Saturday, 27 December 2008

Reading Calling...

Aye aye.

Apologies that I'm writing this now. Very annoyingly, I got back last week and managed to coincide my arrival with a spectacular failure of our computer to produce any useful internet-related services.

So, hopefully with a bit of festive sympathy, you'll allow me to wish you all the best for 2009 and say that I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and you can read on without feeling too begrudged. That and the satisfaction that this is the last post.

Yes last week I waved goodbye to glorious dawns on the Rhine, misty riverbanks, decent television, sausage bread and of course those weird hash brown things that they eat with apple sauce. I was sad to leave Germany, it had treated me so well and given me so many fantastic memories over the three months, that it was with a slightly heavy heart that I left the theatre for the last time, walked along the Rhine, packed, said goodbyes and left the house one final time. Luckily I was not given time to dwell on it, and I certainly wasn't sad to see all my family and friends again.

In the last couple of weeks I did so much so quickly that it's hard to pick specifics out. There are so many brilliant theatrical memories that I have from Germany. I met a world-renowned mime artist - Nemo, who gave me a fascinating workshop in mime, which showed me really how really really everyday things can be made absolutely hilarious with the right form of expression. We also saw a clown show, which although it was far too short, showed me some lovely examples of this. I watched 'Emil und die Detektive' one last time. It put such a smile on my face every time I saw it, that I just had to see it on one final occasion. I went to see a play called 'Don Karlos' as a normal audience member. It's about the so named Prince of Spain back in the 16th century when Spain was one of the most powerful nations on Earth. Some of it was spectacularly acted, although it was quite a heavy play, so for me sometimes it was difficult to concentrate in German. The emotional balance between the Prince and his mentor and friend the Marquis was played off brilliant between the two corresponding actors. It was a romantic tragedy with a frightening amount of incest involved. BASICALLY, the Prince loves the Queen who unsecurely loves him back, the Princess unrequitedly loves the Prince and the King, while hating the Prince, lusts after the Princess.

I also attended the Christening of a new addition to the extended family of my host family, and actually did a short reading in the Church as part of the ceremony. I have to say, quite honestly, that having to do that in German was just as nerve-wracking as any piece of acting I've ever had to produce. However, it was a wonderful experience and it was brilliant to meet so many members of the family.

I had a wonderful time in Germany and having worked with lovely people at the theatre and been supported a lovely host family, I really believe I got everything out of this trip that I could have hoped for. I saw first and foremost exactly how a professional theatre works and did (hopefully) genuinely improve my German a lot.

Thank you to Jenni for allowing me to do this. I've found this has really helped to organise my thoughts about what I've seen and done, as however interesting something is, when it becomes just a routine, sometimes memories get lost in the regularity of it. It's been quite an experience for me. So all that's left for me to do is to wish you all the very best in your future theatrical adventures and hopefully I'll see some of you in the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new year. As always feel free to ask any questions.

As always, all the pictures are up on photobucket.

All the best, break many, many legs and all importantly,
Keep Smiling

Over and out.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

C18th Farce Week

School for Scandal has had a very successful two night run and you can now see photos from the performance online in the theatre gallery. Alison McCallum, the director, writes;

"The iconic 1960’s photo of Christine Keeler, posed naked on a chair gave me the inspiration as to when to set Sheridan’s eighteenth century satire about scandal and damaged reputations.

Keeler was a good-time girl, having fun in a decade that saw massive changes. However her affair with a government minister, and a soviet diplomat at the height of the cold war led to the Tory government being brought down.

I decided to take Sheridan’s play and set it in one of the most scandalous times most of us have heard about if not lived through.

The play we presented was not the full length version. Due to unforeseen circumstances some major cutting and re-writing had to take place at the last minute which resulted with a new script being produced the week before. I think the cast did remarkably well to adapt to the new script at very short notice."

With that in mind, the students did an excellent job at keeping the show together. There were a couple of scenes where Alison had to cut a lot of conversation, but she replaced this with low lighting and 60's music while the characters seemed to be involved in deep conversation. As the music faded out we then heard a quick summary of the discussed plotting and so the audience were brought straight back into the story. The highlight of the show for me was Gavin's Sir Peter arguing with his wife on the telephone, where the year 11 student executed comic timing perfectly. Well done to all involved!

The second half of the C18th Farce Week starts tonight with Carlo Goldoni's Venetian Twins. The show starts at 7.30 and tickets are £4 for adults and £3 for students. The piece, dirceted by David Calder and performed by GCSE students, will run for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Caught in the Net - Program

Always conscious of our need to be kept up to date with things, Dominic has kindly posted through the program for Caught in the Net.

We get a mention! Good one Dominic! Now, here's a few pictures to whet your appetite, but I'm sure 'Gavin' will be able to oblige with a poster or.... an autographed glossy photo? ;o)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Guest Blogger: Schmoozing!

Wow - Our premiere - amazing. Was initially touched by all the Emails, cards, texts and phone calls I received wishing me luck and all the best for our official opening night and run of the show and from the vibe I got when I got into the theatre I think all the other cast members had their fair share of best wishes as well!

Our premiere of Caught in the Net sold out, and had a large section of invited audience such as Friends of the theatre, local council, Arts people, Sponsors and that kind of thing.

So...on with the show. We did a good run, but found the audience a little bit of a tough cookie to begin with, but once the play got into it's full farce swing they soon warmed up and were clapping, laughing and cheering with the best of them!
As we entered the stage for the walk down the whole cast were greeted with bunches of flowers and people congratulating us on such a great performance. Which kind of threw our walk down routine but I think we were forgiven! Was really touched that so many people thought so highly of our play. After they eventually stopped clapping we went to change and on to the theatre bar for schmoozing! We were greeted as soon as we entered with all sorts of people wanting to speak to us. I've never experienced anything like that before. One lady even asked me to sign her programme!

Throughout the evening we had all sorts of feedback, thankfully all positive with some very kind comments such as "One of the best things I've seen at the English Theatre of Hamburg." And Baring in mind the Theatre has been running for over 30 years I find that very flattering. Another being "Funniest show I've ever seen." - Well, what can I say?...we try our best.
After a few, then a few more G&T's and a piece of Sushi or two the crowds started to fade and left the cast of Caught in the Net to basque in our own magnificence of a job well done. - I could get used to this.

So...Rehearsals are done. Previews have finished and the Premiere was a sell-out success. Only thing left now is the run of the show. 9 weeks of Caught In The Net and nine weeks of Gavin Smith.
Bring it on....

PS - Good luck to the cast and crew for School for Scandal and The Venetian Twins!