My 10 Favourite Plays!

My 10 Favourite Plays!

As many of you will know, I’ve spent the last two and a half years doing an English degree, which I will be finishing in a few months. The watershed of graduation is looming ever closer, and I flit between being so excited to start new opportunities and being terrified of the uncertainty of a basically indefinitely blank canvas ahead of me (until now, everything I’ve started has been a several year, fixed project: five years of school, two years of sixth form, three years of university… while this is the start of “employement until retirement” [I hope!], which is a bit overwhelming at times, but also very exciting). I’m hoping to spend the future contributing to physical plays on real stages, but before I do I thought I’d look over my bookshelves and think about my favourite plays to read. These are not the same as performances I’ve enjoyed of these plays, but specifically plays I’ve enjoyed sitting and reading like novels. Plays are intended for performance, but we publish playtexts, and you get a particular experience reading them, which is different to seeing them performed. I also find I get a particular enjoyment from work I’ve spent time studying, and most of these are plays I’ve studied in an academic context, which I enjoy reading in that light.

Obviously favourite pieces of art change as people change, and I’m sure my favourite plays to read won’t be the same in three years as they are now, but, nearing the end of my degree, these are the plays I most enjoyed reading at the moment.

10. Antigone, Sophocles

I first read a version of this play in my early teens when I read Jean Anouilh’s adaptation, and I then studied it (in translation) for AS-Level Drama and Theatre Studies. I returned to it this year for the Tragedy Paper, and it’s still a very powerful piece of writing. I’ve only read it in translation (I don’t have any Ancient Greek unfortunately) but the translations available show how exciting a piece of writing it is. It leaves you with plenty to think about in terms of prioritising personal/family values versus communal/state ideals, problems which are definitely still at work in society today.

9. Blasted, Sarah Kane

This is dark. Really dark. I read it for the Tragedy Paper, and it’s stayed with me: it’s a brilliant piece of writing and a really thought-provoking play, even if its celebrity came to it by its shocking violence and explicit nature. I actually think I would prefer reading this play to seeing it: I can appreciate the function of the shocking elements on paper, while I might find them almost too much onstage (this is the point of course, but I like being able to think about the other powerful aspects of the play while I experience it).

8. Richard II, William Shakespeare

I can’t talk about plays I’ve loved reading in my degree and not talk about Shakespeare: the Cambridge English course has a whole module dedicated to Shakespeare (he’s the only author in the whole course for whom this is true) and the Tragedy Paper requires consideration of Shakespeare’s Tragedies. I’ve most recently read Richard II in this context: while it is now classified as a history play, it was originally billed as The Tragedie of Kinge Richard the Seconde, and it certainly exhibits many aspects of tragedy. It’s a great play and really worth actually sitting and reading. If you really can’t face reading it, the BBC Hollow Crown filmed version is great.

7. Medea, Euripidies

You’ll be surprised to hear that this is another I read for the Tragedy Paper… It’s a striking play and one which has informed most writing which followed it, directly or indirectly. It’s another I’ve only read in translation, if you can read it in Greek that’s incredible and more power to you for it, but the translations available are usually great and it’s a play well worth spending a few hours on.

6. The Real Inspector Hound, Tom Stoppard

On a more cheerful note, I performed in a version of this in sixth form and its a very clever piece of meta-theatrical melodrama which I love reading to this day: it’s ridiculous, but very funny and lighthearted enough to be a counterweight to some of the heavier reading of my course.

5. Dr Faustus (A Text), Christopher Marlowe

I studied this in A-Level English, and then again every year during my degree. There are two versions of the play (the “A” and “B” texts) and I personally prefer the earlier version, the A text, which doesn’t include a few scenes which I don’t think add much, and contains less censored lines which I think are better than the later versions, although obviously this isn’t a universally agreed idea. I’ve never actually seen a version of it I thought was good (please, for the love of all that is holy, avoid the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor film, which is truly awful) but I love reading it: it’s beautifully constructed and written and very clever.

4. The Seagull, Anton Chekhov

I first discovered this in A-Level Drama and Theatre Studies, and returned to it for the Tragedy Paper. It’s not cheerful (the combination “Chekhov” and “Tragedy Paper” might have hinted that) but it’s striking, haunting and beautiful. Spend some time reading this one slowly, because it’s much more subtle than some of the others listed here.

