August 16, 2009
The final performance (of This Mortal Coil) went very well. Probably the best run to date which is always a good way to finish up. Overall, the whole experience of bringing a show to Edinburgh has been brilliant and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Thanks to everyone who supported us and to those who came along to see the show.
I don’t know when (or if) I’ll be back as I have a young son (and a baby girl on the way) so looking after the family and the school will be my priority for the forseeable future. I hope the two of you who have been reading my blogs have enjoyed them and wish you both all the best Read more
August 15, 2009
Finally, a couple of reviews have come in. The Scotsman were a bit tough on us I thought – not really bad but not great either. His criticism of the play was that it was “formulaic” and “obvious”. No mention of the production/acting/direction at all which smacks of a frustrated writer who thinks he could do a better job of writing it and has no real appreciation or understanding of the theatrical elements. On the other hand… Read more
August 14, 2009
We had our best performance to date after last night’s hiccup. Pace was good. Lots of energy and cues were sharp. A lovely woman from New Zealand, who only came because she was handed a flyer, stayed back to say how much she enjoyed the show and that it was just the sort of thing she had been hoping to see all festival. So far the praise from audience members (who don’t know us from a bar of soap) has been fantastic. Should have some reviews out tomorrow but I think somehow this one is going to be more of a people’s favourite than one for the critics… more on that later. Read more
August 13, 2009
Had to give one of my cast members a bollocking yesterday for adding an un-scripted line (obviously pre-planned) without checking with me first. It is completely disrespectful and unprofessional to do this, and the actor in question should have known that. The fact that The Stage was in to review the show, and that the line that was said was not funny and in fact could have offended a large number of audience members, made it even worse.
I hope this actor has learnt a valuable lesson about professional courtesy and respect for the writer and director and that it will never happen again. There is sometimes a place for spontaneous improvisation (in some types of productions – not ours), but it must be appropriate and must be spontaneous. If an actor wishes to make a change to the script, it must be cleared by the writer first. If he or she wishes to change any pre-determined element of their performance (such as blocking; costume; character motivation or action etc), it must be cleared with the director first. Read more
August 12, 2009
Caught a midday show at the Assembly on George then off to the venue to organise some comp tickets to paper the house for the show (This Mortal Coil). A couple of important reviewers coming so we needed bums on seats to create the right vibe. Managed to give away 40 tickets and about half of those actually turned up which was about what I expected. The performance went down very well - even better than opening night. The cast are really starting to settle into it and it’s beginning to find its feet. Had a couple of audience members come up and say they really loved the play which was nice. Read more
August 11, 2009
DAY FIVE – MONDAY 10TH
We finally made it to opening night (of This Mortal Coil) and as expected it went exceedingly well! Spent most of the day traipsing around town trying to find an internet cafe that would allow me to download itunes so I could burn our music onto a CD. Got that done by about 2pm and then rushed over to our venue to catch The Lost Letters of Mr Corrigan. The producer of this show kindly offered to make the three black boxes that comprises our set and I wanted to catch up with him (Robin) to say thank you personally but didn’t manage to find him. Hope to do so sometime this week.
After a freshen up it was back to the venue for some final notes for the cast and opening night. We only had about 15 audience members but three of them were reviewers so that was good. Only a few minor slip-ups (literally in one instance) during the run and overall it was very well received. Laughs in all the right places and you could hear a pin drop during the poignant moments. After the show, one of the reviewers came up to me with a huge smile and said she really enjoyed it so fingers crossed! Read more
August 10, 2009
DAY FOUR – SUNDAY 9TH
There is an old superstition amongst theatre people that if you have a bad final dress rehearsal you will have a good opening night. If that’s true, then after our disastarous tech rehearsal yesterday we are in for a brilliant opening night tonight! Just about everything that can go wrong did. The smoke machine failed to work; yours truly brought the music CD case without the CD inside; the floor was a different colour from what we need (pale floorboards instead of black but that will be fixed); props fell over; costumes missing; lines fluffed or forgotten; actors were sick (and tired); and the list goes on… as the saying goes – it’ll be right on the night! Read more
August 9, 2009
DAY THREE – SATURDAY 8TH
It’s only day three and already the festival is taking it’s toll – a young girl behind the box office asked me if I was a senior citizen! (I’m 44). Oh, well – that’s the price you pay I guess.
While writing yesterday’s blog in Fringe Central got to chatting with a lovely woman from a community radio station in Bristol and did an impromptu interview. Hopefully, Bristolites will now come to the show in their droves! That was followed by another radio interview with Fresh Air at the festival www.freshair.org.uk . Presenter was excellent and asked intelligent questions. Read more
August 8, 2009
DAY TWO – FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST
Gave the cast (and myself) the day off to explore the city and settle into the festival vibe before getting to work on promoting and rehearsing the show on Saturday. Felt a lot more awake and alive after a reasonable night’s sleep and dived into the action after breakfast. Took a stroll up the Royal Mile and enjoyed the flurry of activity with dozens of performers promoting their shows and what seems like thousands of punters eagerly soaking up the atmosphere. Enjoyed the Zombies from CHOMP with their make up and character work while handing out their flyers. Read more
August 7, 2009
My name is Mark Matthews and I’m the Director of Sydney Theatre School and the up-coming Fringe play “This Mortal Coil” at the Quaker Meeting House from Aug 10-15 @ 18.30. A little over twelve months ago I created and directed an earlier version of the play in Sydney with 14 first term acting students. The production and concept seemed to work well and I came up with the wild and crazy idea to take it to the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe. What was I thinking?
This was a production that had been cobbled together over 10 days of rehearsal and featured a group of beginning actors most of whom were performing in their first play and most had never even heard of the Fringe. Anyway, after a research trip to last year’s Fringe to find a venue, I managed to book a space and declared that anyone from the original cast who wanted to go on the trip in ’09 could go and we would meet up in March for our first rehearsal. To cut a long story short, 4 original cast members committed to the trip and four other grads came on board. Read more