You don't have to have multiple personality disorder to work here, but it helps

So last night, according to Joan's instructions for today's rehearsal, I wrote down all my characters list-style: their names, ages, how they speak, what they're like, and so on.

There are nine of them, you know? Nine. Unless, of course, the Poser and the Female of Posh Couple are in fact one and the same. If they are, there are eight. And one of them doesn't speak (thank God). So that means there are only seven really. So that's alright then.

Trust me, this play is fun and challenging to do. Thank God for our director though, is all I'm saying.

So anyway, I'd already spent quite a lot of time yesterday writing something quite different, and I was tired but wired by the time I hit my character analysis thing. Maybe it was the late hour I were keeping, the midnight oil I were burning, but I seemed to access some (ooo-eee-ooo) different level of intuition as I wrote my notes on my characters. I didn't stop to think or to make anything up, I just wrote down who I thought they are, down to things we will never see (or do) on-stage  It's very strange; though whilst I've always wanted characters to be flesh-and-bloody (even in the case they're "only ciphers"), I've not always really set much stock by the "what did they have for breakfast" thing – it's always felt a tad too much, too contrived. And okay, I don't know what these nine/eight/seven had for breakfast – but it's only because I didn't look and I would if I did, and I do know who likes to get pissed and what they're likely to do then, and who thinks what of themselves, and what sort of hair they have really (as opposed to when they're stuck with my body because I'm channelling them, yes).

Confused? You won't be, after this week's episode of... Shakers.

Make 'em laugh

Want to know what's going on here? You'll have to come and see for yourself....

Sunday's rehearsal saw the coming together of our Shakers and Bouncers for the first time in a while as the girls joined us for a couple of hours at the end. Having an audience in rehearsal can be a bit daunting, especially when doing scenes that aren't polished at this stage, but the girls went easy on us and we succeeded in making them laugh. Phew! It was really great to have the Shakers there and I think the Bouncers quite enjoyed the chance to test some of their characters out on an audience.

Stag nights and hen dos ...

Always on the lookout for cocktail waitresses, we auditioned this unsuspecting bridegroom-to-be on Sunday.



Meet the Shakers!

You've met the Bouncers - here are the Shakers. They work as waitresses in a cocktail bar (à la Human League), assuming other personae during the course of the play. We're off-book and having fun getting into 80s costumes and culture. We're also working hard on the characters. How does a female portray a gay male TV producer? Stay tuned to find how!

From left to right: Zoë Chandler, Haylie Lehtovaara, Anna Rawlings, Stina Halmetoja

Why acting is like walking on air

As previously mentioned by Christian, books down, a.k.a. off-script, is a bad day. I share with him the experience of having – once upon a long time ago – been the annoying twat who knows their lines so early on the play's hardly been cast. It is puzzling, bewildering, annoying and bloody scary to find yourself unable to remember your lines with the former ease; and an additional problem is that those who remember you from the days of yore still expect you to be line-perfect from day one. Including, and probably mostly, yourself. You have A Reputation to Uphold, at least in your mind. Which doesn't help in the least when you step over the edge into the screaming void of having no script in your hand. These days, when I go off-script, the world around loses all solidity, three-word sentences become entirely unfamiliar uses of language never hitherto encountered, and a wild flailing and failing is all that I seem to manage.

We Shakers had that day yesterday. Cunningly, I had already put myself through the horrible experience a week early. It helps. For once it's done, it's never quite as bad again (at least not until opening night). As the scriptless days wear on, places start appearing in the play where – against all the odds – you find yourself doing the Wiley Coyote thing: as long as you don't think about it, you can stop the free-fall, you can walk on air, even with an amount of panache and that cocksure way you must cultivate for stage purposes. As long as you don't look down. Or count days until the opening night.