All work or no play

I’ve mentioned that I’m directing a play – Quartet. It’s a lovely play, and I’ve got a great cast, but sometimes it seems more like work. I’ve been waking up at 5 am and worrying about it.

On Monday, after writing up the young writers’ session, I spent the afternoon with one of the cast, helping her to learn her lines. I went straight from her house to a production meeting, arranged mostly to make sure that one member of the production team was definitely committed to doing what she had said she would do. She didn’t turn up. She was very apologetic when I phoned, but she realised that she is letting us down, and resigned. I wasn’t surprised; some people are very good at volunteering but then find that it’s all a bit too much. At least we know early enough to find other people to do her jobs. The flyers for the play have all been printed now, and will go out with the Roses Theatre brochure mailout – all 7500 of them. We really need to sell some tickets!

But I also checked and corrected the monthly newsletter that I help with, and did some gardening.

On Tuesday I was working at the hospital, which was ok, and I had a swim, and did some prep for my GP surgery group, and updated the Poetry on Loan website and proofread a leaflet that PoL is about to produce; still not quite right but looking lovely. In the evening we went to see Blue ruin. I thought this was very good, with an unusual anti-hero, but The Bloke was tempted to walk out because he disliked it so much. It’s rare for us to disagree so strongly.

On Wednesday I had more PoL stuff to do – paying invoices, which I rather enjoy; it’s nice to send cheques to poets. I had some long phone calls and did a bit more gardening before running the GP groups, which went really well. And more gardening, and emails and emails and emails and ironing – and the iron stopped working. Well, actually it stopped everything – it flipped the main trip switch, and I had to fumble around for a torch. I’ve had the iron for a number of years so I can’t really complain about its passing away.

I had to spend a bit of time on Thursday looking at irons online to decide which new one to get – I can’t be without an iron for very long. I know people who never iron anything, but personally I think clothes feel nicer if they’ve been ironed – and besides, doing the ironing gives me an excuse to watch TV for a while. And then I spent a long time sending out Poetry on Loan invoices; every library authority pays a subscription once a year, and I have to take great care to get each invoice absolutely right. It’s tedious but has to be done; and now it has been. Hooray! I did quite a lot of tidying – essential every now and then for my psychological welfare – and in the evening we went to see another film, because it clearly wasn’t going to be on this week – Two faces of January. This was set in Greece, so I enjoyed the scenery, and it was very well done.

Friday was busy! I did my accounts, and did some stuff for the play and for PoL, and prepared for tonight’s rehearsal, and sent some emails for the events I will be managing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival, and went to the bank and to the library, and took some stuff to the charity shop, and went to a bodywork shop to get a quote for paintwork that is needed on my car. The quote was exactly the figure I had expected, so I’ll be going ahead with that when I can find a 4-day period to be without the car. I did the prep for the GP surgery group, and some gardening. Please don’t think that I am a keen gardener; I do it because I have to, and the whole thing is looking like a jungle. Grrr.

I bought a new iron, and added some pages to the PoL website to publicise our poetry competition. Please look: poetryonloan.org.uk. The competition opens on June 10th, and is open (free of charge) to everyone who lives or works in the West Midlands. Of course there was a stack of emails to deal with, and in the evening I took the new iron for a test drive. It was all very smooth – as you’d expect, really, from an iron.

On Saturday I spent a bit of time chasing up props for the play, and rethinking the ending, and in the afternoon had a very successful shopping trip where I bought all I needed and spent only £1-99. And then, having woken at 5 am almost every morning worrying about the play, I slept for 12 hours.

Sunday was a lazy day, with just a bit of gardening, and today, just for a change, I helped The Bloke with his garden.

This evening we’ve had another rehearsal, and I had to speak firmly about learning lines. They are all ok with some bits, and some are ok with all of it, but a couple of them need to work really hard on their lines, and they know it. The only way to make a play look as if it’s easy to do is by working hard on it. But then, that goes for most things, really.

No blog next week, unless I get time to do it on Saturday, but I’ll be back the week after – and my actors had better know their parts by then.

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