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f/e 21 Jan 2018

A couple of weeks to catch up on…

First The Here and This and Now at the Southwark Playhouse which I liked at first: four employees of a medical sales company on an awayday, practising their sales pitches. Some lovely performances and I really wanted to see what happened to a young man and woman who were, maybe, on the verge of… getting together…? a relationship…? We’ll never know because the play veered off into a dystopian future, without those characters, that was full of MESSAGES about APOCALYPSE and INEQUALITY. I cared more about the future of two fast-talking, charismatic, well-performed, young people than a DRAMATIC look at HOW WE’RE ALL DOOMED.

Second, as part of the annual London Mime Festival was Different Party by, and performed by, Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan at the Soho Theatre. Really good fun. Two businessmen running the “Ruck’s Leather Interiors” sales office that was full of slapstick and stupid wordplay. Inevitably a few jokes were a little obvious or didn’t quite work for me but it never mattered because there was always something else about to happen. Very silly.

Also in media consumption, we’ve watched season one of Justified a US crime drama that I first heard of when the production designer sent me some photos for inclusion on my Crazy Walls Tumblr. After the initial scene-setting, getting-to-know-the-characters episodes it was good fun, and not solely because of Walton Goggins, who I also loved in the also great The Shield. Plus, it’s nice to see a US crime drama set in mostly-rural Kentucky, rather than one of the big cities.

I did start forming an idea about certain US dramas whose lead character is the least interesting of the ensemble, inspired by Justified‘s lead character, deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. He’s like the straight man for the rest of the show’s oddballs and I reckoned this wasn’t a one-off. “He’s a bit like that Sheriff in Deadwood I thought,” a character who was such a straight man that I could no longer even picture what he looked like. One search later and… oh, Sheriff Seth Bullock was, like Raylan Givens, also played by Timothy Olyphant. I must be an idiot. This is perhaps not much of a clever, generalisable, idea after all, although I’m holding on to it for a bit longer given the existence of Firefly‘s Mal Reynolds.

Back in the world, a new term has started, and some new acting classes. I’m doing a few weeks of once-a-week Meisner-based drop-in classes with a new partner, exploring another relationship. And I’ve started a series of once-a-week classes, also Meisner-based, with a teacher I haven’t seen for a dozen years. I thought I should see how someone else teaches Meisner; everyone has their own variations. The other students seem less experienced than those I’m used to at the Salon:collective, which I guess helps me realise I’ve come a way (if not necessarily a long way).

I also spent a day in a “workshop” based on a play called The Human Artefact with some actors I hadn’t met before, which was enjoyable. This time they were all, I think, more experienced than me and their General American accents were more generally American than mine which, should it ever succeed in making landfall in the correct continent, goes a-wanderin’ around the states like the King of the Hobos.

Also, of course, I finally got my site up and running on the new code that’s taken me years to put together. The best thing about this so far is that I can, at last, change things on my site again. The previous construction was so rickety that it didn’t seem worth trying to change anything in case it broke, or in case Movable Type finally ground to a halt in resistance. Now I can start tweaking things and adding things, the finishing of the code being just the beginning.

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