Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Back on track

Posted by Oli on Monday 8th January, 2007

I’ve had a brilliant day today, taken up mostly with a mammoth 4-hour meeting with Suze and Rheya about the MKT show this April.

The show, which is going to be in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, will be something of a gala performance for the Activ8 Youth Theatre, with whom Suze and I have worked (on-and-off on my part) for the last 5-6 years.  We’ve never had the opportunity to start with such carte blanche as we’ve been given here, and it’s fantastic – if a little daunting.

The Youth Theatre have been lucky in the past if they secured a single performance date in a 12-month period, so to have this show coming so quickly off the back of the summer show is exciting in and of itself, but to have such free reign to make the most of our stage time is a fantastic opportunity for all the children and young people involved.

So far, we’re looking at doing devised pieces for the youngest three groups, and then a combination of devised, scripted and new-writing pieces with the oldest group – who have mostly been with us for a long time and will no doubt be raring to display the many facets of stage-craft they’ve had the chance to develop working with a practitioner as accomplished and, let’s face it, off-the-wall as Suze.

Today’s meeting was spent hammering out exactly what each group would be doing – allowing for the fact that the rehearsal process is sure to kick up a few new challenges and options on the way – and also going over a few storylines for some of the devised pieces which needed solidifying before we past them back to the groups to continue working.

The groups have already been working on some of the stuff that will be incorporated into the performance in the last term, but the ideas they’ve developed will all be picked up and run with over the course of the next 10 weeks leading up to the show.  The idea is that we’ll be using familiar material but probe deeper into it to make sure we’re challenging them to come up with something that will push them and make the most of the showcase they’ve been offered.

I’m most excited about the fact that I’m due to return to rehearsals on Wednesday and Suze has offered me the opportunity to write part of the show and to direct a separate section with some of the older group involved.  It’s been so long since I’ve directed anything from scratch that I’m REALLY looking forward to it and can’t wait to get going.

The section I’m working on is an amalgam of scenes from Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead – a show I’ve always wanted to direct in its entirety.

I have to confess I’ve been a little on the tired side after our enormous brain-storming/planning session, but I feel so jazzed at the thought of being part of this show.  It’s wonderfully exciting to be working with the groups towards something that will really show their families and, hopefully, the wider community, what they are capable of doing.

Tickets are available NOW from the Milton Keynes Theatre box office 0870 060 6652 (with a booking fee) or online here. (plug, plug)

In other news: my new BlackBerry arrived today, too!!  After all my to-ing and fro-ing with O2 (the phone company, not the oxygen people), I managed not only to secure a free upgrade to the BlackBerry, but also to upgrade my call plan to double the minutes (400) and ten times the texts (1,000) per month for the same money.  And I only wanted the phone….

Unfortunately, since it arrived I’ve been castigated by K after spending all morning and half the afternoon in a meeting for then getting so wrapped up in my new toy that I’ve hardly paid any attention to her all day. 

I’d like to make a witty-yet-cutting riposte to show her that she’s completely in the wrong and I’m smugly in the right as usual, but I really can’t defend myself on this one, so I’m going to slope off and use my apologetic face.

EMILY UPDATE: For those of you still keeping tabs on Em (of which I know there are tons) she’s still doing well.  She’s still on the vent for the moment, but her family say things are looking good for now.  Thanks to you all for your love, prayers and support – I know they’re greatly appreciated. 

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One Response to “Back on track”

  1. Jacqui said

    I heard about this show from a friend. We’ll definitely be there!

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