3. The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution, Caryl Churchill

This is one of the texts I’m focusing on in my dissertation on Churchill and her use of children. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, which discusses the Algerian War of Independence and child abuse and it’s incredibly thought provoking. I will be posting my dissertation about it on this blog in a few months, so you can read more about what I think of it then, but if you have some time to read it, I can’t recommend it enough: it’s short, so won’t take you very long, and it’s time well spent.

2. Seven Jewish Children, Caryl Churchill

This was the text that prompted my dissertation, and I can’t begin to discuss it in just a few lines here. It’s available online here, and will take you about 10 minutes to read, and months to think about and understand.

1. Othello, William Shakespeare

This is my all-time favourite play, to read, to see performed, to think about when I’m daydreaming… It’s phenomenally powerful, insightful, and exciting. I produced a gender-swapped version of it at the ADC Theatre in May 2015, and I’ve studied it for the Tragedy Paper this year, and I still can’t get enough of it. If you haven’t read or seen it, you’re missing out, and you should go read it now. Seriously. Now.

If you’ve enjoyed this, please let me know in the comments, and please let me know if you’d be interested in something similar for favourite productions of plays, or favourite filmed versions of plays. I’m also considering doing something like this specifically for female playwrights: despite being someone who makes an effort to read work by female authors and playwrights, when thinking about work I’ve enjoyed studying so much of it is by male authors that I can’t honestly construct this list with more female playwrights, because I haven’t been able to study more of their works. I’d love to know if that’s something you’d enjoy. Also, if you’re interested in reading about some of my favourite books in various genres you can find them on my fairly regularly updated Reading Recommendations Page.

Thanks as always for reading, and for all your support of this blog. Please like the post if you enjoyed it, and follow the blog if you haven’t already to be updated when I write new posts! I’ll be back next Friday with recommendations for live theatre in April 2017.

Emily xxx

What Am I Doing In Theatre At The Moment?

What Am I Doing In Theatre At The Moment?

Just a short life update this week, to answer a question that I’ve been asked.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may well have been wondering why I haven’t mentioned any current projects since I finished Cigarettes and Chocolate. After all, until now, there hasn’t been a moment in the last 10 months since I started this blog when I haven’t had one or more projects to update you about here… The answer is: I actually don’t have any theatre projects on at the moment. I have (so far) resisted taking anything on until I finish my (two!) dissertations and my exams. In Cambridge, 100% of your final degree grade depends on the examined work of your final year, so all of my work for three years will come out as a grade based on my dissertations and three exams in May. So they’re my priority right now, and I’m trying to keep it that way (despite all the amazing projects going on in Cambridge that I’d love to get involved with).

I’m also spending a fair bit of my free time looking into my options for work next year: I’m planning to work in theatre management/arts administration of some sort, but currently don’t have something fixed, so that’s also a secondary priority, which is bumping student projects down.

I couldn’t completely disregard theatre until June, obviously: I would wither and fade away I think, but I’m limiting it for a few months.I’m going to see as much theatre as I can and working a few shifts in the ADC Box Office and Duty Managing at the Corpus Playroom. My dissertations are both theatre-related: the first is about contemporary performances of Shakespeare and the use of female actors (spoiler: I disagree with Dominic Cavendish’s recent article in the Telegraph) and the second about Caryl Churchill’s use of children to express political criticism. It’s less than I’d like to be doing, but it is still keeping me feeling a little bit involved, as well as letting me prioritise long term goals like graduating with a good degree and getting a job.

Once I have graduated I will post my dissertations on this blog, so you can see what I had been up to in these few months, but I can’t do that til I have graduated because plagiarism searches don’t take into account authors, and I don’t want to have to deal with potentially being accused of plagiarising my own work! In the meantime, I will be continuing to post once a week, on a Friday at 5pm UK time, because I find it really good for me. I like knowing I have a deadline set only by me, that no one will be hurt by if I miss it, and making it anyway, and I find the writing really fun. That said, there will probably be more Q&A/ general thoughts about things style posts, and fewer posts detailing my projects and what I’m learning from them. We’ll hopefully get back to that in a few months!

Thanks as always for reading and for your support: I really enjoy writing this blog, and it’s always encouraging to see people liking and commenting on posts, and following the blog. I’ll be back next week with my 10 Favourite Plays! See you then!

