Author Archives: sarahgracelogan

About sarahgracelogan

Sarah Grace is an itinerant scribbler and general layabout. She runs a writing group called CAKE.shortandsweet, because any form of procrastination from actual writing is always attractive to the serious author of refined taste. When not distracted by laser pens, Sarah Grace writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, poetry, stage scripts and screenplays. She has performed her work at Stirred Poetry, Bad Language and Tongue in Cheek Manchester. Her first publication, Humping the Boonies is a self-published chapbook available directly from the author, or from Travelling Man, Manchester. You can find more details about her ongoing projects, not to mention a selection of free stories up for grabs right here on her blog. https://sarahgracelogan.wordpress.com/about/ She also likes to talk about theatre, film, books, photography, and especially games and other things that involve collaborative storytelling. Sarah Grace likes feedback, in whatever form it comes.

A Lot of it About : It’s Tracy Day!

aloia-rehearsals-compilation-katy

We have been at this for a couple of days now and naturally, there’s a need and want to dig deeper into our characters, which is just ace. One of my favourite things in a rehearsal room are what I deem “The Big Questions”, i.e. the things that everyone wants to ask, but have been a bit too scared or nervous to fully explore yet.

Today’s rehearsal started off with a discussion surrounding the phrase “roll my own” and what that might mean within the context of what Ben and Ann are saying to each other. There was a moment when everyone attempted to be delicate, however, half way through Tracy (who joined us today for the first time in a rehearsal room due to the ongoing availability saga) confidently stated that it could be about “masturbation”. And that in essence is just one of the great things about this group of people. There’s no buffer zone or awkwardness surrounding these often quite difficult topics, instead it’s just said like it is and everyone accepts it.

It’s been a bit of a funny day really. A lot of waiting around for people to be ready, but no one’s at fault really. More of a problem with everyone being busy, but I feel this will be an on going problem. For now, while we’re waiting, it gives me some time to sit at a computer and type out my inner most ramblings.

Katy

To see the tour dates and book tickets for Broken and A Lot of it About, visit our website.

A Lot of it About : Crystal Balls

aloia-rehearsals-compilation-katy

Not meaning this in a pretentious way, or anything, but today I wanted to write something in the moment directly from a rehearsal room. I know that rehearsal rooms are often regarded as “safe spaces” and that anything can be said without fear of it making it out of the room, however, having checked with everyone, I felt it was best to capture how the first day went.

This afternoon, as we’re working in chronological order, Alex has mainly been working on scenes involving the menfolk-Brian, Mike and John. It’s been interesting watching them all work together. The feeling in the room is quite odd, in that it veers wildly from being extremely serious to these moments of lightness in which all the tension is relieved, which usually takes the form of shouting “Lad!” or “Banter!” after something particularly euphemistic, or in some cases, explicitly obvious. John has this amazing habit of making extremely funny comments which he thinks no one has heard, but I often catch them when I’m eavesdropping in their character discussion.

First day of rehearsals can often be quite tentative and actors quite reticent as everyone finds their feet and figures each other out, however, in this process we have no choice but to get straight down and dirty (ooh matron) with it for a number of reasons.  One very practical reason being the time constraints we have, due to availability (a recurring theme I feel developing).

Another key part of this is the subject matter of the play. It’s so extreme at times that it means there can be no inhibitions in the room. From the get go, Mike and John were thrown in at the deep end starting with an awkward post coital scene (I hope that’s not giving too much away). Luckily, they know each other already, so there weren’t any personal inhibitions to get over, but I thought it may be awkward for them because of their friendship. However, everyone seems to be “giving” so much that this hasn’t even shown in the slightest. Watching how at ease they can be with such a sensitive issue makes me admire these guys even more. I’m not too sure that I would be as comfortable as that, so despite them being pretty much the same age as me, I’m learning from them, which is ace.

In addition we kind of have a bit of a competition going as to who can make the most profound statement of analysis. Earlier, Alex used the word “dichotomy” and we all thought that was the winner but then Brian came out with this piece of rehearsal room gold:

“He uses the crutch, but he doesn’t need the crutch. It’s a physical manifestation of his problems. He’s like a little bird, with a broken wing who’s too scared to fly… And that, is why he is an ornithologist”

As I said. Profound.

