Sunday, December 24, 2006
It's been a crazy ol' time in recent months. Me given the shaft from the job i'd worked at for 14 months. Me calling the cops on them to mediate a few disputes. A few part time gigs to line my pockets with a little extra cash. Me fleeing the country, heading to Thailand to watch scary snake shows and even scarier shows involving razorblades. In somewhere in there a play was born and opens on the 1st of Feb 2007.
There's a bit of work to do admittedly but i think there will be a play of substance beginning its run in a theatre on the grounds of the Hanyang University. It is set for a three week run and hopefully plenty of folk will turn out to be treated to a little slice of western drama in the murky darkness of a Korean winter.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Apart from rehearsals I spent Saturday evening in Seoul in the company of friends both from work and the play. It was the unofficial Halloween night as the official night falls mid week and a little hard to party on. There were parties to be hard on every corner in Iteawon but we stuck to an Irish bar called ‘Wolfhound’ which we find perfect especially after they played ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ to which some of the girls danced in their fetching costumes and ‘Psycho’ on the big screen as music bleared from every corner. The beer is fairly cheap and the vodka goes down a treat. I found a cheap hotel to stay in and went to rehearsal the next morning in the same clothes as the day before. Stinky was I and without Ren in sight. By the time I got back to the apartment I was considerably knackered. It was a good weekend and will happily be stored away for future remembrance.
I did take photos of the rehearsals but for now these shots make the blog. Amanda and Krista in costume prior to leaping up on the stage and dancing the 'Time Warp'
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Upon getting to the room we discovered that it was over-booked for a weekend of exams. So finding a place in the shade on a cool day we began out adventures. It wasn't long before we were chased off by the biggest cloud of gnats I've ever seen. Saturday little progress was made.
On Sunday with no room, we were forced to rehearse outside on a dismal day that quickly got worse when it started to rain. We found shelter under an outdoor stage that we were forced to share with two other groups, one with guitars and the other with highly strung voices. I felt we did actually make some head-way but it was slight compared to what we could have done.
Here's a quick little snap of the team from Sunday as we were finishing for the day. Note the unusual extra. We are hoping for sponsorship.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
After being told that it was booked by someone else I was expecting a bit of a fight to resolve the issue and being in the state I was in knew I didn’t have the fight in me. We got there half an hour late which was amazingly well done and met Tory and his wife outside the station. We then headed to the office of the administrators of the theatre. It quickly became apparent that there was no booking and after a brief moment of confusion the dates were set and the price was given. We have a booked theatre. This is a great relief.
Our season begins on Thursday the 1st of February and runs for three weeks. For the first week we perform six times and the following two weeks we perform seven times ending on the 18th. We bump in a week before to run techs and dress rehearsals, hopefully giving us enough time to sort out any problems that will no doubt arise.
As each day passes it gets more real. Soon enough I actually believe it’s happening.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Nothing is easy, I’ll have to except that at some point but it seems that it is even harder in this country than most. We had showed interest in a theatre and told the price to which we glowed. We were given a yes which we thought was a done deal but that was not to be. The theatre we wanted has now been booked on the weekends of the month we want to perform, this despite a yes and an awareness of our interest or perhaps because of our interest.
I have made the schedule for the next four months running up until the end of our performance but despite getting a confirmation that all actors would be able to give all time required it now seems I have to redo the schedule to accommodate altered desires. Not a biggy but it adds to a day that was already seeing compromises.
As for the first weekend: As of 10am on Saturday morning I had three of the five actors present. The other two had legit reasons that obviously can’t be altered so I don’t begrudge anything. I’m just hoping that this doesn’t bode for the rest of the rehearsal time. I shortened the needs of the day and three of us ended up going into Itaewon for a meal at Buddha’s Belly. This after a read through that took over two hours. It was out in the light of day, beside the smells of a bakery and occasionally swamped by the loud chatter of folk at neighbouring tables but it wasn’t all bad.
Sunday was a bust, expecting more of the same and without a full cast I decided to send the cast off on their own recognizance. A five o’clock meeting was held by the committee to make a few decisions and push things forward. Then we were in a good place, with two theatres to choose from and an enthusiasm for the task at hand. It was agreed that advertising was to take a different approach and as we’d decided on the University theatre I would see about getting a teaser poster up in the next week or so. The mock up is sitting on my computer but whether it will adorn the billboards of the Uni is a matter yet to be decided. I’m heading there tomorrow morning to see if the situation can’t be resolved. After some initial trepidation on my part to have the show performed on campus, I took a liking to the idea and now hope to remedy the booking of the theatre. Ah the joys.
