Wednesday, April 22, 2009

These Days

Yesterday, for no apparent reason, the electricity went out, "Maybe it's the end of the world," I thought, "Happening one light bulb at a time." As it turned out it wasn't, but we were still stranded, with only Greek salad for dinner, which was perhaps not the best preparation for an evening which involved the unwise combination of tequila, champagne and Ultravox. You see, as my apartment was plunged into increasing darkness with the setting of the sun I was literally forced to go to a party, and leave my copy of The Last Temptation behind.

The party was so so, but perked up by a frankly pretty steamy make-out session in our host's bathroom, after which I found myself, pouring myself and my associates into a taxi cab in the small hours. Returning home I was less than amused to find that the power was still out, and that our landlady, who lives in London, seemed less than desperate to remedy the situation. I went to bed by candlelight, which was actually sort of romantic, it thundered all through the night.

Now, this morning we had our first rehearsal proper with the performers who are to be my co-stars in our much anticipated (by someone, somewhere, I'm sure) show The Illustrated History of Longing. Thus I was required to rise from the grave at 8 am, yes, am, and pull on my electric blue age 10-12 reebok tracksuit, and head to the theatre. Of course, there was still no electricity, so no hot water, and no coffee and no, well the list of things I was deprived of is endless. But, I decided to think positive; my co-stars I realised will recognise soon enough how bad I smell and how grouchy I am, better that I open with the real me on day one. So we danced, and made shapes, and did the whole bit and generally looked pretty groovy. It was very kids from Fame.

Returning to my still unlit apartment after said rehearsal, I found celebrity costumier Ms Eva Le Blanc waiting on the street corner looking mournfully into the window of Body Club. Knowing that Ms Le Blanc is not a fan of treadmills, creatine, or dumbells I sensed something was wrong. Alas she had been stood up by her lunch date and was wandering the streets in the hope that she might find her bedraggled and lost down an Athenian back alley. Bad news for her good news for me! Delightfully, I was given free reign over the prepared platefuls of baclava and cans of coca-cola (all of Ms Le Blanc's parties are staged as though for 5 year olds, even when in fact they are not.)

Midway through this sticky feast an old man turned up at the door, cane in hand, speaking only five words of English, which admittedly is two more words of English than I speak of Greek, but still somewhat problematic. After a brief game of charades in the doorway it transpired that he was the electrician, dispatched from afar by our landlady in an efficient, Wicked Witch of the West style. The electrician was simply baffled at finding us sat at a tableful of baclava and coke, hanging out in the middle of the day. I think he actually imagined we were throwing the party to welcome him.

Although we assured him that we did not in fact speak Greek, the electrician insisted on talking away to us, rapid fire, waving his hands in confusion. We mimed our difficulties to him, he scribbled something incomprehensible on a piece of paper, we shrugged, he shrugged, he disappeared, we ate more baclava. Then, magically, our dear pal Katerina (Ms Le Blanc's Greek speaking lunch date) arrived and solved our communication crisis. She had in fact been wandering the streets since she was unable to contact Ms Le Blanc (whose cell phone and laptop were flat) for directions, what are the chances? Marvellously light was soon restored,even if the whole thing was terribly reminiscent of the episode of Absolutely Fabulous in which Eddie and Patsy get stranded in France, terrorised by the caretaker of the house they are supposed to be renting.

At some point Chen (our Chinese friend who somehow has ended up hosting a dinner party at our apartment tomorrow) arrived in a panic and in desperate need of advice as to where a person buys "pork with skin" in Athens. I'm a vegetarian so I let someone else answer that question.

You might think that would be enough excitement for one day, but no. Anna then arrived and turned our bathroom into a recreation of The Death of Marat in which I was to play the lead for her to film and make abstract projections from. I never thought that my pastel pink tiled bathroom would lend itself terribly well to recreating French masterpieces of the nineteenth century, but as has happened before, I was clearly wrong. And not only did we get to play that game, I then spent the next hour pretending to drown in the bathtub, which is actually a lot less fun than you might think.

Frankly I'm exhausted.

As I write Chen, having found the necessary carcasses, is proceeding to hack them up in the kitchen with a woefully blunt bread knife as Ms Le Blanc (as stauncher vegetarian than I) hides behind her hands, looking on the verge of tears and muttering "Tomorrow I am bleaching everything we own."

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