Thursday, 27 December 2012

Hello Goodbye


It’s almost the end of the year. I have just enjoyed a particularly fabulous Christmas and rather hope that my readers and friends did too. If you are an actual acquaintance of mine I have no idea what your Yuletide was like having purposefully avoided Facebook and Twitter from about one pm on Christmas Day onwards. This is so I can avoid the usual social media activity which accompanies this festive period. You know the sort; Dozens of ‘I said YES!’ status updates, hundreds of pictures of little Oscar and Tamara opening their presents (‘their  little faces were a picture’) and a billion Instagram photos of ‘lush’ turkey breasts, piggies-in-blankets and homemade stuffing.

I am starting to worry how far people will take this Taking A Picture Of Every Fucking Thing You Ingest trend. I can only imagine it will eventually result in people Instagramming the contents of their toilet bowls several hours after the delightful ‘nom-noms’ have been consumed; ‘Look at THIS Food Baby! Megalolz!’

Admittedly I am also guilty of sharing a photo on social media on Christmas morning. But it was definitely with the intention of amusing those who saw it.

For those of you who don’t know, my beautiful cat Molly who I got as a kitten when I was twelve, passed away earlier this year. She was an impressive eighteen years of age (do the maths) and her demise was heartbreaking but inevitable. She was very old but had a life of love and comfort.

My parents knowing that I was missing her, decided to get me some kind of replacement. My working life means I am unable to take on another pet so they got me the next best thing. They found a photo of Molly as a very small kitten and took it to a company who turned it into a suedette cushion.

 

It should be stated that they did do this in jest although I am now faced with the dilemma of where to place this object. Flatmate has expressed her lack of willingness for it to take up residence in our living room and I feel that the bedroom will also not be a suitable resting place for it;

‘Oh that? That’s the face of my dead cat blown up to nightmarishly large proportions and emblazoned across a suedette cushion. I sleep with it every night. Why are you putting your clothes back on?’

Spare room it is.

Anyway, I am very much looking forward to 2013. 2012 certainly had its ups and downs, and this seven month tour couldn’t come at a better time. For Christmas I got a beautiful new leather organiser which will soon be filled with digs addresses, receipts and train tickets. Just the way I like it. (Although experience has told me I shouldn’t keep all of my Nando’s receipts. After my last long tour I got a phone call from my accountant to inform me that there was no way the government would stump up for ‘that much chicken.’ Spoilsports.)

I even got given a Kindle which means I will be relieved of dragging several books around the country with me and can also read Cheryl Cole’s autobiography in public places without judgement.

So yes. 2013. Bring. It. On.

Some fun things happened with this blog over the past few weeks which I would also like to explore in 2013. As some of you know the link to it got tweeted by a well-known person to their 35,000 followers which resulted in a huge rise in the number of hits I got and some lovely responses from other people in the industry. I even got contacted by the Stage Management Association and asked if I would like to maybe contribute to their magazine, Cueline, in the future.

Yes, yes, I know. Cueline is not exactly a well-known publication and I am not going to get paid for it. But look at Charlie Brooker. He started off writing very small articles and comic strips (the brilliantly named ‘Cybertwats’) for the little-known ‘PC Zone’ in the mid nineties and look at him now; well known media personality, own TV show and he bagged an ex Blue Peter presenter.

Admittedly research has shown that Brooker gained notoriety and consequently furthered his career by actually getting ‘PC Zone’ removed from the shelves of many British newsagents. He did this by creating a one-shot cartoon titled ‘Helmet Werstler’s Cruelty Zoo’. It professed to be an advert for a theme park created by a Teutonic psychologist for children to take out their violent impulses on animals rather than humans. It was accompanied by photoshopped pictures of children smashing the skulls of monkeys with hammers, jumping on a badger with a pitchfork and chainsawing an orang-utan.

I can’t imagine Cueline allowing me to do something in a similar vein but you never know.

Seriously, I am looking forward to the challenge of being given an actual topic to write about and a word limit instead of rabbiting on about nothing at all until I eventually bore myself and admit defeat.

I also recently found an article about Improving Your Blog which I read with interest. I have never really got that geeky about my blog. I know how to look into its statistics but I have never got fancy or adventurous with graphics or lay-out or links or anything like that. I just like to write it. However, apparently I can generate more interest by doing the following.

a)      Adding pictures. (Tick. See above.)

b)      Writing every day.

Personally, I do not have the time to blog every day. My heavy routine of wine-drinking, ‘Heat’ reading and bitching prevents me from doing anything useful. BUT, as I am about to embark on a long tour I am going to endeavour to write at least once a week. Even if it is just a short paragraph reviewing whichever delightful right-wing town I am visiting accompanied by a photo of my temporary digs bed complete with BHS dust-ruffle

But enough about me….time to write about stage management stuff.

During the run up to Christmas I was simultaneously rehearsing for my new tour during the day and still stage managing the final week of my Greek Tragedy in the evening.  At five o’clock I would leave rehearsals in Elephant and Castle in order to race across London to do a speedy re-set for the evening’s performance of the other job.

I was shattered and in desperate need of an E.T. Day. Now, this is not a day where I settle down on the couch to watch the emotional tale of the Extra Terrestrial, but rather a day where I choose to behave like him. So basically this involves shuffling round my flat in my dressing gown, pulling random food out of the fridge to stuff into my mouth, then getting drunk and falling down.

