How to have fun with a squash: Episode 2 + recipe

January 29th, 2012 Comments 0

You may remember the alien surprise I got when making squash soup a year and a half ago.  Here is the second episode of this adventure:

Accidental Squash Spiral!

I started by chopping the top off and using it in a stir-fry earlier in the week, but you could try this with the whole squash. 

1. Peel your squash.
2. Take a sharp knife, and aiming to slice a disc an inch thick, cut into the flesh, catching the blade at just the right angle so that as the knife rotates around the squash, your circular incision travels a much longer distance than you expected, making a surprising and beautiful spiral.

spiral squash 1

3. Find an extra pair of hands to help you photograph it.

spiral squash 2

4. Make soup.

Squash, Ginger and Lemon soup
This soup is based on the holy trinity of squash, ginger and lemon.  The squash is sweet, earthy, tasty and orange, the ginger is hot, pungent, earthy and kicky, and the lemon is sharp and zingy.  This soup looks and tastes like sunshine in a bowl and always makes me happy in winter. You can add more or less of each ingredient.  By experimenting over the years I have found that there is an upper limit of ginger tolerance.  You can add other ingredients, but don’t be fooled, all you really need is the holy soup trinity.

Ingredients:
Peeled and cubed butternut squash (remove innards)
1 inch of finely diced ginger root,
1 lemon (none of that bottled muck)
Salt and pepper
optional
Garlic cloves
Chilli
Chicken/veg stock
Soy sauce

Boil squash and ginger for about 20 minutes in enough water to nearly cover the squash in the pan.
When squash is soft, take off heat and mash with a fork or masher (easier than mashing potatoes).
Add the juice of half a lemon (I always add the lemon once the soup is off the boil to preserve more of the vitamins – I haven’t done any scientific testing to see if this works, but it does at least add a placebo effect of more vitamins)
Add seasoning, stock or soy sauce to taste.
Add more lemon and/or ginger to taste.
Gently heat again if it needs it.
Serve with homemade bread and butter.

squash soup

This soup will separate overnight into squash pulp and liquid, so just stir it up again for your day two helpings. 

I’ve never written a recipe here before, so if you try it, please let me know what you think!

Forwards and backwards

January 22nd, 2012 Comments 4

Cyclamen1

Last night would have been the closing night of WiLD at Chapter.  I’m not sad anymore, as I’ve had plenty of time to think and make new plans.  I’m actually really excited about this coming year.

Cyclamen2

When someone you love gets ill it definitely puts things into perspective.  Rob, my partner (in life, crime and theatre-making) was the team member who spent the New Year in hospital.  He is getting better, and we’re all in fine spirits.  Thanks to everyone who has offered their support during this time.  I sincerely wish you good health in 2012! 

snowdrop

January is a wonderful month!  I focus so strongly on re-aligning the tracks of my life, it feels like there’s an abundance of positivity and motivation to live well.  I’ve done more yoga in the past fortnight than I have in months.  The question is how long will it last?  I’ve given up writing resolutions, instead I’m making goals and then scheduling them.  Sometimes I wish we could have another January sooner than 2013, to stop the inexorable drift of good intentions.  Maybe one in May and one after August?  As it is I need to charge up a whole year’s worth of motivation right now to keep me going.  I might add a pretend January into my schedule.

blossom

Looking back, since starting working on this play in October 2010 I have gained more skills than I thought imaginable.  The habit of Getting-Things-Done is the best of them.  I wasn’t setting out to learn anything, I just wanted to make and perform a one-woman show (just!)  Nevertheless the learning kept coming.  Here is a list of what I learned last year making WiLD (since the end of the Aberystwyth performance):

How to video edit
How to use graphic design software
How to make a website (using Xara)
How to make and use my own font
How to scale down ambition when necessary
Knowing when to scale down ambition (having run out of time was the main reason)
How to set up a fundraising campaign
How to go busking for the first time despite The Fear
How to book a theatre tour (still have a lot more to learn!)
How to recruit a team and interview people
How to (successfully) apply for Arts Council funding
How to overcome my nerves about making important phone calls
How to be an employer
How to write contracts
How to draw animation storyboards and make an animatic
How to Get Things Done
and finally
How to re-make plans when they fall apart

That’s probably enough for now although there are many things in that list only half-learned and many more not on the list.  It has been an epic year, not what I expected at all and I feel good.  So onwards to those re-made plans (news of which to follow)!

