I MET MARTIN FREEMAN AND IAN MCKELLEN!

[post includes PHOTOS and a VIDEO :D]

I literally CANNOT BREATHE FOR EXCITEMENT RIGHT NOW.

As some of you may have known, I was lucky enough to have purchased a ticket for Ian McKellen’s one man show, ‘Ian McKellen on Stage: with Shakespeare, Tolkien, and You‘. He’s been putting the show on all over New Zealand to help raise funds for Isaac Theatre Royal repairs, which was damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. Good cause, plus the chance to see Ian McKellen in person – I couldn’t pass it up! I’d also heard whispers of maybe some of the other Hobbit cast members being in Wellington around this time, and that they might show up… but I thought about this only as a dream, not thinking for a moment that it would ACTUALLY COME TRUE.

Ian’s actual show was really fabulous. He started things off with a brilliant rendition of perhaps Gandalf’s finest and most memorable moment, from The Fellowship of the Ring when he confronts the Balrog, shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (and yes, he sounded exactly the same, squeeeee! :D) The first half was based around audience interaction, with Ian recounting stories, and inviting members of the audience to call out random questions about his fascinating life. The second half was pretty much a tribute to Shakespeare – he challenged us to name all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays, and as we did so he acted out parts from some of them – including the Balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, where he spoke both Romeo and Juliet’s lines, pure gold hahaa! He gave us an epic version of Hamlet’s “The play’s the thing!” speech, and the emotional, moving “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” ‘funeral’ speech from Cymbeline. As I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, as you already know (*wink*), I adored this part – Ian truly is a master of Shakespeare too, telling us all about the different roles he’s played over the years.

So that was the actual show. Which was epic!

But.

NOT AS EPIC AS WHAT CAME AFTER.

As a special treat for Wellington, and this being his second-to-last show, he called ALL THEΒ  HOBBIT CAST MEMBERS THAT WERE PRESENT ONSTAGE WITH HIM. Obviously not all the cast was there. I eagerly scanned the growing group onstage, looking for familiar faces – I think I recognised a couple of the dwarves, but I haven’t done enough fangirl research to identify them or anything.

AND THEN.

My heart truthfullystopped when my eyes landed on… MARTIN FREEMAN.

*hyperventilates*

It was beyond exciting, you have no idea! To actually see Martin Freeman, one of my top most favourite actors of EVER, in REAL LIFE with my VERY OWN EYES. He was looking ADORABLE as usual, and gosh, I realised fully how short he really is! πŸ™‚ Ian lead them all in a tiny spot of acting from Henry V, which basically consisted of the Hobbit cast and the audience members who’d joined them onstage all falling down dead. LOL. I took a video of it, which you can watch here:

(please excuse the part where I’m moving closer, and my aim goes all wonky for a few seconds, hahaaa. Martin Freeman is off to the left, looking all cute and short :D)

So anyway, after that, Ian and the rest of the Hobbit cast went out into the foyer to collect extra donations for the Isaac Theatre, and Ian said he would be available for photos and signing etc. Now, I hardly ever carry cash anymore, so I only had my EFTPOS card on me. And, as it happens, I’m having a particularly poor week (well, I’m used to it, being a poor student and all!!) and I only had $21 on my card. I was thinking that $10 would be an alright amount to give, and if it meant I got a photo with Ian McKellen, then why not!

However, the ATM machines outside only gave out $20 notes… decisions. I thought about it for three seconds, before dashing to the nearest ATM and withdrawing $20 of my $21 in the world (well, in a dramatic manner of speaking, ROFL – and anyway, next payday is on Tuesday :P). And besides, I actually do care a lot about theatre, so it was definitely for a good cause. I ran back inside, and braved the mass of people to finally squeeze my way along to Ian McKellen, and…

Ta-dahhh! πŸ™‚

He also signed my little notebook, as it was the only thing I had on me. (KEEPING IT FOREVER.) He was honestly so lovely to all the fans, and so smiley – well, you can see for yourself! Adorable.

