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Black Sea Blog #7 – Pete Brooks

2nd February 2015 by Morven Macbeth

Andrew is stuck in Istanbul.

Apparently it’s due to bad weather, but it means that we are still waiting for the graphics card and the various other bits of kit that will hopefully get both the PC and the projector working. I confess to feeling a bit envious as my layover there on the way here lasted 9 hours 45 minutes during which I barely snatched a couple of hours uncomfortable sleep on an airport bench. If the layover had been 15 minutes longer I would have been put up in a hotel in the city by Turkish Airlines. I’ve not really been to Istanbul. Four years ago when we played Hotel Methuselah in Tbilisi I took advantage of the time between planes to get the train into the city and have lunch. Unfortunately it was raining torrentially so I didn’t get a chance to look around, but everyone I know who has been there says its a beautiful and fascinating place. If you get a chance, go to see my Central Saint Martin’s colleague Andrea Zimmerman’s film, Taskafa, Stories from the Street. It’s a beautiful film that explores attitudes to homelessness through the metaphor of Istanbul’s street dogs. To show solidarity with Andrew we ate last night in the Turkish quarter which, as Batumi is only 20 miles from the Turkish border, is quite extensive, not as big as Dalston or Green Lanes but with a good choice of places to eat. We went in search of an ocakbasi (charcoal grill) restaurant which we found, thinking it would make a change from the Georgian food we’ve been enjoying and give me a chance to practice my Turkish. As this consists only of menu items learnt from waiters who speak it with a Hackney inflection it was less useful than I’d hoped. It took five minutes to find that they had no lahmacun and that cacik is pronounce ‘jajick’ after which I just pointed. Needless to say, the food was excellent, although we were a bit disappointed to find it didn’t serve beer.

After dinner, Will worked until 4.00 am, but today feels on top of things and this afternoon we should finish the lighting call/tech rehearsal we’ve been in since Tuesday. I assume this means we will begin running the show, in which case I think we are in pretty good shape for our Thursday opening. Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available) applies pretty forcefully in theatre’s everywhere, although maybe slightly less in the UK than here, but the converse, that work rate increases to adapt to less time is also true. After years of making shows to deadlines, I always know when we are short of time. Whatever my brain thinks, my gastroenteritic nervous system (which contains 100,000,000 neurons, as many as the spinal cord) knows the truth. At the moment my stomach is fine.

Pete

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