Friday, June 30, 2006

Post 56: 300606 The Articles

Just so there's no doubt our show was put in print. Here are images from two of the three articles that were done on us. I missed evening seeing a third printed article as i had no idea which day it was being published. I found out a day later and by then it was impossible to get hold of.

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

Post 55: 290606 A thought fizzles

Upon ringing the organizing committee of the Chuncheon International Theatre Festival i was given a number. After being hung up on several times i finally spoke to a woman who informed me that there were indeed places available and could i please send an email detailing our performance.

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

Post 54: 270606 Tantrix Final

Tonight, somehow, don't ask me, i was crowned Tantrix Asian Champion for 2006. I played 'joky' in the final whom i'd met in the opening rounds. The first game was a draw then i won the next two and if i'd won the forth it would have been a forgone conclusion. He won it however and i had to wait until the 5th to put it beyond doubt. We completed our sixth game for the sake of it, which i won as well. So as of this evening i can say i've won a title.

"What does it mean! What does it mean!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Post 53: 270606 There is this thought..

There is this thought, this hope, this notion that I’d like to come into being.

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

Post 52: 260606 "As the lights fade..."

And so the show closes and wonderfully we finished on a high. The theatre is not big and in fact appears smaller than its 105 seat capacity. With two houses today of just under thirty each it looked full. The actors went out with a bang. Giving more energy and projecting to a greater degree than previously seen.

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

Post 51: 250606 The beginning of the last day

Well here it is, the last day. Two more shows and the time spent will be left to gather dust in the recesses of our age inflicted addled minds.

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

Post 50: 240606 Dressing room

It's the final weekend of our show. Four more performances before we wrap what has been months of work. I always get the feeling that these two week seasons are too short. Three weeks would be better, expecially for advertising. From the articles we had in The Korean Herald and The Korean Times we garners an interview on KBS Online and a second article in The Korean Herald for their magazine. These things will only come out after we have wrapped. A third week would be smoking.

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

Post 49: 230606 SHOT Exhibition

Time is rushing foward at an ever alarming rate and i'm staggered to discover the exhibition i thought was ages away is now just a matter of weeks away.

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.

Check out:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Post 48: 210606 Tantrix Tournament Con't

Well I made it through the first round by the skin of my teeth as they say. Six wins from twelve games. As so began the Quarter finals. The knockout phase comprising of six games. But if you are within 5 TP’s after those games then you have up to three more games for one player to get clear.

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

Post 47: 190606 The show goes on

Six shows are now behind us. It has been a mixed bag. The highlight coming on Saturday night when the plays were performed before an audience of about fifty people. The low point was last night when we almost canceled due to no one sitting in the theatre come 8.30pm. But standing outside was a couple waiting for two more friends to arrive, friends who had become lost. By 8.40pm the four of them were seated and along with four crew the show went on. To be honest the performance the actors gave was one of the best. They were able to relax and feel out the characters a little more. It helps when you are able to take a breather on stage and get your bearings.

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

Post 46: 160606 Post Opening night

Opening night has come and gone and I have to admit it felt a little deflating. After giving so much of my time on this one and having neither the thrill of being on stage nor the credit of being a director is saddening. This is selfish I know and for a long time I have been content to play second fiddle but that contentedness has worn thin.

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

Post 45: 150606 Pre Opening Night

Here it is. The day has come that so many people have worked towards. At 8:10 tonight the theatre will go live and the audience start filing in. Backstage the cast will be glowing from the warm-up I put them through and getting into costume. I’ll be running around like a mad chook making sure everything is where it should be.

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

Post 44: 140606 In the Paper

As i kick back for a few small minutes listening to 'Fly My Pretties' and playing a game of Settlers of Catan I gloat in the knowledge that today an acticle on our play made it to the papers. Included in the article was a photo taken by yours truely.

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

Post 43: 130606 Tantrix Tournament

After what seemed like a good start I thought I would be reasonably well placed at the end of Phase 1. Today is the deadline for Phase 1 games and I am currently placed second in my group so there is little doubt I will go through to the knock-out phase. I think this is mainly due to two people from our group dropping out and two more not completing their games. They do have a few more hours but at this stage it’s looking unlikely.

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

Post 42: 110606 Final Rehearsals

That was it, our final rehearsals. Just as I predicted they were fraught with danger. Short tempers and throbbing heads created difficult conditions. But persevere we must and persevere we did. After a late start we didn’t complete the three runs of each as planned but saw out two instead with another run coming later in the week when the casts meet separately.

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.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Post 41: 100606 Rehearsals

Today was our second to last rehearsal. The space is almost as we want it, apart from the blown bulb and the entire channel of eight lights that mysteriously stopped working. Not to mention the gobo's we had made but proved to be unusable because their 10cm diameter was just too small to produce an image. Ah but these things are sent to try us and if we didn’t have problems how would we improve.

