Tag Archives: London

Thoughts, (10 Days Before London) 

11 Oct

Um,  I dunno if you know it (International Friends), but there’s this whole thing where Americans wishing to look less ridiculous (or wanting to more easily blend in) will often pretend to be Canadians , whilst visiting abroad. It’s not exactly like we’re ashamed of being “American,” it’s that we are embarrassed by the general casting-type. 
…Look,  I have to say that by and large,  we earn it. Having been abroad before, I was never more aware of our loud,  braying, overly-enthusiastic,  self- entitlement than quietly sitting in corners of tubes and restaurants and buses…watching us being giant low-class dicks,  en mass. We dress horribly.  We push to run every room and tourist guiding,  we chew gum in ancient cathedrals, scream at one another across silent museum lobbies, we complain about food portions, bitch about the size of the showers, and how everyone doesn’t bathe twice a day,  and strangely like to infringe on , (and advertise),  our private business to any and everyone who doesn’t (and won’t ever care)…cuz that shit is embarrassing. 

…But then Brexit happened,  and I was all,  “Woa,  for once we aren’t the biggest idiots”

…But then this election happened and now I’m all, ” Well, fuck. I gotta pretend to be British-Columbian from Vancouver,  again.”

The deal is: I don’t talk political shit on my Facebook, I’m sure as hell not gonna want to “live,”  on a tube platform with a random Italian. (Let’s be real,  the English don’t talk in tubes.) 

…Though,  to be off the International Shit-List,  they might just break precedent.And the French always have hated us (and always will), because of our hard-“R’s,” designer-knock-offs, and wearing T-shirts with vacation locations on them. 

Americans are like the class clowns of the world. Right now: we are specializing in scaring the shit out of everyone–even ourselves. And frankly,  I am not comfortable being a “representative abroad. ”

I’m not super proud of us right now. And I don’t wanna talk about it. Cuz the world I come back to, (the week of the election), scares the living shit out of me.  If I could,  I’d fucking just stay there.

…And I would always have said that. (But would have literally never meant it, more.) Than right now

…And you know what?  That kinda sucks. 

 …Because, though I unreasonably love Britain like it is in my blood (cuz it is)… I have great grandfathers who fled from those bitches,  (on the Irish and Pilgrim side.) Like:legit. I’ve an ancestor who signed the Mayflower Compact, and we’ve fought in every single American war.INCLUDING against the Brits. 

I *want* to be proud. 

…But…

…As I prepare to cross the pond for a place I adore and identify with (prob’ly because it is in my blood) …and even though I really, really, REALLY, don’t want to get political…I just don’t know how I’ll be able to prevent it. 

I don’t know what to say. 

I don’t know how to excuse us.
…Because, I know a LOT of very, very very smart people. 

…And they don’t seem to either. 

And on an International level:  on planes,  busses, trains and week-long workshops… I dunno how the hell I’m gonna duck or explain it. 

…And with ALL the weird shit on my brain right now…ten days before I leave to study abroad…why is THAT the main thing on my freak-out list?

~D

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Freaking Out

26 Sep

..But in a good way. 

Today, I received m’student pkt, and picked through my first class syllabus in 18 years. 

…As an International Student and Guest Artist at The Actors Centre in London, (Omg. Seriously, this shit just got real), I’ve 43 hours of five workshops with award winning directors, actors, and writers from the BBC, RSC, National, Globe, LAMDA, London Film School, (and a whole hell of a lot more), picked out, for our two-week stay…which I’ve decided to call my, “If Its Pissing Rain Every Second We Are Here There’s Still Plenty Of Shit To Do” list. This center is a fucking phenomenal resource with a 72 page course option list, just within our three month attendance period…and those I’ve chosen to focus on, primarily work on character development and playwriting. 

