25 April 2007

What I've Been Up To...

I had intended to post something along these lines earlier but I've been otherwise engaged, as has the computer much of the time, and so I let it slip a day or two longer than I would have liked. Particularly as the play I was hoping to publicise here was performed for the first and (probably) last time last night.

So one of the things that has kept me away from here and all other blogs was the one act play Seagulls by Caryl Churchill which three of us performed last night as part of the Leverhulme Open Drama Festival at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight Village. The play is wonderful and, to our knowledge, one rarely if ever performed. The cast had bags of talent and two of us were very experienced but the dynamic wasn't always as focussed as it should have been and the process was often frustrating, probably setting us back a number of weeks. Nevertheless we made a strong and well received contribution to the competition and the adjudicator found little fault with our efforts and what criticisms he did make were levelled more at early production decisions (what he perceived as indecision about whether to produce it as a naturalist or a symbolic piece) than our execution. I had another peach of a part requiring me to relocate me voxbox somewhere in the southern united states (three of the last four plays I've done have involved throat migration, twice to the southern states and once to Ireland) and once I had mastered the speech sounds and rhythms and got a handle on my character (a slightly obsessive fan who might be something else) I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in his twangy charm and disquieting recollections.

Just about the only little bits of art I've done in the past month or so have been various rough sketches for the publicity posters, flyers and programme which didn't in the end get used because my daughter did a much better job. I particularly love her seagulls, creatively copied from extensive flickr and google image searches one afternoon over the eostran holidays.

The only minor alteration I made to her artwork in the final poster was to copy, rescale and rotate various of her seagulls to increase the size of the flock. She was delighted to have beaten her old man although she rather self deprecatingly attributed her victory to my decision to not bother with a chinese hat on the man.

final seagulls poster

The other reason I haven't found much time for blogging and art is Queen, a seven month old border collie teenage girl who has come to live with me. She was living in a barn a few miles outside Harrogate but she lacked work ethic and preferred to make friends with rather than round up sheep so she said goodbye to the farm and the People's Republic of Yorkshire and wended her way to my Wavertree home. Now she is gradually being trained to lie down and be stroked on command and sleep between bouts of furious running. She is incredibly cute and affectionate. She's slowly coming to terms with all the people, noise and traffic of the suburbs and reckons she'll soon have us trained to walk at her pace and feel guilty whenever she looks at us. Please feel free to worship her image. Sorry my cronky old digital camera is so lousy, some old fashioned scanned analogue type photos should follow soon.

queen posing


Kate said...

I thought you all performed really well - congrats to all! All three performances came across as being really professional and had great depth and colour. It was well worth all the hard work you guys put in - and your accent was spot on! ;-)

It was such a beautiful piece, really subtle and moving. One that made you stop and think - and I found that I'm still pondering on it this afternoon... The seagull story was particularly lovely and intriguing...

I must check out more of her writings! :-)

I really like your sketches for the seagull man on the beach, they complement the story perfectly... But you were definately right to go with the final design - what a brilliant picture! I love the guy's hat and the seagulls are really accomplished - she's gonna follow in her Dad'd footsteps - definately a budding artist!

Can't wait to meet Queen, what a sweetie - glad to hear she's settling in well :-)

Dem said...

Hey Kate - thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the show. I can't comment on my own performance except to say that I enjoyed it but the other two were very very strong. The rehearsal process was, at times, a nightmare however and I can't help thinking that if it was a little more focussed the final performance would have been so much better. But the final performance was strong nevertheless and so it's probably churlish to quibble.

I'm glad you enjoyed the play as well as the performances. I like Caryl Churchill anyway and I loved this more the more I read it. I'm glad it had the same effect on you as it did most of us.

I'll pass on your compliments and show her some of your art as well so she can see the quality of the person giving the praise. She's a great comic maker and story writer too. Oh, and her poetry is pretty special too!

Can't wait for you to see Queen as well - she's a star!

Have a good time in London and see you soon after you get back, all being well.

CdV said...

what fantastic development! I am so glad Queen has found a loving home with you! The photos above are great.

Love the seagulls poster artwork. Sounds like your multimedia existence is going well.

next time you are passing through the Yorkshire Dales let me know!

Inconsequential said...

you have a dog. cute one too.

Really like the cruciform man pic, the arms out straight, not bent like wings...

kinda goes with

though obviously was created for the seagull thing :)

I shall have to have a read of ms churchills poems etc...

glad you are being busy and having fun.

Dem said...

Heyup CdV and thanks. I'm not sure when I'll next be in the Dales - I was there briefly last summer but I'm not sure I'll make it this summer. When I am, I'll let you know though and we'll meet up at last.

Heyup Inc - she sure is cute! Much cuter in the fur! I'm glad you think the drawing goes well with your poem because it's a lovely poem. Feel free to nick it if you want (although I suppose it's not technically nicking if I see 'feel free'). Or I could do another version?

Anyway, cheers for stopping by.