So now that I was happy with having met Ian McKellen, I peered around for Martin Freeman. BUT ALAS. No luck! It seemed that he wasn’t hanging out in the foyer – I overheard someone saying that he’d left already. I was a bit disappointed – but as I hadn’t really expected to see him at all, I was still stoked with just having got the video of him, and so left the theatre happy.

The story DOESN’T END THERE. *dun dun DUN* xD

As it happens, my friend was having a big gathering/party at one of the bars that very same evening, as she’s heading off to Harvard soon (just casually!!) to study, and so won’t be seeing us all for a long time! I must admit, I was feeling kind of tired, it was raining on-and-off, the bar was in theΒ opposite direction to my home, and frequenting bars/clubs isn’t really my thing… BUT I really did want to see my friend before she left the country, and I knew that she really wanted to see me, so I made up my mind to stop by and say hi/bye! So off I went, and it really was lovely to see her again, and a couple other people I hadn’t caught up with for ages either. I didn’t stay very long, only around half an hour, so I was soon on my way home again. And, randomly, someone stopped me on the street for directions – amongst all the drunk crazy people walking around, I must have looked like one of the few sane people, hahaa (11pm Saturday night, folks!), so no wonder they asked me! Anyway, after helping them, I set off home again – BUT x2. I had to pass the theatre again on route to my house. I noticed that there were still some people milling about, and that Ian McKellen himself was still there, the trooper, giving photos and signatures.

And for SOME REASON, I went inside, just a few steps inside, forever hopeful.

AND THERE HE WAS.

Martin Freeman, looking like the most beautiful angel to walk the earth to my eyes just then, WAS STANDING THERE TAKING PHOTOS.

There were only about seven people waiting to get a photo with him, because most everyone had left the theatre already. I RAN over there, clutching my camera, and…

YEP. THAT HAPPENED.

IT IS SO SURREAL. Martin Freeman is seriously one of my MOST FAVOURITE ACTORS EVER. Like, he’s right up there with Karl Urban and Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry and ALL THE BEST PEOPLE THAT I WOULD DIE TO MEET.

And here, in tiny Wellington, New Zealand… DREAM COME TRUE.

I told him that I love him in Sherlock, even though that didn’t really have anything to do with the Hobbit, to which he replied “Thank you!” And when I asked him if I might be able to get his signature in my notebook, he was like “Ohh, I see everyone’s run out of money to buy programmes to sign!” And I was like “Heh, I literally have $1 left on my EFTPOS card!” to which he kindly said “Ah, I won’t nick that from you, then.”

(nerdy fact: he sounded JUST LIKE JOHN when John says “Nicked all his smurfs?” to Mycroft. <3)

ALSO. MARTIN FREEMAN HELD MY PEN. NEVER THROWING THAT AWAY.

DAY = MADE. Actually, more like LIFE = MADE.

Bounced all the way home. Couldn’t contain my grin – poor passersby, wondering what I was smoking! – but did contain my fangirlish screams and dancing until I got home, thankfully. Ran around my room like a maniac. You know how it is πŸ˜‰

But more than just meeting two incredibly amazing actors, all of this showed me – reminded me – that if you love, be kind, and give, good will find you, will come back to you. I gave monetary support to the theatre funds, gave my time and love to see my friend, and gave a kind word to the lost pedestrian… and I was repaid with the PRICELESS meetings with Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman.

Life is Love. ❀

LOL, so that’s kind of the “moral of the story” bit. And I feel every word as true! But. Anyway. The main point of all this really is…

I MET MARTIN FREEMAN AND IAN MCKELLEN AAAHHHHHHH *fangirls* xD

That’s my excitement for my week YEAR LIFE! Next up, the Hobbit Premiere this November at the Embassy in Wellington… BRING IT ON! (After all, still have Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry on the list! :D)

Have fun!
Bri xx

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‘Frequently Asked Questions’: Some Truly Fine Theatre!

I have literally just returned home from a very enjoyable excursion to the theatre – Downstage Theatre, it’s so charming! – where I saw a stunning performance called ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘. It’s part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival that’s happening at the moment in Wellington, which is always a fantastic showcase of talent and spectacle. Anyway, out of a long list of events that I wanted to go to, I narrowed it down to this play – I *am* a poor student, after all, so could really only afford to go to one.