Happy New Year!

two seagulls

Sad news about WiLD

January 9th, 2012 Comments 0

dove directions

I am very sorry to say that WiLD is being postponed.

A core member of the WiLD team has been ill for three weeks and is now in hospital.  There’s no way we can do the play without them.  Thankfully, they are getting better and should make a complete recovery.  The decision to postpone the show was difficult to make but was definitely the right thing to do.

The show will go on!  Please watch this space for an announcement of new dates!  WiLD will go ahead, bigger, brighter and better!  I will be using the extra time available to improve the play in every way possible, and I will keep posting about it here.

To be updated about a new performance schedule and rehearsal progress click ‘subscribe’ on the left hand menu, and follow the links.

Thanks for joining this journey so far, I feel it has only just begun…

WiLD – Introducing: Rob Fisher

December 30th, 2011 Comments 0

Interview number two is with WiLD Co-Director and Sound Designer Rob Fisher.  Rob is fairly integral to the play, in fact I couldn’t really do this without him.  He is constantly interfering with my brilliant ideas, telling me they’re not good enough, and pushing the play to be better.  Honestly.

Here he is with an impressive natural quiff:

Rob

This sound clip is the comedy fanfare we used last time.  It’s so ridiculous and over long, during the performance last February I stopped the action and eyeballed the sound booth until it was over.  It won’t make the cut this time around, but the silliness of it definitely sums Rob up.

Fanfare

The Interview:
What is your favourite game?
I love many games of many types – wide games, video games and particularly board and card games. I’ve even invented and published my own board game Monkey Dash (see www.MonkeyDash.co.uk for details!)

I have a particular soft spot for Carcassonne (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/822/carcassonne) because it is quick to learn, simple to play, promotes competition and collaboration, and has a huge number of variations and expansions.
Rob playing a game

Rob playing games

Where would you most like to travel?
I would like to visit somewhere truly remote once in my life, to get a sense of what the Earth would be like without the interference of humankind.

What would your perfect Sunday be like?
48 hours long, with much eating, joking, singing, dancing, walking, and playing of games.

Favourite dancing music?
Every now and again a dance tune comes along that gets everything just right… Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah, and Mason vs Princess Superstar – Perfect Exceeder are two that spring to mind.

Fancy dress costume of choice?
Pirate. Or ebola virus.

If you were a super hero, what would your power be?
I have a mischievous character, so the ability to shapeshift – to take on the appearance of any other person at will would be a lot of fun.

What is your secret dream?
I can’t tell you – it is a secret.

Why choose to work in theatre?
I like to tell stories and, moreover, to find the most effective way to tell a story: which choice of words give the biggest pay-off? Which parts are unnecessary and can be pared away? Which are the details that make the story unique or personal?

What were you like as a child?
Less hairy and considerably shorter.

What are you most excited about for WiLD?
My biggest hope is that the show will find an appreciative audience. There is so much brilliant invention in the performance; I know it will truly entertain the Chapter audience.

Thanks Rob!

Rehearsal Video Clip (from last week)

December 21st, 2011 Comments 0

 

Last Week’s rehearsals went well.  We went into huge amounts of detail for some scenes, spending an hour and a half on one 13 step walk into a room (that I haven’t yet perfected), then  worked with broad brush strokes (is there an equivalent theatre metaphor?) for other scenes.

This video clip shows me trying out the movement for one of the Monster characters.  I’ve been working closely with Angharad who’s doing the costume and set.  We’ve now spent many late nights, cups of tea, hummus and crackers, whilst poring over pages of sketches as we try to work out solutions for the set.  The costume for this character will be wonderful, but I’m not revealing it here…  I won’t have a wig on my face when you see it in the theatre!

I also did the first run for the team last Friday which was nerve-racking for me, but worked out really well.  I was glad to be able to finally show the things I had been talking about.  Working with other people on your vision and making it a shared project, means careful and frequent communication.  Many of the scenes only make sense when you see them, so a showing it was.