Emily xxx

Review: Sex With Strangers at Hampstead Theatre

Review: Sex With Strangers at Hampstead Theatre

Firstly, I should clarify that I went to see this because Hampstead Theatre provided me with free tickets through their development scheme to increase audiences under 30. They did not ask me to write this review in exchange for the tickets, but it seems more honest to be clear. If you are under 30, I would recommend looking into this scheme: all I did was retweet a competition tweet, and I had a great night in exchange!

I very much enjoyed Sex With Strangers: I had a fun night, and was left with a few things to think about. The premise is two authors, Olivia, a traditional paper-writing author who writes for herself and Ethan bestselling author of Sex With Strangers, a book based in blogging recounting a year of encounters with women, with a huge social media following, who meet at a writing retreat, fall in lust and have a lovely weekend together, while debating the various benefits/issues with their respective writing styles. (First act, succinctly.) In the second act, they have returned home, and the scene is Olivia’s flat, which is the scene for arguments between Olivia and Ethan, as each try to develop their careers. They end up separated, Olivia having benefited from Ethan’s popularity. The plot is a little more complicated than that, and twists and turns, but it wasn’t really the highlight of the production: it is a good play, but not a brilliant one. What made it a great production was the skill with which the actors brought the text off the page.

Theo James and Emilia Fox were outstanding. They were funny, playing the text in ways that one wouldn’t necessarily think of off-bat but the inventiveness was successful: it brought out the very good elements of the text and sold the less successful elements of the writing. Two handers can be a little tiring; it can become stilted to see the same two actors and the same two characters in interaction simply with one another for too long but this absolutely was not the case here: the production was two hours twenty, including interval and it was perfect: not too long, and so exciting throughout, not so short that you were left feeling cheated, simply the right length to watch these two actors master the stage. You wanted more, but knew you’d got the right amount.

The sets were phenomenally detailed and evocative and really added to the atmosphere. The living space of the writing retreat was appropriately kitsch and cosy and Olivia’s living room was perfect. It was also basically exactly what I want my future home to look like (walls lined with well-loved and well filled bookshelves) which helped sell it to me personally, but it was perfect for the character.

One small thing, which I want to say as well is that the programme is amazing. For full disclosure, I was also given a free programme (I think they were £3 or £4), but seriously! It contains the information about the cast and creatives you’d expect, but also contains a detailed interview with the playwright, a couple of essays about digitisation/media and writing (one of the focuses of the play), rehearsal photographs and some information about the theatre. It contains very little advertising, and almost all the advertising (only one exception) is for theatre which the reader/audience member might genuinely be interested in. This shouldn’t need to be a whole paragraph of praise, but really good, interesting programmes seem to be really rare now. If you have the few pounds to spare when you go to the Hampstead Theatre, the programmes might actually be worth the while.

That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading, and please like the post if you enjoyed it! I’d love to hear your thoughts on more detailed reviews like this one: I usually put all my reviews into a single post at the end of the month, and so they’re shorter and less detailed: do you enjoy the more thorough ones? Is there anything I could do better when I write longer reviews? I’d also love to know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to read about in the weeks ahead!

Emily xxx

Disclaimer: I was given tickets, a programme, playtext and drink by the Hampstead Theatre, which prompted me to write this review, though I was not expected to write it. 

Recommended Theatre For March 2017

Recommended Theatre For March 2017

It’s already March! This year is flying by – we’re already 1/6 of the way through it, and it barely feels like it started… I have less two weeks left of formal teaching for my degree and I’ll have finished my exams in three months time! Crazy. Without further ado, here are a selection of plays that I think look exciting in the month ahead. I’m planning to go see a few of these, and would love to hear from anyone who sees any of the others with your thoughts! (Living vicariously and all that… :P)

In London:

My Country, at the National Theatre. A new play about Brexit based on interviews with people around the country. It’s playing at the National Dorfman Theatre from now til the 28th March, and then going on tour around the UK (so watch out for it in my ‘Other’ recs in the next few months!). You can book tickets here.

Twelfth Night, at the National Theatre, starring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia. You can read what I thought of it here, and book tickets here.

– An Evening With An Immigrant (which if you read these posts regularly you’ll know I recommend every time it’s on: it is just that good) is on at Stratford Circus Arts Centre 16-18 March. You can book tickets here. It’s also on at Tara Arts 24-25th March, which you can book for here.

