Archive for the Category »Real Life «
I don’t particularly blog much anymore, and there’s a good reason why, I just don’t have time. Every now and then I sit down and look at how much I have going on and it feels a bit mental. This is not a boasting post, it’s just letting you know how nuts it actually is.
It’s February 18. So far this year I’ve..
- Attended an open dance day with four dance classes
- Completed 21 exercises of the 30 day shred
- Seen 4 plays and 2 musicals
- 3 ballet classes
- 3 tap dance classes
- 2 acting classes
- 6 musical theatre rehearsals
- 2 English language improvement classes
- 3 private acting lessons
- 2 private singing lessons
- Had the flu
Things I’m doing before Easter
- Auditioning for a cabaret night
- Performing at a student showcase
- Rehearsals with the musical theatre company every Monday
- 3 booked singing lessons
- 2 booked private acting lessons
- 2 tap dance classes
- 5 group acting lessons
- 3 group ballet classes
- 4 spoken English group lessons
- Seeing 1 play, 2 musicals and Kristin Chenoweth
- Going to Test Bash in Brighton
- Completing the full 30 day shred programme
I know. It’s completely worth it though.
I recently had my first ever headshots taken by Simon Mayhew, which was really weird but rather nice at the same time. I haven’t posed for anyone in years and was really nervous. I think they came out pretty good!
Click on the image to view a larger version, and there are four more below.
Friday night the company moved into the theatre and rehearsed for 12 hours. Saturday we met at 11am and were there for about 12 hours again, including running two shows. And can I just say, I had the time of my life.
The above shot is from The Rhythm of Life, our showstopper number. I’m one of the hippies on the right hand side.
My part wasn’t large. And I probably didn’t make much of an impression on the people who didn’t know me. But I was there, I worked hard, I had fun and I felt so alive, so concentrated, so more me than I do on “normal” days. So obviously I now have a massive post-show slump emotionally, which I know is true for most of the company. We’re spamming each other on facebook and our group is full of messages and pictures and we have massive withdrawal symptoms. It feels a bit better knowing it’s not just me.
We have three weeks off before we do a few weeks of general technique/skills and then we audition for parts in the company’s next endeavour – a pantomime. I’ve never been in one (or seen one properly, I don’t think) but it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I already know when our Christmas show is and where they will be, which is great for a long term planner like myself. I can get all organised..
Woo! I’m loving this so much. I of course hope to get a bit more material to bite into in the next one, but I’m very happy that I had seven lines and appeared in almost half of the show. Lots of face time is always good. Since I’ve grown a lot as a dancer and actor in the last six months I’m hoping my audition goes a little better this time around, to say it was abysmal in January is such an understatement. The company is a collection of extremely talented people, and I know I’m not in the top bracket of talent at all. However, I am very determined and desperate to learn.
This last week has been frightfully busy and tiring. It’s now only five days to go until Sweet Charity and there’s a lot of last minute rehearsing and cleaning of dance numbers, sorting out costumes and trying to get people to buy tickets.
Saturday evening I had the absolute pleasure of going to the Barbican to see Lars Horntveth, Jaga Jazzist and Britten Sinfonia. I was there as a guest of my father the sound engineer and sound producer (Asle Karstad), and also had the company of his girlfriend, whose birthday it was. I will readily admit that it became a severely wine fuelled evening (jazz musicians are really good at drinking) but that was mostly post-gig, I think I had two glasses during. So what I’m about to write is not from alcohol tinted glasses.
I have seen many, many, many gigs my father have worked on. Not only that, but I’ve seen many gigs, period. This was one of my top ten most outstanding concert experiences of my life. I’d heard them before on album but never live and while I liked them, they’d never really connected with me previously, so I was expecting to have a good time but not much more than that. I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away I felt like crying happy tears afterwards. I had to go and hug my dad and go ‘whoa’ a few times. It was absolutely stunning. I loved every minute of it. When it finished, the crowd exploded and there was a spontaneous standing ovation.
Some times you go to gig and it’s a band performing a collection of songs. Then other times you are lucky enough to see music. This was music. It was glorious, beautiful, complex music, with so many layers that my musicologist theorist brain almost burst with joy. It’s one of those gigs that you go to as a performer and you’re jealous of every single person on the stage, because they’re part of something so unbelievably special, and you wish you were a part of it too. Absolutely divine, and light years above the majority of acts I’ve seen perform live. It’s not the sort of response I often have to music these days, but I have to admit I’m a bit smitten with Jaga Jazzist now.
Aftewards, there was a lot of wine. Then we all headed back to the hotel and had some more. It went past the hour of the last tubes home, so my father booked me into the hotel as well, so I didn’t have to go home but could stay and be merry with everyone else. So that’s how I ended up staying overnight at the Barbican. We also had breakfast together in the morning (it’s in fact the second time we’ve eaten here together!) which is a rare treat, and then said our goodbyes quickly as I always hate that part of it.
I’m very proud of my father and the amazing work that he does, and I love going to work with him and just hang out, soak up the atmosphere and hope some of the awesome rubs off on me. To have been there on Saturday night was exhilarating and inspiring. It also reaffirms what I’ve been feeling so strongly for the last year; I don’t want to be someone who just watches any more. I want to do my own awesome stuff. I want to feel this sort of sensation by doing, by participating, by my own creativity.