I also worked with Marilyn Le Conte last week.  She is acting as a dramaturg for the show.  Working with Marilyn is like having a ray of positivity in the room.  She gave me so many excellent detailed pointers on voice and physicality for several characters, it was the highlight of my week.  Thank you Marilyn!  It was particularly amusing watching her do an impression of her son to help me get into character as a man.  Apparently it’s easier for men to transform into women than it is the other way around.

We’re already halfway through this week, so another update will be along soon, also something about, what was it, oh yes – Christmas!!!  Decorating the tree tonight, right after we’ve finished recording some sound, and having a meeting about lights.  On Christmas day I’ll be napping.

Later this week I’ll be introducing some more members of the WiLD team…

Until then, keep scoffing those mince pies,

Love

Teifi

Introducing: Sarah Jane!

December 13th, 2011 Comments 0

Here’s the first in a series of introductions of members of the WiLD team.

Sarah Jane is doing the marketing for the show, and I am so pleased to have her on board.  She’s the perfect mixture of getting things done, gently nagging me to get things done, and infectious enthusiasm for the project.

I fashioned a questionnaire for her, which will help us learn more about the important things.
But first, Sarah as warrior knight: Sarah Jane Child r

What is your favourite game?
My favourite game is snap because it is really easy to play so everyone can get involved, but it’s really exciting and loud! There is a lot of tension built up over the game and it can get quite heated.

Where would you most like to travel?
To Australia to see one of my best friends Lucie, as she now lives over there and I miss her.
 
What would your perfect Sunday be like?
I lie in until lunch time in my cosy bed with a cup of tea, then go out to a pub for a huge Sunday roast with friends and stay there all afternoon and probably into the evening . . . and then wander home and watch a film on TV and then head to bed.
 
Favourite dancing music?
This is quite embarrassing but I’m a bit of a pop princess when I feel like dancing. When I was younger I loved the Spice Girls, Steps and other 90s pop bands. Now I’m a big fan of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Katy Perry, Rihanna and so on . . . 
(no need to be embarrassed, Beyoncé is my dancing hero, but also Britney when I need extra cheese.)
 
Fancy dress costume of choice?
This question is really difficult as I love dressing up, I actually still have a dressing up box full of costumes! Hmmm I think its probably a pussy cat, although dressing up as Johnny Cash for Halloween was very entertaining.
 
If you could invent a new ice cream flavour what would it be?
Dark chocolate and Turkish delight . . . yummmm. 
(Oooh! Yes please!)

What are you afraid of?
Spiders and I hate being afraid of them because I know there really isn’t any logical reason for me to be and I keep trying to conquer my fear but with no luck as yet. I am also afraid of driving because I don’t want to hurt anyone and it scares me a little bit.
 
What makes you happy?
My friends and family. Creativity, I love going to art galleries, the cinema, the theatre and museums but also being creative myself. Being silly and messing about!
 
What are you most excited about for WiLD?
I’m really excited about actually getting to watch the show, I’ve heard so much about it from Teifi and I just really want to see the finished product.
 
If you were a super hero, what would your power be?
To be able to pause time, I’d get so much more done!!!!
 

Thanks Sarah, and here she is today:

Sarah Jane Adult r
 
You can visit her website www.sarahjaneleigh.co.uk and Twitter @defythestars87

Speaking of which, WiLD has a new Twitter account @ActsofBeauty, Facebook page, plus a National Theatre of Wales group.  Sarah and I will both be writing there and signing off with our initials (SJL and TE).  Come and be a WiLD cheerleader!

First Days of Rehearsal!

December 11th, 2011 Comments 0

Welcome to production update No.1!  I’m so excited and happy to be working on the creative parts of this project and not just on the admin.

