September is here, and your time is up summer! I wanted to quickly throw down something about my doings over the end of August, as quite a bit happened, and I was too, too busy to actually write anything. Also, I know I joke about it constantly, but in all seriousness I don't know when I'll be able to blog anything again, coherently anyway, what with entering dissertation crunch time and all (count down=T-minus 20 days...), so again I must beg your indulgence for what will probably be a long absence. Many apologies in advance.
Traveled to Hove to participate in a research workshop led by Nia Lynn, and MA at Central on the Voice Studies course. The research was for her dissertation, and basically consisted of examining the application of the ujai breath in text work. It was lovely to get out of London almost immediately after returning to it from Edinburgh, and the second and final day of the workshop Nia, myself, and fellow MA-er and workshop participant Alex walked over to the beach after a lovely home cooked meal (provided by our host, Ms. Lynn) and went swimming. I haven't gone swimming in the longest time, and it's been several years since I was last in the sea. The water was lovely, the perfect temperature, and totally worth braving the painfully pebbly beach side to get to the water.
Back to Central to rehearse the piece I'm working on for the Festival of Emergent Arts. We had one of Lou's (our director) course tutors come watch our work to offer some feedback. It was the second time we had a guest in rehearsal, and the first time it was with a tutor. My work involves a lot of props, and I didn't feel wholly confident about how I had used everything, and the recording of my text I'd made wouldn't play. Basically, it didn't come off the way I'd like, and that frustrated me a lot. We have about a month left to really cement this, and it still feels like it has a long way to go. It will get there, hopefully right when it needs to, but I'm feeling uninspired about it. My ensemble members are great for this, though, and keep suggesting changes and providing feedback. It's helping to keep my head in the game, at the very least.
Fitting and rehearsal at the Royal Opera House for the short film that will play as part of dreamthinkspeak's site specific piece, Absent. The piece will be performed in the ROH on the 5th and 6th of September, as part of the Deloitte Ignite '09 Festival. It's set in the 1950s, and everyone was attired as such. This is me, in my dress--it was a lovely green, but they shot the film in sepia, so I've coloured it to give a sense of what I should look like on film. It was a four hour day, and it was super easy and chill, and everyone was really nice and fun to work with. It is always such a nice surprise when you get on well with the strangers you are sometimes thrown together with on acting jobs, and this was such an experience.
I also made a visit to Primark this day--my first since I got to this country. Primark is essentially an Incredibly Cheap clothing store that sells a lot of items that look stylish, but will probably fall apart after four wearings. But at their prices, four wearings is completely worth it. However, due to all of the incredible bargains (the women in my family would go CRAZY in there), walking through the store is very much like one of the following: 1) What it must have been like to push through a mob to receive rations during war time; 2) What it must be like during a time of mass looting. Not a terribly ideal shopping environment for me who hates both crowds *and* lines (I waited 15 minutes for a changing room--I know, it's a tragedy), but worth it to obtain a costume for the zombie film (sweater, t-shirt, pair of jeans) for LESS THAN FOURTEEN POUNDS (that's less than $22 American). Oh heck yes. I survived, and the McKenna blood in me, reared on outlet shopping and coupon flyers, danced through my veins this day.
(That being said, the jeans were an awful cut and the fly would not stay closed during the shoot. But they were only 5.87GBP!!!)
Did some filming today for a ballet that will premiere in Houston this fall, that is currently rehearsing in Paris. It's a re-imagining of The Firebird, and the designer wanted to include projections of women passing apples and taking bites out of them. The projections were being shot as Chinese shadows, so the designer was looking for women who looked like women: "i.e. breasts" was what the e-mail notice said, actually. So, there I was, in my bra and underwear and high heels with two other girls, standing behind a sheet, moving in place, passing apples and biting into them for about an hour. The projections themselves are only going to last around fifteen seconds. After this work, I was very set on finding a Pilates class.
Later in the day I picked up the zombie contacts from Baby's First Steps director Stephen, and when I got home called Max for help getting them in. The call had nothing to do with Max's intense knowledge of zombies, and everything to do with the fact he wears contacts and I do not. After a seemingly endless struggle, I finally got one in. And then I wanted to die. You have to understand, I've never worn contacts before, so the initial and instinctual rejection of having a foreign object in my eye filled me quite to the brim. Also, the contacts have white irises (hence the fright factor), and so not only was something on my eye, but something was on my eye that was obscuring my vision some how. It was strangely scary process (even more scary when I looked at myself with both of them in my eyes), but I don't think I would have been a terribly convincing zombie without them. Once I calmed myself down, they were fine, and I wore them for a couple hours and watched TV. Very easy. I'd do it again.
Shooting the party sequence for Absent. This day really showcased the importance of working with people you get on with, and again what a treat that is. I was stationed at a table with two guys, Charlie and Conor, and they were great the whole day. Because of the nature of the piece (and because it's film) the director had us doing basically the same few actions over and over again for about six hours. If I had ended up with people who were less relaxed, less fun, and less engaging in our constant random conversation (the film's only soundtrack is a big band swing song, so we talked about anything and everything else during the shoot), this day would have been really draining and long and awfully boring. Instead, I had a great time (up until the end when I was so full on the Ribena that had been standing in for the wine on our tables that I wanted to crash from the sugar while peeing), laughed a lot, and got to wear a pretty, pretty dress while doing it. If only my real life were more like these days--except there would be real wine, damn it!
Filmed the exterior crowd scene for Absent. Several of us turned up on both filming dates to essentially play different people and provide more filler for the beginning of the film. This is me in my second costume--I have on another, different green dress, but again I have sepia-ed myself. Despite several delays that broke up filming (people walking into shot, traffic, some police coming by to see if we were filming legally), we managed to wrap early, and I had no trouble making my second scheduled event of the day, which was seeing my friend Laurel (that's her there, looking all pretty) in an independent horror film she's a lead in that screened at the Film 4 FrightFest. The movie had some problems (I think they're going back into post to make some adjustments after the London screenings), but she was great and it was lovely to see someone I cared about do so well at something we both care about a great deal. And it made me miss her.
Back to Primark for more zombie clothing. Stephen texted me Saturday and said our make up artist Faye had requested more than one top as there would be bloodying and we may need a spare. It turned out we did, so despite escaping within barely an inch of my life (never go to Primark on a weekend), it was totally worth it. And again, it was incredibly cheap.
That night, Caitlin and my friend Jake came over and I cooked them dinner. Jake is a temporary transplant from the states, in the UK on what I gather is essentially a business exchange with his company, where a UK worker goes to NYC to get trained at his job, and Jake comes here and does his job until the Brit is tip top and ready to come back. It was nice seeing a familiar and friendly face, and I hope to see a bit of him while he's about the next couple of months.
Shooting Baby's First Steps. We were shooting in Stephen's flat, and my call was at 7AM. It was hard getting up early--especially after having awful nightmares about a zombie apocalypse the whole night--but I got there right on time and again lucked out that all of the people I worked with that day were fun, relaxed, and focused. Life is so much easier when people are awesome. I only hope I was the best zombie I could be for them! I'm excited to see the final cut of the film (though a little scared to see me as a zombie) and hopefully all will go well with it.
And that, my friends, is how everyone should end their summer.