My dad, the magician blog
Clarity. Confidence. Cool Tunes. That's what I want from this show. We did a sharing today in Dan Thompson's Studio and it was great. Lizzie Prince from Flock Dance came with two children. Estelle Rosenfeld came with her lovely child. Dan brought two children.
The things I learnt are really clear. I want to be able to stand up and say with confidence exactly where we are in the story now and portray them with wit and imagination.
This has been the most knackering week.
We were rehearsing at Winter Gardens Margate which is the perfect place to make a show about 1990's magic.
This has been the week where we have had to begin to put this show together, after the first three weeks of making. Decisions need to be made. I am confident in Laura's ability to guide me through this. The next week of rehearsals starts in February. I need to find more children to perform to.
I learnt from my step-dad that if you muck up a magic trick then you should drop the trick, literally onto the floor, and move onto the next trick. This bamboozles the audience. I will make sure I try it. I hope it works.
Today, Pam Hardiman and Dan Thompson came into the room to see our progress. I performed the tricks to them. I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself. I need as much experience performing magic in front of audiences as possible. Pam nearly fell off her seat when I showed her the three rope trick. "And I was looking to see how you did it!!" she shouted. I hope the children give me that reaction too.
Laura and I are quietly concentrating on sorting out the talking bits inbetween songs. The script, I suppose you could call it. Tomorrow, I will work on songs.
Remember, if you muck up, just drop everything on the floor.
Night night, Tom xxx
Hello again. We're back. Minus Andy. He is rehearsing with Annie Siddons this week so it's just up to Laura and I to pull this show together. And we are doing that. We are writing lists of what to do. I am collating all of my songs written so far and getting a sense of where I am at. I would say I am overall about 30% ready with all the songs. I need to have an injection of songwriting tomorrow.
We are rehearsing at Winter Gardens Margate which is a perfect place to make a show about magic in 1991 because there are two pictures of magician Wayne Dobson up on the wall in the building. My Dad and I used to watch Wayne Dobson on ITV when I was younger. Good times. Wayne is looking down on me telling me that everything is going to be alright, as long as you practice your magic tricks daily.
It feels good to be back in the rehearsal room. I feel good about this show.
Night night. Tom xxx
Where do I begin? I think we have done good work. We have. We have done good work. We have made really good progress in the last couple of days. We have storyboarded the show. Written in bullet points of what I want to say at each point. Where magic tricks go to make them most relevant. Working out logistics such as how do we use a music stand to also be a platform to do magic tricks on. Are we going to use a visual aid of an Ian doll to describe his jobs? Yes, we are but how do we make it? And we have to get the idea to Amy Nicholson, the designer.
This week has been quite heavy on the producing side of making this show. I have been finalising flyer and poster design, marketing the show. I enjoy producing, but I don't like it when the producing and rehearsal room collides.
This is us for the Christmas break. We have done so well. We are at the halfway point.
Night night, Tom xxx
I hit a wall today. I made a track/song which is about holding Horace whilst all the kids stroked him. Horace and I had an understanding. At the parties, lots of excited children would get up and stroke him, sometimes too vigourously. It was my job to hold him and make sure they did not. I wrote part of this track and then showed it to Laura and Andy. They helped me shape it more. I wrote a bit more.
Then, I probably hit that wall.
Lunch happened in a cafe. We decided that we should rest this afternoon. No point in pushing on through something painful.
After lunch, I wandered around town for an hour, remembering what the real world looked like.
Came back to South Street and suddenly had a second wind for an hour. I wrote a tune about my Mum being a mother lion. I like it. It sounds a bit like Prodigy's No Good. I then solidified what will probably be the main musical motif for the show and there we go. It turned out to be a good day.
Came home and watched Back to the Future 2 with Andy and Laura.
Night night. Tom xxx
Today we audited all of the things we had for the show into some kind of inventory. All of the assets, Andy called them and put them into a show order. Wow. Love that moment. It puts all of the ideas and helps bring them to some kind of reality.
Also, I wrote a song I really like today called 'Unit'. This is about the time in my life when it was my Mum and us three brothers, before we met my step-dad, Ian.
When Ian came along, our unit changed and became a different thing. I am only figuring out now how much Ian did for us as children and for my Mum. He helped my Mum so much. My Mum was the matriarch of the family. In charge. Ian was the one who supported my Mum to do all of the things that Mum could not do.
I am really enjoying making this show.
Just wanted to say that.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Hello again. We are having a lovely time in rehearsals. I enjoy Andy and Laura's demeanour. Courteous. Opinionated. Yet, willing to give way to other's ideas until we land on the best one. We are back again at South Street Arts Centre after us three going home to our respected abodes. I went back to Margate and did a gig on Saturday night and liaised with the print designer for the flyer and poster. We are very close to signing off on that.
Today, we spent two hours deciding on the ingredients of the show and then what tools we could use to cook those ingredients.
We blasted this all on a high heat until it was nice and crispy, then ended the day by watching the Moscow Police Choir sing 'Get Lucky'. See you tomorrow.
Night night, Tom x
A scratch/sharing today at 4pm went well. This was of stuff we had not really tried before. It went well and was a different atmosphere to the last sharing at Omnibus three weeks ago. That sharing we had 40 school children. This one we had 5 children and 5 adults. It was more the example of how it will probably be in arts centres on tour. I enjoyed it. Things that worked:
Things I have learnt:
Andy and Laura are as always asking the right questions. I don't know the answers yet but it's pushing me on.
Night night. See you Monday.
I am here at South Street Arts Centre, Reading. So are Andy and Laura. However, I need to write content. They need to hear what I have written. Whilst I am writing,they are listening to recordings of my stepdad and Mum talking about all manner of things relating to this project, such as me, magic, bringing up four kids, loving each other, how they first met, living in Cornwall in 1991. They report back to me with their findings and then it goes into more writings. We are a good team.
If you were to walk into our rehearsal room, it might look like we are working on separate things but we are all working for the same goal. I really like our ideas.
This show needs ideas.
Today and yesterday was weird but productive. Weird in the sense that we are not working full steam ahead on the surface but our minds are constantly thinking about it. I like to think, just because you are not working on something, doesn't mean you are not working on it. Anyway, I go to bed. It's day ten tomorrow. Must rest.
Night night. Tom, xxx
It's Tuesday. We are in week 2 of the development. We gave ourselves a day to get to Reading yesterday and we achieved that.
We are in Reading. South Street Arts Centre's Macdevitts Room which is a lovely vaulted, high ceiling space. There is room to spread out. I have a special table for my drum machine.
It was a good day today. I like Laura and Andy questioning and discussing the show so far. We are finding out what the show is about. The show is called 'My Dad, the Magician' but it might be about my Mum just as much. It's interesting what comes out when you don't push.
I am enjoying the story coming out before our eyes. Keep on getting to know our subject. Ian is the subject. I am examining him. So far, I have been interviewing him in person with a voice recorder quietly sitting on the table beside him. This has brought an overall understanding but I want to get a little deeper. A bit more vulnerable. I think he would prefer to answer questions via email. This would give him the chance to be alone and take his time. It feels strange pushing someone I know very well, into a place they might not want to go.
Andy has written me a list of questions for Ian which helps give me some remove and Laura is going to interview my Mum over the phone. I like this. Collaborators helping me out. I can't do it alone.
Night night for now. See you tomorrow.