Monday, April 14, 2008


Parpadelle with chicken livers and lardons. Okay, it's not for everyone but it's what I downed last night and man was it delicious. Kicked off proceedings with a glass of Stefano Lubiana Riesling which was pleasant but didn't blow my socks off. The red we went on to was a killer though ... Castagna La Chiave Sangiovese 2004 (from Beechworth, no less. So excited b/c I will be able to go there). Got to get my hands on some more of that.

Out walking and listening to a podcast yesterday, I was intrigued to hear Tom Stoppard talking about his approach to play writing. If you haven't downloaded interviews from the American Theatre Wing it is well worth a visit. The chaps there (and it is two chaps who bring us the interviews) get access to amazing theatre folk and they know the biz inside out so the conversations are fabulously broad ranging. They got some great stuff out of Nathan Lane recently, although that makes it sound like they bled him with leeches.

Anyhoo - see http://www.americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/ - Stoppard was asked if his plays hit the rehearsal room fully formed or does that stage just signal the beginning of much refinement? He explained how he sees a play as 100 pages and writes a page a day. When you've never tackled something like this you can easily wonder how the hell it takes you a day to write one page; especially when you're used to churning stuff out daily in the commercial world (not that I do that, of course!!!!!).

Stoppard said there was no way his plays were unfinished by the time they got to the actor read-through sessions. This is because, page one might go through 20 drafts before he considers it done. However, as the story unfolds and the play takes on a life of its own, it gets quicker until, as he put it, "the last page can only go one way". Isn't that interesting? I love listening to people like this who have chipped away at their craft for so long they completely understand what they'll face when they begin a new project. The idea of the play, eventually, writing itself, of there only being one way it can end up, fascinates me.

Hmmm - wonder if that thought can be turned to life too? Hope not. But, consider that, as a youngster, you can take so many different paths, start over with things, change tack half way, but, as you get older, the pages begin to write themselves more and more. Spooky, huh? I am not going further with that thought pattern. I want to believe it is NOT true and we can keep taking off on fresh tangents right until the toes curl up and the door of the wooden box closes down.

Today I am interviewing an artist called Tracey Potts who works in textiles. I’ll attend the photoshoot where her work will be captured and then we’ll head off for a coffee. I have an intern working alongside me at the moment and suggested she come along for the ride. Having someone looking on while you interview and so forth is a weird one but I figure this is as good experience for her as it is for me. It’s interesting to see how newbie’s minds work and what their attitudes are. So far this gal is very competent and, seemingly, confident. I don’t remember having it as together as many of the 19 to 25-year-olds seem to these days. Then again, I don’t have it together now and I am coming up for my 93rd birthday. Just kidding!


NB: The pic is of Tracey Potts work