Sunday, 29 June 2008

The season is over

Our development week in Hradec has come to and end. There is a fantastic story of Nils wandering around Hotel Garni(sh) in his '70s underwear, but i'd be doing his story injustice by just writing it down. For full effect, it needs his facial expression and sense of timing. So you'll have to ask him to tell you the story himself.

Here are some of the things we did:

There was some swimming in the lake, followed by an enormous downpour.

There was playing football in the park...

There were some games...

Some puppetry...

Some rehearsing...

And some drinking...

And some eating...

And some more rehearsing...

And some chocolate fondue...

And more rehearsing...

And a performance.

And now we're all home or on our way back home from Hradec for a well-deserved 5 week holiday.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Development week in Hradec

It's very hot in Hradec. It usually is when we're here.
So my brain is slowly reaching meltdown.
Which means the reports on Hradec will be mainly visual.

This little girl was looking through the window all of Monday afternoon. She's the daughter of the people who run the bar next to the space. Other than that, we don't know anything about her.

On Tuesday afternoon the little girl made it into the space. And watched.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Off to Hradec Kralove

Our show in Linz went very well, there were lots of people there and they all looked like they enjoyed it, so we packed up last night and drove to Prague.
This wasn't part of our original plan (we were supposed to drive straight from Linz to Hradec today), but it is so hot we decided it would be better to drive the bulk of the way in the evening. So apologies to the people we didn't say goodbye to.

Right now we are repacking vans in Prague and will be off soon to meet up with a lot of NIE and non-NIE people to do Instant Epic in Hradec Kralove.
Everyone is travelling: David, Tom, Bara, Nikita, Aude, Katchenka, Anna S, Lenka, Nils Petter, David C, Jerry, Jill, Elisabet, Unai, Alex, Bob, Kjell, Iva, little Anna, Sasha, Cat and I.
Later this week we will be joined for a few days by Kate and Honza (who will start touring with us as a technician this autumn).

On Thursday morning we will play the Song, on Friday and Saturday evening we will play Instant Epic. In the meanwhile we will just play.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Schäxpir Festival

Our first show in the Schäxpir Festival was in Wels, about 20 minutes from Linz. The theatre we played in was inside the hotel we were staying in, which was quite strange.
It was a huge old theatre inside a huge old hotel.

This was my room.

The show in Wels was our first performance in German. Here Nils is going through the German text with Iva and Florian (the man from Schäxpir who welcomed us and took care of us in Wels).

After the show we packed up and drove to Linz, where we had just enough time to check in and have lunch, and then we were off to the Landestheater where we had a half hour slot to rehearse the 10 minute excerpt from the show we would perform during the festival opening.
We had to think a little bit about how to do it in a standard theatre set-up (because in this show the audience normally sits on the stage), ran it, and went for a wander across the town square of Linz.
The opening was very nice, there were bits of a variety of shows, but because the festival runs until the end of next week, most of it was from shows that are on now.

After the opening there was dinner in the festival centre and a party. Linz is lovely.

Today we have a day off and tomorrow we play a public show at 3pm, and then it's off to Hradec Kralove for the last festival before our summer break.

PS: in the meanwhile, an other part of the company is in Peterborough, but as I'm not there myself, I don't know how they're doing up there.

Driving to Linz

On Wednesday I drove from Berlin to Linz. It was a 7 hour trip, and this time I took my FM transmitter to listen to music I chose, because in all honesty, German radio is just not suitable for long-distance driving.
There are a few things I've decided during all of the driving I've been doing over the last two weeks.
1. there should be a way to make a GPS more personal. When it tells me to turn in 476km, I'd rather it said 'Just drive'.
2. on driving from Recklinghausen to Berlin on the A2, a road I've travelled many times already, I noticed for the first time there is a statue marking the former border between the BRD and the DDR.
3. on leaving Berlin on the way to Linz, I drive past my favourite part of the Berlin ring road: it has a very old, quite big rusty seating rake alongside the motorway. I guess it was used many years ago for people to watch big parades into the city. Or maybe not.
4. I think I am slowly becoming the love-child of the Deutsche Autobahn and the Norsk Bomstasjon.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The End of Everything Ruhrfest

Last night was our last night at the Ruhrfestspiele. They're still going today, but because there's a big concert in the park where the tent is, and it starts when we would have started, we left early.
So they had the last night party last night.
Or rather: it seemed like one of those secret parties where you need the right password. Our stage manager invited us (that was the password), to join the technician's barbecue after the show.

So we played (a very nice show), packed up (into our shiny new flightcases), and found our way into the basement of the huge building that is the Festival Theatre. The party was in the green room of the technical crew, and all technicians were there, as well as the people who had performed in and around the theatre.
Frank, our stage manager, was very keen on getting some live music going, so he got one of their gang to start, and in no time David, Nils, Tom and two of the Australians joined in.
It was a great party, and a great finish to a festival we'd never been to.