We ran through both plays twice, the second being a full dress and tomorrow we hope to run both three times. Less fluffing with the lights should give us the time we chewed through today.

But how well we do tomorrow may well depend on how much alcohol is consumed this evening. It is Amanda’s birthday so the majority of actors and crew have gone out on the terps to share the day and make sure it’s seen off in an appropriate manner. I have crawled home and these longs days are taking it out on me and I would much rather get a good nights sleep and leave the partying until the season is over. Signs I’m getting old: Number 306.

By the second run I must admit that both plays were looking good. All the actors were bringing more to the party and letting the growing comfort with the space produce a deeper level of expression. They must be congratulated for the work they have been putting in. I’m very pleased with they way both are turning out. I have no doubts it will be a good nights entertainment. But more than that, for the sake of the art, these guys are growing as actors, both in terms of experience and in range and in the heights they can achieve. I don’t have enough compliments for them. It’s just as I wanted it to be when I craved to become involved.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Post 40: 070606 In the Theatre

Yesterday we spent the whole day in the theatre. Bumping in as they say. As well as rigging the lights and que to que runs. It was a very long, very buggering day. But it's done and now only small tweeking is required. Touch wood.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Post 37: 040606 Rehearsals

With the final climb up that damn hill made, our time at Hanyang Dae has come to a close. As of Tuesday we will be in the theatre and counting down the days until opening night with fervor. And boy what a way to end it.

Yesterday we ran through the play without stops twice and I was not satisfied as to where the actors where at. They needed more, more effort from me to help them get to their characters and more of a sense of what they must demand of themselves, if that makes any sense.

To finish yesterday I attempted to look at the simple things, the walk. In turn I had each actor walk through the space, firstly as themselves, then as the character within the play and lastly and with more difficulty, as the actor they were portraying. Oh, if it were a simple play and they could be a single entity. I felt by the end of the day that progress had been made and they were all closer to the goal. That of hiding themselves, getting to the actor, then hiding the actor sporadically within the guise of another character. Confused yet?

Today began with the goal of performing in front of the cast of the other play, as they had done for us last week. I didn’t want to rush into things however. So with another agenda in mind I had the cast and chief director, Amanda, try a little experimental theatre I had been craving to try for some time. I had them all reduce their capacity for communication down to a single number and placed them all in a remote space in which none of them would be at home and attempt to bounce them off each other with varying intentions and back stories. To see an idea I had been holding onto for some time have its first outing was a pleasure. There is something in it after all.

Once they were loosened up we went for a run through and even though progress had been made over the previous day it was still not where it could have been. Keeping them in character I treated the preparation for the open performance as if it were indeed a fully blown production. The audience sat themselves and I made the introductions, cell phones off and all that.

Without over embellishing my sentiment in the slightest, I could not have been more proud. They rose to the occasion and blasted away the layers to find the well turned characters underneath. Each of them found feet to walk upon, leap from and bound unhindered from. I was overwhelmed with what they produced and all my fears were shredded like useless flotsam. We are in an outstanding place as we move into the theatre and the tech side of things takes over for a while.

I thank our fine actors most sincerely for their effort, patience and finely crafted 24 carat creations. Cheers guys!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Post 36: 010606 Garden of Morning Calm

Yesterday was one of those glorious mid week days off. All due to the mayoral elections that swept the country in their trucks bedazzled in billboards and screens that showed highly contrived images of kindly middle-aged men willing to go that extra mile if you only give them a vote and flocks of sash wearing supporters that stood on street corners and waved at passing buses, cars, cyclists, pedestrians and excited pets with their white gloved hands and periodically burst into a song and dance routine that would have made Mick Jagger look like a ballerina.

And what does one do with a glorious mid week day off? One comes up with the glorious idea of fleeing the city in secret and finding an isolated spot amongst nature where you can sit and watch the bees buzzing and listen to the gentle babble of a fresh water stream as it bounces over sand coloured rocks. And proud of yourself for thinking of such an original glorious idea one jumps in the car and heads out onto the motorway only to discover that ten thousand other people were given the same thought. But still clinging to the slimmest of hopes you continue on you way and believe that once you get there you will find peace.

As the journey continues and the roads get narrower, giving way to a dirt track you finally admit to your partner that it doesn’t look like anyone else is going to change their mind and find someplace else. So you end up spending a glorious day in nature surrounded by the buzzing of bees, the babble of a childlike brook and the population of a small city.

Despite this our destination more than made up for the gaggle around us. A man made slice of nature filled with a variety of themed gardens nestled on the edge of a lush mountain range. 300 year old bonsai trees gave way to weeping willows and flowers of every shade including blue. A gnarled Juniper tree stood alone and drew the focus of couples wishing their photo taken beneath its wizened glare. Many areas were set aside in the shade of tall pines to enjoy the picnic we had brought with us but should we have wished we could have dined in the restaurant, café or traditional tea house. In this Garden of Morning Calm we found peace and serenity. Bizzzzzzzzzzz