Oh, Lordy, Lordy. Strange shenanigans going on. Crises of motivation, shifting family dynamics, dysfunctional shizz, mood swings. However, we seem to be working through all this and be moving towards a show, of sorts!
Kieran (Fantastic Mr Blood) and Vinny (Hot Brazilian Guitarist) have moved in for the moment. Tabby’s friend from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Megan, is here too. She is a tremendous asset, playing five instruments. She also has Diabetes Type 1, like Tabby, so they can be !diabetes fwends! together. She got so excited when she first arrived that she injected masses of insulin by mistake and had to eat a hundred biccies not to have a hypo in the night.
To recap: our show, The Jammy Dodgers Go Underground goes to Edinburgh from the 11th to the 16th August 2014: 1.40pm at SPACE@Surgeon’sHall, Theatre 1. If you are going to be in Edinburgh and want to book tickets, this is the ticket page.
We are in the midst of rehearsals which will now be solid until our previews : three pm and seven pm, Thursday the 7th August 2014, our house. If you are local and would like to come, please do! Parking can be tricky in town, so leave a bit of extra time for that.
Then we have one day, Friday, for tweaking and considering (OK, let’s be honest: probably weeping and wailing and gnashing our teeth at) feedback. Then on Saturday 9th we pile all the instruments, the boots, Mrs Blood’s ladle, Zeke’s whip, the cast and the coffin (! which is being hammered together, as we speak, by my friend Quetta’s boyf José from Spain) into two cars and go on up. Just had a thought: can we fit two flutes, one sax, one french horn, several drums, three guitars, one bass, an oboe, a cor anglais, a coffin and ten people with costumes in one Peugeot 206 and one Peugeot 106? Hmm, Fred will have to set his mind to this puzzle. If you are mathematical, please consider this problem and send a postcard, with helpful diagrams.
The young lads, plus rogue girl, are going with their respective families. We pick up the keyboard from Tab’s flat in Glasgow, move into our two flats, and surely play some hackysac on the Meadows. Sunday we meet the technical team and have a two-hour tech rehearsal from one thirty. Then we will hand out leaflets for a few hours and surely play more hackysac on the Meadows, and Monday morning we’ll gather on the Royal Mile at 9.30 to persuade poor hapless tourists to come to the show, and start our show at 1.40pm.
On Wednesday morning the author of the original books, Bowering Sivers, will meet us on the Mile in her Old Ma Sivers outfit. We will sell watercress for a while, then we will go on to the venue and show her this latest bastardisation of her material! Still, she will be delighted (we hope!) that her work has inspired such creative outpouring from the youf. I would be pretty thrilled if some nutter made a musical out of my tits book, or my sperm book or my baby factory book. Although I’m pretty keen to make musicals out of them myself, as soon as I get time and a cast. If any of you wish to sign up, singers, writers, musicians, flashers, actors, donors (!of milk, sperm or babies), just send me a message.
We had an encouraging experience yesterday as one of my little flute guys called James, nine years old, came for a lesson. He is a beginner, so we played ten four-second Bs, then ten As, then ten Gs, ticking them off on a chart to keep him on the job, as he is a chatty lad. Then we heard wondrous noises emanating from the Big Room and ran in to have a look. Twenty minutes later, after seeing ‘Those Dirty Rats’ twice through, he came out, dazed with shock and joy. ‘That was the best thing I have ever seen,’ he said. ‘I just loved it more than anything.’
Ah Bleeeess. And the cast are not even in costume yet! How thrilled will he be when Zeke is prowling round in his top hat and tails and Mrs Blood is wearing her lacy red dress?
‘You’ll have to come to the preview,’ I said. ‘Three o’clock and seven o’clock on Thursday.’
‘I’ll come to both of them,’ he said. ‘And I’ll get here early so I can sit right at the front!’
Oh, my God, the sweetness. I nearly cried with happiness as he literally is our target audience. I had to apologise to his Mum when she picked him up, as I fear he may have caught the theatre bug (as you do) and will end up at drama school.
