Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Over and over and over and over

I honestly thought everything that could go wrong with the play had already gone wrong.
I should learn to stop jinxing myself with positive thinking.

Sam, who plays Parris, one of the male leads, broke his ankle on Friday. This isn't a huge deal, it just messes up the pre-set we were going to do, where he was supposed to carry on the girl who plays his daughter. Finding 15th century looking crutches is another issue, and working those in to performance takes a bit of thinking. Just another thing to deal with.

We did a run today, and it went well. The play is shaping up, it just needs to get much tighter. Some people still need to do a lot more work on their lines. Some people had them weeks ago and appear to have gotten complacent, stopped looking at them and forgotten them. We're running it again tomorrow, and possibly again on Friday. The cast today weren't particularly focused, and i think tomorrow I'm going to be a lot stricter with them. We need to be running it as a performance instead of a rehearsal and at the moment it's definitely too informal.

Tomorrow is going to be exhausting. I'm editing the page, going to a physical theatre workshop, meeting my tutor for next term, going to the dentist, planning and writing a presentation and rehearsing all evening. Gotta get some sleep.


Friday, 26 November 2010

I have nothing to declare except my genius

I've been saying I'd post my essay, but i was holding off until i got my mark back, in case it was worse than i thought and i got ashamed. Happily, i got my mark back today and i got a First, so go me! I'm over the moon about this.
Now i have confirmation that it's not a load of drivel, here's my essay. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it.

In what ways does ‘The Pirate’ embody the sensibilities of Camp?

The sensibility of camp is a subject which has been discussed by a multitude of writers, each of whom seem to come up with a different set of criteria to which something must conform in order to deserve categorization as a camp object. In this essay, for my own ease and in an attempt to come to some form of clear conclusion, I shall solely be focusing on camp as defined by Susan Sontag in her 1961 essay, ‘Notes on Camp’. In so doing I fully realize I am ignoring a vast and fascinating aspect (some would argue the defining aspect) of camp, namely the association between camp sensibilities and gay culture. By focusing on Sontag’s argument, and in particular her statement that “the essence of camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration” I hope to explain how a camp sensibility is translated into ‘The Pirate’ through set, costume and performance.

‘The Pirate’ was directed by Vincente Minnelli, a major figure in MGM musicals, famous for his “adventurously stylized” productions. He, probably more than any other director, popularized the idea of integrating the song and dance routines into the action of the film, so that they appear spontaneous and effortless. One way in which he achieved this sense of naturalized performance was by creating an obviously artificial or stylized world for the characters to inhabit, with the set and costume signifying a disassociation from reality to the audience even before any singing or dancing takes place. By establishing the unnatural nature of the character’s surroundings Minnelli created a space wherein “the boundaries between fantasy and everyday life could easily be transgressed” without jarring the audience. If we consider the film in the light of Sontag’s assertion that “camp is a certain mode of aestheticism... in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization” , we can appreciate the campness of Minnelli’s vision. The overstated visual aspect of the film, the colourful costumes, stylized sets and magnificently constructed backdrops frame the film within a code of campness, working against nature, so that the sets as well as the characters become performative.

The idea of performance, of “being-as-playing-a-role” is central to the sensibility of camp, and this is particularly prominent in the main song and dance sequences of ‘The Pirate’. Sexual desire is expressed through performance by both central characters, firstly by Gene Kelly as Serafin in the song ‘Nina’, and later in Judy Garland’s song, ‘Love of my Life’. The song ‘Nina’ starts with Kelly explaining to the men in the town the way he attracts women, before moving through the town seducing various girls, and finally ending up at a poster of himself, advertising his show. Kelly is performing his desire, but as an audience it is unclear to whom he is performing. Is the song for the men to whom he starts singing, to the women with whom he dances, or to the audience he wishes to entice to his show? What is clear is that the character is supposed to be focused upon. The women, with which he dances, far from serving as objects of desire, become a faceless multitude, entirely interchangeable and un-eroticized. As a result of this, Serafin “assumes the ‘feminine’ position of erotic objectification,” he is the one to whom we as an audience are attracted, thus subverting the traditional cinematic viewpoint of man as subject and woman as object. In this way, ‘Nina’ conforms to Sontag’s idea of “transcend[ing] the nausea of replica” by allowing something to be read in a new and different way.