Friday, October 13, 2006
There are seven characters in total in this play but two of them appear only in film and do not tread the boards as such. I will most likely cast that in New Zealand as I have easier access to the equipment I need to make it.
The five who will be jumping through hoops and busting their hump over the next few months with be-
Matt as Hitch
Amanda as The Blonde
Thomas as Husband
Krista as Jennifer
Gef as Alex
During rehearsals I will bring a camera and will take notes on each days progress so you, like our own little soap opera, you will get to know these characters.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
For me it was a time to get away from the apartment and head to the coast, climb a mountain and check out some distant temples. I went to a town called Sokcho, a kind of beach resort town on the east coast. We were fortunate to be given a room in a swanky hotel with commanding views of the nearby mountains and the ripe yellow rice fields surrounding us.
I’m not overly impressed with Koreans attention to details, like when we get into our room we find food on the balcony from the previous tenants, an air conditioning unit that doesn’t work and no mini bar. Okay so the mini bar I can do without but the details are what make a place, something the local tourist trade is yet to master. Oh and it s good idea to stay away from the taxi’s. They say their prices are Seoul prices after midnight but paying extortionate prices for a ten minute taxi ride in the middle of a weekday afternoon put me in a sour mood.
Sokcho itself boasted an expo a few years back, the site of which can still be visited and a central tower scaled and a great view of the harbor enjoyed. Right next to that is the IMAX theatre which they seldom use apart from the odd booking so a group can watch a DVD. If there’s only a few interested in watching a film then they wont open it so I’m guessing the locals have lost interest.
Right in downtown there is a very impressive market, larger than the one in my current hometown. As you’d imagine for a seaside town, there is plenty of fish in every shape and size and many other sea dwelling edible stuffs lining stalls and flopping in dirty tanks.
The main reason to go to this particular town however is its proximity to the Soraksan National Park. Inside which are a network of walkways, temples, a gigantic Buddha statue, restaurants at every altitude, mountains in their rugged beauty and the mass of sumptuous trees that cover them. Not to mention the squirrels at every turn.
We spent several hours exploring the slightly less than congested walkways and made our goal a temple cave where outside sits a several ton boulder that the locals delight in wobbling with constant shoving. We’d hoped to take a cable car up to another mountain but by the time we went to get out tickets there was a several hour queue and the day was already getting too long.
As a signifier to the pleasure found in our time in Sokcho, I enjoyed the drive back to Uijeongbu just as much as my time there. It was an enjoyable drive.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
For the actors there are the nerves, the butterflies, the fear, the desire to succeed.
For the director there is the worry about making the right decisions, for this is where a performance in made. If I choose the wrong configuration then it won’t work from the get go. If there is unbalance, it won’t look right, if there is too much ego or too much rivalry then I have problems from the outset.
Last weekend saw the final day of what turned out to be the first round. All those where showed interest in being in the play had a chance to show me their talents.
Yesterday were the callbacks that ended up including a few late comers. I was hoping to have things decided today so we could begin in earnest next Saturday. That was not to be when I found out one actor whom I was keen to see was in Japan for a few days.
We postponed a few of the readings until today and hopefully by this time tomorrow I will have a clear idea of who the final cast will be.
The worry does not stop there. Being where we are in the world and westerners being of a certain transformed nature I expect the unexpected. I don’t want drop outs but it may happen. I guess I will not stop worrying until the first night is behind us and everything has gone as planned.
Monday, September 25, 2006
This weekend gone was the first of our audition weekends. Saturday saw six people try out for roles and Sunday saw five. To be honest I’ll be happy when this part of the theatre experience is over. I have never found great joy in telling people that there is not a place for them among the cast.
The experience of being is a play is wonderful. There is a sense of camaraderie found in the theatre that is, in my experience, found little elsewhere. Seeing others on such a regular basis and doing things that hastily breaks down the barriers ensures a level of friendship is quickly found. Combine that with regular bouts of drinking and we have the making of life long friends.
My struggle comes when I have to choose between good actors to play limited roles. I realize this is not a bad turn of events but I don’t have the strength to say no. Take the fact of when I first wrote and directed a play. I couldn’t say no to this particular actress so wrote her a role in the play. I’m far too weak. But I understand decisions must be made and made for the right reasons. For now I can put the hard decisions off until after next weekend.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Earlier this year we staged two short plays, both of which were acted superbly by all. We had limited houses however, despite being in the centre of what is the Seoul theatre district. After what must have been somewhat disappointing result we were all feeling a bit gun shy when looking to the next production.
