Monday, November 23, 2009

Thoughts on a Play

Our three night run finished on Saturday. Whilst we did well and the play was warmly received, I can't help feeling that something was missing all along.

What was missing was a good editor.

A Doll's House is a play that makes a very good point about how women were treated in 19th century Europe, but takes so long over its point at the end that an audience could fall asleep.

In our production, the two actors on stage at the end regularly missed whole pages of dialogue at the end, but it didn't detract from the story or the message. It was a running joke that they never acted out page 104 at any point, including rehearsals.

There is also the repetitive dialogue throughout which makes it hard for the actor to remember the order of the play. For Krogstad I had more than a couple of lines that started with 'Mrs Helmer, Listen'.

This may be down to some dodgy translation, but that then means that the translator needed some help from a friendly (or not) editor.

But those points cannot detract from a great experience for myself, two of my children and the cast as a whole. We had three appreciative audiences, a well rounded cast and a superb director and backup crew.

In fact, I'm thinking of copyrighting our shortened version of the play as the KATS edition.

If you want to see some photos of the performance, you will be able to see them at our website over the coming weeks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Second Night Nerves

Second night nerves hit us all. Or was it second night complacency?

It was more likely the latter as we had such a great performance last night. No matter how hard you try, the second night is always worse as you get too comfortable with the performance. The good side is that it shakes you up for the third, and in our case last, night.

I wonder if it is the same for novel writing?

Still, we have managed to perform the play twice without any serious hiccups. The only problem is at the end when the two performers seem to manage to cut out three to four pages of dialogue. The troubling thing is that the whole ending still makes sense.

Maybe Ibsen was too verbose?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Night Nerves?

First Night was superb.

We had one technical hitch and several missed lines, but nothing important. We all came away with a huge smile on our faces. The two boys got everything correct too.

I have never seen the director so happy.

We all broke our legs at the end and received the well-earned applause.

Now, can we keep it up for tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Relax, Don't Do It.

We had the final dress rehearsal last night. The bells still didn't ring on time, the music was still a tad too loud and we all forgot some of our lines, but the play spun through to the end without a significant hitch.

We're ready for our first performance on Thursday.

Today is a day of rest. No rehearsals, no line learning, just rest from the play for a day. Easier for me as I work from home, but there will be no running to rehearsals tonight for anyone. Early night, cup of cocoa, plenty of sleep.

Writer's need the same. We need to relax when we've reached a certain goal, or have got stuck at a certain point. We need to refresh ourselves, clear our minds and let inspiration back in.

So put your feet up today. Rest, relax, sleep, spend time with your partner, your kids, your parents, your pets or your Nintendo. Give the brain a rest from the demands of writing and return refreshed tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

Last night was the first dress rehearsal, complete with makeup. Despite a few teething problems, it all went well.

Most of the costumes fitted, especially those that were supplied by the cast for themselves, and the set looks grand.

Naturally there were a few mistakes: lines forgotten (in one case two whole pages), cues missed, props falling over, the sound being too loud and several more.

But the cast kept their nerves, made up for each others mistakes and overcame the fear of being in full regalia.

Tonight we have another dress rehearsal at which all of the above faults will be corrected...just in time for us to create new ones.


Monday, November 16, 2009

This is the Week

This Thursday, we perform 'A Doll's House' for the first time.

Tonight we have the first full dress rehearsal, make-up included. Guess I'll have to shave. The boys are looking forward to it, though not to wearing the make-up.

My eldest son helped with the sound and light setup yesterday and had a great time. It's also good practice for him when he does his media course next September.

On that note, we produced a small video to advertise it on Youtube. Let me know what you think about it.

On another unrelated matter, the geeks still cannot get computers to recognise emotions in writing.

They tested the marking ability of computers for English Language, by using some great speeches and texts of the past. The results were quite humourous and show that we humans still have a place on this planet, despite the best efforts of some businesspeople and politicians.

Enjoy your week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quote...Unquote (3)

"Seventy percent of life is showing up." (Woody Allen)

For writers, that means submitting work time and again. What have you submitted this week?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quote...Unquote (2)

"The older a man gets, the father he had to walk to school as a child." (Henry Brightman)

For writers that could be paraphrased as, "The older a writer gets, the longer it took him to get his work published."

The longer in the tooth a writer is, the more they forget the short stories and the book reviews they wrote etc. They also forget the writing they weren't paid for that got their name out there.

We're already published writers, we just haven't been paid or recognised yet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"As the Earth explodes, the last audible sound will be that of an expert proudly proclaiming that it can't be done." (Peter Ustinov)

When someone tells you that getting published is an impossible dream, just tell them that.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Little by Little

Life is hard, yard by yard.
Inch by inch, it's a cinch.

A twee little piece of verse, but accurate. I've found over the years that if I try to do everything at once I get frustrated. If I attempt jobs one piece at a time, then I get more done.

It works with decorating, writing, everything.

At the moment I'm getting my foot in the publishing door by writing reviews and short stories. I'm not ignoring the novel, but I find that whenever I get back to it, I have more insight than before.

In the last few months I've had four reviews published and one short story. My name's out there. When I do finally get my novel finished, I will have a decent publishing record which I will have built up little by little.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Back to Reality

After a pleasant week off, I'm back to Earth with a thump.

A play rehearsal, an argument with my ex-wife and an exploding PC.

Still, the boys are back from Germany and my eldest is back with me.

Last week was one of the most relaxing periods of my life. Susan and I watched films, took dogs for several walks and spent time at the hospital together.

But I did finish off reading a couple of books and restart my reading of a collection of short stories by Ambrose Bierce. I've also started reading a novel by Mary Shelley: The Last Man. I'll have more to say on that at some point in the future.

For now, I need to get another review done, work on a short story and console myself with the fact that I haven't won the Bridport Prize.