Friday, 17 May 2013

Apologies! Faustus! Far Away!

A.H: First, an immense apology! It has been an age since my last blog and within that age a great deal has happened that has passed undocumented. Dr Faustus came to its natural end and so after nearly three months together the cast have returned to their respective corners of the country to continue their respective actorly journeys. Rehearsals for the Caryl Churchill double bill of Far Away & Seagulls have started, matured and reached their twilight hours as tech week lurks its head next week. In short: tons of things that should have been dealt with in detail in this here blog haven’t been. But I’ve an excuse!
The first week of rehearsals for Far Away was greeted with an offer to work on a project for Stewart Laing who directed The Maids at the Citz in February. The show is a new version of James Hogg’s classic Scottish novel Confessions of a Dangerous Sinner and taking part would require a great deal of filming over the space of two weeks which we would work around rehearsals for the Caryl Churchill’s. If you take both rehearsing and learning lines for Far Away AND Seagulls and then learning lines and sword fights whilst also shooting night shoots up Arthur’s Seat for Confessions before returning to the Citz with two hours sleep to continue rehearsing Far Away you may begin to get an idea why all at A Season at the Citz has been a tad quiet. If you’d like to see the culmination of all that extra work then the finished project will be on at the Tramway theatre next month and, although it may seem a bit biased, I highly recommend it.
Walking down Arthur's Seat at 5.50am for Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Meanwhile, back at the Citz the Caryl Churchill’s have been going from strength to strength to complicated. After the world of Christmas shows and the devilish antics of Faustus (where I did a lot but said little) it has been a pleasure to work with such a complex text. Caryl Churchill is considered to be one of the great living English playwrights and trying to do these short plays justice has proven incredibly hard. Not because she’s bad but because she’s so good!
Lucy and I in a publicity image for Far Away. Image by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
You have so little lines to convey so very much. The text requires its actors to be absolutely precise with every sentence; then, and only then, does the play work, however, if the specificity slips so does the clarity of the play. I can tell you very little without giving things away but what I will say is that the moniker ‘short plays’ may imply something small in stature, but in terms of its subject matter and execution they are absolutely epic. Far Away has required the Citz to assemble a community cast of nearly 80 people! It would be too spoilerific to divulge ‘the why’ here so I won’t. Needless to say it’s going to look brilliant. View all the info and the trailer here: http://citz.co.uk/whatson/info/far_away_and_seagulls/
Finally, before I go, it would be remiss of me not to give over a quick paragraph to the end of Faustus. In short, it went brilliantly. It began very serenely with the birthday of yours truly on the Sunday before a cycling trip from Loch Lomond to the village of Luss with Chris, Leah and Gary on the Monday day off: 1 Loch, 1 pub lunch, 14 miles and lovely company.
From L to R: Chris Keegan, Gary Lilburn, Leah Kelly surveying the
 Loch with one of our trusty bikes
Friday night was a cast and crew last meal/ Dominic’s surprise birthday meal...which he then failed to show up to. All these events led up to the final performance on Saturday night. The final night of a show is always a very strange experience. There’s a natural want to go out with a bang and somehow give the definitive performance of the show in honour of all the hard work you’ve collectively accomplished, however, due to the live nature of theatre this want is rarely accomplished. The final Saturday was a lovely show but topped off with a plethora of odd moments where you would find yourself doing something entirely wrong despite having done it perfectly every time before. Luckily, it concluded in a merry manner with drinks and dancing on the Saturday night and a wee bit of food on the Sunday before trains and planes were caught and the cast of Faustus safely whisked away. I absolutely miss them and long for a catch up in the near future, however, such is the nature of Theatre. A sentiment nicely summed up by Todd half way through Far Away: “It’s ephemeral...you make beauty and it disappears, I love that”.
The Dr Faustus costumes all wrapped up and ready to be sent back to West Yorkshire Playhouse
‘Far Away’ and ‘Seagulls’ are on at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, from the 23rd May - 8th June. For all tickets please contact the box office on 0141 429 0022 or book online at www.citz.co.uk.