Krista and I were talking some weeks back and I proposed a play idea that was brought to me by our theatre companies previous producer. From this conversation came the enthusiasm we were both looking for and a meeting was called.
Last Sunday old and new faces gathered in a café in Iteawon to discuss the possibilities of a new show. It’s amazing what happens when like minded individuals come together. As a result jobs were divided, dates were discussed, plans were made. Auditions begin this coming Saturday and end the following Sunday. We hope to begin our run on the 1st of February 2007. The play is called ‘Hitchcock Blonde’ by English write Terry Johnson and I will be the director.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Today however I took revenge for the loss and won our second game 44 - 16. I managed a fine 22 tile loop with 3 tiles to spare, thankfully my opponent had just the final tile i needed to complete it. A much more flattering score line. Tomorrow will be game three.
Monday, September 04, 2006
I'd been to a few games here before but this was my first fully fledged international. And with almost the first string Korean team flying in, i knew it was going to be exciting for everyone concerned.
We turned up a few hours early with the intention of getting a couple of beers in before the game. That was a mission in itself, we ran in circles before finally finding a place that had to turn on the lights for us as they were just opening. It was nearly 6pm by this time. They are late starters in this part of the world.
So we had our beers and went to the ground. With good intentions we pushed our way into the extremely large and extremely overcrowded supermarket under the stadium to buy a few more beers and some snacks. Beers that were, a few moments later, taken from us as we weren't allowed to bring cans in. But our spirits were not dampened.
We qued and finally found our seats with great views of the ptich and settled in to watch a decent game of footy. Hoping for a goalfest we were instead treated to a tight match with the first goal not coming until the end of the first half. Korea went into the break grasping their lead. The second half was a repeat and after ninety minutes thought the game was done when a freak goal from Iran lobbing the keeper saw them level the score and come away with a disappointing draw. The hype we'd seen from the grown throughout the game was blown like last christmas's balloon and all made their slow way home with downward cast eyes and deflated spirits. The draw however did not detract from our own pleasures of seeing a live game of international football and to be a part of the enthusiastic experience.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
My first opponent was ‘Sanabas’ from Australia. We played all four games in one hit. Things started badly and did not improve. In our second game I took some small satisfaction after falling into a trap in the opening tiles, of being able to defend a slender lead of 14. I took the win by 1 point. As for the other three games I lost them all by narrow margins. I have to perform well against the other two if I want to progress to Phase 2.
Follow the link to the summary of Phase 1
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
My best connection with teams and games from back home is of course the internet but those live play by play snippets really don’t satisfy my enthusiasm. In saying that, I have now added a sports section to the links where you will find teams and players I try to follow.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
For the past 6 weeks I have been awaiting on the results of three competitions, one from New Zealand, one from America and one online. For some reason all results were delayed beyond their stated announcement dates. My waiting ended today when this evening after killing time playing games I realized I hadn't made my usual rounds of the results pages.
As for the New Zealand and American competitions my name was no where in sight but the online competition delivered a surprise. There I was up on top in first place. I have won my first competition. I am the winner of txt2nite.com’s SMS Poetry Contest 8. It may not be as prestigious as bigger comps but I am well chuffed with the result. Not to mention stoked that the first prize of an iPod Shuffle will be winging its way to me.
Check out the results page.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Yesterday if you had innocently asked how many planets were in our solar system then you would have been given the nonchalant reply of ‘Nine’. Today however, that answer has changed.
It all began with the defining of Pluto, is she qualified to be a planet. If she is then several other bodies floating out there of a larger mass also qualify to be called planets. Well, the answer was ‘Yes!’ Pluto is a planet which then gives us three more of the little suckers to call our own. Not that we didn’t claim them before but now we can puff our chests a little larger and say there are twelve planets in our swinging solar system dancing on the outer arm, looking in on a densely populated spiral galaxy.
Get this, one was given the dubious name ‘Xena’ after the New Zealand grown television show. What this means is that all books and posters proclaiming accurate knowledge of our Solar System are now out of date. A further problem arises when we learn that there are more bodies drifting by out there that are larger than Pluto but for the time being we can’t get a good enough handle on them to define them. More reprints no doubt to ensure school children know just what our neighborhood looks like. But for now here is what our Solar system currently looks like and check out http://www.iau2006.org/ for the facts.
Monday, August 07, 2006
My idea of a picnic and the Korean notion of one differ greatly. I imagine the cliché of a broad green field, a checkered blanket and a basket weighted down with sandwiches and perhaps a bottle of bubbly.