In Cambridge:

– Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone is on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre 14-18 March. Stay tuned to hear what I think of it, and/or book a ticket here.

– Cambridge University Amateur Dramatics Club are putting on How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 15-25th March at the ADC Theatre. I saw How to Succeed in Business on Broadway in 2011, with Daniel Radcliffe in it, and it was hilarious: I have high hopes for this production. If you want to book, you can do so here.

Elsewhere:

– An Evening With An Immigrant, which I’ve recommended in the London section of the blog is also touring to Newcastle (7-8th March, book here), Hexham (9th March, book here), Derby (11th March, book here), Coventry (13-14th March, book here), Poole (15th March, book here), Peterborough (22nd March, book here), Margate (23rd March, book here). I hope one of those is near enough to you that you can get to it: it really is a phenomenal piece.

– Racheal Ofori’s Portrait is on at Northern Stage, Newcastle 14-15th March (book here) and at Wolverhampton Arena 16th March (book here). If either of these places are within reach for you I wholeheartedly recommend this, and I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Those are my top recommendations: I hope you’ve found something that’s caught your eye! Of course, there are hundreds of other, fantastic things on in these places and elsewhere: I’d love to hear your recommendations, both for me and for other readers, in the comments!

I’ve realised, after a couple of months of doing them, that writing my ‘Recommended Theatre for the month’ blogs on the first Friday of the Month, and my ‘Theatre I enjoyed during the month’ on the last Friday of the month is a little impractical; you miss a few days of a month on either side, so as of now, I’m exchanging them: my recommendations for April will come out on the final Friday of March, what I enjoyed in March will be the first Friday of April and so on. I hope that will work well!

That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading, liking, commenting and following the blog: I really appreciate your support! I’ll be back on Friday with a review of Sex With Strangers at Hampstead Theatre, which I saw last Friday, too late for it to make it into my February Theatre I Enjoyed (and the prompt for the schedule change). See you then!

Emily xxx

P.S. If you like the theatre I recommend, you might want to follow me on Twitter, where I retweet anything I think looks interesting, including some plays which don’t end up making it into this post, to keep it a readable length!

Theatre I Enjoyed In February 2017

Theatre I Enjoyed In February 2017

I managed to go see a lot more theatre in February than I had in January, which is great! Some of it was better than other bits, but I quite like going to theatre that I don’t enjoy (if only because it’s important to be able to see good things in art that I don’t like) and I’m pleased I saw every one of these!

I started the month well: I saw both performances of Cigarettes and Chocolate on 1 and 2 February. It’s a great play; funny, dark and interesting in its treatment of the relationship between speech and interaction, and how friendships function. I very much enjoyed both performances, and was particularly struck by the very different responses from the audiences on the two nights; the first audience laughed at the explicitly humorous moments, and were quietly uncomfortable during the darker moments, while the second audience were quietly amused by the jokes but laughed at the black humour which had left the first group uncomfortable. Part of that, I’m sure is that people are influenced by those around them, so if a few people laughed at jokes the first night, the rest of the audience followed suit, and vice versa the second night. Nonetheless, it was exciting to see the different possibilities the same performance can have on various groups of people, and the different things you get out of a performance depending on the audience there with you.

Then on 8 February I saw London Road at the ADC. I thought the production here had some good aspects: the set was very impressive and the cast were good performers, but I really disliked the musical itself. For anyone who doesn’t know it, it is the text taken from interviews with inhabitants of London Rd, where the accused and condemned perpetrator of the Ipswich murders (2006) lived for the 10 weeks preceding the murders. The text is taken verbatim, and not edited, so hesitations and repetitions are kept in, which was an interesting idea, but in my opinion it didn’t work. Each song took a line or two from the interviews and repeated it a couple of dozen times, and the interest of keeping the hesitations and repetitions got lost, for me, very quickly, after I heard them several times. Particularly as all the songs had this structure. The content was quite interesting; while I disapproved of the opinions expressed about sex workers (who were the victims of the crimes), they were the actual opinions of real people, and it is valuable to know what others think of certain topics, even if I disagree with them. (That said, I could have read the interviews myself, of course.) I didn’t like the musical’s structure (with slightly unclear flashbacks and cuts from one scene to another, and an entirely unnecessary final scene) or the structure of the songs, and despite being only just over two hours long, including an interval, it felt about 40 minutes too long, but I am pleased I went, because it was an interesting premise, and I was pleased to be able to hear the interviews.

