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I Have Never...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

1st Rehearsal 2/2/05

To start with, you won't be aware that I'm fascinated by the number 9. Why 9? Well, I'm not sure. Suffice to say, I used to be fascinated by 3. 3 x 3 seemed a natural progression.

It was really important to cast 9 people. Those 9 were...

Amanda Stone Anne Graham Becky Holloway Chris Roberts Duncan Gordon Joseph Casey Lucy Meredith Rafael Tyszbalt & Sidrah Shaikh.

I say 'were' because, as is the way with these things, Jo has unfortunately had to bow out. Fortunately, I'd got 3 understudies...

Candice Young Emily Beale & Nicola Cowie.

Not sure yet who I'm going to 'promote'. I still want Jo to be involved in the process, because he is a demon mover. It'll just have to depend on his work commitments.

Anyway, that's the cast. The crew is as follows...

Cat Fortey & Emma Banks - Producers
Carl Fletcher - Assistant Director
Matt Gidlow - Composer
Rachel Thomas - Choreographer
Ric Neild - Director

I'm going to try and write a bit after each rehearsal, so you get a feel for what goes on. The soap opera that is local community theatre in the UK. I'll try and be as open and honest as I can be.

So, last night. First rehearsal. The 2nd Day of the 2nd Month In The Year '05. 2+2+5=9 (OK, I know I've cheated a bit). Groundhog Day in America (What a great film that is - Groundhog = 9 letters).

We played Hooly Hooly Birds first. This is an old game I learned at Scouts, which works great around an open fire. You first form a seated circle and set up a rhythm, clapping your hands twice on your knees and then twice together. I started as the Grand Hooly, calling "1, 1" in time with the knee slaps. Numbering around the circle, we totalled 12 tonight (Cat was ill and in the bath, it was Lucy's birthday, Anne was in London, Sidrah had 'made plans' and Matt & Rachel will not join us until 3 weeks in).

'Hooly Hooly Birds Commence'. The aim is to catch out the Grand Hooly. Soon I was caught out by Carl (now I think about it, it wasn't Carl, if it wasn't him then who?). We swapped seats, and changed the subject from basic numbers to names. Chris was then Grand Hooly and changed the theme to 'places of origin' which proved challenging to fit multi-syllable places into 2 beats (Amanda had it tough with 'Wolverhampton'). Finally, Carl (?Again I am unsure) took control and the theme was colours. Duncan, sitting next to me, was 'taupe'. He won and was eager to continue the Game as Grand Hooly, but the majority decision was to move on.

I next tried to explain why I had asked so many odd questions of them in the audition form (maybe if I have time, I'll briefly recap the audition. Then again maybe I won't). These had been the following...

9 Questions
1) Do you have a mobile phone (OK, I know you probably answered this on the last page)? YES / NO
2) Would you like a large or small role in the show?
3) Are you more comfortable with movement work or dialogue?
4) Which is your favourite colour – Red, Blue or Yellow?
5) Which is your favourite shape - Circle, Square or Triangle?
6) What is your Birth Date Number?
(e.g. 28th July 1975 = 2+8+7+1+9+7+5 = 39, 3+9 = 12, 1+2 = 3)
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
7) What have you Never done (Give a specific, within reason)?

8) What do you Never do, that you’d like to do?

9) What will you Never do (Either again, or ever)?

Well, I tried to explain. You see, I'd recently read a book about male & female brain types and how this related to Emapthising & Systemising (It's by Simon Baron-Cohen 'The Essential Difference'). It explained that those with high systemising had an 'extreme male brain' type, which could lead to Autism and Asperger's Syndrome (OK, I'm paraphrasing colossally here). There were EQ & SQ Tests in the back of the book. I discovered that although my empathising was relatively average for a man (My score was 39, compared to a standard 42 for men), my systemising quotient was 'low' (My score was 19, most men score about 30). I had set out to do something about this.

I formed a table of their answers. There were some unexpected links. For example, both Amanda and Chris had chosen Red as a colour, Circle as a shape, their birth number was 8 and they were both Virgos. Anne and Candice had chosen Yellow, Square and their birth number was 9. This had freaked me out. It shouldn't have. Logic kinda dictates that there are bound to be coincidences if you collect enough data. I also took each of their mobile phone numbers and added up the digits to form one digit. Of the 9 'Main' Cast all the digits 1-9 were covered, apart from 7. We had two 6's. 6+6=12 (Cast numbers including Understudies). 1+2=3. Mumbo jumbo, I know. But curious.

I tried to explain this, but my cast frowned. I decided that maybe I should drop the issue for now. I decided that it was time to play a third game.

I'll call it 'Who's Lying?" It's got 9 letters in. In concept it's quite similar to a BBC2 Game Show hosted by Dennis Pennis a few years ago. I split us up into 4 teams of 3. Each team had to pick an embarrasing story from one of their member's past. Then the other 2 would ask all about the story, trying to get as many nuances as possible. When the group reformed, each team took it in turns to tell 'their' story three times, with the other teams having to guess the person that was telling the truth. The four stories were:-

1) A rounders game that ended in embarrasment because the protaganist's shorts/underwear fell down during a full lap.
2) A story revolving around something being too tight in a shop, requiring help to escape. But was it a thumb ring, a boot or a ball dress?
3) A tale of a misfortunate bowel release during flute practice.
4) A painful case of someone balancing on a wall in their swimming costume, and falling into a patch of nettles.

All 12 people told the 4 stories expertly (though, I think I let my side down a bit). It proved incredibly difficult to tell who was honest and who was lying. The stories seemed to come so naturally for all involved. Only one team guessed the right storyteller, and they managed this feat twice out of three attempts. They were the only team which was all female. Maybe they were using heightened emapthy skills? Who knows. They won the choice of a chocolate brownie or carrot cake each. I've never known such a simple choice take so long to make (maybe their systemizing let them down).

After some basic paperwork, that was it. Most of us headed off for a tipple at Flares. There, I bumped into someone called Michelle who offered to join the group in place of Jo. She'd come to the audition, but because she was late had not been able to find us. I explained that she could be an understudy and took her mobile number. It added up to 7...

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