Damn, just thinking about it, I am riddled with clichés. Doesn’t that make you just a little pissed off knowing that your thoughts come from someone else’s notion of what is ideal. Gives you a little insight on how a population can be controlled. May sound like a leap but when you control the media and stuff it full of notions of your own sense of right and wrong then doesn’t it follow that the population watching said media will pick up on those notions and slowly loose the ability to discern for themselves.
Anyways, the Korean idea of a picnic turns out to be, and this is just one example, going into the foothills of Sarak mountain and sitting at small tables on polystyrene platforms wedged between sheets of metal and plonked on metal frames. These platforms are an extension of small restaurants that in their infinite wisdom have set them up not only beside small creeks but on top of them as well.
Then to keep us out of the harsh summer sun, as if the shade from the trees wasn’t enough, the whole scene is covered in tarpaulins strung in spaghetti like web-works to those bruised and battered trees.
A pool was made nearby which teamed with artificial life, blow-up buoyancy rings, five foot sharks and beach balls. It seemed everyone and their dog, yes there were plenty of pet dogs lulling about, had traversed narrow roads and clotted small car parks to enjoy a summer’s picnic beneath the tarp.
So that was how the last day of my holiday was spent. I didn’t go for a swim like most others from our group but played Go-Stop as we waited for the food we ordered that never arrived and drank the beer we’d brought with us.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The Orange Tree is actually a bar which was converted into a gallery for the night of the opening, which included pop up books on the pool table and multiple format art works adorning pillars and walls as well as shelves and small tables. I was impressed with the level of work and the amount. It seemed that after the first pass you miss most of the details and need to make the rounds again if not more.
I have three photos in the show along with another photographer from the last show. Ours sat together on a red wall beside a standing lamp and close to the buffet table. A good place actually as it was close to wher most people were hanging out. I think the images remain in place for the next five days.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I look foward to being there on Saturday night to share in the warmth of excited faces and hopefully the glow my face is currently basking in will have dimmed and I can go out in puiblic without looking like an advertising neon for the red light district. Yep, it was hot today and due to our being outside for the most part I have turned a rather charming shade of red.
So click on Orange Tree and read the brief article and wait with patience for the photos of amazing temples and hidden grottos.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Sukhee and I took a nice 5 hour long bus ride to get here. Arriving just before four in the afternoon we were greeted by a kindly man in his air-conditioned car. We'd pre-arranged a driver for a day while here, to show us the sites and let us in on the local secrets. Money well spent if you ask me. He picked us up at the bus station, took us to a hotel to get checked in then drove us around to a few places of most spectacular beauty. We ended in a German styled pub that housed it's own micro brewery and a group of singers from the Philipines, three girls and a guy who sang a mix of pop songs (western fare) and local hits. The beer went down a treat, it's hot out there.
We are now back at the hotel, polished and ready for a good nights kip before the kindly gent in his air-conditioned car picks us up at 9am for a full day of site-seeing. I've already tired the battery on my camera and it too is currently recouperating. Photos of course will follow as soon as i can upload them. This computer in our room has lost the means with which to plug in.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
This year they are hoping for over 200 entrants from at least 30 different countries. Not bad for a little game that started in New Zealand.
There will hopefully be five of us heading down tonight. We might even make our own team. Ah i've missed this for far too long.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Last week as my girlfriend and I were walking along the back roads of the town around us I stumbled upon not one but two indoor football stadiums. How excited was I? I waited over three years to play football here, to pass a ball, to save a goal, to cheer and dare I say it, even to yell. Tonight I got to do all that. Not so much of the yelling I suppose, there was no ref to yell at nor was there my brother to fight with as we played.
The field itself is smaller with goals about as wide but coming up to around the chest. There’s no height limit on the ball but it doesn’t do much good with the goals so low. You can’t score from outside the half and you can only kick with the inside of the foot, so no taking the opponents head off. But it’s just as fast and as with everywhere, there those one or two players who can run rings around you and score from anywhere.
There were three of us who went down, Steve, Trevor and myself. As of Wednesday there will be five. At first we weren’t sure how it would work, us not having a team and all. As long as you pay your 6 bucks you can play the whole night should you still be standing. Games are an hour long with a single half time, no quarters. Basically if you’re there and keen to play, you jump on a team and start messing around.