Good news! I can see pretty well now. The procedure itself was quick and painless, but it hurt quite a bit about an hour after, and for a few hours after that. I was a bit anxious before and said so to the surgeon (thanks all for letting me know that a surgeon is always a Mr!), who reassured me that everything was going to be fine, but then ruined it completely by saying that if I was too nervous in the surgery, he wouldn’t perform the procedure. That didn’t entirely put my mind at ease, and I’ve given them some feedback to this, suggesting better ways of dealing with patients like myself, who only really need reassurance. An additional element of stress, that my mental health problems could ruin this for me, was really unnecessary and made me even more nervous. But I had Mr P with me and my favourite stuffed toy (a wolf cub I’ve named Scoresby) that I clung to during the procedure. I don’t care if people thing I’m silly for bringing a toy to eye surgery when I’m 33 years old, if there’s anything I’ve learnt about my particular problem is that anything that really works for me, like clutching a soft toy when I’m anxious, is something that I will do. Within reason, of course.
The actual surgery is a bit odd. First they put you under one machine and put anaesthesia drops in your eyes, before using the machine that I seem to remember cuts the flap in your eye, one at a time. It takes less than two minutes and doesn’t hurt a bit, it’s just a bit weird. Then they slide you under the second machine and you look at a red dot. They slide something over your eye – everything goes blurry – and the laser does its business. It has a loud ticking noise and it smells a bit like burnt plastic. It lasts less than a minute per eye. Unfortunately there was a minor build-up of bubbles under my left flap, so I had to go to the post-op dark room and wait 20 minutes. During that time, I was starting to feel the effects in the completed eye, and was relieved when they gave me another round of anaesthesia drops. And that was it. I could see better than with glasses straight away, although my eyes almost glued themselves shut.
We had to wait for what felt like a really long time for a taxi, and by then it was rush hour and it took forever to get home. The trip home was very painful. I was wearing sunglasses but it didn’t seem to help enough, all I wanted was to lie down in the dark. I can’t lie, it hurt. I was very uncomfortable. But as soon as I got home and had a nap, I started feeling better. We ordered pizza and I watched Green Lantern with Mr P and my flatmate Tom, still wearing sunglasses. It hurt slightly for the rest of the evening, but nothing some ibuprofen couldn’t dull enough for me not to care about.
I got goggles to sleep in for the first week (that I’ve kept taking off in my sleep) and three different eye drops to take four times a day. There has to be five minutes between two of the drops and a full 15 minutes later for the third drops. So I ended up with a lot of foul tasting stuff in the back of my throat, which was very off putting. I went for a check-up the next morning and they were a little concerned that my eyes were a bit too dry, so I got some additional gel to use before bed and first thing in the morning, and an instruction to use the artificial tears called ‘Blink’ every hour, and come back in two days.
Let me tell you, the eye drops got tedious and annoying after day two already. I also couldn’t wash my hear normally as water in my eyes was a big No, and eye makeup was also out of the question.
On Saturday, we were out and about in town, and also caught The Thing About Men at Landor Theatre, which was a lot of fun. My earrings for the day were a lovely new set that my mother gave me:
“The only glasses you’ll wear”, said my mother, proving that my mother does have a good sense of humour.
Sunday I had another eye checkup and we did a spot of shopping. Then another visit to see Edwin Drood, this time with no incidents that involved blood all over the lead’s face. And indeed a completely different murderer! As the jubilee was in full swing by then, there weren’t many people in the audience, but the few of us that preferred the theatre to Jubilee malarkey, it was a good night out. M
On Monday, I was feeling quite tired from the constant eye drops and strain, so we took it very easy indeed. I think we went to the shopping centre and otherwise stayed home, before we went out to see Sweeney Todd. This was during the Jubilee concert and even the London Eye was dressed up for the event.
On Wednesday I shipped my mother home (I love my mother but I have to admit it was lovely to have the place to myself that evening…) and it was back to work. The first day in front of a computer after the surgery, and it went fine. My vision is a bit blurry around the edges but my astigmatism is barely noticeable and I didn’t feel I was getting very dry from working on the computer. I had been a bit nervous what it would be like to be back on a computer all day, but it’s going really well! This is awesome.
Diversion: look at this cute guinea pig! That’s last night, I was watching The Daily Show while Starbuck was snuggling in my bath robe and using my breast as a pillow – as far as he’s concerned I come with built in pillows.
Starbuck loves me.
Last night I had a one week checkup and everything seems to be healing at the correct rate. I have been released from the tough regiment of having to drip my eyes four times a day with three different drops. I can now stick to dripping ‘Blink’ into my eyes when needed, and use eye gel morning and before bed. Makeup is again allowed, as is exercise. Swimming is a big No for another three weeks. It will take a little while yet to stabilise completely, but I can already say that it was absolutely worth it. I find it odd to have to fight a decade and a half’s habit of taking out contacts at night, but all in all this will make my life a lot easier. No regrets.