Monday, May 18, 2009

My 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle' Blog

It’s about time I should blog about ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ which played to about 400 people between Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th May 2009 at The Tower Street Theatre in Belfast Metropolitan College. For me blogging is good therapy, so let the therapy session begin.

At the start most of us (including me) were disappointed about the news of a large cast of 27 people, made up of students from the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma 2nd years to create a Final Major Project production which ended up being Frank McGinness version of ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’.

The reason I think most of us were precious about the FMP is because of each of our classes. For us we have been through so much hell for a long amount of time, which finally ended in the early rehearsals for this production. It’s fair to say it feels like were survivors from an awful horror movie and that experience has made us a close group. It took time but our two groups united without too much trouble going on once scenes were finally learnt and blocked.

About the show, it features post-war arguments from rival factions of civilians; a romance of a servant girl and a soldier; cleaver uses of bamboo sticks from creating a bridge, carrying a deceased governor, making a terrifying drumbeat, forming a river that I never got exactly correct; fantastic masks that define characters personalities and some pretty nifty tunes you can’t get out of your head once you hear them.

It was an Ensemble piece and you’re given a fair amount of characters, lines and movements to create, perform and define in your opinion of Brecht’s style. At times you could grumble at the amount you were given, but it’s up to you as an actor to stand out from the crowd. It’s up to the audience to judge if myself or the rest of the cast achieve this goal who attended the four performances, but I hope we did a fantastic job.

For everyone ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ was a once in a lifetime chance to work with a huge cast. A couple of us might be lucky enough to work for The Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre or whenever the new Lyric Theatre decides to open its gates again to experience the chance of a huge cast again. Who knows if any of us will work with each other in another performance after this but as Northern Ireland is still a small industry, the chance is pretty high.

I’m proud of our cast and being a member of this production. We all have bright futures whatever paths we decide to follow and it would be an honour to work with anyone of this talented bunch. If I’m ever given the chance to make that happen one day, I know several actors you can trust with any production whether it’s theatre, film or TV. But right now it’s just a dream destined to be reality.

For the show after parties, we went to the Limelight on Thursday and the Student Union on Friday. Everyone had a good time (from what I remember) and the experience of those nights is a story in itself. Didn’t realize it was a school disco night at the Limelight but I haven’t been much of a fan since Halloween when the bouncers weren’t the nicest people in the world and got scared off.

When you think about it that’s pretty stupid to not go to a place because of people thinking their God and can do whatever they want. But the school disco was pretty fun even if I wasn’t in costume. By pretty fun what i really mean is ‘fun in dizzy town’. Keeping balance several times, forgetting who turn up later on that night and drinking plenty of water. A bit curious to see what the pictures that were took that night look like, but I regret nothing and I had a good time

We all had to take down the set, fix the curtains, paint the theatre floor, tidy up the dressing rooms, clean costumes and return props the next morning and I believe I did pretty alright with what I needed to complete. After making a bit of a complaint in town which I hope gets sorted soon, it was on to Friday night or what shall be called ‘After Party 2 – Crawling Back to the Drink’.

One thing I realize before we heading to the Student Union (was meant to be The Parlour but plans do change) is that while not mentioning names, it’s pretty well clear that the secret is out and any concerns I had about people knowing this secret about liking this person shouldn’t keep me back, but it’s still going to be tough to say it before time runs out, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

My honest thoughts about the Union are what’s the big deal about it, but I guess it’s a good night out when it's a different night of the week. It would have been great to go to The Parlour again (was there for my Birthday last year... June 5th, mark the date in your calenders) but I liked the people I was hanging out with and liked a couple of people when they weren’t so loud for a few brief moments during the night. This night did felt like the time for secrets to be confessed and I’ll admit I wish certain people could’ve made Friday Night but the night was a true experience.

We then had a nice relaxing chat at Liam’s house that lasted most of the night. The highlights of the talking were we agreed it would be a good idea to buy Michaela CD’s for her birthday and that the words ‘When You’re Gone’ goes fantastic with any song. How that lasted the whole night i have no idea as I slowly walked back home to Elms at 9am, though walking over sleeping people on the floor did felt like I was in an episode of Skins, but again a good time had by all.

It’s left me with some grown-up decisions to make. I’m a child at heart but that’s simply who I am as I’m looking into my future with wonder. As I know what I want to become and how to achieve it but the question is who I want to be there by my side.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Honesty – My 2009 New Year’s Resolution

Been thinking about the New Year arriving in about three days time and which resolution I wanted to choose. I always pick resolutions that are basic enough, that at the end of the year you feel you have managed to achieve the rule you have set yourself. In the past couple of years by resolutions have been ‘Break Out Of Your Shell’ and something similar, which in some sense I achieved.

