December 2005

December 2005

Postby Barry » Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:41 pm

December 3rd 2005

Am writing fighting a losing battle with Inigo who is determined to get my attention. I'm a bit distracted as I am playing Beethoven's Ninth and it just keeps rolling over me in great surges of glorious sound, all leading to that jaw dropping last section. The best, though we had a conversation on Fifi this week about our desert island CD. I'm torn between Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, or Swan Lake. I think the Swans would win. Needless to say, the Fifi's crew's choices were a bit more contemporary.

A long week on Fifi, still losing myself over shooting out of sequence and the continuity struggles that involves. I did a funny extended shot that was going well, but two days later then had to do the shot that was before of it, and darn I struggled to try to get a neat segue. As always it looks as if you are trying to segue, and just does not flow. Ineviatable but frustrating. Ben K, from Harvey, came for a look roound and we had a suitably erudite but somewhat off the wall chat comparing our crafts....acting and aniamtion are so similar, of course they are, Much the same thing. He's spending the next few weeks giving life to an invisible six foot white rabbit that doesn't exist. We spend our time doing much the same.

Can't move for Kong stuff. Saw some great books of Gus and co's artwork in Forbidden Planet. I just remember the pages and pages of paintings Gus produced, every one simply a masterpiece. Also in Forbidden Planet I did see some less than impressive toys that didn't quite capture the grandeur of the film. Most films have some very unimpressive toys.....there was a six foot high Jack Skellington whose face was fine but he seemed to be wearing a tailored sack? Kong also seems to be big in cornflakes! But I can't wait. The first official screening is this week on Monday in Times Square. Oh to be there. I have to say all the Kong stuff brings back every second of New Zealand. It really was the most exciting, though ultimately disappointing, experience I've ever had. There is something about New Zealand, and two years on I can remember the feel of it as it were yesterday. I can remember every buildign, every curve of the coast, every shop, every person I worked with and met,......so much. It just felt right and almost home

Well into rehearsals for Turn of the Screw, and still shivering in various rehearsal rooms trying to imagine climbing over bits of set that aren't there, trying to direct actors that aren't there. Ah the advantages of a small cast such as we had in Snake in the Grass. Someone was talking about that production this week, about how professional it was and how slick, and how it disturbed them, particularly the wheelchair that moved across the stage by itself. I have to admit, I was very pleased with Snake, and the wheelchair, my own invention, certainly got the audience going. I'd deliberately had it being flung round the stage by the cast in the first act, with people sat in it and moving around in it...that way the audience were relaxed with it and it looked like an ordinary wheelchair. After the interval, it wasn't used so much, but was always there, a silent comment heavy with meaning about the unseen fourth character. And just to see it silently move under its own steam following a character, well it was satisfying to hear the audience gasp. Like all clever tricks, there was a simple solution, and a big case of misdirection. Hopefully we will have a few startling moments in Turn of the Screw, with one actor being in two places at once, and figures appearing out of nowhere. Hopefully. The theatre are doing Hi-De-Hi this week, then the panto. Screw will certainly be different. We did the first appearance of the ghost yesterday, and with the appropriate music and John's huge prescence, we already got a few tingles.

One more week of Fifi, and then welcome back to the glorious world of unemployment, and no potential work at all. A bit different from thisi time two years ago, and the premiere of Return of the King. And two years from now....?
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december 9th 2005

Postby Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:55 pm

Quite a week one way or the other. My last week on Fifi, and I think I did some fun stuff. Even now I still worry that I'm not as bouncy and exaggerated as the others, and that my animation tends to be more florid, whilst being more grounded in real acting. But I think that is me and Fifi done for the foreseeable future. I've enjoyed working with this crew, and there is a great sense of camaraderie here. Of course the subjects of conversation usually range from football, through breasts, to babies and back to breasts, and I'm definitely seen as some sort of quaint colourful grandfather figure, but that's fine. They are a great bunch, and however cold and basic that studio is, we do seem to have fun.

Yep so that is Fifi and I done as whilst I was expecting to have some free days to catch up, to get writing, to work on the play, to think about christmas, I suddenly find myself employed for at least three months, in quite a different position, and with some creativity.....and not working away. Rather exciting really, though a lot of people are assuming this is the first time I will have directed. I'm not sure most of the people I work with know where I've come from. But an interesting job, and one with some sentimental attatchments...and it did come about in a rather strange way. I recieved one fo those texts I would usually ignore....'send this on to five others who believe in angels and the phone will ring at 11.00 with good news'. Well I'm afraid as it came from good mate Shaun, I did send it on to five others, who are probably hating me now, but the phone did ring very near to 11.00 with news of this job....Spooky. Three days later and all is sorted out till march.

This of course has put extra pressure on me about the play, but I can cope. I won't have the usual time to linger in the theatre workshop trying to get the set built. But no-one is very interested in the set yet as they have the panto to get on yet. I ahve rehearsed every night this week, and sunday so am somewhat exhausted and a little stressed. It's been funny rehearsing Turn of the Screw shilst Hi-de-Hi is performed and we are occasionaly interrupted by yellowcoats running through our space. I think the play is going well but I am concerned about the mechanics. I sort of know what is happening but there is still a lot to be worked out. Such a strange piece but I think we will provide an interesting an unsettling evening.

