What I have learned

Every time you are in a production, even when in a supporting role, you put quite a bit of time into it. What makes it worth it is that normally you learn some new things – about yourself, about life and so on. When coming closer to the end of a project, I tend to try and summarise what sort of new knowledge or life lessons I have gained during the process. Here is what I have learned during ‘I Hate Hamlet’:

1. I can pull off fuchsia. Not sure if I ever want to after I finish being Felicia, but at least now I know that option is viable.
2. My hair can reach all new heights.
3. It is possible to start wearing earrings again after almost ten years. Let’s just say I have literally bled for this show. I probably shouldn’t get more graphic than that.
4. It is also possible to find an accent you thought you had lost forever. When I began studying English philology at the University, my accent was very much so American (thanks to the hours and hours of TV I had watched growing up). Then, after I lived in England for a year, I created my own accent, which was more towards the British side, but had hints of American still left in it. For Felicia, I have managed to find my inner American again. Well, I think I have managed. I’ll let the audience be the judge of that.
5. I have added a new annoying voice to my repertoire – this time I am sounding somewhat like Lois Griffin. (Note to self: in the next play try and get cast as someone who could have my own voice).

After this week’s run of shows, I will hopefully be able to add some more points to this list.

In the words of Felicia: it’s opening night! Enjoy the show!


Lillian ant me

LillianZo, I have been getting into ze role of an septua-octo-or even nonagenarian German war-criminal ten-part-documentary-series in ze making.

Zis has been fun. Zere have, however, been some difficulties. It is not ze age zat has been problematic, it was ze accent zat was causing me trouble – untold trouble – at first. I even begged ze Führer Director for Lillian to become Russian for zis production. But alas, no. Zo, I watched some interviews of ze old Dietrich. Zis has helped.

Zere are some striking similarities between myself ant Lillian:

We bos are prone to making ze sharp comments.

We bos take up a lot of space, and expect ze attention from ze oser people in ze room.

We bos still sink we have ze nice legs, olt or not.

We bos go on ant on about being olt.

We may bos appear hard as ze olt (jack)boots, but we bos have ze secret fears: are we too olt to be lovet? Shoult we be afrait of ze dying? Ant, ze most terrifying of our soughts: is zere smoking in heaven?!

We bos have ze secret soft spots:

We may bos carry ze torch for an olt flame for quite some time.

We bos love ze actors.

 

Zis has helped, too. Zo, if zis is what being septua-octo-or even nonagenarian is about, it doesn’t feel too different from being me. Ant stop it already, I am nowhere near being zat olt in ze real life. Olt, yes, but not zat olt, and besides, I still have ze nice legs.

Is zere smoking in heaven?

 

 


Red and Green Lights

Christian and Daniel getting tight...I was driving downtown a couple of days ago. When stopped at a red light, a woman crossed the street in a bulky coat and those tight, black stockings which seem so popular now. A split second passed and I was sure I had seen her before. Or had I? Aha! Déjà vu! Brain playing tricks on me. But no. But yes. When the light turned green, two names popped into my head, "Daniel and Christian"! That's right. The last time I saw a bulky top and long legs in black tights was on the other guys at our rehearsal of "I Hate Hamlet".

One of the side effects of doing theatre is that it leaves residue on the brain when you go back into real life. I often see things through the actor/director glasses before my normal glasses kick in. For example, 4 employees standing outside for a smoke in a perfect circle. One has his back to me (the director/the audience) and should turn slightly to the left. That way, we could see his face and it would open up the circle, creating a natural-looking scalene triangle. You always want your actors in an uneven triangle – until you deliberately put them otherwise. However, if I were to say to my colleague, "Could you turn a bit to the left and open up this circle for the audience? You're equidistant." I might even add a wink and a nod to confirm that it's a mistake we all make in the beginning. He probably wouldn't hit me...but he might wonder about my mental health.

There is a part of me that enjoys watching the world in "Theatre Mode", seeing people as actors with roles, and momentarily imagining the dissolution of that barrier between life and theatre. Oh...green light.

 

 


Did I get you?

That has been a common question from me to Christian during our rehearsals for our sword play on stage.

We jumped from saying, "Okay we fence here" to actually doing it a couple of weeks ago in rehearsal.  We have been doing well under the expert tutelage of Sword Master Guy Windsor and our Director Zoë.  They have been very patient with us when we stop mid battle and chuckle asking, "was it a lunge here or not?"  On top of that, they have been getting us to cool down during our duel as it has been a bit of a challenge to control our on stage excitement and nerves.  With their help and lots of practice we have been able to improve our performance.  After all, the goal is to really give the audience a good show of dashing sword play!

We both are beginners in this form.  I have had limited sword play previously on stage and a good bit of fencing way back in university.  However, what we are doing now is quite a bit different than anything I have done previously.

I cannot speak for Christian, but I have been having quite a lot of fun rehearsing it and I have the feeling he does too.  The big moves, the clinking sound as our blades meet urge us on in our duel.  Sometimes in the heat of battle, we halt, with sweat pouring from our brows and blood coursing through our veins.  We face each other down, glaring into the other's eyes with one question ringing in the air: "Did I get you?"


Producer's blog

Strictly Come Waltzing

Judge's comments

 

  • Not bad for a coughing septuagenarian and a corpse in tights
  • Definitely an improvement on last week: you found the rhythm!
  • I was happy to see you moving in unison, but not even a corpse can get away with treading on his partner’s feet
  • You’re getting there, Lillian, but try to remember that the waltz has three steps: back–side-together, forward-side-together, turn-side-together, giggle-side-together, trip-side-together …
  • Posture! Extend those arms and shoulders
  • Will you be ready for the cameras next week?

 



Hair!

Let's get this show on the road... I am about to leave for another rehearsal of 'I Hate Hamlet'. But there's just time for a quickie. I want to talk HAIR.

The first thing I do, when I get there, is put on my hair. See, I'm playing Deirdre. Andy Rally's virgin girlfriend. Who has a thing about knights in shining armour, Shakespeare, lace, Laura Ashley and, as it turns out, having long hair.

Getting cast as a virgin was weird enough. But getting cast as someone who has long locks when you yourself sport a post-feminist pixie cut you know, in your heart of hearts, you will never have the patience to grow out... well, one panics.

This is where the internet lends a helping hand. Youtube is full of videos on "how to attach clip-in extensions to short hair". And there are several places you can order hair. I did just that. My hairdresser told me which colour code to go for. I settled on getting something natural looking: actual human hair. Remy means it's been sown into these clip-in strips the right way round, so all the hair follicles face downward, the same way, and you can comb it like real hair and it shouldn't tangle.

So this is what I've got:

IMG 2035

I try not to think about the fact that it's someone's actual hair. Someone sold it. Probably for a good reason. Or someone died. I really don't want to think about that. But the colour matches my hair perfectly. And I'm getting used to wearing it. It's part of Deirdre. Like unicorns and poutpourri and sugar and spice and all things nice...

Gotta run!