Some people do have a habit of breaking resolutions by the first weeks of January, but I follow my pattern so whatever surprises the New Year does bring, I can face it no matter what happens. I’m different to how I was a couple of years ago after promising to myself to break out of my shell and it’s a promise I’m still working on. I don’t like being so shy or to feel trapped by my surroundings but sometimes that’s how I feel.

Which leads me to pick Honesty as a Resolution for the New Year. Recently I’ve been in a cycle of agreeing with other people when I doubt the decisions they made were correct. Then behind close doors I would regret the decision, wasting time going over what happen in my head until I’m either tired or lose interest. Plus I never say what I want to say at the right moment in person, ask what’s happening until the last minute or don’t ask questions for situations I have trouble to understand at time and then repeat the same cycle as above.

So for people who know me or know me a little bit, I’ve picked a good resolution. It’s just up to me to make this promise to myself happen. I’ve talked in previous status (now using twitter http://twitter.com/bs10064) about how certain people have made me felt invisible in a crowded room and it’s with Honesty will give me the confidence to ask ‘What’s the Problem?’ The fact that the person I come across as and the person I actually am can be two different people and you want the latter to be true.

But it’s being scared of being honest that will bother me the most, as I’m naturally a nice person. I use to speak my mind many years ago, be cruel to be kind when it was needed. Just that part of me got lost sometime ago and would like to find that part of me again. This next year it’s so important to stand up for what I want to happen and depending on which direction I take, so many things can go right and so many can go wrong. But whatever happens in 2009, being Honest is the best step to take.

I was Honest with admitting my feelings in a previous blog post, I just need to be Honest in person and God knows it’s hard for me, but it’s something that needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Interesting Facts about Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! I give you the gift of Knowledge

* The popular abbreviation 'Xmas' isn't merely popular because it's quicker to type on a mobile phone. 'X' is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ - Xristos - so the shortened spelling of Christmas has been around for hundreds of years.

* Christmas cards were introduced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Before then it was tradition to write long, detailed letters to friends and family at Christmas, but Mr Cole couldn't be bothered with all that effort. He commissioned an artist to design some cards and filled them with a short greeting, saving us all a lot of writing each year.

* Baubles were probably invented thanks to alcohol. Around 200 years ago, Bohemian glass blowers used to enjoy a cold drink in their hot factories, and when tipsy would start competing to see who could blow the biggest glass bubbles. These then evolved into Christmas decorations.

* Christmas cards were introduced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Before then it was tradition to write long, detailed letters to friends and family at Christmas, but Mr Cole couldn't be bothered with all that effort. He commissioned an artist to design some cards and filled them with a short greeting, saving us all a lot of writing each year.

* 'Silent Night' was first performed in Austria in 1818. Legend has it that the church organ in Oberndorf broke on Christmas Eve, leaving the priest - Joseph Mohr - with no music for his Christmas service. He handed the words to a poem he had written to a friend and asked that he write some guitar music to accompany it, and 'Silent Night' was born.

* Christmas trees have been popular in Germany since the 16th century but only made it over to Britain three hundred years later. Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, originally came from Germany and made a tree part of the official celebrations at Windsor Castle.

* Christmas was banned across England in 1647, when Oliver Cromwell's puritans were in charge. Pro-Christmas riots broke out across the country but the holiday wasn't officially restored until King Charles II took over 13 years later.

* The first fairy lights are said to be have appeared in 1882, when Edward H. Johnson - a friend of inventor Thomas Edison - had 80 tiny lightbulbs made especially for his home Christmas tree. Before this, people would use candles and set fire to their tinsel all the time.

* Traditional Christmas meals in England used to involve pig's heads and mustard. But when Queen Elizabeth I heard the news of the destruction of the Spanish Armada on Christmas Eve 1588, she declared that everybody in England should eat the dish she had enjoyed earlier that day - roast goose. When turkeys were introduced to Britain in the 1700s, they became a popular replacement.

* Think your Christmas Eve is stressful? Spare a thought for poor old Santa. He has less than one millisecond to deliver his presents to each household in the world - and that's if he does a 30-hour working day, allowing for the various time zones. Naturally he makes a bit of time back by skipping all the people on the naughty list.

Source: Yahoo - http://uk.christmas.yahoo.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why blogs are easy and logs are tough

There are different types of writing and when you take the ‘B’ from the latter of these two it does mess with your mind. You fall into bad habits by not setting aside time each week to get something wrote down but like always you fit everything in within a few nights without much sleep to get the work finish in time.

So you ask what is the experience of going a few nights without much sleep like? Wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who couldn’t cope with it. You are focusing on the computer screen typing down the words, trying to make sure everything makes perfect sense and hope for the best that your hard work pays off. Even know the whole point of putting in all-nighters is that you didn’t put in the hard work by just writing everything down on the day it happened.