Similarly, in Garland’s number, ‘Love of my Life,’ we are presented with a performative expression of desire, and here the element of artificiality behind the sentiment being expressed is made abundantly clear. The song is constructed within layers of performance. Garland’s Manuela is expressing her love to Kelly’s Serafin, who is pretending to be Macoco; but she is also singing to provoke Don Pedro, the real Macoco, whilst all the while pretending to be hypnotized. The artificiality is further highlighted by having the sequence take place on Serafin’s stage. Again, it is unclear to the audience to whom Garland’s performance is really aimed. Here, at the most obviously artificial point in the film, the audience is given Manuela’s expression of love for Serafin, supposedly “the most direct expression of ‘true’ feeling,” in the film. This acceptance of artifice in the place of real emotion adheres to Sontag’s statement that “camp refuses both the harmonies of traditional seriousness, and the risks of fully identifying with extreme states of feeling.” What could be seen as a romantic or emotional expression is instead layered within performance and artifice, so that it becomes impossible to read seriously, without the sense of “playful, anti-serious” humour on which camp is based.

This playfulness extends to the portrayal of gender and sex roles in ‘The Pirate’. I have already touched upon the way in which Kelly is ‘feminized’ early on in the film, and this fact is made even more explicit within the ‘Pirate Ballet’ sequence. Here we see quite clearly that Garland as Manuela takes on the ‘masculine’ role as an observer, the subject of the gaze, while Kelly is objectified into the ‘feminine’ position. The sequence starts with Manuela looking out of her window at Serafin, who is pretending to be Macoco. Serafin notices her watching, and plays up to her gaze by fighting the local police force. The camera then cuts back to Manuela before fading into a dream sequence. This editing leaves the audience in no doubt that the following dance routine is entirely Manuela’s fantasy; we experience it through her imagination. The image of Serafin/Macoco we are then given is highly sexualized. As the ruthless pirate of Manuela’s fantasy, Kelly’s body is on display for the audience to admire. Wearing tight black shorts and a low cut, sleeveless vest, Kelly is coded as a sexual object, the black of the costume blending into the darkness of the highly stylized black and red background so that the bare flesh of his legs and arms are the focal point. The camera is placed low, angled up at him so that his crotch is at the centre of every shot. Even the choreography is styled around the male as spectacle. In classical ballet, and in most dream ballet sequences of the period, the male dancer serves as a support for the ballerina (a good example of this is Cyd Charisse’s cameo in the ‘Broadway Ballet’ sequence from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’). Here, this is not the case. Kelly dances with other men, or alone. Only once does he dance with a woman, and then it is only for a second, and we do not see her face. This is a fantasy from a woman’s perspective in which men are sexual objects, thus producing a “provocative disjunction of gendered and sexualized understandings of masculinity,” with which the audience must try to align itself.

The fact that we see Serafin acknowledging that Manuela is watching before he puts on his exaggerated masculine performance leads us back to the point of Sontag’s, that “as a taste in persons, camp responds particularly to the markedly attenuated or to the strongly exaggerated.” All of the performances in ‘The Pirate’ are exaggerated to some extent, but Serafin playing Macoco, and Manuela when pretending to be hypnotized are the most interesting in terms of camp sensibility. In both cases we see the characters playing heightened versions of gender stereotypes. Serafin as Macoco is all machismo, lowering his voice and puffing out his chest. Manuela under ‘hypnosis’ is a heavy breathing, quivering lipped parody of femininity. This “relish for the exaggeration of sexual characteristics and personality mannerisms” firmly places both characters in the realm of camp, performing gender stereotypes to an extent that could almost be considered drag.

A final way in which ‘The Pirate’ could be considered to embody the sensibilities of camp is in its portrayal of an unconventional romance narrative. Serafin falls for Manuela’s beauty, but as an audience we get the impression that he would be willing to forget her as he does all the other women until he hears her sing. The relationship is then less about romance than it is about Serafin wanting her for her talent, to the point where he even states that “it’s isn’t essential for you to love me.” The film instead provides the audience with a “camp romance narrative... [which] tampers with romantic expectations.” The two characters do not have a typical courtship; Manuela only falls for Serafin because she thinks that he is Macoco, and only finds happiness when she “exchanges dreams for self-conscious artifice” . The film thwarts our expectations to the last, when instead of the expected union of the couple we are given an androgynous, unromantic comedy musical number.

