I woke up in a foul mood today. I'm not really sure why. I stayed up late last night trying to work on a pitch for another project which is a million miles away from Brass, and has to be finished by Sunday. The whole thing is stressing me out royally. I'm trying to write the music on trains and tubes, but they're always crowded and deeply uncomfortable, even late at night, and the journeys are too short to achieve anything meaningful. The curse of the freelancer is a complete inability to relax. I'm always forced to keep one eye on the future. One eye on the next potential project.
I arrived in Hackney bright and early this morning and was cheered up considerably by an Asian shop keeper. "Have a nice Thursday!" He said, handing me my change. "You too," I said. "Let's start the party!" He said. What a lovely man.
Hackney Central is a funny old place, which reminds me enormously of New York, especially in all this hot humid weather. There are date palm trees in the town hall square and everyone lazes on the grass underneath.
The area has a very large black community, which makes a refreshing change from the waspish hinterlands of Highgate. There are many, many nutters hanging about outside the theatre, however, all of whom seem to gravitate towards Hannah. We ate sandwiches sitting on the steps of the town hall and one bloke started shouting at us, telling us, I think, that talking was banned on the town hall steps. All very strange.
We were teching all day today. Or should that be tech'ing? I have a similar dilemma with the word micing (mic'ing? miking?) We made a slow start, but the pace increased throughout the day, taking us from a state of all-out panic to somewhere which felt really quite calm by tea time. By the end of the day we were about half way through act two, so we may even manage a dress rehearsal, which would give us all a lift. It's very odd to think that, by this time tomorrow, our first performance will be done. As Hannah said today, "it's so weird to do all this work on something whilst knowing it'll be done and dusted by Sunday." That's theatre for you! It's one of the reasons why I've always slightly preferred working in recorded media.
Today's star performer was Robin, whom I couldn't take my eyes off in the dance numbers. The commitment and energy he was putting into every move was quite extraordinary.
That said, everyone was brilliant. Callum, bless him, went home last night to attend his Grannie's funeral in Wales, and was back for 4pm today. Now that's commitment! ATech'ing a uniform show on the hottest day of the year is the most insane thing one could ever expect to do. I feel very sorry for Anne-Marie and Claudia in the costume department who will literally be rinsing the sweat out of the shirts.
I was quite enjoying peering into the orchestra pit today to see our insanely large orchestra doing their über talented thing under the more-than-capable baton of Alex Aitken. As you might imagine in a show called Brass, there's a lot of metal glinting down there in the pit. Eight players sit surrounded by a sea of brass instruments. They're doubling, tripling, quadrupling. Trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, tenor horns, French horns, trombones, bass trombones, euphoniums, tubas... I asked for a total count-up of individuals instruments and we stopped at 20!
We have a company mascot. He's a Minion. His name is Melvyn. He lives on the conductor's stand. Sometimes he jumps around in the auditorium.
My train home smelt of Frankincense. Bit weird, I thought. But everything's weird in Hackney!