Monday, June 18, 2007

Trials on the way to perfection, we hope...

Well, it wasn't easy turning people down after our auditions for The Processing Room. Not only was the standard so high, but as sometimes happens we had to make choices on other criteria as well: for reasons of plot which I won't divulge here, we had to find actors who fitted together in terms of physical appearance, quality of voice and overall energy - not an easy task, and there were people we were really sorry and very reluctant to pass over, but we did it in the end and have four perfect actors (see post below).

After the actual auditions, Mary-Ann and I, worn out once again, went and collapsed at an outdoor table at the The Old Pint Pot just across from Salford University Adelphi Building, where we'd held the auditions. It's a lovely spot, overlooking the river, and the sun came out and all the gnats were fizzing in the air above it and the ducks were making gleaming slipstreams, and I suddenly relaxed and realized how anxious I had been about getting this company together in time. People management, I'm not used to it nowadays, and though I look forward to it as a change, it's always a shock to be dependent on others and on outside contingencies when you've been so much in control of your world at your desk, the world of words. A glass of wine, that's what we wanted, but only the house wine, which we didn't much like, came in glasses, so guess what, we ordered a bottle. Good job that a truly charming guy on a nearby table overheard our conversation and introduced himself as a teacher of movement, and ended up joining us and helping out with the booze...

Not that that was the end of the panics. Tomorrow is 24:7's Press Launch. We decided to get our flyers ready for the event, and Ian Currie, Production Manager at Salford University (where our director Tracy Gentles teaches), very generously agreed to design them for us. Last Wednesday was the final day for getting the file to the printer, and on Tuesday afternoon Tracy emailed it to me to approve and send on to them.

I rang her quickly: 'Tracy, for some reason, Ian got the wrong logo!'
'No problem, I'll get Ian to change it when I get back to the university.'
Half-five she rings me back. 'Ian's gone home I'm afraid, but don't worry, I'll do it myself.'
An hour later, she rings me again. 'I'm locked out of the computer room, and I can't find anyone who's got a key. I can't do it in the morning because I'm on a plane at 5.00 am.'
'OK, if it's just a matter of dropping the logo in, I can do it.'
I try to load the file into Photoshop. It won't open. The only way I can have a file to send to the printer tomorrow morning will be to rebuild it from scratch.

8.00 on Tuesday evening I sit down at my computer and teach myself to use Photoshop properly for the first time ever. Is this only way to learn software, I wonder? I have sat at the computer for hours in the past unable to fathom how layers work in Photoshop, but on Wednesday evening I had no choice but to find out quick-sharp. Well, I got the file to printer the next morning just in time, but I'd been wound so high I hadn't managed to sleep that night...

Next, the meeting with the technician for all the companies whose plays will be performed in our venue, Pure Blue. Hmm. 'I hate these kinds of things,' the normally equable Tracy tells me. Why? I soon find out. As soon as Mary-Ann and I saw the Blue Room at Pure, the night of the Big Gathering, we knew it was the one for our play: it is draped all around with white voile curtains which, for reasons I won't divulge again, makes it perfect. Well, I walked in with Tracy last Friday and realized straight away what I hadn't noticed before, that one of the walls isn't in fact so draped, but is faced with white slatted boards. And the other companies were agreeing eagerly with the technician that the plays should be done end-on to this wall.

Me: Any chance that we could do them the other way on?
Writer/producer of one of the other companies: No! We chose this room specifically for those slats.
Me: Well, actually, we chose the room specifically for the drapes...

We came to a compromise. We will have to suffer the slatted wall, but the technician will cover it with a different sort of drape.
Tracy to me: See what I mean about hating this kind of thing?

Press Launch tomorrow, and thirteen companies, including us, are presenting trailers of their plays. Tracy has made a film for ours, and I can't wait to see to it...

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