I went to see Twelfth Night at the National Theatre on 18 February for my dissertation on the use of female actors in contemporary performance of Shakespeare: the big advertising push for the production was Tamsin Greig playing Malvolia, and there were a couple more female actors in originally-male roles: Doon Mackichan played Feste, and Imogen Doel played Fabia (all with changed pronouns). It was still in previews (the press night was on Wednesday just gone, as you read this) so a couple of bits of set didn’t quite work, and a couple of lines were slightly fluffed, but it had the energy of that not-quite-worked-in state, which was exciting. It is a great production, which does some exciting things with its ‘gender-bending’ and with its comedy in general. The music is great, and it’s a fun performance that doesn’t loose any of the darker aspects of the play. I don’t want to write too much about it here, partly because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who manages to go see it (and you should: look for tickets here) and partly because I will be writing about it in my dissertation and don’t want to end up accused of plagiarising my own writing (that does happen). I will post my full dissertation on this blog after I have graduated, and you can read all my thoughts on this and other cross-cast productions then.

I’m also going to be seeing Sex With Strangers at Hampstead Theatre on the 24th (tonight, for those of you reading it on the day it goes up) but it won’t start until after this is published so I can’t tell you about it now. I’m considering exchanging my ‘first week of the month’ and ‘last week of the month’ posts, so that recommendations come out before the month starts and reviews are in the following month, and will be doing that from next month, but you’ll have to wait for my next reviews post to hear what I thought of it. Sorry!

That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading! If you enjoyed the post, please like it to let me know, and leave me a comment if you saw any particularly good theatre this month, or if you have any recommendations for the months ahead! Please follow the blog so you’re kept updated: I’ll be back next week with recommendations for March 2017!

Emily xxx

Get to Know Me Better: A Q&A

Get to Know Me Better: A Q&A

A couple of people suggested that they would be interested in a couple of more personal, less theatre-related blog posts after I answered some questions about me for the Mystery Blogger Award. So I googled the Q&A questions bloggers and vloggers get asked, and I’m going to answer fifty below!

1. What’s your favourite candle scent?

I’m not sure. I like cinnamon/cloves type scents a lot, but my brother’s girlfriend got me a vanilla and plum blossom scented candle for Christmas, and it smells phenomenal.

2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister?

I don’t follow celebrity culture all that much, so the majority of my ‘celebrities’ are theatre people or authors. I really admire JK Rowling for both her writing (her adult writing, both under her own name and under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith is great, as well as Harry Potter) and her political activism; I think she would give great advice, which I think is what I’d want from an older sister. (I don’t have any sisters though, so I wouldn’t know what to expect from one.)

3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother?

As above with regards to disclaimers about my knowledge of ‘normal’ celebrity culture. I have two younger brothers, with whom I have great relationships: we have fun together and they’re both wonderful people. I enjoy The Late Late Show, and I think James Cordon is really funny, so if I wanted a third brother I think he’d be great. Plus, I like singing musical theatre in the car, and often do with the brothers I have, and he gets paid to sing in the car, so he must be good at it: he’d fit right in!

4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married?

I’m twenty currently, and I have no immediate plans for marriage. I think the most important thing with regards to getting married isn’t how old you are (age is just a number etc etc etc) but how happy, stable and long-lasting your relationship is/will be. I’d like to get married, to the right person, but I’m much more interested in the relationship being right than I am in marriage for its own purposes. (Like if I want a big wedding-like party, I can throw one of those at whatever age I feel that party is what I need. Marriage is a bit longer term than that!)

5. Do you know a hoarder?

No.

6. Can you do a split?

I did a lot of ballet while I was at school, and I used to be able to do the right leg splits quite consistently, left leg splits very occasionally, if I was particularly well warmed up and feeling flexible, and I once managed a middle splits. Now though? I’m out of practise and that would hurt.

7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?

Seven or eight. I learned late because I was absolutely convinced I couldn’t do it. I even came home from school one time in Year 2 (or so my mother tells me, I don’t actually remember this) and told my mother that Mrs Collins, my teacher, didn’t know how to ride a bike, so it was okay if I never learned! Now, I live in Cambridge and I cycle or walk everywhere!

