Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Imma blog, Imma blog, Imma.


Guess what? I am in jolly old England preparing to tour my hit show around the UK. I thought this would be a nice opportunity for us to get to know each other better, so I will be blogging the process for your delectation.

I arrived at Battersea Art Centre last night, after a woefully delayed flight and a charming chit-chat with the evergreen starlet, Anna Friel. It was downhill from there really. I didn't have a valium so I was forced to endure the flight sober and not even the mini chocolate teddy bears handed out by the air crew could take the edge off. I really do hate flying, I whisper the Hail Mary under my breath with such fever that I am sure I will one day mistaken for a fundamentalist terrorist and deplaned unceremoniously.

So now I am at B.A.C for two weeks of rehearsal and a press preview night (Feb 22nd if you're interested) before the tour rolls across the country. Mercifully there is a 24hr Asda but a few minutes away, which is wonderful since I know no-one within 20km of my current location. I hope to strike up at least one meaningful friendship whilst perusing the gluten-free cereal bars. The last time I had such convenient shopping opportunities was when I lived in Canada Water (of all places) with my bff Chanell. I remember well, writing my undergraduate thesis and only taking breaks to replenish my stash of cookies and cream cheese (that was back in the dark days of gluten). In fact the whole B.A.C artist in residence vibe is very collegiate. We have a shared kitchen, and a bathroom we seem to be sharing with the general public. There's even a chore-wheel on which you get to pick your housekeeping task for the week, and chalk your name alongside to show what a good sport you are. Sadly, there is no option to sign up for catching the mice which run around like they own the joint, or else I would gladly attend to that.

There is a most prominent aroma of herbal tea and oatmeal permeating the whole building, a sort of homely musk which is remarkable given that it is a former town hall and not exactly modest in size. In fact it's rather rambling, and combines the twin charms of Victorian architectural grandiosity and contemporary security coded doors to create an unmistakably psychotic rabbit warren atmosphere, enhanced by the fact that most of the building is closed for renovations and you can never quite be sure which doors have been boarded over and which walls will have been removed next time you trundle down the corridor. There is however a mouse in my room, she's keeping me company in the bedroom know as "Self-portrait with Frida Kahlo" (7a just wouldn't cut it). There's a mirror above the bed which makes for a disconcerting walking-up, a wall full of pencil sketches, and a bunch of fake flowers, giving the place a sort of theme b&b in Brighton feel (obviously a huge compliment).

Everyone is very sweet, and I am actually enjoying feeling as though I am living in a Californian co-op once again - I'd actually quite missed the late night kitchen table chats, the goofy injokes and the bulk buy shopping. Today being Shrove Tuesday the other artists in residence, Paper Cinema, made pancakes and a jolly good time was had by all. The community of itinerants here is far more relaxed than I remember the co-ops being, though I could well be surprised, it is early days and a squabble over how to sort the recycling may well be on the cards.

At the moment it's just the builders who are causing controversy, they seem pretty baffled as to why there are people on their building site, trying to make plays! Over the weekend our set had to be loaded into the theatre, but unfortunately this clashed with a major moment of re-wiring, so the set had to be brought into the building in the dark - hilarity ensued. I do think that we're winning the builders over though, early today the show's director came back from her lunch break to find a bunch of them trying on the costumes from the show. How I wish I could have seen those hard-hatted, dust streaked fellows in my red spangly dress and Erin's blonde wigs! Not to mentioned the glittered stack heels! To quote the late, great Anna-Nicole Smith, it must have been "J'gorgeous!"

I felt similarly myself, after I had my face overhauled by Vinny at Armani, who made me look like this.



Afterwards the real work began, and I had new platforms to climb a ladder in (not a metaphor). It was the first time I had seen the touring version of the set, and I must say it looks great! There's an extract mannequin amongst the detritus and a whole lot more UV paint, which is always a good thing in my book. So what's next? Well, unless I am devoured by my furry little room mate during the night, then there's a whole lot of rehearsals, interviews and even PERFORMANCES ahead! But I promise I'll keep you posted.

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