Tuesday, 17 January 2012

This is my moon

Hello again.
Today has been both unbelievably lazy (it's 5:15 and I'm still in my pyjamas) and incredibly productive.
I was supposed to start rehearsals for Radio yesterday, but my actor was ill so we postponed until tomorrow. I decided to use this extra time to do some context research about America in the 1950s and 60s, in particular the space race. I thought I'd share a little of what i found.

Did you know that the first animals in space were not in fact Russian dogs, but American fruit flies? I'm having trouble finding out if they were intentional passengers or accidental casualties, but either way i find that kind of exciting.

Laika the dog was a stray. The Russian space centre selected stray dogs because they were already used to extreme cold and little food, and so were thought to be better able to withstand space travel. Her flight was never intended to return, and on the day before she was blasted off one of the scientists in charge of the mission took her home to play with his children, saying "I wanted to do something nice for her, she had so little time left to live."

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon and return to earth, broadcast live on television 31 hours in to their journey, reciting the first 10 chapters of Genesis. Video footage is on youtube, and becomes even more moving if you listen to it while Clint Mansell's soundtrack for Moon is playing in the background.

Most of the other things i found out are more directly relevant to Radio, such as the fact that his parents were married the day Big Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, Or that Rugby, North Dakota was never officially recognised as the geographic centre of the North American continent, but the townspeople erected a monument anyway, or that the way cartographers in 1918 decided Lebanon, Kansas was the geographic centre of the contiguous United States was by making a cardboard cut out shaped like the country and balancing it on a point. All of these things bring me great joy, and an insight into the characters in the play.

I'd like to ask you guys a favour. I think most people who regularly read my blog are around the same age as Charlie, the character in my play (he was born June 21st, 1950) and were in San Francisco the same time he was. The majority of the play is him telling the story of his childhood in relation to America as a nation, and in particular the effect that the space race had on him. Two very important points in the play are the Apollo 8 mission (Christmas 1968) and the moon landing. I only know about these things as historical moments, but you guys have living memories of them. If any of you feel like it, I'd love to know anything you can remember about either mission, where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, and most importantly how you felt. I feel this will give me and my actor a far greater insight into Charlie and his emotions than anything i can research on the Internet.

Sorry to give you guys homework, but I'd love to know anything you care to share.
That's all for today.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Guess who's back?

Wow, again it's been a long time, I apologise, I really should post here more.

Since October a lot has changed.

I now live in a lovely flat in Aldgate with two lovely flatmates. It is a converted denim factory and has big windows and wooden floors and exposed brickwork and i love it a kind of embarrassing amount. It's in the heart of the East End, which is one of the artiest, hippest, youngest, most vibrant parts of London. It's completely full of hipsters, devout Muslims and Indian people. I live opposite the East London Mosque and hear the call to prayer 5 times a day. The whole place is wonderful.

I finished the internship that i was doing with Clod Ensemble, which was interesting. I was occasionally fascinated and moved by their work and the work they curated for their Anatomy season, and i was occasionally bored almost to tears by day after day or excel spreadsheets. The life of an intern is not their own.

Since October i have been working on a director's traineeship programme with a theatre company called StoneCrabs, based in Deptford, south London. Similarly to the internship, it has been occasionally captivating and at times mind numbingly frustrating. For the most part, and particularly in the past 2 months, i have loved almost every minute of it. I'm directing a play i have wanted to work on for almost 5 years, and the excitement of being back in the driving seat of a production has kicked in with full force.

In case you're curious about the play or the festival of plays we are putting on in 3 weeks time, here's a link to the theatre website: http://www.thealbany.org.uk/event_detail/731/Theatre/Play-Things-

If you're feeling generous and would like to donate something towards our fundraising goal then here's a link to that: http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/stonecrabstc

I think over the next few weeks I'll try and get back into my regular pattern of rehearsal diary blogs. I'll tell you about the play and how it's progressing. I honestly do feel bad for neglecting this blog, and I'll try and get back on track.

If you're interested in something i update much more regularly, I have a tumblr where i mainly post photographs that catch my eye. It is a very different blog to this one, since i hardly ever write anything, but if you feel like looking at some pretty pictures, or want to psychoanalyse me based on my choice of visual stimulus, please go to http://kiss-me-badly.tumblr.com/

That's all for now. I'm spending the rest of my day re-reading my play for the hundredth time before i have my first read through with my actor on Wednesday.