And of course Kong has been everywhere this week, with premiere's in New York (that did have a large gorilla outside) Berlin I think, and London. I won't get to see it for a few weeks, but all the stills look amazing. The jungle foliage and vistas don't look particularly 100% realistic but they seem to have caught an exquisite painterly feel which is the equivalent to the etching feel of the 1933 film. Andy Serkis is everywhere, (enduring some rather naive reporters with clearly no sense of dignity) and however hard I try not to think about it, there's still a huge twinge of regret about this. I just know I could have delivered such an emotional performance...maybe I might not have had the gung-ho imagination for pushing the physicality and acrobatics of the stunts but I could have made that guy breathe. Anyway I'm so looking forward to seeing the film, and marvelling at it. I think it's long enough ago for me to be swept along by the story.

Yep, defintiely more than enough for one week......no time for me to sit and think or swim!

And I'm sorry that I just won't be able to get round to christmas cards.
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17th December 2005

Postby Barry » Sat Dec 17, 2005 8:18 pm

Well that's a week done on the new position, and it makes a change to sit down for most of the week. A lot of rushing around though and trying to absorb a huge amount of information and new names, but I've had great fun coming up with some interesting storylines. I think this will be fun. Rehearsing the play every night has kept the adrenalin going, and certainly rehearsals have taken off this week. I've been pushing everyone a bit, and they have responded wonderfully. Dear Adam and Holly have been so sweet so far, but when I coaxed them to be violent, they certainly rose to that challenge and exploded. I think we are all surprising each other. We've blocked the whole show, but now have to plot the actual journey of the characters clearly. I feel quite good about things there so far, but as usual, if it is not a literal straightforward production, eyebrows are definitely raised. The cast are fine. I want to push the theatricality of my shows, and I know the audience can cope with it...lord knows I'm hardly doing anything that couldn't be seen on a regular stage, but a lot of amateur comapnies have certain safe expectations from its audience, though I'd rather see an empty stage than see any painted wood panelling again. I've had fun mosing about in the fabric shops getting fabrics for the production....crikey there are some glorious fabrics around......hmm, I feel some waistcoats coming on!

Kong is rampaging everywhere but I've not had the time to get to see him, though more and more shots echo away in my distant memory.

And Christmas.....where did that come from. I've still not appeared at any parties yet. No time at all.
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crikey

Postby Barry » Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:14 pm

crikey, as I drove to work today, I saw a considerable amount of leaves still on the trees, as well as the snow drops with a good two inches showing above ground. Confusing times. There I'm sure you really needed to know that, but ......
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December 22nd 2005

Postby Barry » Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:06 pm

Well that's me done for christmas, and it's certainly been a full-on week, ridiculously so, but satisfying all the same. Work on the new series gathers pace, with much discussion about storylines, textures, colours and so on. Masses to think about, and today I finally moved into a proper office. It's odd being back at Cossie Hall...theya re coming up to the 30th anniversary. I've been involved on and off for 28 years, and I still enjoy going there. Shaun came round yesterday and I enjoyed his face lighting up with a mixture of wonder and disbelief that peopel do this for a living.

The play has taken up a huge amount of energy. We had a run through of act one and that was disastrous. The cast were coming off the book, and it all fell to pieces as it usually does. The next evening we ran through the whole show and it was much better, so much better. Only last night have I had a full cast all together in one room. That certainly makes a difference. There is still so much to sort out - especially making sure there's a difference between angry shouting and excitement. This is a volatile show but I have to keep the audience in on the suspence and drama. The big dolls house was started this week and it will be tremendous. I'll be anxious until I see the set lit and the sound cued. The sound is going to be a huge element of the show but that won't come together until the last week....frustrating as the cast are wanting to rehearse to it. Well they are needing to rehearse to it,as they are needing to rehears with real props. The kids are marvellous and take all our worries in their stride. It is certainly a different production, with intense drama, puppet scenes, mime and ghosts! I'm hoping I can pull it all together. the performances are going to be excellent....I just have to make sure the story is being told clearly enough. I hope the audience will be unsettled and frightened. I don't have any jump out moments such as I had in Snake in the Grass, but I hope the atmospher is wound up enough to have everyone on edge. Last night was rowdy as the panto, Cinderella, started. I think having the Ugly Sisters as Trinny and Susannah is inspired.

So here we are at Christmas and thanks to all the people who have sent me cards, and I'm especially touched by the people from on here who have sent me cards.....I'm sorry I've just not been able make the time to write enough cards. I really don't know how people with families and who are working can do it. Time was I used to make all my own cards, and all hand coloured in. I used to start in October.....crikey those days have changed.So I do wish you all a great festive period, and a fantastically healthy and active year ahead. Oh dear, I've turned into Her Majesty, (Randy, stop laughing!) not for the first time I dare say, but I do hope it will be a more coherent year next year, and where we all get to be creative, and hopefully creative together.
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December 31st 2005

Postby Barry » Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:19 pm

Well that's that year done, and it was sort of a year of treading water, and though I have not really had a long term job I have taught a course in playwriting (the writing and directing was possibly better than the teaching); given workshops in several different countries; only managed one film festival (in Brussels); been to two new places (Cordoba and La Coruna); animated probably over 40 minutes of children's programmes; helped on several screenplays; had a credit on one major film but not two; directed two plays and learnt one huge part (that didn't get performed but is still in my head); only managed half a dozen trips to the cinema but several dozens trips to the theatre; danced with way too much enthusiasm on my 50th birthday; added only just a few names to the address book; earnt not quite enough; swam not quite enough; added quite enough to my waist; started wearing glasses the whole time; started tking tablets the whole time; but darn it, I'm ready and raring to go for next year and it's going to be a fantastic one....hopefully for us all.
Last edited by Barry on Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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