Double Sunday Tally

Easter has passed, spring has begun …

Things I have learned this week: Nothing ever changes.
Yes, the world is going to hell in a handcart and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s been happening for a while, probably since the dawn of time. The powers that be in Fiji have disbanded the Council of Chiefs, the leader of the opposition is still getting beaten up by the Zimbabwean police force, and back home a whole heap of idiots keep saying the the repeal of section 59 is tantamount to creating an “anti-smacking bill” (it’s not, it just gets rid of the “use of reasonable force” defense when a child beater is in court of assault against … wait for it … a child). sigh.

New words of Mandarin I have learnt: none, I am a very bad person.

Plays seen: 1
Venus and Adonis – I finally posted a brief review below, back dated just to keep my travelog in order – yes, it’s all about me.
Yes the play going is a touch slow but I’ll make up for it next week with the three shows I’ve booked to see …

Films seen: 2
The Namesake – I really enjoyed it, it was very touching but a part of me feels I was watch highlights from the book (which I haven’t read) as it jumped into the future, this was particularly the case with the second generation story line, however the parents story was lovely. Yes, I had a wee cry too. Oh and for the record, I had no idea that there would be a character called Nik (short for …) in it. The fact that I had the same thing going in Beginnings is pure coincidence!

Sunshine – Yes, I made a wee crack about Cliffbhai yesterday, but I meant it with all respect. He is an excellent, intelligent actor who is doing so well, I was pretty impressed that he saw India as a super power of the future, you don’t hear that very often (I think that the possibility of China and India joining economic forces makes the US and Europe very, very nervous). However, I am also glad that the idea of Cliff Curtis as a British-Indian doctor was also thrown out. There were many things I liked about Sunshine but I loved the casting. International, properly international too. Michelle Yeoh is there, as is Rose Byrne and Hiroyuki Sanada and all without the usual, look-we-are-the-United-Nations-of-astronauts explanation. Cliff Curtis is a Maori doctor in space, with an American accent, but let’s face it, 50 years into the future, New Zealand is not going to get involved with any space exploration – hell, we don’t even have a proper airforce. The film itself was excellent. I am so glad that Lou and I decided that Pans Labyrinth would finish too late for me to get home and changed plans, otherwise I would have missed it. If you get a chance to see this in the cinema then go now – the visuals are stunning, the sound is magnificent – loud, but brilliant, you would need to shell out an awful lot of bucks to get a home theatre system to do the film justice. The story? Well … ok let’s separate it into good and not so good. Good: Not explaining the whole story to us, leaving the audience to catch up on some bits; the physics, I quite liked the physics; the use of real time; the way that the actual journey of the film was more important than the ending, quite a few interesting issues were explored during the film – I think it will make the film more interesting on multiple viewings. Bad: Don’t ever, ever name your spaceship Icarus? That’s just asking for trouble! And for any of you who plan to travel through dark space and are no longer in contact with ground control – don’t answer a distress beacon from a seemingly abandoned ship where no one will talk to you before you open a hatch … watch a few sci fi films first! I’ll recommend you some later. Otherwise, yes, excellent film it’s been a while since I’ve seen a decent sci fi (Serenity was the last one) – I think I’ll have to get it on DVD – judge me if you dare.

Jobs applied for: Lots, 2 interviews so far.
Hopefully this is coming to an end. I hope I can get a temping assignment next week at the very least to get back in the rhythm of going to work and so I’m earning pounds. I’m feeling a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing now. I’m probably going to abandon the whole theatre job hunt and focus on short event contracts. I definitely want to move to Singapore now so I’ll use the time I have in the UK to build up more experience on my CV (which is already pretty impressive) and start working on what I really love – writing. I need to get dirty creatures finished to stage readiness this year and that should be my focus not admin in a theatre. Hopefully this means I’ll be home in Wellington for a bit next year and then in Singapore for a few years after that as the kids grow up. The aim is to have my 30ith birthday party in Singapore next year – you’ve all been warned, start saving for a plane ticket now!

Plays worked on this week: 3 (8 if you count each Easter Egg)
Yes, Beginnings is over and a new daily serial, Bury the Cat has started. I’ve also started the fourth draft of dirty creatures too (finally), just need to get a printer so I can cut up draft three and completely rework it. Beginnings and the Easter Eggs have been good at getting my writing brain back, so now it’s time to do some serious work. Bury the Cat will probably have shorter episodes out of necessity – I need the time to work dirty creatures. And as you can see from the first episode, Bury the Cat, will be very different in style to Beginnings, for those of you who know me, don’t worry, I’m ok – I am happy and well. For those of you who don’t, and have just read that statement, no, aside from some of the emotions, it is not autobiographical.

But before Beginnings is put to bed, I’d like to open the floor to you if you have any feedback. Theatre is always reliant on the audience, that is it’s beauty and attraction to me. I don’t think I will ever be a novellist, the process just seems to lonely. Of course writing theatre by blog is not too far removed from that, as I have no idea what your reaction to the story line or characters are, nor to I get to enjoy the collaborative process I would have with a dramaturg, director or actors but the fact that it is still mostly dialogue allows me to think of it as script writing.

Beginnings is kind of finished and sort of not. However I’ve had a wee think over the last few hours and it may work as a radio series, so your feedback will actually be of use to me as I completely rework the script. So to start you off, I really didn’t plan out the story line before I started and it shows, there are a holes in the plot, the characters are a bit two dimensional and the scenes need to be developed more. As is typical when writing a first draft, I just let the story come with little idea of what will happen next, if you were surprised by story developments as the days passed you can be sure as hell that I was surprised (and a little panicked too). Things that I knew before I started: Maya was always going to be responsible for a murder of some sort and Nic was always going to be the hapless bystander, their Mum was always in collusion to whatever Maya was doing. The rest were details, originally I had the idea that Maya and her Mum were vampires but felt that took it into the fantastical (not that the Sari Assassins made it real but you get what I mean). I like the Sari Assassins a lot, I think I could make more of that (have news reports of accidental/natural deaths that slowly link each Mashi as you meet them), I need to really look at the scenes where Maya has Nic and Jenn hostage through to Nic at Karori Cemetary – it doesn’t work well at all because I really was just making it up as I went along. As a blog, I think it needed to be more interactive, I quickly fell as a writer in habits of theatre and radio, I need to find that fine balance where it’s something you read and click rather than making a short film and posting it (something I will consider when I come home). One big thing is that it only works as a serial, not as a play, I think you need a day between each piece to forget it (as I did) for it to make sense. What is surprising, is that the whole serial is about an hour long, that’s a lot longer than I thought it would be. It was a lot of fun to write, and I got to play with a variety of styles, now I need to pare that back a bit and create something solid. There’s a lot of story in there to work with, which is excellent. And my final thought is that I liked my main characters, I liked the normallacy (if there is such a word) of the family, that this could be any family, Indian or whatever, in this play. After doing The Chaiwallah’s Tale, which is so over the top and zany, this felt like a good notch down.

So those are my intial thoughts. If you have feedback of your own that you want to give, or any questions you want to pose to me, then please feel free to post it.

Oh look the Bahrain GP is on … I’m off and by the way – Go McLaren!

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