Archive for the Sunday Tally Category

Very Partial Sunday Tally

Posted in Sunday Tally on 30 April, 2007 by sonal

Mostly because two Sundays have passed and I’m still catching up on theatre reviews … so to be brief.

Plays seen: 6
*deep breath in* – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nine Hills One Valley, Satyagraha, Coriolanus, Mahabharata, When Sun and Moon Collide (which was only a reading but whatever …). Reviews to come, honest.

Films seen: 2
Singing in the Rain – *sigh*

The Lives of Others – I had a wee panic before I saw this, as I heard that the film has the scenario of authoritarian government oppression playwright, cue beads of sweat on my forehead as I contemplate throwing out the script I’ve spent the best part of two years on because the whole thing has been done. Well thank goodness, I’m safe for now, so enough about my anxieties, what about the film? Fabulous. It’s an excellent script, beautifully plotted and it’s ending was very, very good. That’s all I can tell you, you can read a synopsis elsewhere but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you. I hope my play can even be a tenth as good as this film.

Tales from flatting that I will tell you when I move out: 1
Someone remind me, please.

Plays I am working on: 3
I miss my printer.

Days I’ve missed my car: every freakin day
To hell with my carbon footprint, I’m all ready going to hell for becoming an atheist (and then for deciding that atheists can be just as zealous, bigoted and obnoxious about religion and finally for deciding to believe in Fate for at least a year to see what happens … I have many battles in my life and if you want to gain insight into me as a person or about my writing here it is: my biggest struggle in life, the thing I contemplate the most is this: my struggle with Faith. That says almost everything about me ) … anyway as I have demonstrated, I’m going to hell anyway, why not do it in style? Mmm … feel the warmth of those flames …

Stuff I promised to read and feedback to people: 2
I’m really sorry, have completed my other work so will give feed back in the next couple of days. And Rina, if you’re reading this – where’s your script? Oh, yes, I’ve told the world now …


Double Sunday Tally

Posted in Sunday Tally on 15 April, 2007 by sonal

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!

Sunday Tally

Posted in Sunday Tally on 2 April, 2007 by sonal

Another week passes …

Jobs applied for: 4 + C.V.s sent to 3 agencies
I am so very tired of looking for a job. But I am off to Birmingham this week so I’m going to enjoy the break, forget my job hunting woes and treat my return to London as a clean start (with less money obviously).

New Mandarin words/phrases learnt: 5
You, I, You are, I am, yes – I think sentences are going to be a long way off, don’t you?

Shows seen: 1
Weyreap’s Battle – Not sure how to classify this piece. I guess dance would be the most accurate description. The piece was from a small episode during the battle of Lanka (for those who are keeping score – the bit where Rama and Lakshmana are captured by Ravana’s brother)

It was a gorgeous piece to watch. The masks were stunning. especially liked the Ravana mask – a four tiered piece with a main ‘giant’ face and then eight small faces around the back of the mask and at the second tier, the third tier had a human pink face and finally a golden spike, denoting that he is a king. As the audience entered, all of the masks were lined up on an altar and the actors/dancers got ready on the stage (sewn into their costumes). Once in we were all in, an interpreter came on stage and lined up four of the forms – hero, giant, monkey and white monkey to explain some of the choreography we would see namely crying, laughing and angry (I wish that more performances did that, I’m pretty sure the audience appreciated the performances more and you could hear them react when ever they recognised a motion). A quick puja was done to the masks, each actor took thier mask and then the performance started. Gorgeous, it was just gorgeous. And more importantly the huge number of kids who were in the audience were having a ball. A little boy in front of me was at the edge of his seat the whole show (80 min) and kept looking at his mum to say cool, every now and then. Forget what I thought of the show, his reaction was the best thing about it – if he thought it was cool, then the show was cool.

Cool things that make the world brighter: 3
’70s Bowie
Lotte’s fabulous apple crumble (mmm, crumble)
Oh and booking a ticket to France in June …

A quiet Sunday Tally

Posted in Sunday Tally on 25 March, 2007 by sonal

Yes, sorry, not much has happened over here, this should be quick.

Movies seen: 1
Hot Fuzz – I seem to have been a touch over zealous in my review about Shaun of the Dead. This is also good but in a different way.

Plays seen: 0
But I have been buying tickets for other weeks so reviews will be coming for Tim Supple’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a version of Venus and Adonis done with puppets and a dance/theatre production of The Mahabharata at Sadler’s Wells.

