Saturday 4th October 2014

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Wonderful rehearsal during the week for The Snow Queen. We introduced a couple of the songs to the cast, all of whom seemed be on board with it from the get-go (there was even a bit of foot tapping, which is a pretty good sign). At the start of this year, I didn’t know that I was going to be writing a play, much less a Christmas play, much (even more) less one with songs in it. I have no sense of tune or rhythm, so this was a pretty hubristic move on my part. But I seem to have managed to write a decent batch of songs with most of my dignity intact – or at the very least, I’ve managed to surround myself with enough people who are able to spot the tautological errors in my lyrics and nip them in the bud before less forgiving eyes see them.

I imagine this is the same for anyone who writes a song, but there is something very humbling and actually disconcerting about listening to a group of people sing something that previously was just a collection of words on a page, wrestled from my sleep-deprived imagination. Of course, I have previously already had people perform words that I’ve written, but that’s always been prose, and –as far as I can remember – always directed by myself. There might have been an occasion that someone else has directed one of my plays, but if there is, I have managed to forget it. Whatever way you read that, it doesn’t say a great deal for my relationship with my own ego.

I guess another reason why I was so fascinated and discombulated by hearing the songs was that I hadn’t had any involvement whatsoever with the music. As I’ve indicated, with absolutely no degree of self-deprecation, but a decent dollop of actually telling the truth, I don’t have any real musical talent whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that the songs I’ve written are terrible (PLEASE COME TO OUR SHOW), but I can’t write a single note of music. It’s lucky then that I find myself working with two fantastic women who have been creating original music for the songs. They give my songs credit, if that makes any sense.

I suddenly realised (if I hadn’t already realised it at some other point in time, and then promptly forgotten it) that I seem to always take on projects that will frankly terrify me. I don’t say this as some kind of humble brag (well, maybe I do a bit), but more as a slightly confused observation of wonder. The fact that I’m adapting The Snow Queen, attempting to do something vaguely unique with it (of which more another time), and sticking some songs in it is ridiculous, to say the least. Good ridiculous, I hasten to add, but still. One of the (many) things that was breaking me out in cold night-sweats was the songs. Since I (and I know I’ve banged on a lot about this, but there’s a point, honest) have very little previously measured talent in that department, it was certainly a thing that, if it all stuttered and coughed up blood, could be well levelled at me as fair criticism – reaching beyond my natural limitations. But I’m not entirely sure that there’s anything wrong with that. Why play safe?

We have yet to go through all the scenes, but once we do, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Not that I’m trying to have a scene with a rollercoaster in it (but now that you mention it ..) I’m asking for quite a bit in the way of special effects and props (the snow alone is giving people pause), and we’re very soon going to be starting a crowd funding campaign (yeah, it had to happen eventually), and there’s an atmosphere of something very special around the corner. Frankly, I can’t wait.

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