100th Book

I read my hundredth book of the year last week.  Last year I saw this milestone coming and picked what I thought was an appropriate book, but there was no planning this year.

As The Beast Sleeps, is a play by Northern Irish playwright Gary Mitchell.  I didn’t find it easy to read.  Not because of the writing or the language, which is wonderfully authentic, but because the play is set in loyalist North Belfast after the peace process.  The play deals with brutal in-fighting between members of the loyalist paramilitaries as they struggle to deal with the changing environment in Northern Ireland.

Living in Japan I can often forget about Northern Irish culture.  I don’t dwell on certain aspects of my childhood, but this play brought back memories of living in North Belfast, some of which I had buried.

Quick Change

My friend, Christiane Brew, was playing the part of “Her Ladyship” in The Dresser.  She had the quickest costume change in the show, when she had 5 and half minutes to get from her King Lear character of Cordelia back to her civilian 1940s costume.  She decided to record the change, so that people could see what goes on back stage.  You get to see me frown a lot, but the change went smoothly and she made her cue.

Acting Problems

I messed up badly in rehearsal tonight.  I was singing a love song.  It’s a poignant song about lovers who thought that they would be better apart, but have come to the conclusion that they want to be together.  It doesn’t work if you burst out laughing when your scene partner looks at you.  We didn’t manage any type of sincere love, hopefully it will go better next time.


More Costume Work

The Dresser opened last night at Black Stripe Theater. The play, by Ronald Harwood, tells the story of an aging actor’s personal assistant, who is struggling to keep the actor’s life together.  I have been responsible for costumes and wardrobe, which does mean I get to be the dresser at The Dresser.

It’s been a lot of work for everyone involved, but worth it, given how well the show went last night.  It’s the first time I’ve been a lead costumer and I was concerned about my fairly basic sewing skills.  I still get scared every time I have to cut fabric, sewing can mostly be undone, but cutting is permanent.  I was also surprised that I got nervous before the show.  I know that always happens when I have to perform, but it never occurred to me that being responsible for how actors looked would also feel like a type of performance.  Thankfully they all looked good and the costume changes happened as expected.

I enjoyed making the hats and head dresses.  My favourite is the wild flower crown, which looks surprisingly good for something made from materials bought from my local 100 円 ($1) store.

Fantastically Dressed In Wild Flowers

Fantastically Dressed In Wild Flowers

More Dental Treatment

I’m getting fed up going to the dentist.  Today’s visit didn’t go well as the area around the root canal appears to be infected and there is a deep gum pocket.  I’m still waiting on the cap.  The dentist mentioned the possibility of having to remove the tooth, even though I had the expensive root canal treatment.  My next appointment is in just under 2 weeks.  It seems endless.