Friday, November 26, 2010


Three more rehearsals, one dress rehearsal and then we're performing for a paying audience: YIKES!

The star has to be the young lady playing Robin Hood.  Pavlina's from the Czech Republic, English is her second language and she has a major role in the play.  Would you like to perform on stage in a foreign country, speaking in a foreign language, learning to talk in rhyme?

My eldest son is taking to his role as the dog with gusto.  Chasing the villains and biting them; peeing on another one; whimpering and barking.  He hasn't had this much since he accidentally scalded me by turning the cold tap on when I was in the shower.

As for me, I'm having a whale of a time swishing my cloak, flashing my sword, being whacked on the head and being generally evil.

And, as it's Friday, here's the link to the BBC's Oddbox.  Ten odd things from the past week, including a very small police dog, the tallest married couple in the world and the worlds biggest custard cream.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


OK, we're still having some problems, but we're almost there.

Rehearsals are going well, despite the odd missing person, and we only need to stitch it all together.  Me knowing all my lines might help too.

The best thing about it is how everyone in the cast mucks in to help.  Reading lines for absentees, prompting where necessary, picking up dropped props and making the tea when not on stage practising.

I'm also looking forward to singing on stage for the first time in years...though I'm not sure what the audience will think.

Here's the youtube ad for the panto.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Looking Up.

We had a rehearsal this morning, going through the rest of Act 1.  There were still a couple of people missing (one ill and one in the Czech Republic), but we finished off what we needed to do and now know where we should be standing.  I also got to practice my sword fight...using a feather duster.

The first fight scene is towards the end of Act 1 and I decided that I should pull out a feather duster first, stare at it, then throw it away before pulling out my real sword.  Other options include a rubber chicken and a light sabre, but I'm open to other suggestions (feel free to add any in the comments section).

Getting things right can be a painful process as you realise what works  and what doesn't.  We've dropped one song, cut another short, changed various lines.  In the previous play we cut whole pages and two characters.

It's the same with writing.  We have a wonderful idea, which then doesn't work.  The best thing to do is to cut it.

One last thing, have a look at this collection of strange events, then look at your WIP: Are the events in your WIP any stranger than these?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brown Trousers Time

We have less than a month till the play has its first night...and we still haven't had the full cast together more than once.

The play WILL go ahead on 9th-11th December, partly because the hall is booked through the whole of January.  However, we are going to have some Saturday rehearsals and go through the vital scenes.

You may think that all scenes are vital, and you'd be partly correct.  Some scenes are more important than others, not necessarily because they carry the story, but, in this case at least, because they contain the slapstick humour.  Get it wrong and you end up with a fleet of ambulances outside.

We have a plank of wood (made out of polystyrene) several sword fights and a few people (including me) getting hit on the head with wooden objects.  Add to that people falling all over the place and you need to get it right.

Learning words is easy by comparison.

Watch this space.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Peace At Last

I'm slowly settling into my new flat and today is the most peaceful day since I've been here.  It's not quiet as I have all the boys here, but it is a place of peace.

So, a quick question for you, what brings you peace?

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've been feeling a little ill the past few days.  A heavy cold, depression etc.  The fact that it has been grey outside and wet hasn't helped my mood much either.  Still, it has got to the dry stage now so I need fewer tissues.

The illness didn't help me much on Monday as I had to go through a new scene for the play.  I was meant to know the words but it was too much effort.  I found out that I wasn't alone and only two people knew their words.  One had two words and one had four.

The worst part was getting hit on the head three times in succession and having to collapse to the floor.  It made me dizzy and the room started spinning (not a good sign).  Thankfully we only did the scene twice.

Tomorrow we run through the whole of Act 1, no books and all the props we can find.  It means I can leave the word learning till the weekend.

I also have a new book to review: The Terror and the Tortoiseshell by John Travis, courtesy of those LOVELY people at Hub Magazine.  I'll let you know when it gets published.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

14 Questions....

Right...I nicked (stole) this from KLo, who nicked (stole) it from someone else etc.  Feel free to nick (steal) it from me.


1. What do you consider your hometown to be?
Stevenage, Hertfordshire.  Though I was born in London, I hate the place.  It's dirty, smelly and horrible. 

2. What’s the hardest part of your average day?
Getting out of bed.

3. The easiest? Why?
At the moment, nothing.  Depression does that to you.

4. What beverage do you reach for to quench your thirst?
Water.  Don't like to drink sugary drinks too often, or tea.

5. What is one not-so-secret goal you have for your life? I’ll let you keep your secret ones to yourself.
To be an actor or novelist.

6. What physical pain do you fear most? For example, I’m trying to decide how bad my jaw pain needs to get before I risk a potential needle from my dentist. So, for me, throbbing is preferable to jabbing.
Needles.  Small pain, big fear.

7. Where do you find solace?
Asleep in dreams.

8. What makes you the saddest when you read/see the news?
The thought that wealthy people are getting wealthier on the backs on others.

9. What do you eat for a favorite snack?
Bananas or toast.

10. What movie(s) could you/would you watch more than two or three times and still enjoy just as much as the first time?
Quite a few.  Men In Black, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Naked Gun, anything by Pixar

11. What boy/girl first made you cry?
In love, my ex-wife when I had to file the divorce papers. Before that, those kids that made my life hell at school.

12. What brand of coffee/tea do you drink most often?
Tea: anything that's warm, wet and brown.

13. Dig in the dirt with or without garden gloves?
Gloves...if you ever get me out in the garden in the first place.  I'm not a nature person..

14. James Taylor or Carly Simon?



Friday, November 05, 2010

And Now, The End Is Near...Of The Week That Is.

As the weekend is here, it's time to ask a pertinent question or two.

Do you take the weekend off from writing, or any time off?  If not, why not?

During WW2, the British government instituted a seven day working week in order to produce more war materials, believing that it would increase production.  It had the opposite effect and reduced it, so the policy was soon abandoned.

If we don't take time out from writing, or anything for that matter, our production will suffer.  Either our writing will get worse, or our lives will.

It's the weekend: Chill.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

More Babes.

Now that the title has grabbed the attention of every male under 30, I'll tell you about last night's rehearsal of 'Babes In The Wood'.

It didn't go well.

The rehearsal was planned to be a complete run through of Part 1 without books. It ended up bitty, unstructured and, for me at least, a little frustrating.  However, you get nights like that and have to accept that not everything goes to plan. 

On the plus side, every member of the cast showed up and most people knew most of their lines.

One of the actresses showed up despite suffering some severe neck pain after a car crash a few weeks ago and needed to leave early because of it.  So we did her parts first. 

Having set my mind on not being needed for the first half hour, it threw me a little when called upon and consequently I was unprepared for the run through and forgot a lot of the lines.  C'est la vie.

At one point early on in the pantomime, I do a little song and dance with the other two evil characters.  As this was not going to get done last night, we disappeared into another room and ran through it, ironing out all the little bugs.  We're now almost our opinion anyway.

So, despite the problems, we got a lot done.  I'm now molesting only one woman, and just being creepy to the other one (the lady with the bad neck) instead of molesting them both.  Ah well, you can't have everything.

The molestee does get to kick me to the floor though and I'm sure she's enjoying that more than she should.  I also know the nurse is enjoying hitting me with a rolling pin and the dog enjoys biting my bum.

All of this reminded me that, on occasions, I have the same problem with writing.  Nothing goes to plan and I only get a little bit done here and there.  I also realised that it doesn't matter if that happens, because I still get some things my blog a day later than planned. 

Every achievement, however small, is worth a smile of satisfaction.

Have a great day.