So far I’ve been working on the narrative, the script and the AV.  There have been some interesting decisions to make.  The more I work on the story, the more I feel like I really understand what makes a story work.  I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t know what the answer to a narrative problem is yet, but I am very clear about which potential solutions DON’T fit.  The process of examining what doesn’t work often brings you closer to a solution that really does.meeting 1 1

The second thing I’ve noticed is what happens when you immerse yourself in a creative world.  My mind is inside the story now (sometimes when I’m tired I wish it wasn’t).  This state of thinking is the only way to arrive at exciting breakthroughs.  I’ve been working on the character design for one of the creatures in the play, and just kept drawing the same slightly boring version again and again, until all of a sudden a slightly different idea leaped off the page – ‘The One’.  As my mind was ticking over the consequences of this new design for the other elements in the play, a HUGE solution for the ending became clear.  I can’t tell you what it is because it will spoil it for you when you come to see the show.  I was so excited I wanted to run around the room and phone people to tell them.  It was midnight so I held back on that.

This ending solution has actually renewed my excitement for the second half of the play and removed many obstacles I was feeling were in the way.  This couldn’t have happened a few weeks ago.

meeting 1 5

The other new and exciting thing that happened this week was starting work with the rest of the team.  The first production meeting went really well, we dived into the costume boxes, tried everything on, and made new plans.

meeting 1 2

I will introduce you to individual members of the team over the next few weeks.  They’re all wonderful.

The video above was an example of trying something only to discover it is not going to work.  We fiddled around with the video effects and I thought I’d keep it to show you.  It doesn’t tell you a lot about what we were trying to achieve, but you can see we’ve been busy!

And with that, I am having an actual day off today, the first in a while, so off I go!

meeting 1 6

Photos by Sarah Jane Leigh.

Tickets are on sale!

December 8th, 2011 Comments 0

Drumroll….
WiLD will be performing for two nights at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on January 20th and 21st
Tickets are ON SALE NOW!!!
The audience seats 96 (it’s an intimate venue) and I would LOVE to sell out the show.
(There are secret reasons that I’d like to sell out, on top of wanting a full house and a fun audience, but they’re secret so I can’t tell you… yet…)

Maiden 1

If you’re considering coming to the show, please book your tickets early, in fact please go and book them now!

http://www.chapter.org/25125.html

I was in Chapter on Sunday and as we were leaving we spotted a poster for the play up in the courtyard.  I was so excited!  It’s really happening. 

I’d love to have you in the audience, and I wager you will laugh at least once, be intrigued, be amused, surprised, moved, entertained, entranced, and leave happy.

Plus if you’ve not been to Chapter before, it’s a great venue, the theatre has a lovely atmosphere, and the cafe and bar is fantastic.

If that weren’t enough ticket prices are £8, £7 for concessions, and £5 for Chapter members
So go!  Go!  Go to the box office!  And bring all your friends.

What happened with the Fundraising?

December 4th, 2011 Comments 0

The Puffin that Won

Having set a very high fund-raising target on my Wefund page (which has a target deadline), I then didn’t quite achieve it.  That’s ok – I had not tried fundraising like this before and I was doing it mostly on my own.  I have learnt a great deal about fundraising which will help enormously for future projects.

But what happened to WiLD?

Would a small thing like this stop me?  HA! NO!  Everything is going ahead as planned.  I reshuffled my budget and called in some favours, I have the Arts Council Grant – the show will go on!

I also have the fantastic donations that many of you have made.  The amount I am raising with your help is making a huge difference to the show, and I am always bowled over by your generosity. Thanks to each of you.

If you would still like to donate then fundraising will continue the whole length of the project – that is until the performances on January 20th and 21st (and possibly beyond).

Use this link to go to my website to donate

I do have a new more modest target of £500, which will complete my budget.  I am still honouring the rewards that are listed on the website, so for £10 you will get three artworks as a digital download, and for £25 you will also get a handmade sock puppet – and many more items for different amounts.  Everyone who donates will get their name in the programme and can visit a rehearsal if they wish.

Thank you for your on-going support, it makes a huge difference to me!

The picture:  In return for her generous donation, I painted Kim as a Puffin last night, to accompany her wonderful costume for a Fancy Dress Party.  She won first prize!

Poster Girl!

November 18th, 2011 Comments 0

Check me out – I’m the poster girl for the play ‘Clytemnestra’ at Sherman Cymru in Cardiff!

web image1

http://www.shermancymru.co.uk/performance/theatre/clytemnestra/

We did a photoshoot where I posed with butcher’s knives and hugged meat carcasses (not the one in the picture).  Was a fun (if slightly meat-smelling) day.

Thanks Sherman!