Is this a wooden practice sword I see before me?

Thankfully yes!

Last night was our first company fight call. And what fun it was too! After a couple of weeks of secret meetings and near misses with living room lampshades it was finally time to teach the cast about battle.

I don’t want to give you any spoilers but suffice to say there are parts of the play where we plan to have the entire cast on stage fighting, simultaneously. Which is quite hard to plan when there’s only two of you, in a living room.

So last night involved some winging it.

We spent about an hour teaching some sword skills (as far as my knowledge would allow) and then launched into demonstrating and learning sequences. Everyone was absolutely amazing and did such a brilliant job. It’s always impossible to know how quickly people will pick up training like this but we’re obviously a very talented bunch!

I’m happy to report that there were no injuries sustained (apart from when Macbeth kicked me in the knee but to be honest that could well have been because I kept interrupting his line learning session to attack him with a sword), and there was no blood or tears. There was lots of sweat, but I did make people run at each other with wooden sticks in a garden on the hottest day of the year so far, so that’s to be expected I suppose. 

I’m so happy with the result. And so proud of everyone. It’s almost unbelievable that we put together a 15 person sword battle in two hours! But we did! and it looks grand!

Big big big thanks to Ryan for being instrumental in choreography, training, and keeping my nerves in check.

Thanks also to Tom, Jonny, Carolyn and Summer for being early learners. 

And thanks to the cast for working so damn hard! Sorry if you can’t walk this morning!

The weird witches workshop 

We decided, given that we’re ultra talented, to make the witches a little more ghoulish and ethereal by getting our resident choreographer, Jonny, to help us come up with some witchy movement.

We rehearsed this last night and, this morning, I can’t move. Who needs legs anyway? We’re going for three very different personalities in our tricky threesome, and we spent a wonderful three hours yesterday working through some ideas. Much to the amusement of everyone else in the room. 

It’s feeling really strong now though and I’m pretty sure it’s going to look extra weird. We’re also the only characters who are allowed accents (I’ll let you guess which kind) so I spent an hour with Witch one on Sunday doing some voice practice  TJ the dog found it fascinating (I’m still concinced it was the performances he was interested in and his insistence on sitting on my lap had nothing to do with the flapjack I was brandishing!) so I’m hopeful we’re onto something there.

Tonight I recap fights with Ryan (our new resident fight choreographer- gosh we’re collecting some talent here!), tomorrow I turn 30 (just dropping that in, y’know in case you wana bring me cake), and then Sunday we fight again. All in all a cracking week which will no doubt result in my thighs being the size of houses.

Ok, I’m late for work. Witchy bye-byes. 

When shall we three meet again? Next rehearsal? Ok great.

Where hast thou been sister? 

Killing swine.

Just murdering a pig. Quite casually. Why are you even asking? Are you suggesting, sister, that this is somehow not normal? Just chopping up a pig. You know. As you do.

I’m working on Second Witch’s subtext. What’s her motivation? What makes her tick? I think there’s a possibility she might be a bit messed up…I want her to really enjoy having massacred that pig.

Tonight we stood up the first four scenes. Always great to get things on their feet. We’re really working hard to try and find different characteristics in the witches, and to create some creepy relationships!

We also got first look at our costumes tonight. 

A question: how many pairs of grey trousers does it take to create a production of Macbeth?

Answer: a lot. We’re not a huge cast but we play a lot of characters between us and a lot of those characters wear grey trousers. I predict mayhem in the dressing rooms! 

In all seriousness though, the costumes already look great, can’t wait til we start dress runs! 

For a first rehearsal we got a lot done. Really looking forward to getting my teeth firmly into the rest of it! Roll on next rehearsal!

Double double here comes trouble 

And so Macbeth beginneth!

I am very excited to let you know that I will be playing (drum roll) Second Witch, Third Murderer and Seyton in Macbeth this summer!

We’ve got a lovely cast, some familiar faces, some new ones, some really really old ones (me in witch make up mostly).

We start proper on Thursday. And we can’t wait! 

I’ll do some proper blogging then. This was just a kind of ‘oi oi we’ve started so prepare yourselves for my ramblings’ type teaser post. You see?

Blog ya laters!

Second half 

This is a short one because I have wine and quite frankly, I’m more interested in drinking that than anything else right now.

Tonight was good. We did the second half. It takes a phenomenal  amount out of me considering it doesn’t feel like I’m doing much actual dancing. There’s a lot of holding tension and actually a lot of acting. Johnny described it to fit as ‘the least dancey dance I’ve ever danced’, which is pretty accurate.