And man, I do not regret picking ‘Frequently Asked Questions’! πŸ™‚

Firstly, let me give you a little info as to what it’s actually about. ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ focuses on a man named Hamlet, an insomniac who is haunted by some extremely gripping questions – for example, ‘What a piece of work is a man?’, ‘Am I a coward? Who calls me villain?’, and, unsurprisingly, ‘To be, or not to be?’ Oh, and the all-important ‘Why am I wearing tights?!’ *clears throat* Mm-hmmm. Hamlet, however, is not left to his own devices – he is paid a visit by his fellow famous tragic heroes: Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello. Chaos obviously ensues. Admist all the hilarity, however, the play still manages to end on a beautifully poignant note.

What is most striking and important to know about this play is that there is only one actor – Michael Hurst. And yep, you guessed it – that means he has to play more than one character at one time. A perfect set up for comedy – and Hurst really takes every opportunity that this presents to him. The different voices for each character are just spot-on, as were the particular affectations each character has. Macbeth was my personal favourite – I mean, the Scottish accent, and the copious amount of creative swearing? Genius! πŸ˜€ I made a special effort to commit my favourite line of his to memory – for future use, of course! – which was: ‘What are you doing, talking to me or chewing a brick? Because both’ll get your teeth knocked out!’ It totally sounds ten million times better if you say this with a Scottish accent, by the way. Probably the most frightfully funny element – and there were many! – was when Hurst had to stage a fight between Hamlet and Macbeth, and then between Macbeth and Othello. Frickin’ hilarious, watching someone beat himself up… teeheeee. Oh, and did I mention that Hurst fully fries an egg onstage, makes a sandwich, and eats it?! All while delivering his lines flawlessly. So yeah, I really applaud Michael Hurst for such amazing talent. *bows down* He’s a New Zealander, and I just read on his website that he has also directed several episodes of the current TV series ‘Spartacus’, which I adore! πŸ˜€ So that makes him even cooler. *nods*

As for the whole Shakespeare element of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, well… I’m sure you all know of my love affair with The Bard, and nothing pleases me more when people use Shakespeare in innovative and creative ways. Hurst drew so many clever quotes from his plays, it was a scholar’s dream. It all made me think of Tom Stoppard, and his fabulous play ‘Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead’. I’ve already shared with you my admiration for Tom Stoppard, and that particular play, which I was lucky enough to see performed in Wellington too. *sighs happily* One day, when I’ve published a novel and become wealthy, I’ll go to the theatre every week… πŸ™‚

So yeah, that was my extremely pleasant evening! πŸ˜‰ As this showing of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ is a ‘world’ premiere, I really hope it does well enough to take to other places around New Zealand, and then overseas too! Everyone should get to experience this awesomeness. If you’re currently in Wellington, I strongly encourage you to go along – the show is on until 11 March, and you can purchase tickets here πŸ™‚ Dooooo itttt! πŸ˜€

Finally, while we’re talking about the Arts Festival… it also includes the epic ‘Writers & Readers Week‘ which starts this coming week. It’s just brilliant!! *drools* The tickets are quite a lot cheaper than the other festival tickets, so I’ve treated myself to three ‘sessions’, which means three amazing writers… Jo NesbΓΈ (his amazing Norwegian Crime novels with his detective Harry Hole), Alan Hollinghurst (awesome writer of ‘The Line Of Beauty’, and his most recent ‘The Stranger’s Child’), and Robert Shearman (the man who brought the Daleks back to the new RTD-revamped ‘Doctor Who’!). I am so excited, I can’t wait! I am sorely disappointed to have to miss out on the Harry Ricketts talk (I have class), but then… I don’t need to be too sad, as I’ll get to see him and soak in his brilliance quite often this year… because… he’s going to be my supervisor this year for my Postgraduate English Research!!

*hyperventilates* πŸ˜‰

Gosh, I’m such a fangirl.