…Am particularly freaking out over the Glen Walford workshop, “Confidence Tricks,” as not only will that class be aired, but this woman’s sick International resumè is secretly topped for me by being the person who commissioned and directed “Shirley Valentine,” (my “Educating Rita”sister show) and being a frequent collaborator with Willy Russell

The schedule I’ve chosen would have me in London proper for both weeks, so traveling to see buds in Warrington and Scotland would mean a secondary cut to a “VIP Must List.” Which is damn hard to weed down from the opportunities just laying here in front of me. But four days’ intensive work with Walford and Jason Riddington are my essential “gotta hit thats, ” on top of (hopefully) making some new acting buds abroad, and bringing home about 47 new dialects to play with on stage sometime. 

…It’s surreal, and kinda freaky, but completely what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m just about to trust that enough not to have an anxiety attack when I think that in 25 days, we’ll be in London… eating crumpets and ramen nearly exclusively, so we can throw all the money we haven’t got at theatre! 

…And with that much appreciated student discount card in our pockets, yo! 

Let’s do this thing. 

~D

Cecil & Gwen Do The UK

22 Feb

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There might be cooler things than a former Cecily and Gwendolen having High Tea at Harrods, London…but prob’ly not.

…Unless it’s them also certing up in RADA classes, while there.

…And getting rush tickets to two weeks of shows…

…And being in Stratford during the 400th Shakespeare anniversary…

…Doing reads with past Cecil abroad-year friends…

…And meeting her former Profs…

…And taking a day trip to Edinburgh to hike my Fitbit on a serious legit Highland tour, obliterating even the neatest of fake digital badges…

…And visiting Lady Croom in her new digs…

…And having a day in Bath…

…And doing writerly things…

…And swapping, “this was my favorite thing /place/event when I came last time, so lets do it again” stories…

…And surviving on food budgets of bread, cheese, and wine, like French peasants…(which is way cooler than Raumen, black beans, and eggs, our now current budget, stateside.)

…And a layover in Iceland, so we can say, “Hey, remember that time when we (ate/drank/pooped/spent a krona/took up whaling) in Iceland??”

So, thanks for the early, giant birthday surprise, Cecil n’ Ma…

…And for all the memories which haven’t even been made yet, but will…

…Which I’m not at all excited about in the least.

Obviously.

~D

Tag-Teaming Murder & Education

8 Sep

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Dearest “Rita” is alive and well, warbling her free-association wisdoms at-will (and speed), and having a great time playing with her Professor…which ends our first weekend of performances, and ushers in today’s first rehearsal of the next gig.

From Liverpool to London, back to Liverpool again…and London…I’ll be splitting time for the next two week’s ‘tween our enthusiastically educating Scouser and a London society-dame, fighting to survive murder, Hitchcock-style. While we are on the same island, there is a good sixty-year era-difference, not to mention sizable pocketbook increase…which’ll be fun to bounce around between…cuz who the hell doesn’t love Noir and 50’s fashions, mixed with sailor-mouthed, punk, fuck-me shoes?

Yes to it all!

…And so with today’s first table-read, we pack away the Chekhov, Ibsen, and Forster et al (Sunday nights thru Wednesday), and bring out some epic Noir film-festing to put some meat on these ingénue bones facing me in print. 

Famously portrayed by Grace Kelly, in her typical perfect-looking-yet-boring-as-hell-to-watch fashion, the plan is to make our Margot in Dial “M”, more than that.  Something with smarts, bite, and maybe even some (god-forbid) sex…seeing as she’s blackmailed for schtooping who she shouldn’t, and all.  Which means I’ll be forced (dammit) to dig out all my Stanwyck’s, Tierney’s, Astor’s, Bacall’s, Davis & Crawfords…Turner’s, Hayworth’s, and Gardner’s (woe is me) to settle in for some one-on-one refresher courses, (hee hee) on how to be bad-girl-awesome…in general.

…Working against iconic interpretation is always a “thing” when tackling something like a “Hitchcock”…which is 50% fixed in this case by not casting a blonde, really.  The moment lights rise in scene one, I’m automatically given more freedom to fight against the character-as-played in pre-conceived expectation, by physical presence alone.  The other 50% is taking dated text and infusing new life into it…figuring out how to leverage a more realistic, suspicious, sexual, “human” being from a white-toast sort of role, as usually played. 

