Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Sara Kestelman

My day started with a new osteopath in Borough. I'm not sure what happened to the last one. Perhaps it's like the police; you get taken off the case if you don't make improvements quickly enough! The new chap seems to know what he's doing. He's a tall, lean, desperately handsome Tai Kwando master, and he performed a very odd ritual which seemed to involve being prodded for some time in my lower stomach. Still, I consider brutality to be a good character trait for an osteopath, so I'm sure he'll be just fine. He said the strangest thing half way through the session when I announced that I was a 'cellist; "I've treated a number of 'cellists" he said, "they're always very intelligent..." I'm sure we are... But more intelligent than doctors? High court judges? Violinists?

From Borough, after doing an hour's work in a café, I made my way to Waterloo for lunch with Fiona, reminding myself continually that I really have to stop spending money. There's nothing in the coffers, and I'm not sure when I can next expect to be paid! Fiona was on good form. We went to Superdrug together after lunch to look at eye shadow, and I invented a game to see who could use the tester pots to create the best-looking bruise. I took ages doing mine, with all sorts of shades of yellows, browns and greens, but when we emerged onto the Strand it became more than apparent that Fiona's minimal smudge of black had won hands down.

Home to Highgate, and to draft three of Brass, which I've decided should be a good twenty pages shorter than draft two. At the end of the day, I frantically tied up a few loose ends in order to print off a semi-meaningful combination of two drafts to give to the project's director, the lovely Sara Kestleman (Olivier award-winning actress no less) whom I went to see in Crouch End tonight.

We're almost neighbours. She lives at the bottom of Shepherd's Hill, so I walked down, knocking on her neighbour's door by mistake in the process. We had a stir-fry, and talked obsessively about the piece. I first worked with Sara the best part of ten years ago when she sang the role of Golda on the demo recording of my musical Blast (thereby making her work on Brass all the more confusing!) Getting Sara to do the recording was my first experience of the benefits of chutzpah. It was Julie Clare who said, when I described the role of Golda as a baritonal Polish lunatic, "you need Sara Kestelman and you need her badly..." And so I plucked up all my courage, telephoned her agent, and nearly fell over when she agreed to do the recording. I am reminded of the North Eastern expression, "shy bairns get nowt..." An expression which became an almost mantra when recording the requiem. How else do you get three of your childhood heroines to record your work?

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