This final number, ‘Be A Clown’ could be taken as a suggestion for how to read the film as a whole. The couple perform on a lavishly decorated stage, surrounded by artifice, encouraging the audience both on screen and off to laugh with them. If “the whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious,” then ending the film on a subversive and humorous note is a perfect summation of camp sensibility. We are presented with the “artifice and exaggeration” of the film, in terms of set, costume and performance, and told by the leads that it is alright to find it funny; in the end they remind us that “camp taste is, above all, a mode of enjoyment... camp is generous, it wants to enjoy.”


Cohan, Steven, ‘Dancing with balls in the 1940s: sissies, sailors and the camp masculinity of Gene Kelly’ in The Trouble with Men: Masculinities in European and Hollywood Cinema, eds. Powrie, Phil, Ann Davis and Bruce Babington (London & New York: Wallflower Press, 2004)

Cohan, Steven, Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical, (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2005)

Dyer, Richard, ‘Judy Garland and Camp’ in Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2004)

Naremore, James, The Films of Vincente Minnelli, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Sontag, Susan, Against Interpretation and Other Essays, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1961),

Tinkcom, Matthew, ‘”Working Like a Homosexual” Camp Visual Codes and the Labour of Gay Subjects in the MGM Freed Unit’ in Hollywood Musicals and The Film Reader, ed. Steven Cohan (New York: Routledge, 2001)

So yeah, there that is. Apparently i could have gotten higher marks if i hadn't sold myself short in my introduction by saying i was only looking at Sontag when in fact my research was broader. Bah, live and learn. Still, I'm happy, and that's 25% of my grade for this course in the bag.
Had a rehearsal today for an hour and a half doing the last 15 minutes of act 3. The staging is fine, so we were really just focusing on lines and motivations. It does get better every time we do it, and people take direction very well, really listening to my notes and applying them to their performance, but the lines are still weak. The interesting this was that we did a line run with everyone sitting down and it was almost perfect. They just seem to get confused when we're up and moving. It's frustrating, but i think we've almost got it.

I'm spending the evening trying to get well, getting posters printed, and going up to London to get my hair dyed. I'm thinking fluorescent pink. Good idea?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The feet of them that hang.

The poster is done, and it's bloody awesome!

Huge thanks to Poli for doing another great job. You guys should go check out her blog, Tactless Twat. There's a link to it on the sidebar, or you can just click http://pepperminnts.blogspot.com/. She takes beautiful pictures and writes interesting words.

Happy Turkey Day

A couple of random posts to celebrate my forefathers stealing from the native Americans and ruining their way of life. Pumpkin pie is tasty.

Yeah, it kind of speaks for itself.

Next we have a piece i write for the "Film matters" column on my newspaper page this week. It was supposed to be in reference to Never Let Me Go, and all the other book adaptations that are coming out at the moment, but it kind of became about Harry Potter and the unoriginality of directors. I hope you like it. I'm worried the ending isn't as clear as i would have liked, but i reached my word limit and had to make it more concise.