I love Wellington.

Anyway, must away to bed. Farewell, my friends – parting is always such sweet sorrow. A thousand times, good night! πŸ˜€

Have fun!
Bri xx

Day 30 β€” Whatever Tickles Your Fancy: ‘Torchwood: A Musical!’

Phew! We’ve finally arrived at the last day of the 30 Day Challenge… wow! Amazed that I didn’t get lazy and give up halfway through πŸ˜‰ Although, I do hate leaving things unfinished. Anyways, thought I’d do something fun today…

…and how could anything be more fun than a Torchwood Musical? πŸ˜€

While ‘Torchwood: A Musical!‘ may be familiar to some of you, I better give you all the back story, just in case. It was April 2011, and I was seriously considering taking part in my very first Script Frenzy – writing a 100 page script in the month of April. I was all hyped up from my first ever NaNoWriMo win the previous November, so I decided to give it a go – BUT, what on earth could I write about?

It’s a bit obvious to me, now! I love Torchwood, love musicals – and it was around April that I’d been discovering musicals I’d never heard of, so I was super enthusiastic about it all πŸ˜› So… why not take the plot and characters of Torchwood, and throw them on the stage?

I decided pretty early on that I’d use songs from other musicals, and just re-write the lyrics to suit my musical. This is because sadly, I have little musical talent in my bones, so would have NO chance of actually composing the music too! But this was a really fun way to go about it, because I could choose songs that suited the situations/feelings that my characters were going through at that time.

So here’s the track list for ‘Torchwood: A Musical!’ so far, for what is posted online… (so there will be more to come!)

  1. Day In The Life Of Torchwood: Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats (Cats)
  2. Better Butler: Sorting Hat Song (Harry Potter)
  3. Jones, Ianto Jones: I Know Him So Well (Chess)
  4. The Cybernetic Touch: The Phantom Of The Opera (The Phantom Of The Opera)
  5. Better Butler (Reprise): Sorting Hat Song (Harry Potter)
  6. 51st Century Pheromones: Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat (Cats)
  7. Betrayed Me: Angel Of Music (The Phantom of the Opera)
  8. I Don’t Know How To Love You: I Don’t Know How To Love Him (Jesus Christ Superstar)
  9. Betrayed Me (Reprise): Angel Of Music (The Phantom Of The Opera)
  10. Look At Me: Think Of Me (The Phantom Of The Opera)
  11. Back To Work: Girl Meets Boy (Reprise) (Sunset Boulevard)
  12. Part Of The Team: Go Go Go, Joseph! (Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat)
  13. Look At Me (Reprise): Think Of Me (The Phantom Of The Opera)
  14. Darkness Of The Dead: Music Of The Night (The Phantom Of The Opera)
  15. I Feel Happy: I Feel Pretty (West Side Story)
  16. Love Changes Everything: Love Changes Everything (Aspects Of Love)

As you can see, I did tend to stick with Andrew Lloyd Webber at the beginning, because that’s when I was really getting into his work – but I promise you, I do branch out later on πŸ˜‰

And as for the Torchwood side of things, well – I had to be kinda of selective as to what I could include, because if I tried to incorporate all the wee subplots, the audience would be getting far too confused and would lose track of all the minor characters, while not being able to connect properly with the main characters. Plus, it would end up being a week-long musical! *faints* So I decided to centre it around Ianto, naturally, and Jack as the other focus. The rest of the team of course play important roles in their own right, and support Ianto and Jack. Although the obstacle of Lisa/Cyberwoman is definitely significant in the series, I think I emphasised that particular event, and made it more important. There’s also a second main obstacle, this time connected to Jack – but ahhhh, I won’t say, because that would be spoilery!! πŸ˜‰

*grins*

It’s amazing how much I’ve grown as a writer, too. I’ve learned to listen to the rhythm and the beat of words, and have depended on many online rhyming dictionaries! I now know how to format a script, at least in a basic beginner way. Most importantly, I’ve learned about the power of dialogue. Seeing as you must limit description, I found that I really had to put my characters’ feelings into their dialogue (as well as their personal stage directions, gestures, etc), so that was awesome! πŸ™‚