Writing down what you’re thinking in a blog is so easy for me. It’s a way of getting out the words you find so difficult to speak in person, with the feeling of regret you are only writing it down and never allowed yourself the chance to speak it in person. You could say your blog is like a safety net. That whatever may happen, whatever words maybe spoken, you will never be hurt by the outside world.

But then where’s the fun of living a life where there’s no trouble. You need to be a little bit hurt, whether it’s physically or mentally to know life is worth living. Got one more lifeline to make sure I can be perfect with my log writing in the new year as my blog writing is already there which I’m happy about.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's My Turn to be Brave

I’m writing this about someone special to me I met three years ago, who I know will never read this or even realise I’ve wrote this to her. But it’s come to a point that I’ll never get the chance to say the goodbye I’ve always wanted to make and if I don’t I’ll never really move on.

When I first met you I was a lost soul
I wasn’t sure of my future, didn’t know where to go.
When our eyes met for the first time, I was home.
Those feelings of mine aren’t easy to control.

I felt so happy for the first time in so many years.
I thought those feelings died and just disappear.
To know you felt the same way about me fill me with joy
It’s these moments that I’ll never destroy.

Your smile, your laugh, the way you talk still fills my mind.
When I hear you singing, words can’t describe.
You must be an angel and your kindness I’ll treasure.
And these memories will live in me forever.

Our time together was too short, just far too short.
Not enough to last a lifetime got noting to report.
I wanted a happy future or a chance at tomorrow.
I hold on to tomorrow, till it led me to sorrow

It upset me a lot to realise our time was almost up.
I gave you a present, in your presence, when our times stop.
Then a loving moment, that lasted forever, I believe.
When we left I knew you were truly happy.

I’m reminded of you in the many faces I meet.
I thought it was you, than just a stranger passing on a street.
I will never forget you for as long as I live.
Please don’t forget about me, though I think you did.

My life was on a crossroads then and it’s on a crossroads now.
As a friend I’m there for you, those feelings I’ll allow.
This is my goodbye, here is my life, I can’t be afraid.
At long last this is my turn to be brave.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Now Fits Medium Size Clothing

This is good news. To try and cheer me up with the bad mood I’m having (it relates to my current status) I went to Primark and brought a nice new shirt for myself. About over two years ago, was 16 stone and now I’m about 14 and a half stone (wanting to be about 14 stone in a few months). I know it’s strange to talk about how it feels good you are losing weight by looking after your diet, walking long miles and simply eating when you are hungry.

So to go to XL down to L and from today I’m now an M size in clothes. It’s cheer me up to a degree with all the illness, worry and general public paranoia I always have wondering what certain people are thinking of me and wish they would just tell me.
I feel I really need to say something to someone that has taken along time to get the confidence to finally say it and nervous the words won’t come out right and the meaning behind the words won’t be heard and there will be no effect.

My past does haunt me in many ways that is too long to explain but I want my future to be bright and achieve what I’ve always wanted since I chose this path over eight years ago. I haven’t once regretted my decision because I’m passionate about drama.
So my story right now is it might be a brand new shirt but it’s the same old me with ghost from my past that will haunt me until the day there is no more problems.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FaceSpook



Ever fancied yourself as a secret agent? An internationally renowned spy trained to keep the country safe from evil intent?

Spooks is a popular TV series made for the BBC and at Facespook.co.uk you can join the virtual fight against crime and terrorism.

This funky site lets you star in a short clip based on the new series of Spooks, Code 9.

You will need to confirm you are over 16 and then the opening sequence will set up the storyline, placing you in the unenviable position of being the only one who can help get some vital data out of a building crawling with very bad men.

You now get the chance to upload a passport picture for your ID card and state your name.

On the following page make sure you place the points on your picture carefully as this will affect the outcome of your movie.

After a short wait the website will process your picture and have you starring in a short sequence where you make your way into the building and escape in the nick of time. The software that does this is incredible. It was really weird seeing myself wielding a gun and wearing a hoodie.

Once complete you can mail it to friends, post it on Facebook, or simply use the embedded code to post it on your own blog or website.

http://www.facespook.co.uk

Sunday, November 02, 2008

“Gemini” Extract

In the middle of writing my short story to my script for ‘Writing 4 Performance’ that I’m calling ‘Gemini’ and thought I would share a short extract from what I’ve wrote so far. This is from a scene where one of my characters has been misled by someone he put his full trust in and lets him down and writes this experience down in his diary.


Everyone has them and no one breaks them. We learn from a young age what is right and what is wrong to do in life, whatever your upbringing and you never break those rules you make for yourself. But sometimes one of those rules gets broken and you just feel angry with yourself that your common sense didn’t kick in to help you.