Whenever a  film adaptation of a book comes out, the audience is going to be split. Fans of the book tend to prefer the original, commenting on all the ways in which the film has altered the text. People who have not read the original often prefer the film. For most, it seems whichever way they first experience a text tends to remain their favourite. This generalization applies to classics, or books and films aimed towards an older audience, and it is not necessarily a bad thing.
But a change is developing, clearly defined among younger readers and audiences; the appearance of films and books which are inextricably linked. The Harry Potter and Twilight sagas, with their huge followings, have become cultural juggernauts, to the point where the characters in the books will forever have the faces of the actors portraying them. Edward Cullen is Robert Pattinson, Harry Potter is Daniel Radcliffe. Fans seem to love the franchise rather than the medium.
To an extent this makes life easier for the directors and screenwriters. They have a pre-built audience who are eager to love whatever they put on screen, so long as it doesn’t mess with the basic idea of the book. The lazy, poorly written first entries in the Harry Potter and Twilight film canon are evidence of this. These audiences don’t seem to want anything new, they demand more of the same. While this may be fine for tween hordes desperate for their safe fantasy fix, I don’t see why adult audiences should have to put up with by-the-numbers remakes.
When a book adaptation comes out which really shakes things up, either by changing part of the story, or by portraying the original text in a brand new way (think of the end of Fight Club, or Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet), it seems to first be met with resistance, before being praised for its vision and originality. Why then are so many adaptations so afraid of breaking the mould?
By their very nature films and novels are different. Books allow you to imagine characters and settings however you like, letting you create the visual world of the text within your head. In film, by casting, by choosing certain settings, the director is immediately imposing their interpretation of the text on the audience. There is no way a film can be exactly the same as each audience member’s experience of the text, and I don’t think it should try to be. If a film tries to exactly impersonate a book, it can only fail. In my opinion, if an adaptation is to really be successful, the director or adaptor must think about their own interpretation of the book, liberating themselves from the expectations of others. In so doing, the film would in some ways be more personal, more true to the original effect of the novel, and perhaps then we would have more Where The Wild Things Are’s and less P.S. I Love You’s, and the cinematic world might be a better, more imaginative place.

I had 3 hours of rehearsals today, working on act 1 and act 4. All of them went pretty well and were uneventful. I feel like we're at the stage now that we should have been at 2 weeks ago, and it's frustrating me, but there is little i can do apart from plan as many rehearsals as possible and beg people to learn their lines.

I am so ready for the weekend.

Your everafter is all i'm after

I just found this amazing mural project called A Love Letter For You and i had to share some of the murals with you.

I love some of the things i find on the Internet at 1 in the morning. Find out more, or just take a look, at www.aloveletterforyou.com

Up bubbles all his amorous breath

This is my 200th post, how cool (shamelessly self indulgent) is that? It makes me wish i had something more special to say.

Today was exhausting. I had a 9AM seminar on Aldous Huxley, then spent 3 hours editing my newspaper page, then came home to do some important emails. I went to my favourite cafe to plan some rehearsals and do some preparation for a presentation I'm doing next week, then came back on to campus for a four hour rehearsal of act 3. My cold is getting worse by the minute and the whole left side of my face is throbbing. The worst part is that ALL the cold medicine i can find is non-drowsy, and the caffeine in it will keep me awake if i take it, so i have to choose between breathing or sleeping. Not fun.

So, yeah, act 3. On Monday it was God-awful. Today we went through it unit by unit, re-working staging and making sure everyone knew exactly what they were doing. I'm hugely relieved to say that the guy i was worried about (and whose lines i spent a good few hours today cutting, in case he couldn't learn them all) had obviously been scared into working, and had vastly improved. He's still far from perfect, but he's a hundred times better than he was.

Spending 4 hours rehearsing a half hour scene, i was hoping we could work through it and then run it a couple of times, but we were working so slowly, and for some parts the lines are still so tentative, that in the end by the time we had worked through all of the units it was already almost 10, and we didn't have time to run the whole scene. It looks so much better than it did, but we still have so far to go. I ended the rehearsal frustrated, despite the improvement in the scene.

In other exciting news, the costumes are almost completely sorted and they look great, and my fabulous friend Poli just sent me a rough version of the poster, which is AMAZING! Even if the show isn't great at least it's gonna look pretty stylish.

Right, I'm dead, time for bed. I'll post a picture of the poster as soon as i get a high quality copy. I'll also treat you to an article i wrote about book adaptations, and possibly my essay on Camp. Don't ever say I'm not good to you.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Pity me, John. Pity me.

7 hours of rehearsals today.
I'm feeling worse than i have all year. My cold is worse, and y wisdom teeth are coming through, which makes me whole head ache. Had to come to campus early to book a dentist appointment, and the earliest i could get is for a week tomorrow, so i have another week of this to endure before it even gets checked out. Not fun.

During the day i planned 4 short rehearsals of specific scenes with small casts. First off was the end of act 2. The beginning of act 2 is great, but the end gets a bit messy, so it was good to go over some areas of staging and specific moments. The hour went pretty quickly, and although we got a lot done the scene still needs some polishing. Again, my cast are for the most part completely amazing, and it was an easy start to the day. Some of the lines for the scene are still slightly shaky, but i still think it's the strongest act in the play.

