Monday, October 30, 2006

Post 95: A Weekend Behind Us

It’s a Monday night and I sit on the eve of midnight with aching limbs and a nasty cough that gives the impression a lung might come out at any moment. But along with that there is a glow of self-satisfaction. I steal these minutes to recall the weekend. Rehearsals, I dare say, began proper. The actors were split because of the nature of the play and I worked with two at a time, I’ve scheduled an hour overlap as I want all those involved to be well aware of the others, to be acquainted with those whom they will be sharing the stage. I want it to look like a cohesive performance. There is problems with this as the time I give to each pair goes very quickly and I’m sure the actors feel like they are not getting enough but I hope they can find the time outside of the hours I’m with them to rehearse together.

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

Post 94: 251006 After the Weekend

I do hope this is not a trend that continues throughout the rehearsal process. After arriving at the Uni a half hour early on Saturday morning and discovering one of my actors already waiting with coffee in hand I thought stupidly enough that we were up for a good weekend. That was not exactly to be.

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

Post 93: 191006 The Theatre Booked

After a night on the terps with two of my co-workers, a polished off bottle of Absolute and three hours sleep, I and a miraculously conscious co-worker made our way into Seoul to see about the theatre.

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

Post 92: 181006 The Trepidations

Wouldn’t it be great if things were easy? If I could set a day for rehearsal and all would come. If I could book a theatre and that would be it, no need to worry about where we are going to perform and just get on with the joys of rehearsing. If I could find the money and not have to fret over paying for posters, the theatre, the props.

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

Post 91: 131006 The Cast

The play is cast. After much deliberation and fretting over the rights and wrongs of each decision I came to my final cast list. I was told by some to suck it up and just do it but that's a simple thing and i'm a wimp when it comes to telling people 'No'. But now it's done and as of tomorrow morning we begin our rehearsals.

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Post 90: 111006 Sokcho & Seoraksan

Last week in South Korea was Chusok. I don’t know a lot about Chusok apart from that it’s a national holiday and we get plenty of days off work. They call it the Korean thanksgiving, taking place at harvest time and involves dancing, games and giving thanks to the ancestors.

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

Post 88: 091006 Final Auditions

The auditions are done. The callbacks are finished. Now comes the hardest part of this process, the decision. Buy tomorrow it must be made.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Post 87: 081006 Auditions Continued

Auditions are never an easy thing for all parties involved.

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.