It maybe you can find other people confusing and really impossible to understand. Wish people could tell you the secrets on how to deal with life or what other people expect from you. You can only make first impressions once and sometimes it works out right and sometimes it doesn’t and puts your trust in good people in doubt.

But however you feel about rules you keep close to your heart being broke, it’s never too late to apologize and make things right for yourself. Deal with the fact that it happen and can never really be forgotten. And keep to your main Unwritten Rule of living for the future and never remain in the past.


Just stuff over the Halloween weekend I rather not talk and simply forget about just gave me inspiration over how I should write this character in my story. So someone good comes from not having the greatest Halloween this ye

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Forgetful, Nervous and Proud

The following is three really short stories I wrote today in Writing 4 Performance which I thought I would share with everyone and tell me what you think.

Forgetful
In a moment of complete distress he is searching for something he lost but isn’t sure were he last put it. What the item was is still is a complete mystery to him. Was it the car keys that weren’t missing yesterday, or was it his spare pair of glasses as he is so forgetful as it wouldn’t surprise him if random items suddenly went missing.

Nervous
The nerves was starting to increase to the point it was about to overtake and demand control of him. Inside he was the most joyful person in the world and is always the outgoing person who would recommend outings to different places and without too much trouble gander a crowd of people to go out with him. But at this moment he is the complete opposite to the person he is every single day. He was about to admit his feelings he kept to himself for many years since he was a teenager and knew this was the last chance, thinking it’s better late than never, than keep his secrets until the moment he is six feet under. It was time to face the music and admit to the woman facing her “I…”

Proud
Christine was a blonde hair beauty; in her eyes you can see the sparkle of the generations that come before her. She was full of confidence, very proud to be a member of the Baker family and was every bit of a Daddy’s girl. It was her first day being in charge of the family business, as her two brothers were sent away to gander the supplies for the next couple of months and her father simply wanted a day off. Since her mother pass away at the age of seven, she found it very hard as she was crying over a person she hardly knew. Her brothers’ long-term plans were to make their names overseas and she knew the business would be hers one day. So as she turned the closed sign to open in the shop window at about half nine that morning, she had a gut feeling this was going to be the first day of the rest of her life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Troubles with Housing in Belfast and Please Pray i get a room tomorrow

I never normally post a message on this thing or blog about my feelings but felt this was the right moment. It's been awhile since my last blog, since April really so this is a good time to catch up on The Life of Brian (Gotta love that awful pun which suits my name perfectly).

Well after a good part of the year travelling about the place in my gap-year (Derry, Dublin, Bangor, Barcelona and Rathdrum if you are curious where I went), I started to apply to drama schools and drama courses. With not much luck with Magee and drama schools in Scotland, Wales and London I apply to the HND Performing Arts in Belfast almost as a last chance at the acting life before I quit and did sometime else I wouldn't enjoy.

My thankfully putting my faith in God got my through the audition, treated it like it was my Swan Song (Again nice awful pun that suits my last name) and got in with an Unconditional Offer. Receive the same type of offer with Queens but decided to go with Belfast Met as in my view it’s the better course.

I guess with my grades i had nothing to worry about. But simply let the future not be decided by you and put faith in the Lord that what is meant to happen for you will happen is scary, as its the unknown but things always work out for the better this way and let again for me things came out okay.

And through bebo I found out who would be in my course, friends I’ve known from the ND Performing Arts course in Ballymoney and I’m really happy certain people at the audition got into the course too without naming names.

But my main problem and the point of this blog have been about student housing. Before i got onto the course, i apply to get a place through Shac but with trouble about a second reference when my first was perfectly okay and after spending alot on weekly train tickets i shouldn't needed to buy, the room i was shown was down right awful and a joke for the price i was expected to pay in rent and bills for the shared housing.

I won't bore you with the details but trust me it was awful. I decided to look for rooms to rent and having trouble with finding a place and the three rooms I’ve seen I didn't got because they choose someone else over me which end of the day is there decision.

But on Monday i saw a couple more places for a room to let at Uni Avenue and Stranmills Gardens with the latter being just perfect. I find out tomorrow if i could get the place at Stranmills and hope its yes but will try elsewhere for housing if its the same answer yet again which i really hope it won't be.

So do Pray, even if you're not the praying kind that the student housing finally gets sorted tomorrow as early morning starts to get to classes isn't great. I've been getting up at 5.45am to get the ten to seven train to Belfast most days of the week for the last two months and really don't want to continue the train travel that much longer given the choice.

So have pity on me and wish me luck all goes well tomorrow when i find out the news and will let it be know, good or bad, what the outcome is.

Thank You for Reading and do Pray all goes well

BRIAN