The next hour was supposed to be the start of act 3. Act 3 is by far the weakest, and this was an important rehearsal. One character dominates the act in terms of lines, and he is the only actor (apart from James, who just joined the cast) who isn't even close to being off book. He is the only actor I'm worried about, and he didn't turn up. No text, no call, just didn't come. For the third time. Why is it the actors that need the most rehearsal time that turn up to the least amount of rehearsals? It's driving me crazy. I don't know what to do about him. He's dragging the entire play down and i don't know what i can do to stop it. Bah. I took an hour off, took some cold medication and snuggled in an armchair.

Hour number 3 and i was doing a very short scene between Proctor and Abigail from act 1. It was one of the first scenes we rehearsed, and i haven't specifically looked at it since. Both actors are so great, knew their lines, knew exactly what the scene needs to be and took every note i gave them immediately. By the end of the hour the scene looked perfect. I just hope it stays that standard for the next 3 weeks until performance.

Hour 4 was Proctor and Elizabeth doing their scene from act 4. I love this scene so much, it breaks my heart every time. Again, both actors are awesome, great at taking direction, know their lines and are willing to really perform in rehearsal. By the end of the hour the scene was looking great. Happy, ill, tired Lucy.

After a 2 hour break, a burger, and a pint of alcoholic ginger beer i headed back the the rehearsal room for our first full run through. My producer Sarah was there to prompt so i could just watch and make notes. I told the cast not to have their scripts on stage, and to do the run as a performance, as though in front of an audience. The first act went alright, the second was slower than it should have been, but alright, the third was so awful it doesn't bear thinking about, and the fourth was mixed highs and lows. The run came in at just under 3 hours, with pausing, occasional re-running and FAR TOO MUCH prompting. Line learning is the bane of a director's life, i swear. You can rehearse for hours and hours, but you can't force lines into some one's head.

All in all the day was productive, and for the most part pretty rewarding. All but one of my cast are amazing, and getting better with every rehearsal. I'm stressing about the one who doesn't know his lines, and i don't feel i can even start work on his delivery until he knows them at least a little. The worst thing is that i know he is trying, and he gets so angry with himself for not knowing them that i don't feel i can tell him off any more. I'm getting so frustrated.

Tomorrow I'm fitting the cast with costumes, and maybe doing some small rehearsals in the afternoon, but it should be a pretty light day. I think i need it.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Cleavage warfare

Today was pretty great in a very low key way. As a result, today's photos are of unexpected nice things.

I guess i just thought it was great because it should have been crap. I'm still ill, I had my essay to write and the newspaper page to finish, as well as an events team meeting to go to, but everything went so easily and smoothly that I'm at home, in bed, at half past 8. This never happens!

It's my mum's birthday today, and i wasn't able to talk to her because she's off on an adventure in Muscat, so i thought I'd take this opportunity to tell her and the rest of the world that i think she's wonderful and amazing and that I love her very, very much.

One of the reasons I love her is that she makes me look like an idiot pretty regularly, see...

Yeah, she'll do for now.

On an entirely unrelated note, Alex sent me the poem he wrote about me and my friend Rosemary Terry. It's horribly inappropriate, but i love it, so i thought I'd post it. You can look back through posts from this time 2 years ago for his previous poems if you want the full experience.

Rosemary Terror


Doesn't know what she wants, but she knows how to get it,
A friend when she's drunk, though she'd rather forget it,
To look at her you'd think a sin,
Those blameless eyes that draw you in,
But don't be fooled, she'll blast your wits,
While you're distracted by her tits,
And use those sweetest virgin eyes,
To kiss the boys and make them cry,

What use is mortal man's erection,
Coming up against perfection,
Lost amongst a sea of suitors,
Lucid dreams, OK Computers,
Yet when I think all hope has slipped,
A traitor's smile escapes her lips,

Attention that she knows I crave,
I'm falling and I won't be saved,
It takes some skill to puppet me,
And she just got an MSc,
Knowing lips so full and juicy,
How she teases just like Lucy...