So, yes! So far I have ‘Act I’ posted online and am almost finished posting ‘Act II’… and then I’ll move on to the final Act, ‘Act III’! πŸ™‚ And truth be told, I haven’t actually finished writing it yet! During my rewriting of it, to post it online, I’ve changed some things round and added in whole new songs – and even whole new scenes! Some of my lovely reviewers have even made some song suggestions that I’ve decided to insert – which have fit in perfectly! I do love feedback by the way, so feel free to leave reviews πŸ™‚ The reception that ‘Torchwood: A Musical!’ has received is just amazing – I honestly expected it to be very unpopular, because it’s something new, and as far as I’m aware, it’s the only Torchwood musical in existence πŸ˜‰ Wheeeee! But I’m glad to have amused and entertained people with it, as I originally wrote it entirely for fun, and for myself! How selfish of me πŸ˜› heheee.

Sooo… that’s my thoughts about my first adventure into script/musical writing! I have a feeling it won’t be my last… I already have some vague ideas for a sequel!! I sure hope you all will stick around to help me finish ‘Torchwood: A Musical!’ off with a bang! πŸ™‚

And here ends the 30 Day Blog Challenge! Hope you had fun alongside me. I am 100% sure I won’t be posting every day from now on, but I will definitely try not to let this blog die – that would be incredibly tragic! I’ll definitely see you all soon.

Have fun!
Bri xx

Day 13 β€” A Fictional Book

The Real Inspector Hound and Other Plays – Tom Stoppard

Okay, so I’m cheating πŸ˜€ Yes, this is a fictional book… but really, they’re plays. However, Tom Stoppard is too brilliant to pass over, so I couldn’t resist…

I found this book at a MASSIVE annual second hand book sale for $2, and out of the 10+ books I picked out that year, this one is certainly my favourite. It wasn’t the first I’d heard of Tom Stoppard. In my first year at University, I was lucky enough to be able to study The Real Inspector Hound, and even see it performed by – wait for it! – by very own lecturers! As if it wasn’t already a comical play. And so, with this lovely introduction to Tom Stoppard, I dove into reading this selection of plays.

Firstly, I have to say that this collection does not have all of Tom Stoppard’s best plays. ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ is definitely one of his better works, but a couple of the ones included in this book were a little on the bizarre side to me. More bizarre that you’d expect, that is. Certainly, the utter craziness of Stoppard is one of his merits! πŸ™‚ However, this collection also includes Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth. This was a joy to read, and I bet it would be even better to see performed! It’s technically two plays, but they are meant to be performed together, and indeed, one wouldn’t make complete sense without the other! The way that Stoppard twists Shakespeare is a true marvel to experience.

Which leads me to my absolute favourite Tom Stoppard play, which is regrettably not in this collection (but, never fear, I’ve just ordered myself a copy online!)…

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead!

Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about comedy, and meta-theatre, and wit, and… genius!

Here, Tom Stoppard truly shows his flair for Shakespeare. As you might have guessed from the title, this play is about the minor characters from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It tells the whole play from their point of view – it’s hilarious to see that Hamlet is now one of the minor characters! I have also had the opportunity to see the play performed earlier this year, and I can truthfully say that it is the best performance I’ve seen in theatre for a long time!

And as a side note – it’s always interesting reading a play as opposed to watching a play. I mean, plays are obviously written to be performed and watched, but it’s a merit to the work when one can read it and enjoy it as well. I’m rather used to reading plays, what with all the Shakespeare I study, but it’s a fun thing to think about. I believe that once you’ve seen a play performed though, it gives a reading of the same play extra dynamics and elements – definitely recommend it. πŸ˜€

So… yes. Tom Stoppard is a genius. I sure hope I can see more of his work on the stage!

How about you lot? Any other Stoppard fans? Any thoughts to add about reading plays, as opposed to watching them be performed? Leave a comment, or two! πŸ™‚

You can sympathize with my fellow Ninja here!

Have fun!
Bri xx