Blogging Bert

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Category: Writing (page 1 of 6)

Middle

One of my most important jobs at the moment on Beginning (now showing at the Ambassadors Theatre – book early) is Audience Watch.  It is in fact vital to the smooth running of the evening.  I may (or may not) be seated in such a position that I can see out over a large swathe of the auditorium.  There is a chandelier in the middle of the ceiling and some Wit on the company said I “look like the Phantom of the Opera” and that they “wouldn’t walk under the chandelier with you sitting there”.

I digress.

The point is, I can see the audience coming in to take their seats.  They can be categorised as follows:

The Faffers – I mean really, does it take THAT long to find your seat, take off your coat and sit down. Apparently it does.

The Fashion Statements – usually (but not always) female and involves large hats, and scarves.

The Picnickers – sandwiches, glasses of fizzy wine (masquerading as champagne), crisps.  The sort of thing you take to the Heath on a summer’s day.

The Tinklers – generally about 7.32pm one of them will go off to the loo.*

The Cocktail Party  Guests – stand with drinks in their hands at their seats looking all around

The Rather-Be-Somewhere-Elsers –  involves looking at mobile phones which continues into the performance.  Obviously thought they’d booked for The Mousetrap next door.

The Quaffers – usually seated in the middle of a full row, need a drink in each hand and have to get to seat at the last minute.

The Arctic Explorers – wild horses will not get them to take off that coat

The Passepartouts – three attempts to find the correct seat

The House Movers – Passepartouts plus lots of bags and coats

*in fairness I have to visit the Little Boys’ Room about three times in the 45 minutes before curtain up.  I think the Front of House Staff pity me slightly.

During the performance I have to keep an eye anyone leaving, mobile phones and other bleepers going off, the front row not getting sprayed with “beer”, rustling sweet bags (one of which caused a loud SHUSH last night) and eccentric laughers.  At the end it is very important that I note high-hand-clappers (there’s been a few specialist vertical-high-hand-clappers) and standing clappers.  The Audience Exit needless to say involves:

More Faffers

The Selfie Generation – usually standing in front of a plain wall

The Left-Behinders  – lost phones, bags etc.

The Discussion Groups  – GO TO THE BAR

…..all of which is incredibly tiresome but I am always stoic in adversity, and wait without complaint for them to get out.

Other news –

I am still finding remembering the actors’ names a bit of a challenge  – with a cast of two, that’s understandable – but having watched the play for a few weeks now, I have realised I am witnessing a masterclass in opening and closing oven doors, placing sauce bottles on a kitchen counter, absorbing spilled “beer” from carpets, opening beer cans and wine bottles, pulling down tinsel curtains and dancing to Bros and Modjo.

Hear me tonight – I owe you a lot.

Loss

The irony is that this post was going to be a review of The Ferryman, the title perhaps referring to Kharon (Charon) who in Greek mythology was the Ferryman of the Dead, taking the shades of the dead in his boat across the waters to Hades, the land of the dead.

One morning last week, around 1am, we went to a hospital

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Beginning 2

I know I could set the cat amongst the pigeons with the above photo having added lettuce and lemon, but I could not find a photo I could use with just the fingers and bread.  I could have gone out and bought the ingredients for a photo shoot in my kitchen….but it’s cold outside.  (Shame on me for not having any already in the freezer and this being north-east London I only have wholegrain bread)

I’m still riding high on my new job which is working backstage on

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Job Started

Three days of observing and then thrown in at the deep end for the Dress rehearsal on Saturday.  Made mistakes but kept calm and quiet, so no problems.  I suspect everyone thinks I know a lot more than I do but I am going to take the opportunity to learn as much as I can.

The play is wonderful.  I cried through two run-throughs. (I then got home and burst into tears at the end of the TV Little Women adaptation – I’m very emotional at the moment).  It’s about loneliness and connecting, and the actors are so good it’s not like watching actors – just people.  The characters are unusual in the sense you rarely see the thoughts and feelings they convey here, but they are so ordinary there must be thousands of (real) people like them.  I both identify strongly (painfully!) with them but the play has also made me question my own assumptions.  I think it will get richer every time I see it. And it seems a great company of people.  Everyone is really friendly and it feels like there’s no hierarchy (which strictly there isn’t in the theatre).