Oh my God, she's just like Lucy,
Using hatred to seduce me,
Cleavage warfare keeps me wanking,
Terry front and Lucy flanking,
Backing me in to a corner,
How this makes me want to horn her...


Who do I want to fuck again?
20 catches in my brain,
I just don't need a couple more,
To beat my lust in to the floor,
My hungry heart is so confused,
Now they want to make me choose,

But why make such a choice at all?
If Onyx had to make the call,
He'd split himself to there and thine,
And hit two birds at the exact same time!
So Rosemary and Lucy stop your squabbling over me,
And solve the fight in bed tonight, mine's big enough for three.

Isn't he charming?!

I'm going to finish editing my essay tonight, but I'm pretty proud of it, so i might post it up here tomorrow, in case you're wondering what i do at university apart from get stressed and provoke perverse poets.

Bitten by brutality

Very short post today because I'm exhausted and my head hurts too much to look at my screen for long.

I was apprehensive about today's rehearsal. After yesterday's disaster i was worried that people would be demoralized. I really wanted our first run through to go well. Today was exhausting and stressful anyway, and a change to my room booking meant that we only had a 2 hour slot to rehearse. Adding insult to injury, it then turned out that the performance space was empty, despite being booked, and we could have been in there for the whole 4 hours I would have liked to rehearse.

I called the cast for 7:45, so that Lana could talk to them before we started our rehearsal at 8. Lana was great, reiterating things i have said to them and adding important points. I think having someone from outside the show, especially a fantastic actress they all admire, and the president of the society telling them that they need to work harder and put in more consistent effort had a much stronger effect than when i said it. Hopefully i won't have to say it again.

We started the run in the performance space (such a stroke of luck that we could use it, even on stolen time), and it seems like everyone has put in a HUGE amount of work in the past 24 hours. The first 2 acts went remarkably smoothly, almost completely without scripts, and with staging and characterization remaining strong. Act 3 was still a little shaky, but so much better than yesterday. We ran out of time before we could do act 4, but I'm feeling so much better than i was this time yesterday that i don't particularly mind.

So, as usual, peaks and troughs. I just hope yesterday was the last really low point, and that from here on in we can build the show up at every rehearsal.

Right, i need to sleep. My head is throbbing and i have a dissertation to write tomorrow.
Goodnight Moon.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Every day oughta be a bad day for you

Today was bad.

First off, I'm getting ill. My throat is hurting and by mid-afternoon i was feeling light-headed. I slept through my alarm and didn't get out of bed till about noon, which is awful because this is one of the busiest and most stressful weeks of my university career. I have part of a dissertation due in, as well as my budget and health and safety for the play, and my producer is away so i have to do it all myself. Bah.

From 3 till 5 we rehearsed act 2, slotting James in to the blocking we've already worked out. The cast have known for a month that today was their deadline for knowing their lines, but since it was the first run without scripts i was expecting it to be a bit shaky. It started well, and it's remarkable the difference there is to the dynamic between two people just by removing a piece of paper. As the scene progressed the lines got worse, but not awful. All in all i was pleased, and it put me in a good mood for this evening's rehearsal. I headed to the library for 2 hours of essay prep while my cast had a break.

At 7 I headed back to the rehearsal room to do acts 3 and 4. The second half of the play is trickier than the first, and again i was expecting it to be slow going without scripts, but my expectations had been raised by the performance earlier in the day.

It was awful. Act 3, as I have said, has almost everyone on stage, and it seems that when their scripts were taken away, their spatial awareness or blocking was taken with it. Certain cast members seem to have put absolutely no effort into their lines whatsoever, which meant that people who had learned their lines were messing up because the cues were wrong. After about half an hour of futile mumbling I was absolutely livid, and told my cast as much. It seems like I'm having to tell them off at every rehearsal.

We decided to forget about the staging and do a line run, since their lines were supposed to be learned. The way that i saw it there was no point in trying to act if the lines weren't there, and i can't seem to trust them to learn them in their own time. It was slow and demeaning, and I'm sure some of the cast hate me right now because i made it very clear just how little effort they had put in, and how much more was required of them, but to be honest, i don't really care if they do. I'm tired of being nice and getting it thrown back in my face. Maybe a little humiliation will kick them into action, since kindness, pleading and yelling hasn't. I'm running out of ideas.

