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I Have Never...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Fifth Weekend - Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th

I'm going to have to apologise, but this weekend's activities are bit of a blur.

My car got broken into on Saturday night.

More on that later.

In the run up to Saturday, I'd offered an olive branch to the production team as follows...

Hello folks,
Didn't sleep much last night.
Do you want to each send me an alternative synopsis of Sidrah's scene?
How would you approach it differently?
What would you get the cast to do?
Where does it sit in the overall story?
Why are we telling this story?
Who portrays who?
When is the climax of this particular piece?
No guarantees, but I'm willing to listen... Got pinned in a corner last night at an unexpected moment. I know that I don't react well in that sort of situation. I dig my heels in.

From the responses I received, I was confident that we were all back on side. Any trouble had been averted for now. This involved a radical rethink of Sidrah's scene.

We had most of the cast on the 5th. Only Amanda, Anne, Raf & Sidrah were absent. I started by using the dance scene as a warm up, then we focussed on Duncan's scene.
Initially, I sent Michelle and Nicki out to do some flyering. I also gave them the dictaphone, to see if they could get any passers by to tell what they had never done.
The rest of us focussed on the flying section. I took Duncan out and worked on the flying/swimming transition. I painted it as being similar to the story of Icarus flying up too close to the sun, then falling.
While I was doing this, Carl worked with Lucy, Becky, Chris & Emily. They looked specifically at the flying element and formed the following images-
- A flock of seagulls
- A hot air balloon
- A fighter plane
- Sky divers (making shapes, then pulling the ripcord to release the parachute).
We put the two together, and played the dictaphone element over the top. It worked.
M & N returned. They'd got an irishman to say 'I have never stroked a real life dinosaur' in a very high pitched voice.

Next, Emma worked with Chris and Becky (Becky was now to replace Anne in Sidrah's scene). She'd dropped me a long email about 'Feel & Be', so spent time getting the assault to look believable. I continued with Duncan, while Carl now worked with L, E, M & N on the swimming. The images produced were-
- Emily as a crab
- Michelle & Nicki as an anemone
- Lucy as a deep sea diver (which I misinterpreted as a plaice).
Duncan joined them, while I observed Emma working with B & C. He ended up being a shark, covering his head with a piece of cloth. Everyone else was a shoal of fish. He had to try and catch them, but they would divide around him. If he caught one, they became a stone... eventually he caught all but one of the fish and then returned to his sleeping position as per the start of the scene.

We broke for lunch.

After lunch, we looked back over Sidrah's scene. Now, instead of just showing the cinema and the scene forwards, we took it from the end of that day, when everyone had got to bed. Then we rewound the situation to the point of attack. This was a toughie. Imagine the episode of Red Dwarf where time travels backward. That was the idea we wanted to achieve. Two story lines run concurrently.

Sidrah's story.
Sidrah in bed. Tossing & turning - bad dreams.
Gets up. Leaves house with sister. Leaves mum (Emily) at home.
In car. Driving, then back in cinema car park Sidrah in tears, comforted by sister.
Out of car, waiting for Sidrah's sister's friend to be picked up by her dad.

Chav mum's story.
Chav mum exhausted but still awake - proceeds to put children to bed, backwards.
Leave house and go to get back on the bus.
On bus kids mucking about.
At bus stop waiting for bus to come.

It took the rest of the afternoon, and still needed work.

That evening, we actually went to a surprise birthday party. Johnboy, our techie was turning 21. About 28 of the theatre group, plus general hangers on went for a curry.
I made the mistake of eating a very hot chilli pepper.
I rolled home at 1am.

I woke up with a bad stomach ache, which I put down to the pepper. I lay in bed awake for ages, tossing and turning. Eventually, up and at 'em, I got out to the car.

I have never had my car broken into before.

I was instantly confused. Looking through the back window, I could see that the back seat was pushed forward. Bizarrely, my first thought was not that the car had been broken into, but that I must have braked so hard when I got home last night that it had become unlodged. Ridiculous, I know.

I strolled around to the passenger side of the car, to discover that there was glass everywhere. The front seat passenger window was gone. The back passenger side window was rolled down most of the way.

