to sort of pick it apart with this little wooden fork, before the grease sops through the paper. Ooooh, so good. After that I decided a stroll was in order (and I should probably get out of the sun) so I headed over to the Royal Pavilion, of the aforementioned Prince Regent.

It was built in the early 1800s, which is an era I have a passing familiarity with, and served as a getaway until the prince finally got the throne for good in 1820. After Queen Victoria inherited it, she sold it to the city of Brighton in 1850, which I thought was nice of her, considering it was built with taxpayer's money to begin with. The whole thing is done is a gaudy chinoiseree style (I hope I'm spelling that right) which is a European vision of China at a time when very few people had been there. The house is an odd mixture of these over the top decorations (like a 30 foot cut-crystal chandelier suspended from the claws of a silver dragon) and restrained Regency pieces, but I loved it. Definitely the kind of place I would have if I were an overweight playboy heir to the throne with nothing better to do.

The visit took about 2 hours, and afterward I required an iced tea and piece of cheesecake to recover. I was going to have hot tea and scone, but I'm not a masochist--the temperature here in London has been hovering close to 90 lately, and it wasn't much cooler by the sea. Before I left though, I had one more task, something I've been meaning to do since I was thirteen: I returned to the Pier and headed for the candy store, but this time I was listening to Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack," the first song of which is called "Brighton Rock" and which features sounds from the rides at the end of the pier. Then I picked out four sticks of the candy Brighton Rock and made my way back to the train station, giggling madly into sugar.

so I'm burned again--but I did take some pictures! Enjoy.

Tha beach!

Tha Pier!

Me, before the sunburn really set in.

This is what the entrance to the Land of Food looks like

The Pier's FAB-U-LOUS! weathervane.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

82% Not Happy

It's over. That's the best I can say for our scratch performances. Of the performance of my piece, I can say that it went wonderfully. I have no fault with the actors--they were incredible, and they really came through for the characters. I was so glad to work with them.

But the rehearsal process was the most disorganised thing I have ever experienced in my life. By four o'clock in the afternoon on Friday, with another group still to tech for a seven o'clock go, my director STILL hadn't finished blocking my piece. With 12 hours of rehearsal between two directors, you would think that someone would have at least had the foresight to read through the end of my piece--the new ending I rewrote on the advice of a professional director. But it soon became apparent that he hadn't read the new pages, and what's worse, was missing my intention. He began to change the piece around, and I finally stood up, cut the final scene and ended the piece early. I wasn't going to make the actors perform something they had rehearsed once. Upset doesn't begin to describe how I felt about the experience.

Now, as I said, the performances themselves went well. Everyone had positive things to say about the writing, about the acting, and I was happy with what was onstage. But thinking about the drama that went into that last rehearsal nearly made me throw up. The props were also not gotten until right before the show. No one communicated to the actors what costume pieces they were going to need. The lights which we used on Thursday were refocussed on Friday because no one told the technician that we needed them again on Saturday. Little things that would have been solved by the addition of one halfway competent stage manager who could look at all six pieces and communicate between the directors. I don't know how or why Matt felt that my piece could just be directed on the fly, when all along everyone has been praising it as an "expressionist" piece which means it needs MORE planning, not less. For another writer's piece he came in with clear ideas already laid out and it was just a matter of telling the actors and letting them go. Naturally, Sarah is over the moon about how well her piece went. I, on the other hand, can't believe this is the same director.

Theatre is not about "to be or not to be" it's about "hey, have we got that stupid skull yet?!"

I hope I'm not sounding too much like a whingy writer who's "vision" isn't being realised. From the beginning we were told that these performances were to showcase our writing and to give us the chance to work with professionals. I've already made an appointment with John to talk to him about how unhappy I am. But you all get to hear it first, you lucky people. The good thing was, one of the actors made a DVD of the performance and she's promised to give me a copy. If you see it, you'll love it--as I say, the performance went really well. But I'm still gutted.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Footy problems

My feet are bothering me again. Dunno if any of you remember junior year when I had "plantar fascitis" however the heck you spell it, but it's when the tendon that goes from the ball of your heel to behind your toes gets inflammed. It's happening again. Last time I went to a doctor and he put me on ibuprofen and told me the best thing to do was to massage the sore parts--the more it hurt, the harder I should press. So that's what I've been doing, much to the chagrin of my roommates who have to put up with me moaning in agony while apparently hurting myself.

This has nothing to do with the fact that I have new shoes. White trainers with velcro straps because I am sick of my laces always coming untied. They are cool and European and purple and I love them.

Yesterday I went to the Tate Britain for lack of anything better to do (and because it was free!) and I had a little pinch of nostalgia, since this is one of the places I visited when I first came to London five years ago, aw. The phonebooth outside is the one where I got the obligatory "tourist on the phone in the Britsh red phonebooth" photo. aw. Then I trotted down towards Waterloo Bridge and enjoyed the Victorian parks. God bless the Victorians. They sure knew how to build things for the Benefit of the Public Good, didn't they?

Also--if you're walking over Lambeth Bridge, stop and look over at the supports nearest the north side of the river. There is a figure there holding out a model of St. Paul's Cathedral. It's not visible from the bridge unless you know where to look. And now you do!

Then today I had another rehearsal with the fabulous Matt Wilde for my piece. It's going to be over on Saturday and I can't wait. I love what the actors and directors have pulled out of my script, but I'm so sick of it right now. I really wish I could just avoid it for a week or two totally and come back to it fresh. I've been working on it so intensively that I can't even tell if what I'm producing is good/bad/in need of work/or in need of cutting. And that ain't good.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Teh new SM!