I certainly felt the year since my last game, if truth be told I was feeling it after the second minute. That didn’t stop me from tearing up the field in search of the ball occasionally. I was admittedly slower but after spending a bit of time in the goal got the feel for it again and managed to make a few decent saves and when out in the mix of it, managed to send up a few decent through balls for others to score. I didn’t find the back of the net myself, mind you I rarely found it when I was playing every week.
I have no idea what the score was as it wasn’t kept but that didn’t matter in the slightest. Not having a ref meant there were few stops, just a constant peppering of the goals, a constant hunt for the ball and a constant sweet. I loved every minute of it.
Monday, July 17, 2006
The reason I put my photos in rooms of white walls, so folks can have a look at 'em.
To give you some idea of prevailing factors. At the top of the stairs before you enter the first gallery a pile of umbrellas greeted newcomers and waved at those who have supped their full.
Part of the plethora of entertainment the evening contained as well as a fractioned view of the artwork covering the walls.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
There is a thrill in having eyes move along the walls and stop at something of your own creation, have them linger and joined by voices raised to express a point of view. I was amply pleased with how my images appeared. Due to the constraints of wall space I originally thought that I would have to have them arranged in two rows but a single row adorned half of the longest wall on the first floor.
The evening itself was filled with the sound of excited conversations that were soon engulfed or perhaps answered by a four string violin bass strained though several peddles so the sound produced was more like a single dialogue from a distant giant rather than the happy strumming of a mop haired Beatle. His solo voice was soon joined by bongos and a small pink idiophone and the tempo picked up. Other voices came in the form of expressionist dance and angst rap that drew applauding ears despite the drawback of not having a mic due to uncontrollable feedback. All this was just on the first floor, up on the second a keyboard and lyric ladened songs were proffered then as the tone changed an acoustic guitar was folded into the mix.
It was easy to be entertained with the diversity of musicians, of audience and the staggering diversity of images that adorned the walls. A good sized audience came to share in our night and orange cheesecake. For me a pleasant surprise came when I was able to add a small red dot to the corner of one of my photos. My very first.
I found I had to ask myself a question, do I create for the sake of it or do I put too much hope in the sale at the other end? The answer is, the sale is fluffy icing I can delight in but do without. If my cake remains un-iced I still take pleasure in its consumption.
Without a doubt it was a successful opening to which a lot of effort was put in by Chen Lie, our curator and all those she found to help her. As I slunk away into the slight drizzle of a warm summers night I found myself quietly glowing from the pleasure of being involved and the growing expectation of ‘Next’ time.
Friday, July 14, 2006
“What is more hideous than a toad?” the toad asked.
“A slug.” replied the slug.
“How is a slug more hideous than a toad?” the toad inquired.
“Just look at me.” the slug replied in an off hand manner.
“I am.” licked the toad. ”and you look delicious.”
Oh and some good news. Of the back of the current exhibition in Insdaong I have been asked to contribute to another joint exhibition that begins on the 5th of August. This time at the Orange Tree gallery.
The fear I had about the short life of my photos has been eased. As yet I have few details but when they come to hand to will happily report on proceeding. This will be my third exhibition. Does that make me an artist? Or is it when you sell your first piece?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, each year about 10 percent, or 900 million, of the animals raised for food never reach the slaughterhouse. They die on the farm due to stress, injury, and disease. The on-farm death rate ranges from a low of 4 percent for cows and calves to 12 percent for turkeys, 14 percent for hogs, and 28 percent for some types of chickens.
Agribusiness corporations claim that animals in factory farms are “as well cared for as their own pet dog or cat.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The life of an animal in a factory farm is characterized by acute deprivation, stress, and disease. Industrialized agriculture has made the determination that it is more “cost effective” to accept some loss in inventory than to spend money on treating animals humanely.
Farm animals, by the millions, are forced to live in cages or crates just barely larger than their own bodies. While some species, like hogs and veal calves, may be caged alone without any social contact, others, like egg-laying hens and chickens, may be crowded so tightly together that they fall prey to stress-induced cannibalism. Unable to groom, stretch their legs, or even turn around, the victims of factory farms exist in a constant state of distress.
If a private citizen confined a dog or cat in a manner common in factory farms, or subjected an animal to surgical procedures without anesthesia, the individual could be charged with cruelty to animals. Farming is an area, however, that federal and state laws protecting animals barely touch. The powerful agribusiness and pharmaceutical lobbies have seen to it that farm animals are specifically excluded from welfare laws.
