Thursday, 10 December 2015

Oily tantrums

I received a missed call this morning from Radio Northampton who wanted to chat to me about yesterday's award ceremony. The guy who'd left the message said his name in a bit of a rush. I listened several times to see if I could catch what he'd said, but failed every time. It genuinely sounded like his name was "Oily Guilder." Was this a Dutch man? He sounded rather English...

I bit the bullet and called back...

Her: Hello BBC Radio Northampton?

Me: Hello. Now please don't laugh, but one of your colleagues called me just now, and I didn't catch his name. It sounded a little like he might have been called Oily Guilder.


Me: Perhaps it was Ollie Guilder?

Silence. A little snort of laughter.

Her: (in a faltering voice) It's Willy Guilder...

A burst of hysterical laughter was followed by the sound of the phone being put on hold.

Two minutes later Willy Guilder came on the line and told me that I'd made his colleague laugh so much that she'd been unable to speak! Glad to oblige!

Jeremy from NYMT brought my attention to the Rogers and Hammerstein website this afternoon, which is announcing Brass as one of their shows, so it's now official: Brass is a published work! If anyone knows any amateur groups who might fancy performing an epic First World War musical with as many female roles as roles for men, then please bring their attention to the following link.

I have to say it's been a really very good week! I've won two awards and had a musical published. When I'm feeling down in the dumps, it would be good if someone could remind me of these things! A job in the arts genuinely is feast or famine!

I witnessed something on the tube today which made me giggle in a Schadenfreude sort of way. A 4-year old child from hell got on the carriage and immediately started bashing merry hell out of his mother. He only came up to her waist in height and was just able to reach her thighs with his tantramonius little fists. The mother didn't seem to be reprimanding him and I felt sure she was making a rather large rod for her back by pretending that her son wasn't thumping her. To make matters worse, the father was there, watching the scene passively. Maybe he's taught his son that Mummy needs a smack when she gets disobedient. Ghastly!

Anyway, as the train pulled out of the station, there was a jolt, and the little boy was sent cascading down the carriage only to land flat on his face. He burst into tears. I smiled internally. And then externally. Little shit!

I was in Shoreditch Town Hall this afternoon. I've been invited to take part in a musical theatre initiative called The Dark Room (I know, I know... No one seemed to fully appreciate the comic value of the name!) Slightly salacious title aside, I'm excited by the concept of what we're doing. Four musical theatre writers are being paired up with four theatre practitioners who very specifically haven't worked in musical theatre. The writers include Pippa (from Jake and Pippa) whom it was just fabulous to see. We chatted for hours in the bar afterwards.

We didn't meet any of the theatre practitioners, and one of the writers wasn't there, but there was a host of interesting people in the room representing different regional theatres. I was slightly perturbed to hear people talking about how we need to rip up the musical theatre rule book and find daring ways to innovate the form. I wasn't entirely sure that the people crying out for change knew what the rules were that they so desperately wanted to break. I also became somewhat concerned that, for a number of people in the space, innovation seemed to mean just one word: diversity.

At one point during the discussion someone mentioned how we all needed to get away from the conventional "book musical." At this point I piped up: "and what on earth is wrong with a conventional book musical?" The feeling seemed to be that it was cliched. I piped up again; "the joy of musical theatre is that no two shows are the same. Some people write rock scores. Others write classical scores. It's all musical theatre and only bad musical theatre is cliched." There was then a discussion about how we perhaps needed to stop calling musicals musicals because it "puts people off..." I felt like a jaded dinosaur in the corner.

I was glad to reacquaint with a lass called Alecky who was at drama school with me. We had a long chat and I told her I'd spent a lovely day with Sharon out in New York last week. It was only half way through her subsequent presentation to the group that I realised she was the writer of the seminal musical, London Road. I felt like such a Charlie when I realised! I'm so pleased I didn't say the thing which was going through my mind when she told me she'd made a lot of verbatim theatre: "I bet you're only copying the woman who did London Road!"

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