Either way, I must be getting thinner (apart from the wine). So that’s all good. 

In other news Macbeth auditions happened and now we’re all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to hear if we get to toil and trouble or not. 

I’m not called next week because Johnny’s skiing-not-skiing, so I’ll catch you later. 

Books down!

First night without scripts in hand, which remarkably makes it much easier for me and Jonny (it’s very tough to dance and hold a book).

We ran the whole first half this evening and it quickly became very clear that Jonny and I are going to need to find myriad ways to entertain ourselves backstage for the first hour or so before we’re on. Suggestions on a postcard please. Ideas so far include, a long running game of monopoly, a full three course dinner and sit-ups with crisp incentives.

It went well, we remembered everything and Helen is happy so that’s good! On Thursday we run the second half which has the longer and more difficult section in, but I’m fairly confident we’ve got it (I just need to do it better now!) 

Tonight everyone was in, crew and production team, and it was so lovely. It really is my favourite moment when everyone gets together for the first time.

Time for bed. More on Thursday. And plié.

Acting-dancing 

Did I just stand on your foot? No, I thought I kicked you?! No! Oh sorry!

We have the choreography now – it’s all there. We just have to tighten it up. When I say we, I suppose I mean me! Jonny is bloody brilliant, I just need to catch up!

One of the hardest things I’ve discovered is acting-dancing. Dancing in character. I play (dance) 3 characters, which means 3 different physicalities. The hardest thing is finishing a movement, and remembering to come back to ‘resting’ in the correct character stance. I keep forgetting which one I’m playing! 

Anyway, we’ll get there no doubt. 

Figured I’d start losing some middle at some point – as yet nothing seems to have shifted but maybe that’s the enormous amount of Tapas I ate before rehearsal tonight.

Still, onwards and upwards!

17 Jan – The Pillowman

Hi! I’m back! Your official ‘someone’s in a Mask play and they want to brag about it’ blogger. Bet you’re pleased. Miss me? Well I missed you!

So this is a good one. I’m in The Pillowman, which is a really gruesome story by the way (not to put you off, but I thought you should know) and I’m going to be dancing. What a laugh!

We’ve had 2 rehearsals so far. They’ve gone…quite well. Jonny my dancing partner is, thankfully, INCREDIBLY patient. Even after an accidental 50 shades moment yesterday where I fell in an appallingly compromising position. Let’s hope he’s got good nerves.

We’ve got the basics down, now I just  need to be able to execute them properly (note to self, don’t use ‘execute’ in blog about gruesome play again).

So, keep up with all the limb antics here! Sweet dreams chaps. I’ll leave you with this…..


….it’s good for a giggle! 

Why do we light fires on bonfire night?

And who was this Guy Fawkes chap anyway?

Bonfire Night on 5 Nov (remember remember…yeah you’re with me) was originally the celebration of the uncovering of a plot to blow up the King of England in the early 1600s.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really known the full story. My brain has created some weird associations with bonfires and firewood laid under the Palace of Westminster to fuel the explosion, which makes no sense when you think about it. I certainly didn’t know that the whole thing masterminded by a bloke called Robert Catesby and 12  of his followers! I’d always assumed Guy Fawkes was a one man band! That’s why writing Smoke and Mirrors for Platform 8 has been so eye opening.

It’s a month away yet but we’re moving into that proper autumnal territory so get this in your diaries now. Come along to the Green Backyard on Saturday 5 November for the true story of the gunpowder plot as told by Robert Catesby and his trusted servant Thomas Bates. It’s a whole evening of festivities including food, drink, crafts and fire juggling and the 30 min storytelling piece is on 3 times throughout the evening. Hope to see you there chaps!

Book tickets and get more information 

It’s been a while 

I didn’t make it on here at all during the fringe. My Twitter and the Lamphouse website have the lowdown so I shan’t bore you with it all over again!

There’s some exciting news on the horizon! I’m just finishing the first draft of a new piece about the gunpowder plot for Smoke and Mirrors which is a festival that will be happening on….you guessed it, November 5th! It’s in conjunction with Platform 8 which is a new bi-annual platform in Peterborough for the arts. Produced by Jumped Up Theatre for the Battersea Arts Centre it’s a great thing for us and I’m really looking forward to what’s to come!

The piece is a comedy, which is quite new for me – sketchy, silly, horrible histories style. It’s been hard work but I think in the last few days I’ve had a breakthrough! Watch this space for more deets!