There are virtually no federal laws that protect farm animals from even the most harsh and brutal treatment as long as it takes place in the name of production and profit. The federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the treatment of animals for commercial purposes, does not apply to farm animals unless they are being used in research or for exhibition. Moreover, a majority of states have specifically exempted some aspect of the treatment of animals in agriculture from their cruelty laws.* It is left entirely to the preference of the individual company how many egg-laying hens are stuffed into each little wire cage, or whether an artificially inseminated sow must spend her entire pregnancy chained to the floor of a cement-bottomed cage.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Follow the link under Current Escapes to the right to read the full article.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
If I walked into the nearly full office of teachers in the next room and announced that the world would be beyond redemption within the next seven years, they would give me blank looks, put what I said quickly from their minds and return to their conversations of what to do tonight or all this rain we are currently having.
On Wednesday the 14th of June top scientists urged The G8 not to ignore climate change during their July summit and to follow through on commitments made at last years summit in Scotland. Yet already it is being reported the topic has all but slid from view in the upcoming Russian summit. What takes over as the leading topic is Energy Consumption.
Seven years they say before we can’t turn back the clock. Excuse me for getting a little shocked at people’s stupidity but surely it stands to reason that once momentum it gathered on a downward slope then doesn’t it follow that momentum increases. This thought drums through my mind when I hear that they are now saying that the degradation of the environment is escalating. Well duh!!
I watched an interview with Hunter Lovin on New Zealand television and got all riled up. Most of all because the interviewer was a right wally and claimed he was "Sitting on the fence" about the environment. How is this possible? The only reason i can see for someone claiming such an act was that they stood to loose a great deal of money with a move to Cleaner Greener consumption. As an interviewer on an early morning television show i fail to see how he would loose that much. Unless of couse he has millions invested in Oil. Not to mention, he pissed me off when he interupted her answers with his inane questions.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I will return on Tuesday morning with my photos and then it’s up to fate to see how things pan out. Anyways, here is an image from outside so you get the idea.
Friday, July 07, 2006
The exhibition begins on the 12th of July and the photos need to be in the gallery and hung by the 11th. Unfortunately I will not be able to do the hanging as the time allocated for that is from 2pm, I have this annoying thing called work to be getting back to. When will the time come when all these other things I do take over from the mundane task of earning money?
Sunday, July 02, 2006
We stayed there until just after midnight playing darts and continuing our drinking. The fist world cup game of the night kicked off at that point and the darts were overhauled by cheering English supporters. That was when we went in search of a more accommodating location. It was found in the form of a cocktail bar up a flight of stairs in the back alleys of Iteawon. A place where you had to not only remove your shoes as is tradition but your socks as well because the floor around the seats was covered in sand.
Our numbers had dwindled somewhat by then, from the 12 or so we began with to about six. We stayed there long enough to down a couple of quick cocktails and the time was ripe for dancing. Up ‘Hooker Hill’ we went and found room in a pub slash night club with a video DJ playing a mix of old classics like the ’Proclaimers’ and newer rap artists. By this time I had no choice but to stay on as the subways were closed and there was no way back to Uijeongbu.
Unfortunately the numbers dwindled yet again and I was left watching Steph and Mac being picked up on the dance floor. Time rolled on and 5.15 am meant the subway would be opening soon and my ride home would avail itself. Of the three of us went into the light of a new day and we said our goodbyes. The cast party was at an end and the chapter was closed.
Here’s a couple of picks from the night, both taken in the cocktail bar. The first of Krista sifting the sand and the second of the empty chairs further back in the bar. Note the beach embracing the chair legs.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Sometime today an interview that was conducted with the cast and crew will be put online. It was conducted by KBS, a local television station but as yet i don't have the address. As soon as it becomes available i'll post that as well.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
After the excitement grew i fired off an email including links to the recent articles our play had recieved and to our own website and proceeded to wait. The 10 minutes passed after which time she said she would call back and i continued to wait. In the evening of the same day, not wanting to be pushy, i sent off a second email asking if the first email had been read. Checking my inbox several more times that evening and finding nothing i went to bed determined to ring the next morning.
The morning crawled in though the vertical blinds and i sat at the computer to check a final time before ringing. There it was: "You must be confused." She informed me. We are the puppet festival. Your live theatre style wouldn't work in our program.
Damn it, i said to myself. I was given the wrong number and got all excited for nothing. I later reviewed an initial email i'd recieved from the Theatre Festival, one i'd ignored as i'd actually spoken to someone whom i thought was part of the same festival, telling me that their festival program was full but we would like to invite you next year.
I guess we have to wait a year.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
"What does it mean! What does it mean!"
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Whenever a season finishes i am always found lamenting the fact it was so short and how i would like to retain the sensations of being in amongst it. Well the opportunity has presented itself for at least one of the plays to see more life.
