Much Ado About Lots

The last few weeks have been filled with rehearsing with second year actors for their performance of Much Ado About Nothing. This has been my first experience of being an assistant director and I admit to being wary of what that could mean, but so far it has been really worthwhile. I've learned loads from watching the director (acting teacher Ali De Souza) work and have been allowed to chip in with ideas and at times lead the rehearsals, it's been a great mix of observing and doing.  The rehearsals are flying along, we finished a run through of the whole thing on Wednesday, and even though there is a lot of stuff to tidy up I don't think anyone can argue with how well things have developed so far.

The play is set in a 1950's club which has allowed me  to compose suitable tunes to match the era, which is good as I'm doing virtually zero music just now. I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone looks when dressed up, the style of the 50s is pretty special.

We had an interesting meeting at LYT last night where discussions about the future direction of the club came up.   I'm looking forward to the discussions that arise from this  as I feel it is helping me really try and pin down what I think youth theatre is about and how can we provide that to our young people and I'm sure LYT will come out stronger at the end.  As an organisation it is phenomenally successful with waiting lists in almost every class, hopefully we can build on that, we are almost 10 years old and it gets progressively harder to do new things that will stimulate the young people, so a lot of challenges ahead.

Part of our discussion was around the problems of being viewed as a small town organisation - for some reason not looked on as professional as similar organisations in the city. When reflecting on this last night  I was reminded of a great speech from a totally ridiculous (and great!) play I saw a few weeks ago - based in the very area I'm from.  I don't think I've ever felt a connection to something like I did to this speech, it was a strange experience and very, very true.  It was written by my old headmaster's son as well and somehow that made it seem even more relevant:

Hannay:  You're not from here anymore.

Mary: Why because I moved away?  People aren't allowed to leave now is that it?  Or when you leave you give up all Girvan rights?  This place made me Roy.  This is what I pushed against to get where I've gone, to think how I think and to be the person I am.  Without this place I'd be... ever heard of the Central Belt Bland?  Folk our age who grew up in Glasgow or Edinburgh or the suburbs or the new towns, if they wanted to see a film they just saw it.  Where they lived.  We couldn't.  If they wanted an album they could just buy it in their local record shop.  We couldn't.  No football team here, no theatres, no clothes shops, no bands coming to a venue near us.  We had to fight for everything we loved.  We had to journey.  We had to move towards it.  It wasn't coming our way if we didn't.  That's why all the interesting people I know come from the wee places.  Not the city.  Not the suburbs.  The's the beer belly of the country.  This place didn't kill me it made me.  And it doesn't matter if you stay or you go that doesn't change.  We're both from Girvan.  We've just had different lives that's all. The end.

(From Smalltown by D.C Jackson, Johnny McKnight, Douglas Maxwell: Oberon 2011)

Next thing up is a charity night for David Hayman's charity 'Spirit Aid' featuring Liz Lochead, I'm doing a bit of acting for the first time in yeeeeeearrrrs. But we have the scripts in front of us as it's a live radio performance so all will be fine.....


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