Now I know you are all gagging for some rehearsal pics. So……
Here is Chloe teaching Jem (Kris) the Playground Song:
And now you can see the Big Room has been turned into a rehearsal space:
And dancing is happening:
Now you probably would like to see Afie’s friend Luke trying out things from the dressing-up chest. It was after six hours of rehearsal so I think he was suffering from rehearsal fever and kind of thought he was in Hair rather than Jammy Dodgers:
You also need to see Mrs Blood practising her lift with Mr Blood:
I trawled the second-hand shops yesterday for Victorian garb. Claire from gin came too with her niece from Indonesia and her daughter Mattie. We got a whole pile of stuff! Brown skirts, gaudy high-necked shirts for Mrs Blood, a naff brooch for Mrs Blood, a suit jacket for Mr Blood, a dark blue long skirt for Clara….. all we needed was heeled black boots for Mrs Blood. Claire and I were giggling so hard about things that we sailed right past a heap of boots but Mattie called excitedly for us to come back – she had found the perfect pair! Thanks Mattie. She should hire herself out as a personal shopping consultant:
On another trip up Mill Road in Cambridge we found a top hat for Zeke and a splendiferous boater for Bowering Sivers which will top off her costume plaguey well:
So, as you can imagine, it’s all quite intense round here. This is compounded by the fact that Alfie is learning to drive, and adding him to the insurance meant I had to take myself off the insurance, so anytime I need to go anywhere he takes me, swerving about, jerking to halts, stalling at traffic lights, missing some poor van by a whisker. Stressed me out so I had to go for Pimms at Host. Mmm, mint, cucumber, ice….(never as good as our own Turbo Pimms though, eh, which will go down in history as the best drinking sesh ever…)
Luckily my yoga teacher Jac is running a two hour workshop on Monday the 4th August. Can’t wait. I booked everyone on it. Tabby said ‘Can Kieran come too?’ and Chloe said ‘Can Vinny come too?’ ‘They can! Why not?! I cried merrily and booked them on it too. Jac then reminded me it is in fact a ‘Release your Inner Goddess’ workshop. LOLSVILLE!!! Never mind. She said they can still come. Whilst giggling to herself uncontrollably. Oh well. Their inner goddesses will be pleased to see the light of day. We are slightly worried that if Mr Blood comes out of the workshop a Mrs Blood then Tabby will have to play Mr Blood and all will be turned upon its head.
We have talked about understudies. Clara (Bash) is understudying Mrs Blood and Jem, so Chloe is understudying Clara, and Luke is understudying Mr Blood. Vinny is understudying Ned. It all gets rather complicated after that. Basically Chloe can understudy everyone, but only one of them at a time. And she would look a bit big for Billy.
Over the next week we are going to try to document things daily and take lots more pics which I will put on here. The musical is changing during the rehearsal process. Vinny says that’s his favourite bit, the evolution of the work. It’s because you can see what works, and how things might work better. Things work themselves out. Different people inject new ideas. We are all feeling our way. There is no such things as mistakes. ‘Mistakes’ lead to new paths, which is a good thing.
When we lived in France the girls learnt the loveliest song called ‘Petit Bonhomme de Chemin.’ I can’t remember how it went but the title means little chap of a path, and whenever I am walking the dogs I think about how dear the little windy woodland paths are. We grow so fond of them. There is magic in the way they curve around trees and how they were made by the tiny feet of rabbits, then foxes, then humans. Trudge trudge, I follow the doggies, that’s what we do, pad along on pretty, shady trails. When there are nettles coming up, Whisky stops for me to pick him up and carry him, ahhh bleeeeeeessss!
I have sent our press release to all journalists professing to be interested in children’s shows, musical theatre, listings, or theatre. I’ve prepared pics for apps, struggled again with pixels, talked to journalists, paid for ads in ThreeWeeks and FringeReview. I have also bought huge amounts of spinach and green apples and berries as Tabby is on some freaky vegan juicing thing again.
We have two apartments booked. One for most of the cast, on the Meadows, so they can go out and play hacky-sac. One on the Royal Mile, but quite far down, near a secret garden, for me and Fred. There is room for one more in that flat in case we have emergency visitors. See! We are not Fringe virgins! We know about the Emergency Visitors!! If you are an Emergency Visitor, please come and find us on the Mile. Nothing I love more than blogloons, especially those fanatics who beg me to tell them stories of Fattipuss and the Frog, or Fred, the mouse and the bollocks, or Kiki saying ‘Get a jooooob, Fred,’ : but I just stare at them blankly as I have all but forgotten the stories! Luckily though….wrote em all down! That is one sure way to defeat the loss of beautiful things.