It just so happens that the timing of the next Chuncheon International Theatre Festival has placed it directly in our path and it would be a shame not to take full advantage. It takes place at the end of July, right when those involved in The Seoul Players will be starting to feel that itch again.
I have spoken to one of the organisers and was informed that there have been withdrawals of other acts leaving gaps in the program. The cast of 'Never Swim Alone' will all be available at this time but those of 'This is a Play' will not as Emily is leaving our shores in the not to distant future. Disappointment for one and excitement for the other.
I was involved in a play, ‘Rapunzel’ that was taken to this festival a few years back. It’s an exciting event to be involved in. We were put up in dorms with theatre companies from other parts of the world, Italian, Chinese, Israeli, etc etc. I remember one member of the Italian troop, Luca I think his name was, who spent one evening in the dorms balancing everything he could find on his nose, chairs, bottles and alike. To have the chance to be there again is one worth taking.
Initially they held the festival every three years but as I read from the website, the intention is to now have it every year. We are definitely on the books for next year but I’m the impatient sort in some regards and would like it to happen in four weeks time.
Check out the website:
Monday, June 26, 2006
I left the theatre in the pouring rain feelings a mix of satisfaction and disappointment. Nothing to do with performances or houses or the fact I missed the chance for a curtain call because we returned moments to late to the theatre. I found the rain refreshing and alleviated my mood enabling me to carry with me the world we had built for ourselves over the last few months.
As I sat on the bus I was startled by a young Korean woman wearing a t-shirt in the center of which was a maple leaf and surrounding it in bold lettering read the words, ”Pure Fuckin Canadian”. I new this Canadian world, not the country you understand but the bubble we crafted though time and exchange, would last longer than anticipated.
I take great pleasure in meeting and working with like minded individuals who can handle my eccentricities. In fact they are almost embraced as part and parcel of theatre. I was able to walk the stage and scream from my lungs and sing off key and spout the few quotes I remember from past plays and these moments were not looked on with distain but accepted. For that this experience will be highly valued.
But that is just a small fraction as to why I will value my time on these shows. Always the most valuable aspect to performance is the people you meet and share time with. Emily, with the cloak she shrouds herself in before each show and her amazing strength that shines though. Mackenzie, with her pure skills and ability to step out on stage and create something utterly memorable. Steven, with his forthright mind and unclouded view and the physicality that molded air into solid objects. Krista, with her vision and demand for a type of theatre that others dare not aspire to and the kind nature she keeps sheltered inside.
It’s 3am and I’ve just played the last four games of the Tantrix Asian Championships Semi-final. I’ll finish off my little rant tomorrow. Oh and I won the 3 out of 4 of the games and am in the final. To be played before July 4th.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
The two shows yesterday went well, performance wise. There was the odd mistake but due to the depth to which the plays are now known they are easily moved beyond. A little spot of inadvertent laugher due to falling off the stage can be seamlessly incorporated.
The first house was light. Sitting in an inadequately air conditioned theatre at 4pm on a hot day is not everybody’s idea of entertainment. The evening session was much better however with nearly fifty people filing in to take their places. The noise they generated with laughter and the three times they broke out into applause seemed to convey a certain level of enjoyment.
Prior to the first show I went out onto the main street to put up posters. In a place that is practically wallpapered in performance posters, finding space was difficult. But our poster is a slightly smaller format so can fit in where others can not. Feeling a little better for having the knowledge of our play out there I returned sweaty to the theatre. After the break between shows I went to take a look to see if the posters had retained their posies. To my chagrin the majority had already been covered up. It’s a dog eat dog world in the poster hanging business.
Here's a cuple more photos. The first is of the silent extra in ‘This is a Play. The second is from the warm-up. Krista bought three sets of a game made up of a ball covered in suckers which lights up on impact and round discs to catch it with. The actors stood about on the stage throwing these flicering balls at one another. A damn good idea. Hot, sweaty and focused.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Here's a couple of shots from last night in the dressing rooms after the show. Mackenzie and Emily. The show went well, all be it to a less than half full theatre. Just one sell out is all we ask.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I better get on it.
We have to be in the Gallery on the 11th with our work. July the 15th is the official opening with a party in the evening, live music and nibbles.
I'm stoked to be showing in this area, it's a lively place with plenty of folk around who have an interest in art. So hopefully lots of eyes scanning our show.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
My opponent was ‘Highrange’ from Papua New Guinea. I thought I was doing pretty well as after four games I had won three. That was when he made his comeback with two successive wins, the first of which was sizable enough to propel him into the lead. After our regulation six games he was a few points ahead, requiring at least one more.