…I’m going mining for more in there…and it’ll be fun panning to find it 😉

~D

Run Away To Happy-Land

1 Apr

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I need a break.

…I need a break like a shipwrecked , solitary survivor of a major boating travesty, needs water.

Water.

…I need water.

Water comes in the form of side-tracking my exhausted-sleep-depraved-month-end-numbered brain.

…It also comes from England.

English water is the best kind.

…Although prob’ly not literally.

…Have you seen the Thames, live?!

I have.

…And how much do I hold that against them? 

Not at all. 

Not even a little.

I love their freakin’ water.

…”Water” in this case meaning, “Escapism.”

So, I’m goin’ swimmin’ in it.

Right. Now:

English Theatre I Would Rather Be Watching Live Right Now, Instead Of Almost Everything Else I Am Currently Doing With My Life

If you wanted to buy me an early Birthday present, any of the following would spin my top with joy.  In case you happen to have a bunch of bucks, just laying around:

* Judi Dench, Ben Wishaw (The Hour), and Ruby Bentall (Lark Rise) in Peter & Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre, through June.
(About the 1932 meeting of the woman who inspired “Alice in Wonderland” and the man who inspired “Peter Pan.”)

* Helen Mirren in The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre , through June.
(Mirren takes on the Queen again, in a series of private audiences, across her rein, with all 12 of her PMs. **Olivier Nominee for Best Actress**)

* James McAvoy and Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) in Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios I, through April.
(A Scotsman PLAYING The Scotsman! Shut up!)

* Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss at The Duke of Yorks Theatre, through April.
(Oscar Wilde, his arrest, and imprisonment **Olivier Nominee for Best Actor**)

* Rowan Atkinson in Quartermain’s Terms, at Wyndham’s Theatre, through April.
(A hopeless English Teacher for Foreigners, and his co-Cambridge colleagues, across several years of time.)

* Anna Chancellor (The Hour) and Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre — also, Maggie Smith’s son) in Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre, through September.
(Ra for Coward!)

* Deborah Findlay (Cranford) in The Winslow Boy, through May.
(A father’s fight to clear his son’s name in a theft under the spotlight of heavy media.)

* Jude Law as Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre through February.
(I want! I want!)

* Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell (The Holiday) in Old Times At the Harold Pinter Theatre, through April.
(Darkly erotic drama of conflicting memories of a trio of friends across years of time.)

* David Tennant as Richard II at the Barbican Theatre, through January.
(Yes, please.)

* Ciaran Hinds (Jane Eyre) in The Night Alive, at the Donmar Warehouse, through July.
(A shyster, a chance meeting, a complicated lifestyle.)

* Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel) in The Weir at the Donmar Warehouse, through June.
(A pub, a stranger, chilling stories of the past.)

* Imogene Stubbs (Twelfth Night) in Third Finger, Left Hand at Trafalgar Studios II, through April.
(Two sisters, an attempt of reconciliation, reliving the turbulent upbringing that tore them apart.)

…Wow.

I want.

I want badly.

…Back to the lonely, thirsty island, I go.

~D

Oh, Canada

9 Jul

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An especially epic Monday at The Brothel, as Boss pulled an MIA, with a twist. 

…He’s really good at doing that.  I’m sure at some point he even lettered in it.  I wouldn’t half blame him for being bummed it never got selected as an Official Olympic Event…mostly because he would be in London right now MIA-ing, instead of here doing it.  And who wouldn’t rather MIA overseas, if given the chance?

…But what made this Monday more epic than the usual was that it featured a surprise guest appearance from our good friends up north, and a sales day of $70,000. (That’s a lotta lap dances, friends.)

It all began before I got there: A truck waiting for product to ship out, which was still literally being assembled in our warehouse.

…I wasn’t aware of this, of course, because why would anyone tell me? All I know is a couple of seconds after logging in, Boss was calling on line one:

Boss: Hi.  I think we have a Canada load.

Me: When?

Boss: Now.  They’re in the yard.

Me: Where are the contracts?

Boss: I dunno.

Me: And the Customs paperwork?

Boss: I dunno.

Me: How many are going?

Boss: Four or six.  I can’t remember.