I felt sick, and this time not just because of the pepper.

What had been taken?
When had this happened?
Why today of all days, when I needed to be focussed on the show coming together?
Who could have done this?
Where should I call first?

I can't remember the order for certain. I think I rang.
1) The police - 999 to report it. I was told they could send someone out before 12noon.
2) Carl - No answer initially. Still in bed after only a couple of hours sleep.
3) Emma - Filled her in on the situation. Explained that I would have to wait for the police. Could she run the rehearsal this am? Ran through the running order briefly.
Lucy turned up expecting a lift. Fortunately whoever it was had not taken the CDs, so I gave them to her, and she went to catch the train to Bradford.

Then, I just had to sit and wait.

There is nothing more frustrating. I was losing half of the most important rehearsal day, by fate, chance.

I waited.
I got bored.
I decided to watch The Marx Bros film 'Animal Crackers'. An odd choice, I know, but I needed cheering up.
The crime scene investigators arrived around 11am. By now I had a crime number.

They looked over the car. The hypothesis was that it had been a kid. They'd seen the wires to my portable CD player leading to the glove compartment. Broken the front window, climbed in. Found not only my working CD player, but also the old broken one, too. Decided to see if there was anything else, so got into the boot and located the CD player that I usually take to use in rehearsals. Wound down the back window and pulled themselves out.

3 CD players taken. (Later I discovered that Duncan's bag had also been taken out of the boot, presumably to put the CD players in)

Only 1 CD was missing. I'd left it in the player. It was the Eureka Street soundtrack.

I loved that CD. I don't know if it's still available.

They got a few small finger prints, and a palm print. They pointed out where the car had been brushed against by someone wearing jeans. A neighbour's dad came over and said that his van had also been broken into and a mobile phone stolen.

How was I going to do a rehearsal? After the initial impact I had pretty much recovered my senses (Thanks Groucho). I put a black bin bag over the broken window, and Carl picked me up at noon to take me over to Bradford.

We arrived at 12.45ish. I'd asked Emma to give the guys an early lunch break at 12, thus minimising the amount of time that I'd missed with them to 2 hours. Everyone looked, nervous, cautious. I was then to discover the second blow of the day.

Anne had injured her ankle. She wasn't going to be coming to the rehearsal today, and would probably not be recovered until near the end of the week. This meant that her part in the show would be limited...

The cast had been going through the order that I had gabbled to Emma on the phone first thing, mainly concentrating on the dance. The CD was out of it's case. The case was back at the rehearsal space. The CD was on the pub table.

Now I know this is minor. I inverted my feeling about it. It made me realise that my emotions were pretty close to the surface, though. I very nearly lost it. It would not have helped the situation.

I thought I'd better warn the cast of this fact, so I did. I got them in a circle. Explained what had happened. Apologised for my delay in arrival. Warned them that I may get shouty, and that, if this happened it was not them who I was shouting at, but the toerag who had broken into my car. Everyone accepted this. Ironically, looking back, this was the silver lining to the almighty cloud that had engulfed me. People applied themselves all afternoon. At no point did people muck about unnecessarily - we just got on with it.

I asked them to line up in a line that their stories fell. There was a bit of confusion, but not too much. I then got them to briefly recount what happened in each scene. The aim was to firm up the overall picture.

We then ran it scene by scene. It took us the rest of the afternoon. We didn't quite finish - Emily's scene had to wait for another day. The main three points I remember...

1) The start of the show is funny, entertaining and I'm already proud of (Carl laughed at a scene he'd not seen before, before having to slope off to rehears Salad Days).
2) The second half of the show still needs work from Sidrah's story onwards...
3) Chris's story, which we'd not yet seen as a group (myself included) very nearly made me cry.

Perversely, I saw this as a good sign.

Mike Stewart and Lost Dog came to have a nosey. They came at the wrong time. I expect their impression of our show was not great. Ho Hum.

Once again, I returned to the bar. Chatted sporadically to people. Waited for Carl to finish his rehearsal. Briefed him on what needed working on the next day. Got driven to Leeds. Went and saw Leeds Uni Music Society/Choir do a charity performance of Scheherezade and Carmina Burana. Found this deeply calming...

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