Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well, that was quite a week

Feel the need to clear my head of a bunch of stuff, and what better place to do that than here, right? [Apologies if you disagree, I'm going to do it anyway.] For a start, this week was the culmination of four months of rehearsals for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a play I directed for the Biggar Theatre Workshop. Last Sunday was dress rehearsal day, seven hours of hard work.

That showed how much we had achieved, and how much there was still to do. Monday night we were back for our second and final dress rehearsal. Much better, much slicker, and a whole lot more reassuring. Nothing like getting your cast into their actual costumes, using the chosen props and becoming accustomed to the venue to pull everything together. And so it proved again.

Tuesday was a night off from the show, while Wednesday brought a technical rehearsal just to get the scene changes slick. Our normal venue is undergoing refurbishment, so this show was transplanted to the Biggar Municipal Hall. That meant no standing sets, just furniture and a trio of scenes, some lighting and acting to create the illusion of 18th Century France.

Thursday was our opening night, everything coming together at last. Not perfect, but a brilliant first effort. Friday night got away from us, thanks to a row in the audience who'd had too much drink before arriving. They thought it was a pantomime, deciding to boo and hiss through the show. They had a great time, but ruined it for everyone else, especially the actors.

Saturday was our last night, and we saved the best for last. The cast and crew rose to the occasion, despite sweltering humidity in the venue. Afterwards we had a delightful post-show party, which no doubt left a few sore heads this morning. Now the venue's been emptied, the costumes are being packed away and the show fades into memory. Alas, all theatre is temporary.

While all this was going on, I've also been busy writing. Spent last weekend and Monday polishing a scene by scene, should hear back about that in the next few days. Tuesday was spent prepping for Wednesday and Thursday when I was at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay building for recording of my new radio play. [I'll be blogged about that experience tomorrow.]

Friday I was teaching on the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University. Our full-timers have just started their final trimester and are now working on their major project. We gave them a day of goal-setting and preparatory guidelines on how best to tackle their creative writing capstone. Hard to believe they'll be gone by September, replaced by a new cohort.

Friday also saw my guest blog posted on the Angry Robot Books website about the perils of faking it as an author in a genre you don't love. Think I must have written that earlier in the week, although I can't remember what day! Anyway, read it for yourselves here and see if it makes any sense.]

Yesterday was Day 3 of the CBeebies Lab, at the Scottish Book Trust in Edinburgh. We got feedback on our developing ideas, meet the head of animation and acquisitions for CBeebies, invented a new show from scratch and pitched it in 30 minutes, and so much more. The CBeebies Lab is brilliant, I'm learning a ton of stuff about a new and unfamiliar market.

Sara Harkins from CBeebies Scotland and Caitrin Armtrong from the Scottish Book Trust are doing us proud with this, I feel privileged to have been one of the 13 writers selected for it. Our challenge before the next session is to write a pilot script. Just need to figure out how to do that, other writing gigs and a holiday. Onwards!

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