Like E.T.

But the Greek Tragedy has now ended its run, so when I return after the Christmas break I will just be in rehearsals for the new tour.

It was very hard to say goodbye to my Greek tragedy company as they were a great bunch of people and I am pretty confident that we will be able to sustain friendships. (And I am talking about actual friendships which continue beyond the realms of Facebook and Twitter.) But as I was already in the throes of starting a new production, I have to admit that I was naturally pulling back and beginning to put focus on to my new cast and company as this is a group of people who I will be seeing on a daily basis for the next seven months.

Seven whole months.

I was pretty nervous about starting rehearsals. It still is and always will be like the first day of school. I have actually written about what first days of rehearsals are like before (Meet and Greet) so won’t go into it in major detail again. But this one was no different, although if anything maybe I felt even more nervous as, for the first time in a long time, I did not previously know one person either in the cast or the stage management team. Having spent so much time working with the same companies and actors over and over, it was quite unnerving to step into a room of strangers again.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was still doing my evening performances too which was definitely contributing to my unsettled feeling. But even on Thursday, feeling weary but with the knowledge that I did not have to be anywhere after rehearsals, I still felt a bit awkward and slightly yearning for the familiarity which comes with being in a rehearsal room with old friends or at least people who you are accustomed to.

However, by Friday evening I was feeling in a better place. Mostly because I had been able to sleep and also because I was in a pub. With two of my cast members.

As the rehearsals were winding down at six pm, I had been tempted to suggest to my new company that we go for a drink before the Christmas holidays but shyness (yes really) prevented me. Despite my desire to visit a nearby and welcoming establishment.

Every day during rehearsals I had passed a small mock tudor pub on the corner of a busy main road.

The Tankard.  

At lunchtime middle-aged men with flat-caps, misogynistic views and nicotine-yellow fingers sat on the exterior benches. But in the evening I could hear muffled donkey-like guffaws and see the lattice windows steaming up, almost blocking the tantalising yellow and orange whiskey glow which lit up the chewing-gum stained pavement outside.

I was desperate to go inside. Nothing intrigues or pleases me more than a proper London boozer. You can keep your All Bar Ones, your Bar 38’s and your Pitcher and Piano’s. Give me a Guinness and black, a packet of pork scratchings and a landlady who looks like Amy Winehouse’s mother any day of the week.

So once I had closed the Prompt Copy at 6.00pm on Friday afternoon and was doing up the buttons on my duffle coat, resigned to a night on the sofa, my ears pricked up as I heard one of my actor’s voices.

‘Anyone fancy a pint?’

I whirled round to see one of my cast near the rehearsal room door, standing expectantly with raised eyebrows and open palms.

Myself and an actress vocally ventured that yes, we would like a festive tipple to begin the Christmas celebrations.

‘Great,’ he replied, clapping his hands together. ‘I know there’s some good places further into town. But… does anyone fancy that funny little place on the corner? ‘The Tankard’?’

My heart leapt at the realisation that Someone Who Likes Pubs That I Like was in this company. I like to think that this is always a good start when bonding with other company members.

‘The Tankard’ definitely did not disappoint. The drinks were unbelievably cheap, there was a life size moving Santa Claus, the barman continued to have a ferocious argument with his girlfriend (who was on my side of the bar) as he served me, and we got repetitively accosted by a drunk seventy year old man who was convinced that Actor Who Likes Pubs That I Like was David Seaman.

‘DAVID SEAMAN!’ he bellowed, jabbing his finger at the actor. ‘IT’S DAVID FUCKING SEAMAN!’

Actor Who Likes Pubs That I Like politely yet firmly told this man that he was not the popular Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. But this did not stop this man repetitively pointing and shouting ‘DAVID SEAMAN’ whenever he passed our table.

We were all in the kind of mood which meant that these events enlightened our evening rather than dampened it. And as I rode on the tube home, emitting the kind of glow which only four pints of Guinness’ can emit, I realised that it was okay I didn’t already know anybody in the company. Here was a whole new group of interesting people for me to go round the country with. I am not expecting all of them to like me or always agree with me or become my Bestest Closest Friends. But I am definitely looking forward to more pub trips, more Guinness’ and more tales.

Actually, I can’t frikking wait.








Thank you so much for reading the above post. My last post got such an unbelievable amount of traffic which was largely down to how many people posted, shared, tweeted, followed etc. You have no idea how much I appreciate every single person who passes this blog on and every bit of support is hugely appreciated.

If you liked this blog, please click on 'Share' at the top of the page. You can also 'Like' my Facebook page which is 'Girl In The Dark' or follow me on Twitter (@agirlinthedark). If you want to tweet it you can use this tinyurl which is http://tinyurl.com/ctteq6f. Also do leave a comment if you enjoyed. I LOVE to get your feedback.

Hope you all have a wonderful new year and I hope to keep babbling in 2013.

See ya!

Jess
xx






6 comments:

  1. Another good one! I generally only read a blog every now and then, but I enjoy all of your posts. keep it up =)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!! That's a lovely thing to hear.

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  2. Haha, 'meet and greet' made me laugh. Especially liked the categories of spotlight pictures.

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  3. I've met David Seaman. We had a drink and then wrestled a bit. I let him win the first bout to avoid hurting his pride.

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