Things are moving along at a pace in preparation for this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival where I'm performing an improvised Shakespeare show and an Improvised Quantum Leap show. Both done before and both narrative-based shows which will keep me in the same mindset. The lovely Freestival are hosting us again - it's their second year and they're really very good, friendly and, well, normal.
Next steps are to find a home for us all. The new Maydays administrator is on the case with that one, which feels so weird and exciting that we actually have someone to do jobs like that for us now.
Before any of that happens though, I have 4 other shows in May and then a wedding that's still not completely organised. Apparently I should have things like a dress and shoes and an idea of what's happening on the day already planned. Well I haven't. So there.
Off to line-bash - a show to learn by Sunday and another one to learn for 2 weeks time. All very exciting but I wonder where the brain-capacity will come from.
Another day rehearsing Twelfth Night at the top of Withdean Park with all the elements it has to offer. St Ann’s Wells gardens (where the show will take place in May) is still having, what looks like, it’s lawn re-seeded so out of bounds for the foreseeable.
So, for the last month we have been hoiking props, musical instruments and supplies up to the top of Ditchling Road.
Our Twelfth Night is set in Scotland, full of woollens, tartan and long socks (thank goodness!) so there’s plenty of opportunity for us to dress warmly on those ‘balmy’ May evenings.
Today we’re rehearsing Act 3, but it is a Sunday so the buses are few and far between and competing against a demo and throngs of extra police in the city. As a result the warm up does not start until a good twenty minutes in.
Matt leads a physical and vocal warm up today. It is essential for us actors to be warmed up physically (for the elements) vocally (for the windy outdoors) and mentally (for focus). There are innumerable distractions up here, not least the fact that we are far from enclosed (the wind carries our voices up and away) but also the regular visits from curious passers by and their dogs. Many times a complex scene has been reduced to comedy by a food-obsessed canine. Last week we watched the dog, that has become affectionately know as the big brown bear, wander into the undergrowth with a family pack of chocolate buttons, much to the despair of its owner (the chocolate’s owner, not the dogs).
Yesterday we had the pleasure of Nick Boulton’s company; he popped up (avoiding the worst of the weather) to give us a few tips on performing Shakespeare outdoors. These included:
Twelfth Night plays throughout the Fringe Festival in ST ANN'S WELLS GARDENS, Hove, Festival Shakespeare Company
7-9.30pm for all 10-13th, 16th-18th, 20th, 23rd-27th - £10/8
BRING A PICNIC AND BLANKETS, under 5S free, under 16 £6, family of 4 £28
Odd musings on acting and teaching acting, improv and the industry.