Friday, 13 June 2008


So we've been in Recklinghausen since Monday night and have played three shows so far. It's a long festival (6 weeks) and this is the last week of it.
We play in a tent, and it's a very advanced tent. When we arrived, it was still very sunny and hot, so in between shows they open the remote control roof to let the hot air out and cool down the tent.
Last night it was very cold, but when I walked into the tent after the show before us finished, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tent is heated.

This is our dressing room tent. We share it with the other two companies that play in the same tent. So far we've only met the company that is on at 5pm (we're on at 9pm). They're called The Suitcase Royale and are Australian.
The company that is on at 7pm seems invisible. After their show we never see them come out of the tent, and when I was there before the start of their show, I didn't see them either. They're a Swiss dance company.

We've been getting small but very appreciative audiences, and Nils is being a very good uncle, so all is going very well.
Tonight we pack up again and go home for the weekend. Yesterday I went to a small town close to Hannover to pick up 4 flightcases for our sets. It means we will get rid of some of the most battered suitcases we've been travelling with for years and move on to a next level of packing.

Next week we will be in Linz with Song of The Lost Treasures.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Leaving Hanko

Today we rehearsed Nils Petter into EEE (The End of Everything Ever). He will take over from Kjell in Recklinghausen - which is where we're going next.

At 3pm we had to pack up because I had to go to Helsinki to start my journey back to Germany. I am writing this from the ferry.

All I can see is water and the sunset, which certainly has something.

I'm still trying to decide whether it's calming or slightly scary. I'll be on this boat for 24 hours (but they call it superfast, so I guess it must be quite a fast way to get from Helsinki to Rostock). I'm in the bar and a guy is playing the guitar to a mainly Russian audience. In the other bar a mainly drunk Russian audience has just finished watching the football on a far too small tv screen. Ferries are a bit like a different microcosm. It's very unique and if you've ever been on one, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Tomorrow night I will arrive in Rostock and drive home to sleep in my own bed. On Monday morning I will get new tires for the car. It deserves them.

Being in Hanko

From Helsinki, I drove to Hanko, which was about two hours away. This is what it looked like on the GPS: the edge of the world...

I'd be the first one to arrive, as the others were all flying in the afternoon. When I got there, our technician Jan (Honza) was waiting for me. He said that everyone had been waiting for me to arrive, and they all wanted to make sure I'd had a good trip, had everything I needed, got a chance to look at the space, and so on and so forth. It was a very warm welcome. Two people were there to look after us specifically, and they were both Czech: Honza and Jitka.

While we waited for a rehearsal to finish, Jitka took me to the hotel, and I had a chance to look at Hanko. It's a tiny town, but it's very very beautiful. By the sea, with big wooden houses all along the beach. You could see the sea from the theatre. And the weather was still fantastic. What more could one want?

Checked in, back at the theatre they were ready for us. I talked Honza through everything we needed and then it was time for lunch. This was my view:

Everyone else arrived in the evening, and they all came over to unpack and I did some more technical work before we ended the evening with a drink.

The next day was a big one: two different shows with a few hours in between. Iva managed to find a beautiful new pisspot (the old one broke because the wardrobe with everyone inside it fell on top of it) and I sprayed over the new metal bits that have been used to reinforce the wardrobe. This is our old friend sunbathing:

The shows went very well and we had an incredibly warm audience for both of them. It made it even nicer to be in Hanko.

Going to Hanko

There have been no posts for a while due to us being in places where there is no world wide internet. Which can be a good thing sometimes.

So. In order to fill you in, this is what we did this week:

On Monday, me and Anna S flew to Norway to rehearse SOLT in German. Auf Deutsch.
When we arrived at Kjell and Iva's house, there was fish soup, and a lovely evening of catching up under the everlasting Norwegian summer light. And then we packed.

On Tuesday we spent all day (and it was a beautiful one) inside Asker Kulturhus and spoke German. On Wednesday Nils, Anna and Lenka rehearsed some more while I set off at the crack of dawn (not literally because the nights are white so there isn't really a dawn or dusk) to drive to Stockholm.
After about 7 hours I reached Stockholm harbour.

And this is my boat, the Mariella. It took me to Helsinki.

There was a great man who was in charge of getting the cars onto the boat, and he did it in an almost choreographed way. I had a little chat with him, in a mix of languages neither of us really spoke all that well, but it kind of functioned. You often meet very nice people while travelling. Some of them you meet again somewhere else, some of them you never meet again. But I wouldn't prefer one over the other.

Monday, 2 June 2008

We're on the road again

I'm off to Schönefeld airport to catch a flight to Oslo, where we will rehearse The Song of Lost Treasures (SOLT) before taking it to Finland. We haven't played this show in a while, and it is relatively new, so we will refresh it a bit before we take it on tour.
In the meanwhile, Anna S (not Anna H who was in NY with us) is on her way from Prague (i think), and we will meet up with Kjell, Nils Petter and Lenka (who all live in or near Oslo).

I will only spend one day with them, as I'm driving/ferrying some sets to Finland so I need to leave earlier.
We will also play The End of Everything Ever in Finland (EEE), and you'll all be happy to now we had our wardrobe reinforced after it crashed to the floor on our last tour.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this: