Having lots of cake and not eating it

“I know you, you’re… the cheesecake lady!”

I was, of course, expecting my ‘fan’ to mention some show he’d seen me in, but instead he raved about my Famous Cheesecake. What would Oscar Wilde have said? Something witty about it being better to have your cake talked about than not talked about. (Unless, of course, you’re Marie Antoinette.)

Ah well, backstage and front-of-house crew often complain that their efforts aren’t noted and praised as much as those of the actors, so I suppose I should be grateful.

I’ve just returned from the shops with a kilo of chocolate, a kilo and a half of quark, and over a litre of cream, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for another stint on Front of House.

There was, however, a minor disaster. My usual supplier has stopped selling regular digestive biscuits and now only sells chocolate ones. There were two alternatives: a) stop by another store, or b) make double-chocolate cheesecake. I’ll leave you to guess which option I chose.

Tomorrow is Baking Day. My cheesecake and I will see you in the interval!

The cakes pictured are not associated with the baking in question.The cakes pictured are not associated with the baking in question.

The Woman in Black Is Lurking in Puoli-Q

Many thanks to Niko and his Dad, Riikka and Alain, Stina, Fionna and Daniel: we have the pony and trap and most of our stuff in the theatre, we’ve fixed the seating, moved the lighting and sound desks and created a window – a good day’s work! We had a lot of fun, too.

Tomorrow we should be able to start rigging the lights and sorting out The Mess.

Opening night one week away: book your tickets now!


The Final Countdown

The final count down, yes… Really looking forward to getting to the theatre & working out all the final details. Actually calling them “final details” is an understatement, sound, light, etc, are really essential to making the magic of this play work. Blissfully, we have experienced & talented people managing all of that. Always have good comments on everything… And it makes me feel totally at ease to know that I can trust them to make the magic work.

It’s been quite a challenging play for me, although Daniel & Christian are the ones who have the lion share of the on-stage work. Why challenging? Well, starting with the fact that I don’t have any lines on stage: sounds easy, right? No, not at all. It seems that in those cases all the attention is drawn to every single little movement, gesture & facial expression you make on stage…starting to feel a bit paranoid, really. Getting comments like: “try floating”, “don’t breathe”, “What was that?!? Thought you were trying to kick a football”, “I was thinking you should be more like Margot Fonteyn”. Crickey!!! Have to be at least 20 kilos lighter?!?

And then, the truly fantastic Daniel & Christian…bloody hell, you are great guys!!! What talent… Feel very humble.

The play has been on at the West End for about 13 years, not surprising when you read the play, a gripping & haunting story. Don’t miss it! We’ll be working on making it an experience you’ll never forget….


Two weeks to opening night!

Finally we're on count down. Are we ready? I'm swinging from 'These guys know what they're doing, of course it will be a knock-out" to worrying about lines, sight lines, effects, tickets and help we only have one Sunday rehearsal left to iron out the (few) wrinkles. This is when it gets exciting , when all the costumes are assembled, we finally get to see the set, we're using 'proper' props, the sound effects are in order and we dispense with the prompt. We have some surprises for the audience up our sleeves – let's make sure we play to full houses!

Joan


Progress!

So, we said our fond farewells to Beth in December (two Acts, multiple settings). We will miss her. In her short time here she certainly made her mark, and contributed to Players' activities on many levels. A big Thank You! Not that we'll be losing touch with her on the production team, especially with regard to fine-tuning the WIB soundscape.

And yes!! We have our venue of choice for the first two weeks of April. We will feel Beth's presence (real or virtual) as we perform on the Puoli-Q stage.

I'm looking forward to taking over the reins in February, and building on the excellent work already done. The rehearsal at Luckan was, I think I can safely say, enjoyed by the audience, cast and crew. The cast coped admirably in the smaller space and the rocking chair appeared to be at home (even if it refused to budge). Much of the staging worked well, and we also identified opportunities for improvement. There were some hitches with the sound, but again we learned from the experience. And even without lighting effects the Woman sent shivers running up and down my spine towards the end of the play.

The pace will obviously be less relaxed in the run-up to performance, but I hope that it will still be a pleasure for everyone to be at the rehearsals! I firmly believe that, in collaboration, we can make this a production to be proud of.


Lurking in the shadows....

...a rocking chair has been creaking...

So, FELT IF is done and dusted, and a great success it was! However, lurking in the shadows behind the sketches and under the bench has been something dark and malevolent. Something haunting and insubstantial. Since September a director and actor have been lime-lighting from FELT IF and two other actors have been meeting each week to rehearse a near duologue. In the shadows a rocking chair has been creaking...

Beth Morton, not content with writing and directing The Bench, chose to take-on the direction of Stephen Mallatratt's stage adaptation of Susan Hill's book The Woman in Black. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you should know that it has been a very successful play in London's West End for quite a while. A recent film adaptation starring Harry Potter star Daniel Ratcliffe also brought it to peoples' attention. If you would like me to tell you about it, you won't get much out of me apart from it being a ghost story and that there is a woman in black. Revealing too much will spoil us being able to scare the bejesus out you in the theatre.

Plays performed by the Finn-Brit Players are usually rehearsed over three to four months. Breaking with tradition, this play will have been in rehearsal for seven to eight months by the time it is performed to a public audience. Why so? Beth will be returning to live in the UK just before Christmas this year but was so keen to direct this play that she partnered with Joan Nordlund. Beth has controlled the majority of the direction to date, and Joan will continue in her absence in the New Year. Additionally, due to FELT IF, we have only been rehearsing once a week instead of twice.

How have rehearsals been going? Very well! It is a pleasure for me to go to rehearsal each week and work with like-minded actor Daniel McMullen, dark and mysterious Marietta Chela, and have such wonderfully talented and experienced directors. I don't think I have ever been involved in a show that has progressed as well as this one!

So, where and when can you see the show? Ah. There's the slight snag. Due to the booking policy of the theatre of choice, they will not confirm our booking until after the end of December this year. I know.... It may make our blocking (all our movements on stage) somewhat difficult if we can't use this theatre. Fear not though! An alternative theatre is ready and waiting if that becomes necessary. The upshot is that we cannot confirm dates and venue until early next year.

As for us, we are very excited and can't wait! So excited that we are previewing the play in the form of a rehearsed reading this Friday before a small restricted audience. This gives us a chance to try many of our ideas to see how well they can be done and where they can be improved. The result will be an even better show for you our loyal audience next year!

Stay tuned for more WiB blogging in the near future!