In the seventh and what become the final game I won 17 to 9. Giving me a big enough lead to go through to the Semi-finals. My opponent will be ‘kina’ from South Africa.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Here are two photos from the theatre. The first shows actors on the stage waiting for the audience to arrive before last nights show. The second is the dressing room which doubles as the place to store props.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I do not want this to detract in any way from the show that was put on last night. Both plays were performed well and I’m sure the 12 people who came along appreciated it. The laughter the actors received was encouraging. Both shows are funny in very different ways. ‘This is a Play’ affords the actors the opportunity to show, all be it a fictionalized account, a beneath the skin glimpse of what goes on inside an actor as they perform. I worry about the fact that given the performance requires mistakes, the actors will relax too much and become sloppy. I see their professionalism when they take the stage and the fervor in their eyes as they asked for direction so I know I shouldn’t but worry is part of my make-up.
‘Never Swim Alone’ is slick and clever and made up of rapid dialogue and wit. The actors have created a remarkable rapport that is necessary for them to bounce so quickly off the other. Their fine suits and stiff almost rigid way of walking conveys a no nonsense board room demeanor but yet, just as in the first play, it’s the seething mass of emotions going on beneath that captures our attention and takes the play to the other end of the emotional scale.
I feel like this is a deeply negative thing to say about the theatre but now is the time to get into the routine of performance. My job as Stage Manager for both plays means I have to ensure everything is in its place for the opening volleys and take the stage to make announcements before and during intermission. At intermission I reset the stage, bring the large life-guard chair back into the theatre from where we removed it to and to place all props where necessary. At the close I then reset again for the next day. This means moving amongst the actors in the narrow dressing room that sits directly behind the stage. These can be awkward times, the actors need to be getting into the right head space and my interruptions to get props doesn’t help.
As Assistant Director I want to ensure the actors are properly warmed up both physically and vocally. Last night I felt there wasn’t enough and focus was slightly off but this also comes from a small audience. Tonight I might tread on a few toes as I attempt to get them into a performance gear.
As Lighting Designer I had to reset a few lights that have been moved when bulbs were replaced and tonight I may well do the same as the light was far to uneven for the second show and left me less than satisfied. Tweaking that I would have like finished but time leaves it to during the run.
But somewhere in there a routine will be developed and we will all become accustomed to the movements needed to put the show on 6 times a week. Hidden within this however is the pure pleasure that comes from hearing an audience react to the nuances you’ve attempted to craft and all the time and effort put it that is seldom seen. If it is seen when you don’t want it seen you are not doing your job well enough. After the work is done I will take my place in the audience and gleam from them the satisfaction I sorely miss.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The lights that failed us on Saturday have been restored so tonight will be our first full run as we intended it. We are yet to sort the audio for the composer but an amp and mic have been arranged and will be installed in the theatre somewhere around 7pm. Cutting it fine and giving us little time to play.
Last minute details are being nutted out and I’m sure the actors are feeling that warm little butterfly dance the cha-cha in their bellies. By tonight it will have turned into a stampede of buffalo, especially as the lights come down and the music fades up. In a matter of hours we’ll be away, flying through a season that I hope we pause enough in to enjoy.
Break a leg!!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Check out the link below to the online version but hopefully later today i will be able to pick a few of the printed version to send them back home.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
So my phase one record stands at 6 wins and 6 losses. The last loss coming when I completed the set of three games yesterday with ‘tzujoe’. A close game throughout but was beaten at the finish despite having the tiles to complete a mammoth loop, he had the turn and took 1 essential piece. Final score 22 to 17.
Knockout phase will follow which I’m not feeling all that confident about. I’ve dropped over 100 points in my ranking over the last few weeks due to an ineptness of play. I’m lacking a necessary component that enables one to see the board further in advance. I was never that good at chess either, opting to play more with instinct rather than strategy.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Tomorrow Amanda, the director of ‘This is a Play’ flies out, She will be back in September but due to the ways things work in this part of the world she must board that plane and miss the run of what is her debut as a director. Farewell Amanda and what a fine play you’ve put together. Never doubt it was you who got it to where it is at. Without the guts and strength that ensured it moved ahead despite cast losses and repeated auditions it would not be where it’s at.
Several months of effort on the part of everyone involved will ensure that opening night, in a mere matter of four days, is a success. They both look good and I can’t wait to see how they evolve through the course of their run.