Connect 14

At the start of 2014, I find myself in a reflective mood.

I still have a (small) handful of days before I have to get fully into work-mode and I am mostly enjoying the unusually quiet pace of life:

– lie-ins
– cinema trips – American Hustle was good!
– reading -among other books, a birthday present of Simon Callow’s Being An Actor, which I first read at university and then lost, is a delight – like re-discovering an old friend
– DVD box sets – we’ve finally begun Game of Thrones (no spoilers, please!)
– seeing friends- I love feeding people (and being fed);
– twitter-ing…

Now I love twitter. Really love it, in fact, in what I am sure could become an unhealthy way if I could afford a pricier mobile phone contract, which allowed me more internet access. I love following people, especially theatre/arts people – interacting with them, finding out about their projects, reading their blogs.

I love it, but I also find it confusing and sometimes intimidating and this is at least part of the reason for my reflective mood, that and a natural – for me at least – slight new year/new beginnings angst. There is so much out there (banal statement of the year award!) that, although I see a lot of theatre and other live performance, I sometimes feel as if I am missing all the really important shows and am not entirely sure where my own (largely northern England-based) work fits in… The possible opportunities can also sometimes seem endless, which, while fantastic, can be scary, as knowing exactly which route to follow (no twitter pun intended) can be very hard to determine – and that’s without having to consider the practical money-making aspects…

So, where does this leave me at the start of 2014?

Well, to be honest, better off (I think/hope) than at the start of 2013. Aided and abetted by twitter – and other social media – ELART and The Rose Company shows were well-supported and well-received in my Lancaster home-city and a range of places around the country last year and we have a new set of dates for Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia starting on January 12th (please see for full details and ticket links). Twitter also allowed me to have some conversations with people I would never have dared to contact via any other means and gave me the means to contribute to some important arts discussions (albeit in a tiny way) that I would never have had access to in any other way – I hope to continue this type of involvement in 2014.

However, as well as online connections, in 2014, I hope to further the face-to-face contacts that have been hugely valuable in 2013. These include (but are certainly not limited to):

– rehearsal rooms, which clearly abound with face-to-face-ness – I can’t wait to start working with talented performers in rehearsal rooms this year – Iphigenia and beyond
– the freelancers gathering, which started in summer 2013, and has brought about a range of possible projects and useful professional connections; it’s been a great addition to Lancaster life and I look forward to experiencing its development in 2014
– open space conferences – these have been a revelation to me and I can’t get enough of them! I loved the Fun Palaces one in October – and fully intend to play my part in making sure Lancaster has a fun palace in October 2014. I’m also really looking forward to D and D 9 in London at the end of January, which looks to be by far the largest open space I will ever have attended and is likely to give some face-to-face time with some twitter connections

So, on balance, I’m looking forward to meeting and working with an exciting range of people both online and off in 2014 – and hopefully making high-quality work, which resonates with a range of audiences – arguably the most important connection of all (but that’s for another blog post…)

Let’s connect!

elaru xx

Show Day

I was going to have a lie-in this morning. I’d set my alarm for a decadent 9.00am, and was maybe going to snooze even after that, and then perhaps lounge in bed and read for an hour or so. This lie-in, coupled with a quiet day, during which all I had to do before 5.00pm was buy some gaffer tape, a small rag doll and some herbs (don’t ask – shopping lists for plays are always odd!), was going to set me up to be refreshed and relaxed, ready for four shows over three days.

That was the plan.

The reality? It’s currently 8.30am and, after a restless night’s sleep, full of snatches of disturbingly strange dreams, I have been resolutely awake since 6.45am. As for my intention to lie-in and read: well, I can’t concentrate on anything for long, so that’s out of the question… It’s definitely show day!

Years ago, when I was a drama student, I read Simon Callow’s book Being An Actor. Towards the end of the book, he writes about an actor on the day of a show, and about how the knowledge of the show in the evening absolutely colours the day, making ordinary activities seem strange – and even dangerous, if they draw too much focus from the character the actor is playing. Although I’m a director, not an actor, this is exactly how I feel today.

I wonder how my cast members are doing? Our dress rehearsal was the night before last  (I always like to leave the evening before a show clear for everyone to rest, if I can) and, apart from a couple of phone-calls, one or two texts and a few tweets, I’ve not been in touch with them. I was pleased overall with the dress rehearsal: the pace slowed too much in places; one or two characters still need to project a little more at times; a handful of lines were dropped and one of the scene changes needs to speed up, but otherwise things are in place. I’m glad it wasn’t perfect; if a dress rehearsal is too good, there’s a real risk of complacency. I guess, then, I believe in the saying that a bad dress rehearsal means a good show – as long as it’s not too bad! – if something catastrophic goes wrong, that’s a different story – but when mistakes/faults are the kind of things I’ve listed, adrenalin and an audience generally sort them out on opening night. We’ll see…!

OK. It’s now 9.15am. Blogging has taken up some time at least, but not enough…

It’s going to be a long day…

elaru xx