Language lessons purchased: Colloquial Mandarin
Yes, I know my new year’s resolution says Hindi, but Mandarin is a tad more urgent if I want to work as a writer in Singapore. So I’ve got a book and CD (and some help from the BBC languages website) to teach myself. So far I can say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘do you speak English?’, now that I have a book, I hope that in a few months I can say more.

Jobs applied for: 4 and 1 temping agency
According to one of my recruitment agents, the market is very slow, particularly for people like me looking for contractual work. I suspect it’s an end of financial year things where people are thinking – oh crap, we spent all of our money, quick, quick, quick, cut the marcomms budget. I overheard a conversation on the bus where two women were also complaining to each other about how difficult it’s been to find a decent job and that her agent said that April should be better.

Of course it’s possible that I just suck. It’s not like that thought hasn’t passed my mind either.

Admittedly the last six jobs I’ve applied for closed over the last week and before that I didn’t leave my bed for the flu (couldn’t even formulate a sentence let alone sell myself to employers) – I’m suffering for those lack of applications now. Hopefully one of my applications will lead to an interview … hopefully. Now I know I could go temping, but do I really spend up the precious workable 12 months on my 2 year working holiday visa which I will need if I get any of the jobs I apply for? I have savings and a good head for budgeting so I’ll hold out until after Easter and then, if there’s nothing, go temping.

Purchases: 2 DVD sets, 1 pair of boots
She says, having read the last paragraph. All on sale, the DVDs were the X-men trilogy and Aliens Quadrilogy, both cheaper than what I could get second hand from Real Groovy. The boots, and I must tell all for they are quite a steal, were £15!

Spring is here!
For we set our clocks forward last night, hooray!

Sunday Tally double

Posted in Sunday Tally on 19 March, 2007 by sonal

Yes, I’ve missed another Sunday Tally mostly because there wasn’t much to write about. Let’s face facts, this is not a personal diary, it’s a blog – open for absolutely anyone to read, so as far as I’m concerned anything I write here is for public consumption with absolutely no regrets about what I may reveal on it. Of course this means while I can tell you I’m having a bit of a shitty time here in London I can’t always tell you why – but if you have seen me in the last couple of weeks you’ll know why.

What I can say: I hate where I live. I just hate it. The flat is ok, but I hate where I live and I’m trapped here for another five months until the no break clause in my rental contract ends. I still haven’t got a job which means I’m still spending NZ dollars and after a bout of the flu, which knocked me mostly out of action for a couple of weeks, I think I’m having a bout of depression (which I am totally comfortable about telling you all because I think more people need to speak about it) because I’ve had a few wild mood swings. But it’s not because I’m homesick (in 1998 it took less than a week for me to want to get on the first plane home), it’s because my living situation is sucking the joy out of me as it the fact that I’m unemployed. It’s definitely not about home, because aside from my friends, I really don’t miss it.

On the upside I am going home for Easter. Not home home just the first level of home: Birmingham. Which is a rather convenient segue into the three levels of home (and indicators of the desire for escape):

Level 1 – Birmingham, Mama’s house
Indicator – I miss being with family and I need a break from London.

Level 2 – Singapore, Bhai’s place
Indicator – I miss babies or I really need my family or I’m having a crisis of confidence about being in the UK anymore or you know, it’s Christmas/Jay’s Birthday/Aesha’s Birthday/My Birthday or I’m unemployed, sick of the cold and it’s cheaper to buy a return ticket and stay a month in Singapore than pay rent/council tax/travel cards/gas/electricity/water.

Level 3 (or red alert) – New Zealand, Maupuia, Mum, Home
Indicator – I’m sick of the UK and I’m applying for a working holiday in a completely different country or I still can’t find a job and I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend an English winter job hunting and being miserable so I’m coming home for summer because it works out cheaper to buy a return ticket then pay rent/council tax/travel cards/gas/electricity/water or I’m home, I’m home, I’m home, hello bookshelves, hello bed, I’ve missed you so much.

I doubt that the last option of level three will come into play any time soon, I just don’t miss home at the moment (although I do miss my bed). In fact more than anything, I feel a bit homeless. I’m not happy where I am now but I know that I would be even more unhappy if I went back to Wellington. It’s a weird place to be.

So as you can imagine, I’ve been trying to cheer myself up. The first part of this plan was to take a walk from the Tower along the South Bank to Waterloo station. The day was sunny and cool, the walk pleasant, the Thames quietly lapping against the bank and I got to see my favourite ever view of London …


Don’t ask me why, maybe it’s because when I see white towers, all of modern London disappears and all I see it fields, villages and a the old Tower by a river, whatever it is, it did the trick. I was buoyant until I had to go home. Since then, I’ve started going out to the theatre again, seen a movie, hung out with my friends, started writing (which is always a high for me) and tried to stay out of home as much as possible (and practicable given that I’m doing a lot of writing at the moment and applying for jobs). I think more than anything, the desire to start work (aside from the obvious cash flow boost) is a need to meet new people, do new things.

