Making Good Friday (the theatre piece) Blog 1.

To quickly get everyone up to speed: I was recently awarded a Grants For The Arts from Arts Council England to turn Good Friday into a theatre piece with musicians, lights, props and all the other gubbins. Lucky me eh?

In these blogs I will talk about the creative process as it occurs. A warts and all account of making art right from the Art Factory floor! I hope it will be lovely but I’m sure I will have my moments. I’m so new to making something like this happen ON MY OWN that I’m sure there will be lessons learnt on the way.

Which brings me rather neatly to putting together the first sharing of the work (of which there will be three. One at Embrace then Lincoln Drill Hall and and finally Curve): Parkin Presents. As I shall only be working with the musicians this week (first rehearsal was yesterday! Woop woop) I realised we will only be wanting to “share” a few of the songs we have been working on rather than do the whole show. So I came up with the rather neat idea of creating a gig in which we can do that where other musicians will play too. My vision was of an intimate night where local song smiths will play the beautiful piano they have at Embrace rather than play the ubiquitous guitar. Pretty simple eh?

All I would have to do is organise some musicians right?

Now, no disrespect to my line-up, this doesn’t really apply to them but when I said I had to organise musicians a metaphor that kept coming back to me was “herding cats”. And my word, funny and true … so so true.

One musician (who’s not playing) double booked himself, another lost his phone, suddenly ones got problem’s because he has a birthday to go to and on and on and Crikey … just turn up and play! How hard can it be?

I am, of course, exaggerating a tad and I am very happy with who I have and how they have all handled themselves but it has been such a steep learning curve for me. In my previous job (at metro-boulot-dodo) when it came to organising things: I made the tea. And now I find myself having to organise an event and people (musicians surely being a baptism of fire!). The one good thing is that Embrace like the format of Parkin Presents so it will become a regular thing.

And don’t even get me started on the posters! I made so many little mistakes that still niggle but I am desperately just trying to see them as “experience”. If we don’t cock things up we don’t learn right?

Another thing that has really struck me is that suddenly I have to do EVERYTHING! In MBD we may have had a work experience kid who would go out and put posters up but now – it’s me or … me. I did spend a day posturing ALL of Leicester so if you drink out in Leicester and you’re not sick of my smug face – I’m not happy.

And so we move on to rehearsing with the musicians. I had a paid gig (Speech Bubble poetry at Loughborough) the night before and am not an early riser generally speaking so I was a bit sleepy. So I had 3 teas and an espresso. Now, those of you who know me will know that my bladder is generally that of a 2 year old so you can imagine what this did to me. Amy and Dave (the other musicians) must have thought I was very strange and it would have been easier (at one point) if we just put the piano in the toilet. I tried to argue the positives of having a bucket in the corner of the room but Amy (who’s house we practiced in) was having none of it.

Seriously, I expected the practice to be wonderful and exciting (and it was) but wasn’t ready for how DRAINING it would be. You musicians are well hard.

It was a wonderful day with some songs just falling into place (Killing Spree with a funky bass and xylophone was a joy) and others will need more work (the double cello on Sky Enough To Cry will be devastating but it’s going to take some doing to get it right).

Amy and Dave are lovely and very patient with me because although I am sort of in charge I am still learning as a musician. The big problem I had was when we jazzed up E(a)rnest (it will be brill). I, it would seem, do not have funk in my soul. I will have to get Dave to send me an MP3 of his delightfully groovy take on the song (with bass) and just practice along on my own till either I’m a funky mother fucker or the neighbours kill me.

Oh and the final word about organising musicians. I thought I’d got it right with Dave because he is a professional but he’s TOO good. I’m loosing him for an hour or 2 tomorrow because HE’S PLAYING TO THE QUEEN!

In hindsight I thought “well, screw her! I had him first!” but at the time I just naturally deferred saying “well, she is THE QUEEN!” I guess that, no matter how progressive I appear to be, I’m a lowly serf at heart.

Next rehearsal tomorrow. Hopefully I will have some recordings to share, rather than me just droning on. I’ll keep you posted!

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