Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Now at last we're in a story"

Our first blog entry from the cast of Yellow Moon in New York -

"So here we are, a week and a half into our New York run. Where to start? We're all feeling blown away by this incredible city, and are loving the reception the play's getting.Beth, Nal and I landed at Newark on Sunday 20th, having not slept for about 33 hours (3am taxi to Glasgow Airport...), so I for one was feeling a strange mixture of sleep-deprived spaced out-ness, excitement and nervousness as we sat in the yellow taxi from the airport, catching our first sight of the Manhattan skyline as we drove through the industrial hinterland. A creeping suspicion was in the back of my mind that despite all the work in getting back up to speed with the play, I might arrive to find I'd forgotten it completely... Anyway, we arrived at the apartments in the Upper West Side, met Andy, and were all relieved to find that our studio apartments were all equally lovely (no danger of flat envy!).

So after a good night's sleep we met Guy in the afternoon for a line run in the park in Bryant Square, where we sat by the lawn in cast iron chairs, surrounded by tall trees, themselves dwarfed by the tall buildings around them, and with a clear view of the Chrysler building glistening in the late afternoon sun. By this point we were feeling well and truly happy to be in
New York. The line run was fine; I felt reassured that I still knew the play.Work started in earnest the next day in the theatre, where we met our very capable and friendly stage manager/sound operator, Ray, who was being trained up by Andrew Coulton in operating the sound for the show. Rehearsals went very smoothly - over the next day and a half, the show felt in good shape. So we felt confident about the first performance on Wednesday, but wondered, what would an American audience make of it? In the event, we needn't have worried. The first night went very well, with a good house and a really warm reception from the audience. They completely "got it". It really felt good to be presenting the audience with a world which might be unfamiliar to them (Inverkeithing and the Highlands), but which they completely engaged with; and to find that we have essentially the same relationship with them as we've had with our Scottish audiences. Which is something I like about this play. Given the direct eye-to-eye contact we have with audience members, you really do feel you have a relationship with them. And with a script as good as this they have something of real depth and substance to engage with.

So we've had a great week so far. Everyone at 59E59 Theaters is incredibly welcoming, especially Peter Tear, the executive producer, who has been warm, enthusiastic and supportive throughout. It's lovely to be working in the kind of place where the focus is on creating the kind of relaxed and supportive environment in which good work can get done.

And we're all loving exploring the city. It's great to walk out of the theatre and find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, surrounded by tall buildings, and in a warm breeze. I've been overwhelmed by how much variety there is here, so much to see and do - going running in Central Park (always full of runners, rollerbladers, cyclists, dog walkers), the East Village (a bit like Camden only more glamorous and exotic), Williamsburg, ramshackle and kind of industrial, but very appealing with its scruffy clapboard houses - and so on and so on.
High point for me so far has been the Lenox Lounge in Harlem, where we saw a brilliant jazz band called the Sugarhill Quartet (have I got that right? There were about 10 of them...), fronted by a guy called Patience Higgins with a very charming line in chat with the audience. All fantastic musicians, and the dude (or should I say "cat"?) on saxophone, wearing a yellow velour tracksuit with basketball logo, was jawdroppingly good...

Anyway, I'm heading out now to catch some sun before getting my head into gear for doing the show later on.

Wish you were here!

Keith" do we! Hx

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