I’m into my third day of reinstalling, downloading and uploading three of my websites, with all the attendant frustration that involves.  Fortunately, this one seems to be working again, after many messages and advice flowing from my service provider. The friendly peeps at IXWebhosting deserve a big pat on the back for their patience, and the speed with which they respond to my pleas for assistance. This is in sharp contrast to WordPress.Org who do not have a help department, and whose Forums are so chock-a-block with complaints about the new 3.1 upgrade that it is hard to get a word in edgewise. Ok, enough whinging. Just wanted to let you know I’m back. Oh, and if you have subscribed to this blog lately, and not received a response from me, that is because WordPress has not passed on the information.  I’m checking it out now. Take care – it’s dangerous out there – and in here.

Massive Attack of Playfulness

When was the last time you played, like a child, a real game of pretend?  I have fond memories of playing in the back yard of the block of flats in Townsville we lived in when I was 7, my cousin Lloyd and I, re-enacting in great detail whatever movie we had just seen at the Saturday morning showings. If it was a Hopalong Cassidy film, he would be Hopalong, riding manfully around on a broom handle, while I would be Gabby Hayes, supporting and subverting his exploits in equal measure.  Our dialogue would be remembered snatches from the movie, liberally interspersed with “You must do this” and “You must do that” as we each unconsciously, and unselfconsciously directed each other.

Yesterday I was fortunate to see one of the shows at the Brisbane Powerhouse, in the WTF 2011 festival. (World Theatre Festival in case you were wondering…)  The show was “Apollo 13: Mission Control”, courtesy of New Zealand company Hackman, and for an over-age kid like me, it was heaven on earth. Actually it was out of this world, since I’m now on a roll with the cliches.

The auditorium of the Powerhouse Theatre was arranged as a replica of Mission Control, with rows of consoles complete with working switches, screens and lots of flashing lights. The audience was divided into two groups, Console and Media Gallery. Console actually got to sit at the consoles, flip the switches, play with the phones, solve some of the very real technical problems that arose and interact with the performers. We in the Media Gallery got to observe not just the action/re-enactment of the Apollo 13 crisis, but also to observe the audience/players below us.

This is a fabulous theatrical concept, and it is fabulously effectively executed by the members of Hackman. The script is sharp, beautifully paced with the dramatic events unfolding along with the improvised interactions with the audience.  I enjoyed the antics of the Mission Control members as they struggled with their personal and professional interactions, the joy and fear of the astronauts (two actors, one audience volunteer) visible on a couple of giant screens, and was totally fascinated by the audience/players and the degree to which they were prepared to engage with the game of pretend. Some immersed themselves completely, some took the micky at any opportunity, others managed the transition between playing the game and being moved by the enormity of the drama itself. It made no difference what age they were, from worldly seven year olds to star-struck parents.

A friend tells me that children nowadays are unimpressed when video of the moon landing is shown to them in school. What a shame. Of course, in 1969 the landing was filmed in black and white, it does look clunky by today’s standards. But I defy anyone to watch the lift-off of a space rocket filmed in close-up as it explodes out of its scaffold and rises majestically up in front of your face on a giant screen, and not feel your heart ascend to the heavens along with it.

I loved the whole experience, and take my hat off to the imagination and ingenuity of the Hackman team, and to Powerhouse and WTF 2011 for bringing it to Brisbane.

Biding my time

Sitting in my old (as in ex) apartment, now empty – I moved out last August, and went back to house-sitting – waiting for a student who is now 37 minutes late. I guess I’m not actually waiting any longer, just sitting.

I was supposed to have 2 students this morning. One sent me a message to cancel with 1 hour’s notice, the other just hasn’t bothered at all. Such is the life of the freelance coach.  Fortunately the first one has paid in advance, and has therefore forfeited his fee for today’s session. The other was a newbie, and they often don’t bother turning up, or letting me know that they have changed their minds. That’s why I get people to pay in advance once they do start with me. It’s the only way.

I’ve been staying with my friend Kris for the past couple of weeks. She hasn’t sold the house yet, but she has bought into her new place, and the big move happened on Friday.  It was relatively stress-free. Mini-movers did a great job, and we had the bonus of a gorgeous big hunk of a gay singing removalist as well.

It wasn’t quite pain free. My back is not up to much these days, lifting the odd box – no matter how carefully – results in a couple of sleepless nights. But it’s all better now.

So, I’ll just sit here for a little while longer, sharing my adventures with you, before I head off for an audition for a short film, followed by a show at the Powerhouse. Hope I get a park…

I think it’s going to rain. Actually, I do believe it is raining already. Lot of it about.

So, what’s new? Well, the thesis still isn’t happening for me. Meeting up with Joanne (my supervisor) this week, so I’m pretty sure something will happen between now and then. In between my online rehearsals with the Phoenix crew, and moving out of Kris’s place and into another very kind friend’s place for another couple of weeks, and preparing for the big trip next month.

I’m pretty darned excited, I can tell you. Next time, I’ll give you my itinerary.