I have great news! I've been hired as the stage manager for a production of "The Representative" at the Finsborough Theatre near Earl's Court!!! Woooo!!! This is a little theatre above a pub, but it's a proper gig, with a six week rehearsal process and a three week run at the end of July/beginning of August. I fear the salary isn't much, but it is a professional credit, and if there's any time for me to be working for free in London, this is it. It's not the West End..yet...but it's NEAR the West End and it's a real theatre!! I'll be working on a show again!

I haven't stage managed in a long time and I have definitely jumped in at the deep end: 14 actors, in the round, a three hour German (translated, tG!) play. Could someone please tell me what the name of the book was we used in Gary's class? I think now might be a good time to buy a copy...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

adverts: the price we pay

Lately I've been seeing a lot of advertisments for...well, darn, I don't even know what the product is, but they all feature wide-eyed, wide-mouthed twentysomethings about to enjoy a cold beverage. And when I say enjoy, I mean ENJOY.

I find these ads incredibly offensive. The first ones I saw were of women in approxmiately the same position, which got my feminist fur up,* and I was only slightly mollified to see men also having to endure being reduced to their orifices. But the implied sexuality in these photos goes far beyond wink wink, tongue-in-cheek humor to the point where they're too blunt to be clever and, what's worse, rude.

The second thing I've been seeing has been on the tube, a haven for advertisers, because you've got a captive audience. The posters are of sheep or donkeys being led by a carrot tied to a stick held in front of them, so I finally checked out the website,, which turned out to be an anti-iPod website. Luckily! They offer you a slew of alternatives, including the Sansa e200. Ah. I've been sucked into visiting a corporate website. Damn. I was offended by this website, for implying that I am sheepily following the herd by owning an iPod. As their "manifesto" reads, "The time has come to rise up against the iTatorship. To resist the monotony of white earbuds and reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity."**

Oh, really?

"Dear Sansa e200 People. Here are my reasons for owning an iPod:
1. It was a gift from my loving parents.
2. I am a Mac user. My Mac and my iPod get along VERY well, since they were made for each other. Rather than "following the herd" I have been bucking trends for a LOOOONG time.
3. 90% of the music on my iPod is musicals. At last count I had nearly 60. Musicals which I paid for because I believe in supporting the fine arts, not crap pop bands with one hit that sells for 99 cents on iTunes.***
4. I do not have an iTunes account. I do buy CDs from good local bands and burn them into my iPod and then pass along the joy.
5. The sound quality on those white earbuds that you deride so much is INCREDIBLE. I would not have believed it possible for something so small to sound so good, but it does. I use them because they're good, not because they're a status symbol.
6. The reason that iPods sell so well is not because we've been marketed to, but because the product is quality. QED."

I was more upset that this website masqueraded as a legitimate protest against iPods, because some of the websites they listed ARE legitimate anti-iPod sites, but then turned into a huge advertisement for the Sansa e200. The protest should be against the lifestyle of appearance and consumerism that is apparently "defined" by owning an iPod. It is. Death to soulless corporate cutouts. But this is definitely an example of killing the messenger because of the message. The only part of that manifesto that rings true is the bit about rejecting the forces of cultural conformity. Unfortunately their "solutions" are way off the mark.

*That would be leg hair
**I had to copy all that out! I couldn't cut and paste! Ai!
*** The exception, of course, being Phantom of the Opera, but I don't think Andrew Lloyd Webber missed my twenty bucks.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

1812: the body rant

One of the great things about setting your clock to military time is, if you're a history nut, when it's 18:12, you get a little zing of joy because some crazy Canadian band wrote a song about the War of 1812.

I can hardly wait until 18:15!

We had a rehearsal today, and I am feeling much more comfortable with other people using my material. I still feel a little odd telling the actors about the characters, but, hey, who knows them better than me, right? My performance is in a week, and we have several more rehearsals before then, so I'm confident that it will all be shiny and good before Friday. I'm feeling very tired today, since I had to get up early and I was up late last night writing. I'm absolutely sick to death of rewriting the script for the show, but I'm starting to scribble out ideas for other projects to keep busy. And, as we all know, when the muse calls...

I was arguing with a mate of mine (who I'm pretty sure doesn't read this, so here we go) and they kept insisting that they sucked and that's why they were "alone." I kept thinking "er, no, the reason you're alone is because you're putting people off by insisting you suck" but this kept flying right past their head. I used myself as exhibit A that being fat does not necessarily prevent you from making/having friends/going out with people/even being attractive to the people of the opposite sex, (apparently what puts people off is being secure, strong-willed and independent!) but they kept insisting that once they lost a great deal of weight they were going to be perfect and all would be swell.

Well slice me into pieces and throw me to the lemurs, because if I was still sitting around waiting to become perfect I would probably have two very pissed off parents on my hands going "er, about that job..." As is stands, I get lonely quite a lot of the time, but I never back down from introducing myself as "the fantastic Nicole Lemery." I don't often use my blog to rant about myself personally, but I feel the need today to explain that it really is how you percieve yourself that makes who you are. If you think you are a beautiful, outgoing and attractive person, then people will see you like that. Not immediately, I'll be the first to admit I had to work up to my amazing self today, but eventually. Eventually (she laughs) you'll be able to wear a not-so-flattering white skirt and go "well, I'm gonna do it anyway because it makes me feel good!" And as for you, people of opposite sex, you're very nice, I'm sure, but I have managed to get along this far without you, so unless you're prepared to sweep me off my feet, then I'll take a pass. (note to interested people of opposite sex. I have one word for you: breeches.) As Jonathan Larsen put it in RENT: "Life's too short, babe, time is flying..." Maybe I'm just frustrated because this friend refuses to see reason, even when I'm dancing in front of them enjoying all life has to offer.

Behold the fabulousness--of me!