John is losing. As he likened Ben to John Watson from Stephen Moffat’s Sherlock, and also said the walking stick needed a crystal ball on it. He’s been told to buck his ideas up if he doesn’t want to go to the bottom of the class.

Katy

 

To see the tour dates and book tickets for Broken and A Lot of it About, visit our website.

A Lot of it About : Embrace the Chaos (Read Through)

aloia-rehearsals-compilation-katy

Finally, after weeks of waiting, and chatting on Facebook and tweeting about how excited we all were to be working with each other, the assembled cast of A Lot of It About are ready for a read through. Kind of. Unfortunately, Tracey Gabbitas (our Ann) couldn’t make it to the read through, however, that didn’t stop the rest of us getting this thing going, and although she was missed, we had to press on, in order to stay on some form of schedule.

It’s been a long old slog getting us to this point, due to issues with there not being the right people around for roles and availability of actors but finally we’re here

MONDAY
5.45pm
We’d had our instructions to go to the Adelphi building at Salford Uni and meet up with everyone. Alex Shepley (our illustrious leader/director) and I are friends from way back when and live literally just up the road from each other, and so are travelling in together. It’s a good job we’ve given ourselves a bit of extra time as obviously there’s just heaps of rush hour traffic and the Sat Nav is being rubbish and to top it all off it’s snowing (or at least that’s what Facebook and Twitter said).

6.20pm
We make it through the arctic tundra and massive snow drifts (only just mind…) and see the looming Adelphi in front of us. Right on cue, like something out of a well-choreographed film, we bump into Michael Whittaker (Younger Ben). Luckily, he seems to know where he’s going.

6.30pm
After a bit of a talking to from the Security Man about the guy being out of there before 9 and trying to make our way through the labrinyth that is the performance centre, we arrived at the room. We set out tables, but unfortunately a lot of people were running late because public transport had shut down in panic mode… Y’know… Because of all that snow. In some ways, it was kind of cool to have a bit of time to chat with Michael and John Clarke (Kev), who had by now turned up with tales of getting lost on some dodgy estate in Salford.

7.00pm
… Still waiting and chatting, but the wonderful Dan Thackery (producer), like a knight in shining hot beverage-y armour, bought me a hot chocolate. I think it was to shut me up more than anything, but still it was much appreciated

7.15pm
Hannah managed to make it through the blizzards, and was immediately bombarded with stuff without even a moment to defrost.

7.30ish
Brian (Ben) and Sanjay (Marek) fight their way through the panda-snow-nium and we get going. It’s amazing to hear it out loud and get a proper feel for the play. It’s so funny and light hearted where it needs to be, and moving and quite harrowing in other places. I know that’s vague, but often it’s difficult to get the levels right when dealing with such a serious subject matter, but the humour is pitched in such a good place.

9.00pm
The read through ends and we all leave, feeling ready for tomorrow’s first rehearsal. Alex has already made it clear that this rehearsal schedule will be difficult because of everyone’s availability. Already, it’s taken the A Lot of It About crew a little bit longer to get together than our Broken counterparts, but looking at Alex’s little computer it’s easy to see why. I know that actors often have a reputation of not really doing very much, but this group of people seem to be some of the most hardworking people in the industry. Everyone has projects, and other little jobs, and rehearsals and whilst it might be an inconvenience for us, it’s brilliant to hear of people’s successes outside of this play.

9.30pm
Home and bed time.

Overall, really, there’s been a bit of a chaotic feel to this evening, but that is in no way a criticism. I love the laidback and fun attitude there is surrounding this. It’s unregimented and fluid and that is liberating is so many ways. Often I’ve said that I’m not really sure how “The Fringe” as an entity functions, but I feel this is a prime example of how and why it works; it’s just a group of lovely people pulling together to put on a great piece of theatre for audiences and actors to enjoy simultaneously.

Katy

 

To see the tour dates and book tickets for Broken and A Lot of it About, visit our website.