Anyway, I am doing ok. I will be fine, don’t be alarmed, I’ve just been avoiding talking about myself because I whine enough to my friends in person, I don’t need to bother them by web too …

And with that the Sunday Tally:

Number of jobs applied for: 3
An event one, another event one and a copywriting one – all in London.

Number of job rejection letters received: 1
I’m surprised to have got even that!

Number of films seen: 2
The Last King of Scotland – still shaking (and very, very concerned – could someone please intervene?)
Becoming Jane – don’t see it. Just don’t. It’s embarrasingly bad. You’ll have friend shame. Lou or Lotte may have better reviews.

Number of plays seen: 2
The Ramayana and Platanov – it’s been a long time between shows I know, but my health is back to normal and I’ve started booking the cheapest tickets available online so that for starters, I’m committed to leaving the flat and I can keep a close eye on my budget.

Celebrations of Spring: 1
Today in Regents Park with Lou and Lotte … I may just add that even though this week has enjoyed balmy temperatures of around 16 – 18C today the weather dropped 10C and it’s snowing tomorrow.


Books purchased: 9
4 plays (Sanctuary,White Open Spaces, Kneehigh’s Cymbeline and Strictly Dandia), Orghast At Persepolis – the book about Peter Brook’s production of Orghast, Wars of the Roses – the Pennington and Bogdanov book about the ESC and the last 3 are normal fiction by Hanif Kureshi, Kiran Desai and Gao Xingjian. Aside from 3 of the plays all of the others are second hand.

Grand Prix missed: 1
Like I was going to get up at 4am to watch the Melbourne GP … but ITV has highlights – hooray! Yay Alonso and Hamilton! Go McLaren! And yes, that’s possibly all the sport you’ll get from me. Oh and while I remember, the Black Caps are winning cricket?

Writing done: Daily Cereal
Thank goodness because that it saving me from going around the bend. Must start work on dirty creatures soon. And reply to emails … sorry will email you soon!

What tally?

Posted in Sunday Tally on 5 March, 2007 by sonal

Here marks the first blackspot of my stay in the UK … a week where nothing of note happened:

Monday – help Kathryn pack

Tuesday – Interview with recruitment agency; help Kathryn move

Wednesday – help Kelly pack.

Thursday – taken out suddenly with flu.

And that’s it.

Days spent waiting for an internet connection this week: 7

Jobs applied for: zip

What the hell am I doing here again?

Sunday Tally

Posted in Sunday Tally on 25 February, 2007 by sonal

Yes I’ve missed a few of these between moving countries/cities so to quickly catch up:

Jobs applied for: 1
In Canary Wharf but never heard from them … that seems to be the fashion in this country.

Shakespeares seen: 7
Ahem … Cymbeline, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, Richard III, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night (and I haven’t had time to sit and post reviews on the last six … but for now, if you happen to be in the UK and are reading this blog – go and see Richard III – go now! Book the ticket! Go on, follow the link – it’s brilliant!)

DVDs purchased: 2
Shakespeare Wallah, Peter Brook’s King Lear

Books purchased: 2Although I think including a road atlas of Britain is probably cheating. The other was Hanif Kureshi’s The Buddha of Suburbia – £2.50 from a secondhand bookshop in Greenwich!

Days spent waiting for a broadband connection: 3

Number of times I was called an Australian: None
But I was asked if I were American.

Now to bring you back to this week…

Jobs applied for: 3
1 in London, 1 in Edinburgh and 1 in Singapore (yes, I know I’ve just arrived but this particular job does not come up very often so I had to apply). If any one has any theories on the art of the cover letter I would love to hear them …

Plays seen: 1
Rock N Roll by Tom Stoppard – I’ve managed to gain an annoying tickly cough in the last week which forced me to down 7 Indian cough pills during the show to supress my cough. So out of courtesy to my fellow audience members, the cast and my lungs, I’ve suspended my theatre visits until I can control it.

Other events attended: 1
Chola – an exhibition of South Indian religious bronzes at the Royal Academy of Arts. Beautiful and because I went on the last day of the exhibition, the soft cover catalogue of the exhibtion was reduced from 19 to 3, score!

Average time spent commuting: 1 1/2 hours each way … I think I’m spending most of my days commuting!

Days spent waiting for a broadband connection: 7 and still waiting! Grr!