So I came home on a bus full of drunken freshers singing wartime counting songs (12 German bombers in the air, etc.) ridiculously loudly, my voice all but vanished, all my energy gone, in a truly rotten mood. All i can think of is this:

"Far beyond the moon and stars,
Twenty light-years south of Mars,
Spins the gentle Bunny Planet,
And the Bunny Queen is Janet."

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Find success in passionate failures

I should have posted this on Friday, but it's been a busy, drunken and kind of awesome weekend, so i delayed.

So, on Friday we rehearsed Act 1 for 3 hours. It was the first time James was actually up and acting, and he was great, as i knew he would be. We ran through the act twice, with me moving James around, slotting him in to the staging we had already worked out. Again a couple of people were missing, but i think the cast have FINALLY realized how hard they have to work to make the show a success, and everyone seems to really be buckling down.

There are some really lovely moments already, and since from tomorrow none of the cast will have scripts in their hands (i say, blinded by insane and futile hope) we should be able to develop these even further. As I've said before, this is my favourite part of rehearsing. I like when i can nitpick tiny little moments, because at the end of the day that's what makes the show interesting to watch. I'm apprehensive about tomorrow's rehearsals. I really want people to know their lines and i don't think they will, but i think by forbidding them to have their scripts anywhere near the stage I'll scare them into realizing how little they know, and how much more they have to do.

So yeah, right now I'm feeling confident, but trying not to let it get the better of me. All of the other times I've felt confident about this show something awful has happened. Keep your fingers crossed.

So, this weekend. It's been good. After my lovely rehearsal on Friday a bunch of my cast and I went to the bar, and ended up staying until it closed. We were joined by the casts of various other plays, and once the bar we were in closed, we went to the other bar on campus. Hanging out and chatting with old friends and new ones, being very geeky, singing songs from the Buffy musical and generally being drunk drama types. It was good fun.
While we were at this second bar, one of my new friends, Luke, started reciting this poem by Eleanor Brown, which i think is completely wonderful and hilarious, and which i want to memorize. Enjoy.


You ask what I think of your new acquisition;
and since we are now to be 'friends',
I'll strive to the full to cement my position
with honesty. Dear - it depends.

It depends upon taste, which must not be disputed;
for which of us does understand
why some like their furnishings pallid and muted,
their cookery wholesome, but bland?

There isn't a law that a face should have features,
it's just that they generally do;
God couldn't give colour to all of his creatures,
and only gave wit to a few;

I'm sure she has qualities, much underrated,
that compensate amply for this,
along with a charm that is so understated
it's easy for people to miss.
And if there are some who choose clothing to flatter
what beauties they think they possess,
when what's underneath has no shape, does it matter
if there is no shape to the dress?

It's not that I think she is boring, precisely,
that isn't the word I would choose;
I know there are men who like girls who talk nicely
and always wear sensible shoes.

It's not that I think she is vapid and silly;
it's not that her voice makes me wince;
but - chilli con carne without any chilli
is only a plateful of mince...

Isn't that great? It makes me thing of someone in particular, but out of politeness I'm afraid i can't say who.

Yesterday i spent most of the day in bed, then went out and saw my housemate James's new sketch show, which was wonderful, and then went to the after party for that, which was at my friend Alex's house. Again, it was full of drunken drama people being geeks. I love my friends. Alex is the one who wrote the poems about me (which i posted about 2 years ago, go re-read them, they're awesome) and yesterday he read a new one that he wrote about my friend Rosemary, in which i have a supporting role. I'll get him to send a copy and post it up, I think you'll enjoy it.

Today I spent the day hungover, sitting in my favourite cafe, reading Susan Sontag's Notes on Camp, doing dissertation research and being given free coffee by a cute Scottish man. I'm writing an essay about how The Pirate, a Gene Kelly and Judy Garland musical, portrays a camp sensibility. So Much Fun! I'm spending this evening analyzing Gene in hotpants. I'm writing my final dissertation on camp, so i get to read all kinds of awesome essays that make me feel like a total geek (sitting in a corner with my massive glasses on, giggling to myself and muttering "oh Susan, you're such a card!").
Oh i do love my degree!