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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Hannover diary

Sorry about the delay in posting - I've been having trouble connecting to blogger with my wireless connection here.. Anyway...

Tuesday 4th September

There are generally two kinds of rehearsals. Those where you're working continuously and there just aren't enough hours in the day to do all that needs doing, yet somehow all turns out ok on the night. Or those where you spend all the time sitting around doing nothing, getting bored, cranky and slightly worried about when you're actually going to get a chance to look out from the stage and see how things feel. Here at the Hannover GOP variety theatre, we're currently on day two of the latter. Our call was 10am yesterday and, apart from meeting the other artists and having breakfast, we've been called upon to do nothing at all in preparation for the show that will premiere tomorrow night. I'm not as worried as you might think. Sure, it'll be nice to get some time to cue some fun lighting effects and stuff, but the bottom line is that we could do our act in half an hour if needed, so we'll leave the long, fraught, argument-laded rehearsals to some of the other acts and chill out.

I bought a bike today. Me and Dave went up to a big Bike shop and I bought my first brand new bike since the blue Raleigh Arena I had when I was in school. It's all black and has a very high seat. It is, the salesman assured me, good for street riding and fast. Fast is good. I also bought a gadget that attaches to the handlebars and tells me how far and fast I'm going, and I bought a small pink plastic model plane that also attaches to the handlebars and lets me quickly find which bike is mine in a muddle of parked bikes. I unrelated news, I am 38.

Friday 7th September

Two and a half days. That's how long it took for the novelty to wear off. Two shows. It's not as if the first night was particularly seat-of-our-pants, we are, for the most part, seasoned professionals, so we just got on with it and it all seemed to work fine. Except for the way to complex and under-rehearsed curtain calls at the end, which started fine before disintegrating into a slightly confused shuffle off stage. Our act did well, garnering a nice big cheer when we came out for our final bow - always a good sign.

I went shopping before the show yesterday with the intention of getting some nice things to - as I believe the kinds are saying - pimp out my room. After an hour or so walking up and down one of the main shopping streets I returned with some instant mash potato and a bottle of Jim Beam. Not exactly what I had planned to get, but useful nonetheless.

We were slightly worried that our spot in the show is too long, which is certainly is. It would be hard to cut stuff to make it shorter as it's already been on quite the diet. In it's street theatre days it would run anywhere from 45 minutes to a full hour, and has since been slimmed down to 20-25 minutes. Any more cutting and it would start to lose what passes for a narrative. Luckily the director seems to agree with us, saying "It's too long, but it's funny, so it's fine", which is heartening.

After the first night, we were invited to a nice group meal, during which they served, as a dessert, yoghurt flavoured with basil. This only sounds nice if you don;t actually have to eat it. It was several kinds of wrong.

My onboard bike computer (which I am, of course, calling K.I.T.T.) is telling me that I have so far cycled a total distance of 16.102 km, and ridden for a total time of 55 minutes 38 seconds. Oh, and that I am currently travelling at a speed of 0 km/h, as it is sitting on my desk. Nice to know these things.


I'm in my dressing room in between shows - tonight we do a normal evening show and then a special late night performance. In between shows, the stagehands Roman and Toofan, who are both brilliant and fun, bring us all soup in a big silver pot. There's a restaurant attached to the theatre, so the soup is quite spectacularly good and we all dig in, and then there it is: The first little glimmer of group bonding. All of us, holding little white ceramic bowls of soup, dipping in bread and going, in all our different languages, "Mmmm".

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