What have I been up to recently? Oh, nothing much really...

So my last post dated back to the beginning of July - 3/4 months ago. It's amazing how time flies when you have so much going on (yes, I lied in the blog title).

In the space of 3 months I did 5 shows: Little Shop of Horrors (Musical), 40 in Song (A Cabaret Showcase), Omon Ra (Play), February (Play) and Reefer Madness (Musical). All volunteer (except for 40 in Song), all in the name of fun, practice and experience. I have a couple of loose ends to tie here and there, but in essence, my show run is now OVER! I can recover for the next couple of weeks until I start getting restless again.

Cast and Crew of Little Shop of Horrors, performed in Fig Tree Theatre

Little Shop of Horrors was a NUTS production (the major for 2010), which involved a lot of rehearsal time and patience, yet it was extremely polished by the end of it and definitely well received. Everyone who went to see it was impressed with the talent and the production value. The main reason (and it was kinda a lame reason, but most of you would understand) for me wanting to be involved was mainly because George (my boyfriend) was involved. I knew that if he was going to be playing piano at rehearsals then I won't get to see him much, so the next best thing was to be in rehearsals with him, so I played synth in the band. :D It also happened that he had to go away for three weeks anyhow to help out his mum in Sri Lanka for an art exhibition and visit his brother in the Maldives, so I covered for him for those three weeks when he was away. All in all, lots of fun and lollies in the confined space called "the orchestra pit", and it was great to be performing in the Fig Tree again. :D

A showcase of songs composed by Heinz Schweers,
performed in Downstairs Theatre, Seymour Centre

Before I signed onto Little Shop of Horrors, I signed onto playing the synth in Heinz Schweers' band for his showcase 40 in Song, celebrating his 40th birthday with his musical theatre compositions. Heinz has written music for a couple of musicals (one being A Nasty Piece of Work that I was also in the orchestra for back in 2008 at New Theatre), and is successful at writing sweeping love ballads and catchy tunes (admittedly by him a little Eurovision-y) and the singers and the band were all very talented and professional. We had very productive rehearsals, and after only a couple of runs got together we did a 3 night show run in the Downstairs Theatre of the Seymour Centre. The singers' abilities just blew me away, and I always looked forward to show because I knew I was amongst very talented, beautiful people. Unfortunately, 40 in Song was in the middle of Little Shop of Horrors show run, but fortunately only for 3 nights of the 2 week run, so I didn't miss out on too much.

Cast and Crew of Omon Ra, peformed in Studio One

Whilst rehearsing for Little Shop, Sean (who played Mr Mushnik in said production) approached me the night before proposals were due for NUTS' Week 8 and Week 10 slots to help him produce his show Omon Ra. Even though I was putting forward my own proposal, I ran the risk of not being approved, and said yes as a massive favour for him (sometimes people underestimate the amount of work that goes into producing). Sean's show got approved, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) mine wasn't, but it didn't really matter because I knew no matter the outcome I was going to be involved in yet another show. Omon Ra, I must admit, was not my kind of play, however I appreciated it for what it was. It was thought provoking, and the cast was, once again, very talented. The creatives (lighting designers Julia and Michael, set designer Bri, costumer Beth, and set constructor George) were also very very talented, and I was proud of putting that show together. Salima, the stage manager, was also quite on the ball with things and I appreciated her gutso effort in keeping the production together. The cast also consisted of men (Caz was the only exception, but she's not the most girly of girls I know), so it was quite interesting working with a group where the cast were mostly male, and the crew were mostly female...

Cast of February, part of Sydney Fringe Festival
performed at the New Theatre

What I forgot to consider when I said yes to Sean to produce Omon Ra was that I also said I'd help out Gee with February, which was selected as part of a triple bill of plays for the Inaugural Sydney Fringe Festival. This was happening at the same time as Omon Ra, so I had to utilise my time management skills and make sure I was able to attend to both of the show's needs. I initially said I was going to assist Gee in producing the show, however I also assisted Gee in the direction as well. February was a very well-written short piece (10 minutes, written by Gee herself), and despite its brevity managed to explore many themes including nostalgia, feminism and self-assurance. Bri also was involved in designing the costumes and set, and Bri, Gee and I were once again reunited in another show since our City of Angel days where we all first met. Being a small piece, it also had a small cast - Fliss and Maddi, both who were very talented and worked hard despite their busy time schedules. Because we were a triple bill, we also worked with cast and crew members of the other shows - Murder in the Dark and Time, both which were well performed and received.

Cast and Crew of Reefer Madness
Performed in Fig Tree Theatre

Whilst finishing off Little Shop of Horrors, and producing both Omon Ra and February, I was talking to Brent, who was directing Reefer Madness through Studio Four, about his musical directors, who seem to all bailed out on him. So I kept telling him that if he wasn't able to find any that I would be happy to, but obviously he didn't take the hint... Until I blatantly said "Look - I'll do it if you're happy to have me on board." I must admit, being in Little Shop it made me realise how much I missed musical directing, and so I really wanted to get behind that keyboard again and lead a band and cast through the type of theatre I love best - musical theatre! When I first saw Reefer Madness as a movie with Alan Cumming and Kristen Bell in it, I wasn't quite impressed by it. I actually didn't watch the whole movie - I left half way through. So I was slightly dubious about the show but thought I'd give it a chance anyway, mainly because I thought musical directing different shows will give me more experience and build my musical theatre repertoire. When I finally got to know the songs, I was proven wrong - they were ten catchies and lots of fun, and the musical was very funny and hilarious. A couple of one liners here and there amused me to no end. Topped with, once again, a very talented cast (some who were from Love.net earlier in the year), a wonderful crew who were so friendly and accomodating, and the choreography being totally awesome (thanks to Jorge), Brent chose a really entertaining musical not only to perform, but also for the audience. Despite the short rehearsal period and the unfortunate "bailings" of cast and crew members, it held together quite well in the end and everybody just had lots of fun, which I think is a very important aspect when one is involved with amateur/independent theatre.

So, in doing all these productions you could say I was just a tad busy. I'm a little worn out, but since it's also school holidays I also have one week of doing nothing (well, almost nothing, I do have a couple of teaching catch ups to do and accompany a saxophone exam) to recuperate and just relax.

One of the things that I've neglected a little has been my knitting. I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to sell my excess yarn (from when I did yarn stalls at the markets) and to reorganise my stash. I also resolved to finish all my projects before I start new ones... Now that winter is pretty much over, I'm scared that warm weather will once again deter me from knitting and I will lose my mojo! However, seeing as this long weekend has been pretty miserable and drab, I do hope that in the next 2 months or so it'll be okay knitting weather and I can finally finish those knitting projects, and also keep tabs on what I have in my stash and how I'm going to use it all up.

Life is pretty good at the moment, having successfully produced quite a number of shows, being surrounded by lots of talented and beautiful people, and directors who should be immensely proud of their work. I was also lucky to consistently have wonderful support from my loving George and my family and friends. To quote one of George's most frequent phrases, it's only "onwards and upwards" from here. :D