I'll be in touch.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Lucy Atkinson, BA Hons.

Mum sent me these photos to add to the graduation section of that last post, but i like them so much that i'm going to put them in a post of their own.

It was a truly awesome day; like a hundred million hotdogs.

A New Chapter

Wow, it's been a long time.
Sorry about that, i always seem to drift away from the blog during the summer, which is odd because i'm on my computer just as much as i am during the colder months. I think i just have less procrastination to do during the summer. Maybe once i get busy again i'll start blogging more frequently.

Anyway, a lot has happened since i last wrote, and i'll try my best to fill you in on all of it without writing the longest post in the history of the internet. Where to start?

Just after i last wrote, Mum and i went on an incredible cruise from around the Baltic. We set off from Stockholm (which i fell in love with and can't wait to visit again) and ended up in Copenhagen, stopping along the way in Talinn, St. Petersberg, Helsinki, and Warnemulde (for a day trip to Berlin). We got picked up in Copenhagen by Carol and Hal, two of mum's friends from her days in Washington, and they drove us to their house in Oslo, where we spent a lovely few days taking in the sights and being underwhelmed by the men. Words can't really express how much fun it was, so here are some photos.

I've decided that i could get used to a life of such luxury.

Whilst on the cruise, after a sweltering day in St Petersberg, i got the results from my degree. I got a very respectable 2.1, and while my initial reaction was to burst in to tears (which confused and terrified the mother) I am actually pretty proud of myself. I managed to get a good grade whilst maintaining a social life and directing plays almost every term.

After we got back to England, mum and I only had a few days rest before we were off to Latitude festival. It was the 3rd year for me, and mum's second, and we decided to do it in style, hiring a "pod" for the weekend. Our little wendy-house was dry and relatively warm, and we had beds that were off the ground. Compared to sleeping in a tent it was heavenly. The festival was, as always, a hoot. We only saw two bands the whole weekend, instead spending most of our time in the theatre tent, or being read short stories by David Morrissey (swoon). I got to meet Arthur Darville whilst mum flirted with a fairy godmother, and we both fell in love with a bearded graphic novelist eco-warrior. Fun times.

A couple of days after returning, Dad flew over to England to watch me graduate. The whole day was so much better than i was expecting. The ceremony was just the right mix of somber and lighthearted, and though initially i was frustrated at the change of university chancellor (when i joined Sussex, the chancellor was Richard Attenborough, by the time i graduated it was Sanjeev Baskar), Sanjeev did an excellent job in every respect. The whole day was magnificent.

I then packed up all my things and moved out of Brighton. Bidding farewell to the city by the sea, I made my way up to Edinburgh for the festival. I was working on a box-office for a theatre and living with the boys from Casual Violence (my friends from Brighton). To describe all the wonderful, inspiring, challenging, hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking things i saw over the course of the festival would take a year. I saw 70 shows in 24 days, and all but 2 of them were wonderful. Whatever happens i plan on going again next year, ideally with a show of my own, but if not then at least as the most prolific viewer the festival has ever known.

That brings us up to the end of August, and the pace starts to slow a little. On the way down from Edinburgh i  meet the parents and grandparents in York, and travel with the parents down to London to stay with some friends of theirs. Dad goes home and mum and i spend an evening drinking wine and watching the entire first season of Downton Abbey. We move to Surbiton to stay at Rose and Pete's house while they're in their house in Greece, and then mum goes back to Bahrain. I spend the next 6 weeks living in Rose and Pete's house, looking after their dog and being very lazy, moping about the fact that i'm homeless and jobless.

In fact, i spent that 6 weeks ushering for a site specific show from a theatre company called Headlong, who are incredible, and through it i had some great experiences and made some new friends. I was also frantically house hunting and job hunting, and eventually got two interviews. The first was for an internship with a theatre company called Clod Ensemble, who are producing and facilitating a series of events, performances, lectures, conversations and exhibitions over the next 3 months at various venues all across London, including Sadler's Wells, the Wellcome Collection and the Whitechapel Gallery. I got it, and for the past 2 weeks have been travelling up to Bethnal Green 3 days a week to work on putting together this season. It's fascinating, complex and occasionally confusing, but I'm really enjoying it. Part of the internship includes making sure that the projects Clod run year round don't get left by the wayside during the course of the season, so i spend every Friday afternoon in a community centre for elderly people in Holborn doing a photography workshop. I'm loving it.