8. How many oceans have you swum in?

Only the Atlantic I think? (What are the others? I’ve never swum in the Pacific or the Indian… I have swum in a couple of seas as well though.)

9. How many countries have you been to?

I’m not sure. England, Scotland, France, Canada, Austria, Germany, Poland, USA, Italy definitely. I may have missed one or two. I would definitely like to visit more places and some of those countries again though. Travelling is an amazing privilege! Edited to Add: My brother read this and reminded me I had missed Belgium, Wales and Ireland. I knew I’d missed some… (He also agreed that James Corden would make a great brother.)

10. Is anyone in your family in the army?

I don’t think so. Certainly not in my immediate family.

11. What would you name your daughter if you had one?

It would depend on who I had one with and what they thought. My thoughts on naming children are that I need names to be English/French bi-lingual, I like them to be fairly mainstream, I like them to have literary associations and I like them to have family associations. I won’t be having children for a while though, if I can help it.

12. What would you name your son if you had one?

See above.

13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test?

Not sure. I remember a spelling test in Year 4 vividly, because I’d just come back from a year of school in France and they teach handwriting differently there, and of the 20 words on this test, when my classmate marked it I got 4 right. He thought this was hilarious, and I cried, and the teacher came and looked at it, realised that I definitely could spell most of those words and gave the class a lesson in handwriting variation and development. I changed my handwriting almost immediately anyway though. (I think I got 17 or 18 out of 20? Which would usually have upset me at school: I was the kid who always tried to get 20 out of 20, but I was so relieved it wasn’t 4/20 that it didn’t bother me as much.)

14. What was your favourite TV show when you were a child?

We didn’t have a TV til I was 7, and even after that we only had a VCR and DVD player, so I never really watched TV shows. In fact, my parents only got a TV license this year, two years after I moved out.

15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight?

No idea.

16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series?

Yes, no and yes. I still like the Harry Potter series, but I’ve outgrown the Twilight ones.

17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent?

I have actually had both: until I went to school I learned English from my father, who has a Canadian accent (not quite American, but close) and then my accent changed to match my classmates when I went to school. (In fact, it changed again when I moved from the north of the UK to the south of the UK for university, because there’s no such thing as a British accent, accents in the UK vary hugely by region.) I clearly can’t hold on to an accent when surrounded by people speaking differently, so I suppose I’d prefer a ‘British’ accent, because at the moment I’d rather live in the UK than America.

18. Did your mother go to college?

Yes.

19. Are your grandparents still married?

Yes on both sides.

20. Have you ever taken karate lessons?

No.

21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is?

Yes.

22. What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to?

I’m not sure, I’ve not been to many if any.

23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in?

I’m fluent in both English and French, and I’d love to be fluent in Spanish as well, because it’s such a widely spoken language. Or Mandarin, for the same reason, but that would be much harder.

24. Do you spell the colour as grey or gray?

Grey? I think?

25. Is your father bald?

Almost. (Sorry Dad!)

26. Do you know triplets?

I don’t think so.

27. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook?

I don’t know. I’ve seen Titanic several times, and it’s great, whereas I’ve only seen The Notebook once (although it’s also great!)

28. Have you ever had Indian food?

Yes.

29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant?

Not sure. There’s an amazing restaurant called Vito’s not far from where my parents live which I really like.

30. Have you ever been to Olive Garden?

Nope.

31. Do you belong to any warehouse stores?

Nope.

32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?

Pierre.

33. If you have a nickname, what is it?

I have lots, but mostly francophone ones. Minet-chou, Minette, Miss Coucou (all of which sound fine in French and weird in English) are the most frequently used (by my mother, my grandparents and my uncle and his kids respectively).

34. Who’s your favourite person in the world?

That’s an awful question. I love a lot of people, including family and friends and I’m not going to rank them in order of preference! Love is not finite: the amount of love I have to give grows when new people come into my life!

35. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs?

I want to work in theatre. I need to be within commuting distance of a theatre… The suburbs. Or even the city. I’ve lived in cities all my life, and while I love the countryside, I have no problems with living in the city.

36. Can you whistle?

Yes.

37. Do you sleep with a nightlight?

No.

38. Do you eat breakfast every morning?

Almost.

39. Do you take any pills or medication daily?

Yes.

40. What medical conditions do you have?

None.

41. How many times have you been to the hospital?

Birth and being stung by a lot of wasps in one go are the only ones I can think of, but I may be missing one or two.

42. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?

Yes.

43. Where do you buy your jeans?

Charity shops. I don’t buy clothes very often, because I have plenty, but if I do, I prefer to buy them second hand, which is both cheaper and better for the environment, and in a context when I know the money will be going to people who need it, rather than big corporations.

44. What’s the last compliment you got?

No idea. The most exciting one I’ve had recently was a supervisor writing the word “Exactly!” on an essay.

45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?

Yes, but not for long.

46. What flavor tea do you enjoy?

Lots. What I want depends on what mood I’m in. Right now, I’m tired and a little stressed from having a lot of uni work to do, so I want soothing and relaxing camomile tea.

47. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?

(I walked over to count.) 12. Which is more than I need.

48. What religion will you raise your children to practice?

I’m a Catholic, and I will definitely tell any children I have about my beliefs. To what extent I raise them within that practice will depend on who I’m raising them with, their thoughts on religious upbringing, and, after a while, the hypothetical children’s beliefs.

49. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real?

7, I think?

50. Why do you have a blog?

I started blogging because my exams had just finished and I was at a loss for what to do with my time. I thought the internet lacked advice about the offstage side of theatre work, and I decided to fill that gap, partly for my own benefit, to have my experiences recorded so I could remember what I’d learned from them, and partly for other people’s benefit, so they could learn from them too.

 

Wow. That was a lot of questions! I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, despite it being a little different from what I usually do: let me know what you thought of it in the comments; if you’d like more like it, or if you’d rather I stick to theatre related posts, and/or if you have any burning questions about me I didn’t answer you would like me to! Please like the post if you enjoyed it, and follow the blog if you’re interested in more of my writing, and I will see you next Friday with my thoughts on the theatre I’ll have seen in February 2017. (I’m going to see Twelfth Night at the National Theatre tomorrow, and I’m so excited! Stay tuned for that!)

Emily xxx

Cigarettes And Chocolate – How It Went!

Cigarettes And Chocolate – How It Went!

It went incredibly well!!

As you will know if you’ve been reading for a little while; I’ve been producing Cigarettes and Chocolate, directed by my close friend Emily Galvin for the past few couple of months. (If you haven’t been reading for a while, welcome, and that’s the main stuff you needed to know. If you want to catch up more you can do here, here and here.)

The rehearsal period went well, as did the planning process the Production team put in. There were a couple of small moments of problem solving, for example the sofa we got from the set store was not the one we were expecting, and we needed to add a throw to achieve the right style for the flat, but on the whole the production process went smoothly. The final few days before the show went up were, as we expected, very busy, but it was worth it. One of the ‘perks’ of student theatre is that everything is done within a short time frame and so it can get rather intense (I kid you not, the ADC has a rule that no one may spend more than 16 out of every 24 hours in the theatre, because otherwise people might!) and I definitely spent a lot of time at the theatre last week.

The reviews were very positive, which was encouraging (you can read them here or here) and everyone I spoke to about it at each performance enjoyed the play and found it interesting, which was wonderful: it’s always encouraging when you put time and energy (and blood, sweat and tears) into something and the result is what you wanted!

Ticket sales were also good, which was encouraging: 11pm on a Wednesday and Thursday night are not the easiest times to sell to people, but both performances had sizeable audiences and the sales were what was wanted in terms of the budget, which is always a relief when that’s your responsibility.

I’ll tell you a bit more about what I thought of the play itself in my review of theatre at the end of the month, so stay tuned for that, but this is the end of another successful project, which is great. I’m now planning to concentrate on my degree until I graduate in June, so I don’t have any new projects on the books, though that may change if I end up missing theatre too much!

I’ll keep writing about what I’m seeing/recommend, and I have a couple of other things in the pipeline to write about, so do stay tuned for those, and I will see you next week! Thanks as always for reading, please like the post if you enjoyed it, leave me a comment with anything you’d like me to write about in the coming weeks and follow the blog if you haven’t already!

Emily xxx

P.S. Here are some rehearsal pictures for those of you who were unable to make it to enjoy! Photo Credit: Johnny King

16442835_10208107706600796_1757465905_o16443053_10208107734241487_2139052969_o16443138_10208107706520794_1553509879_o16491335_10208107706640797_1249276079_o16492368_10208107706400791_157326916_o