Me: How many locations?

Boss: Five?

Me: So, four or six might be going to five locations, with no contracts or Customs paperwork and they are in the yard to collect them now.

Boss: Pretty much.

Me: Anything else you wanna “not” tell me?

Boss: Yeah.  I’m working from home today.

…And that was that. 

Not from lack of trying, did this end my attempt to grasp more information. Like squeezing a tube of toothpaste which ran out yesterday, I did my damndest to get more than was apparently a physical possibility.  You try “this” attack, you try “that” one…you eventually grab some scissors and begin to attempt strategic surgical removal, even. But the tube is only a tube.  There’s no toothpaste in it. It can’t help you with what you need.  It’s completely useless.  And at some point, you just have to face this truth, and move  on.

So I did.

…This lead me to five people (by turn) at Corporate who decided to take breaks and go to the bathroom in one simultaneous herding group, all morning long.  Call after call was made, but no human contact could be gained. Eventually, hour two rolled by, while a perfectly nice Russian Teamster waited for the idiot  Americans to get their damn shit together, enabling him to cross into Canada without geting arrested and deported.  Then, suddenly at 10:15…without warning or cause…a “bing” hit my email, and the contracts materialized online.  It was a magical moment for us all. I threw paperwork about, scribbling on them furiously, getting them out the door to our Product Pimp in the warehouse, who by this time was sweating bloody-houses and offering to pay me to slit his throat as a good humanitarian gesture.

I declined.

…Meanwhile, I went back to working on reports.

For a Brothel, we keep a lot of records. 

The Big House, insists on it.

…And I’m the only one who updates them, because lets face it, Boss forgets things like  seven-ton International shipments, and his car keys (on a regular basis)…do you really think he’s gonna remember a thousand-dollar purchase order in Sequim? 

So, I went back to that. 

Reports, I mean.

…The same variety that I have to update every Monday.  Which is a very unsatisfactory accomplishment, end-of-the-day, even if I’ve managed to swim through five or six.  Because the “numbers” are just placeholders, ever-changing.  And because though you have hell to pay if you don’t do themno one (and I really mean no one), will ever open or read them.  Except in random-selection auditing. Once yearly.

…Which is why, by the time I finally arrived at the Open Orders sheet for the weekend…I kinda wanted to cry.

The Open Order report is one of only two, around which my entire work-life is based.  And because it is for “me” and not “other people,” it always comes last.  But in it, is the actual workload for which I was actually (once upon a time) hired to do. If you strip all the Boss’-job crap away, this is what I am legitimately responsible for…but since it is the absolute last thing I get to do, I feel a sick necessity to complete it no matter WHAT the day has thrown my way.  It is, after all, “my job.”  The real one.  Not the fake one I don’t get paid to do.

…Now, one look at the report today (at oh say…3:30…when I was finally able to get around to it), clearly showed that either some dude was out handing pimp flyers on Mall Blvd all weekend, or we had had an ad, which Boss had (big surprise) forgotten to tell me about.  The new orders list, by end of processing, was upwards of 70k.  By the time I got done just printing and coding the jobs, it was 4:15.  Aside from ER’s and Special Orders, not a single call had been made at all.

…Which basically turned today into one giant clusterfuck of non-accomplishment…(aside from the fact Russia doesn’t have a “hit” out on us for setting up one of it’s citizen in what might look to some, like a severely incompetent smuggling ring.)

It was one of those days where I worked my ass off all day long, and have very little to show for it. Only glorified “prep-work” for tomorrow.

…I mean sure, I could have stayed there to finish it.  I could have stuck it out, till about 9:30…where, with no phones to answer, I might have actually finished everything I was supposed to do today…before International trade unions, and cargo embargoes shat all over me.

Instead, I chose home. And dinner. And flashing a giant bird to the Brothel establishment, as a whole, for the remainder of the night.

The paper can wait.

Warning signs that I’m already reaching a tipping point for the week, on the first day back, cannot.

Must rest. 

Must let it go.

Must make it to Tuesday.

…Where no doubt, another marvel of ridiculousness awaits us all.

~D

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