Thursday, 30 October 2008

ReTARDIS

Hmmm... Russell Brand resigns from Radio 2 on the same day that David Tennant announces he's stepping down as Doctor Who. No coincidence there, surely! I reckon that in 2010 the skinny, shock-haired Doctor will be shagging all the pretty lady daleks and then phoning Davros to boast about it.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

X Marks The Spot

Most of the world hopes that Mr Obama gets elected as US President in two weeks, rather than Mr McCain.

The likelihood of this happening is, however, greatly reduced by the blatant attempts at vote-rigging being carried out by the Republicans and their allies. We all know how dodgy Bush's last victory was, but it seems that legislation intended to prevent such problems is being used to make it worse.

America likes to trumpet itself as the most democratic nation in the world and is quick to castigate other countries whose electoral standards aren't up to scratch, but it really needs to take a long hard look at itself.

No wonder their system is faulty and, at worse, corrupt, when each state, or county, or whatever, has its own methods for registering voters, collecting votes, counting votes. Punch machines, computers, etc.

Why couldn't the US adopt our system? Everyone is required to register, annually. A polling card is sent to each registered voter at election time. You take this to the voting booth, where it is swapped for a voting slip. You then WRITE a cross next to your favoured candidate, pop the slip in a box and it goes off to be counted by human beings who are monitored by election officials and members of all interested parties. It's a system that's worked for hundreds of years and is incredibly difficult to subvert.

But it seems to me that it's in the interests of the Republican party to make voting more and more complex. The more difficult it is, the more you can mess with the system...

Friday, 17 October 2008

Tights!

Ha! Ha ha ha ha! Oh, I do like this: http://www.e-mancipate.net/

A web-site promoting tights for men. Or "panty-hose" as they like to call it in America. I don't know about you, but "panty-hose" sounds like something completely different - a bit of a plonker, if you know what I mean!

Flantastico!

So, tonight was our second, and final, performance of All In The Timing, at the Spelthorne and Runnymede Drama Festival - no web-link because, sadly, they seem to have no internet presence and little in the way of advertising. Sadly, this meant that the audience was fairly small, though we did have quite a few folks from Ottershaw Players come along to support us.

The show went exceptionally well. I probably shouldn't mention that it wasn't word perfect, but neither of the slips was noticeable by the audience. After 10 days off, with only a sketchy rehearsal or two to work on a couple of things that Rex Walford pointed out at Woking, I was worried that the show would lack energy, or would be otherwise adversely affected. But I shouldn't have worried. In fact, the (much) smaller stage, and the relaxed schedule seemed to have the opposite effect. All the performances were more focussed and energetic and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the show. And it was nice to get confirmation from those that saw the previous performance (MLYW and my parents) that this one was a notch above the first.

Mike Kaiser, GODA, the adjudicator, was full of praise for the production, with a couple of small reservations. One was whether the third segment should have been performed at all (a valid question - one which Rex had raised and something that I was also pondering at the end of the rehearsal period). The other criticism was about the pacing of the play's opening. Rex thought that we had started off in a way which was too subtle and under-played, leaving the audience unsure as to what the play was about, so we re-jigged the opening to make it 'bigger' and more 'obvious'. Unfortunately, Mike didn't like that approach. Hey ho! Next time I think I'll incorporate changes where I think they really make a material difference to the production, but where it's a case of personal preference, I'll just let it lie.

Luckily, I didn't change any of the music or sound cues, which Rex really didn't like, but which Mike loved (I hope I'm not over-stating his enthusiasm here!).

Well, that's it over. There's no recall night at the Spelthorne Festival, so we'll just go along on Saturday to watch the last-night plays and see if we manage to scoop any trophies. To be honest, I think we deserve something, but this year's competition is very tight, so I won't be surprised if we come away empty-handed, but I know that we've done ourselves, and The Players, proud with our efforts this year.

I'm dead chuffed. Can you tell?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Brighten Up My Day

Now look.

This lady here is Gabriella Carlucci, an Italian MP.

How come the Italians get her and we get Ruth Kelly and Anne Widdecombe? Eh?

Even in American they've got Sarah Palin, whose political views might be slightly to the right of Ghengis Khan. But, if she gets to be VP, then while she's ruining the Alaskan tundra with her drills and murdering all the mooses with her gun, at least she'd be nice to look at.

And that's what's really important!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Result!

Our play was placed in 6th place overall at the Woking Drama Festival. That's out of 20 teams, so I'm very pleased indeed. On top of that we won an award - Best Supporting Actor for Graham Collier's excellent portrayal of Don in The Universal Language - and were nominated for 4 further awards: another Best Supporting Actor (Bill Jackson), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Stevens), Technical Excellence and, best of all from my personal perspective, Best Director.

I'm so happy with everything we achieved this past week. Now it's time for the Spelthorne Drama Festival, so we can take what we've learned, polish up what we've already done and try to improve on that.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Velcro!

So, it's the "premiere" of our 2008 Festival entry tonight: 3 extracts from All In The Timing, a suite of short plays by David Ives. We're playing at the Woking Drama Festival, curtain-up at 7.30pm. Tickets £8, available on the door

Rehearsals have been great fun and, of late, more than a little nerve-wracking, as the first and last plays have proved very difficult to learn for the actors. That said, we had a very successful dress rehearsal on Sunday and a smooth technical later on the same day, so we're as prepared as we possibly can be.

Update:

Woohoo! What an excellent night! While our performance was not trouble free (a couple of fluffs, including a long speech missed out) the problems were expertly covered by the actors, so the only person in the audience who knew was the adjudicator (which is a damn shame!). But the audience, in general, thought that we were excellent. Which is what really counts. Some good construnctive comments by Rex Walford, the adjudicator, about the timing of the mini-scenes in the first play, which we will try and get together and work on before next week's Spelthorne & Runnymede Festival.


I'm very excited about how well it went. Hoorah!