The second interview was for a Director's Traineeship Programme, run by a theatre company called Stonecrabs. It runs from October until February, one day and one evening per week. During the day you work on building up directing skills through workshops and text analysis for the first half of the course, and for the second half of the course you work with actors on the play you are directing, culminating in a performance in the Albany Theatre in Deptford in February. The evening sessions are about the business of directing, and over the run of the programme you are in charge of creating, marketing and running the performance. We are entirely responsible for every aspect of the show, from casting to rehearsal to advertising and press, right down to the running order of the performances. There were 9 spaces on the programme, and i got one of them. I'm over the moon. It starts on Tuesday and i promise i'll tell you everything.

My final piece of exciting news is that today i moved out of Rose and Pete's attic and in to a beautiful flat in Whitechapel. It's in a converted denim factory and has brick walls and a wooden floor and entire walls of windows. It's tiny but i love it, and the two people i am living with are both lovely. I've only been here for about 6 hours, and most of my stuff is still in a storage container down in Brighton, but this already feels like home.

So there you have it. A chapter of my life has ended, and an exciting new one has begun. I am no longer a student, but a pseudo-intellectual young un-professional, living the dream. Wish me luck.
Love you all.

Monday, 13 June 2011

It's not just for gays any more.

I want nothing more than to go to the Tony awards one day.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

We Will Become Silhouettes

Today I did something cool.

Actually, i did a lot of cool things, I saw Rocket to the Moon at the National Theatre (for every essay that i finish i buy myself a theatre ticket. That was the last of my degree, and it was incredible. There are so many great deals for young people to see world class theatre in London, and I'm abusing this privilege as much as humanly possible); I also went to the Globe and bought tickets for me and the parentals for All's Well That Ends Well and Doctor Faustus for next month. I got chatted up by a cute busker and got my photo taken for a Japanese fashion blog (Doctor Who is right, bow-ties are cool. Mine is blue and velvet and goes particularly well with short shorts and giant heels).

But the REALLY cool thing i did today was register to be a bone marrow donor and an organ donor. Last year my friend Chaz died because she couldn't find a bone marrow donor. This is my way of remembering her and helping other people in her situation. As for the organ donation, it's something I've planned on doing for a long time and i finally got around to actually signing up.

I'm posting this up here not only because i think it's important and pretty cool, but also because most of the people who read this could be counted as next of kin, or people who ought to know. I plan on outliving all of you, but just in case something unexpected happens, i want you guys to know that i plan on donating everything i viably can, and then i want to be cremated, turned into fireworks and handed out to my loved ones, to be set off in places that remind them of me.

It's going to be an awfully big adventure. Hopefully in an awfully long time.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Write me

I love letters, and i almost never get them. There's something so much more personal about post than email correspondence, don't you think?

(George Carlin, not only a hilarious man, but a damn romantic one too.)

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

I got your back

I am too in love with Bo Burnham. He's a comedy songwriter, he's the same age as me, he has 2 albums and is on a world tour. I'm seeing him for free next week and i couldn't be more excited.

All of his songs are amazing, but this one, of his forthcoming (and as yet unrecorded) rap album is by far and away my favourite.

He's a tall, skinny, white kid from Michigan, but he might have just made the best rap song I've ever heard. He looks so sad and angry when he sings it, you can tell it comes from personal experience.

I've listened to it over 10 times today. Breaks my heart.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Drizzle and a hurricane

Having finished my degree, I'm finally allowed to read books without having to analyze them, and the first new book I've chosen to read is Looking For Alaska, which is aimed at 16 year olds, and which i am enjoying immensely. From what I've read so far, it's like a teem version of The Secret History, which is in my top 10 books of all time, but with more teen angst and awkwardness. After I've finished it i might be really indulgent and re-read Gatsby, Kavalier and Clay, The Virgin Suicides, The Secret History and Lord of the Flies. My brain is to tired for anything new that might be challenging, and i haven't let myself read any of those for at least 6 months. Hooray for being allowed to read my favourite books without feeling guilty!

As for the rest of my life. I have a phone interview for a job during the Edinburgh festival, which i really hope i get. I'm rehearsing for a play that I'm in, which isn't great theatre but is a lot of fun. I should start house hunting so that i have somewhere to live come September. People keep asking me what I'm going to do now that I've finished uni, and i don't know what to tell them. For now, I'm seeing where the days take me.

Come back to the old five and dime

Yes please.