First preview tonight and my second time doing my job.

(I wish the photo above was my own – sadly not)

Beginning

Even more joy if you can take it.

2017 could have been a lot worse but I’m glad it’s over.  2018 has started rather well.

I HAVE A JOB!

A friend of mine was looking to job share  some technical lighting work they’d been offered on a West End play, and asked me if I was interested. They then suggested me (as job share) to the theatre’s technical boss who had originally offered the work and  within 2 hours the theatre  is ringing me to tell me I have it.

I’ll be working on half the weekly performances, the play is short, and at the moment it has a limited run of a few months – so it’s perfect.

It gives me my days free to keep working on my writing and raising my potential work profile.  (I’m also working on a secret project at the moment, so I will still have time for that.)  It’s excellent relevant new experience on my CV.  I have started some private tuition which I am enjoying and gives me a bit more money and it won’t intefere with that.  And I should be able to keep my shifts going at the Foundling, where I love working.  Both of us  want to be flexible, and we know each other from having worked together in the past, so I have freedom to do other evening things if they crop up.

It also gives me a foot in the door back into theatre (where I started) – so we’ll see.

Relieved and happy.

More Joy

I am delighted to have just received an email from that website which tells you everything going on in your locality, that a “Spanish Beginners Curse” is starting next week.

As my mother would say:  that’s a bit different.

Opinion

I have just come across this person’s review of a TV series I have been watching. Edna Welthorpe (Mrs) would be proud:

This should never have made it to air. There is NO ending so don’t bother watching any of it. It ends in the middle. I’m very angry that I wasted my time watching something that ends in the middle with everything left hanging. How ridiculous. I will make sure to look up the writer and never read or watch anything by them ever again. Rip a book in half or watch half of a mystery movie and that’s what you get with Bancroft. How anyone allowed this to air as is, is a headshaker.

Christmas 2017

Hope everyone is finding some sort of peace over the Christmas holidays.

Oh good grief that sounds dismal.

Wishing all Mr Bert’s Blog Reader’s  happiness and peace this Christmas

(I should be tidying up and packing –  which is why I am blog posting)

Daylight

It’s cold.  I don’t know whether I view the past with rose-tinted glasses or whether our weather really is warmer, but it seems to me ages since we had a really cold proper winter.  Spending a lot of time at home at the moment means I have to watch the heating (fortunately  the flat is warm anyway), but as much as I enjoy being at home warm and curled up, living in London you are aware of how many people live on the streets and that this is just a particularly horrible time of the year.

I’ve also become aware in recent days that people keep their curtains closed during the day when they are at home to keep warm, and denying ourselves daylight, particularly now when days are short, is really unhealthy.  Look at the size of windows on expensive houses or apartments, and look at them on standard housing.  If you are wealthy you will have acres of glass in your housing. Developers keep costs down by fitting minimum size windows, which means many, many people do not get enough daylight.  I have worked with children who have been at the beginning of developing rickets.  And it effects mental health.  Take daylight away and we will suffer from depression.  So  try and get as much exposure to daylight as you can.  It has been a relatively sunny autumn and sunshine cheers everyone up.  Sadly daylight is a luxury some people cannot afford.

(I’m a bit gloomy today, hence seriousness of above post – need a job….)

More Gym Talk

I overheard two men talking today but couldn’t see them.  One said out of the blue “Why do people lie?” and then started pouring his heart out that a woman had said she’d meet him and hadn’t.  He was quite upset and the man he was talking to (they didn’t sound as if they knew each other), was very sweet and sympathetic.  Even suggested he read some poetry.

I really wanted to see who they were so hurried up drying myself so I could walk past them on the way to my lockers.  There was Greek man in his sixties on his own so I presumed they had gone.  A tall black guy probably in his early thirties walked past me – and I heard the two voices start up again.  The older man was the one who had been let down, and the younger guy was his sympathetic listener.