Tales From Ovid: Day Four 2

I’m at the stage in the project when I’d like to sleep for approximately 36 hours straight. It’s the twittery, jittery tiredness that comes with knowing that – oh, there is still this person to speak to, and what order are we doing these plays in?, and oh DRLLING (okay, not drilling because the workmen have been lovely and considerate and we have not even had to bribe them with cake), and we need these flyers, and that’s MY play that’s being performed, and EMAILS and phonecalls and printers and coffee and did you know that we needed a table because I didn’t and – well, I’m sure you get the picture. So rather than considering in that manner for the rest of this blog post I’m just going to post some photos so you can see why several people in this project have had no sleep for the best part of four days.

After we’d cleared out ‘the stuff’:

In the beginning there was a shop.

Emily makes war with the boarding on the wall:

The Boards of Doom after Emily attacked them.

Day One In Shop 82:

The 'A' Board of Power

We have a shop sign!:

Our Shop Sign!

Ilana Winterstein in Melissa Bubnic’s No Victim (adapted from ‘The Rape of Proserpina’):

No Victim

And just because I think this photo gives you a glimpse of how beautiful I think our little shop is:

The Fall of Troy (Rehearsal)

That photo was taken during the ‘dress’ rehearsal of Patrick Dunlea’s The Fall of Troy and if you’re wondering about the coats and the fact that the actors look like they’re visibly shaking let it go on record that Wednesday 27th January was bloody cold. 24 hours later I can just about feel my fingers…

[Photos taken by Emily Harwood & Estelle Buckridge]

Tales From Ovid: Day 3

Today was:

Our designer Emily turning up at the market at 6.30am to paint our sign.

Felt tips from the pound shop and luggage tags on the wall.

Being able to see our breath because it was so cold.

TEA. (even though I don’t drink tea)

Our neighbouring fruit stall giving us free fruit to use in the show (and letting us keep it at the end of the day)

Writing our first day’s programme on the ‘A’ Board.

Before adding ‘ALL FREE’ and then in slightly smaller letters ‘(but don’t be afraid to give a donation)’.

The woman who went past in the middle of Patrick Dunlea’s The Fall of Troy and said “oooh they’re doing a play [beat] that’s a good idea” but didn’t stop to watch.

Patrick not dying about what we’d done to his play.

Playing ‘guess the Ovid quote’ with one of the actors.

The lovely lady from Etta’s Kitchen (6th Avenue in the market) who came round between shows with a flask of coffee for us.

The man who stumbled into Melissa Bubnic’s No Victim and then stayed to rap about Metamorphoses for me (getting himself a place in Saturday’s lineup in the process).

Everyone who was generous enough to watch, applaud, talk to us about Ovid or theatre or donate.

Especially the person who put in 2 euros and 30 cents because it made me smile.

Tales From Ovid: Day 2 2

Today looked something like:

Emails. Lots of emails.

Speak to Charlie. The final role is cast!

Also – we still have lots of rubbish outside of our shop.

Invite people.

Third phonecall of the morning from Charlie. There is DRILLING in the next shop. This is due to last ALL week.

Call Market Manager and leave convoluted message of panic on his phone.

Phone Market Manager back and remember to leave phone number this time.

Call Space Makers Agency and leave message that is mildly less hysterical.


Stop emailing as am too fidgety about DRLLING. Thus go to Brixton early.

Sit self in Market Manager’s office until have assurances that that DRLLING will not go on during our performances.

We still have rubbish outside our shop.

But the shop IS painted.

Go back to Market Manager’s office and as he is not in leave note on the door requesting rubbish is moved before we open tomorrow.

Apologise on note for being a pain.

Go to cafe where Charlie is. Buy latte and hope that will be enough for staying there for five hours.

Write more blurb.

There is debate as to how all of the props that are currently in Deptford are going to get to Brixton.

Invite what seems like all of Lambeth Council to show.

A knight in shining armour (or a car) offers to transport props and set.

Charlie offers to snog him.

Talk to lovely Julia from Space Makers about DRILLING.

Have FOH signage talk with Charlie.

Decide that she is beautiful, she is barefoot by Christopher Bailey needs its own wall of signage. And this is after we’ve cut out the nudity.

Someone from IdeasTap wants to interview us about theatre in empty shops. Oooh.

Write up programme/ flyer for Wednesday.

There is furniture in Streatham that needs to be in Brixton. Realise that it has to be moved TONIGHT.

Dump things in shop and get bus to Streatham.

Try to bring chairs and table via the medium of public transport to Brixton.


Drop the box of breakables that I am carrying. See the horror in Designer Emily’s face.

Get told by bus driver that we have too much stuff to get on the bus even though the bus if half empty.

Compromise and split into two groups.

Feel my arms give way.

Put things into shop and groan.

Get paint over self even though have only been in shop for thirty seconds.

Man comes round to say the market is closing in five minutes.

Laugh as Emily has to repaint Charlie’s attempt to write on the wall.

Man comes round and says that THE MARKET IS CLOSING.

Try and work out if we put our ladder in our shop or not.

Leave market and get waylaid by COCKTAILS.

Man in Bar gives us a special deal on COCKTAILS because of flooded-launch-venue fandango (I will return to this one day).

Talk about clarinets and recorders and suchlike.

Go home feeling slightly tipsy.

Flatmates find old kettle in loft. I steal it.

Send emails.

Write Blog.

Go to bed.

Tales From Ovid: Shopkeeper

As a child do you remember playing ‘shop’? I do. Generally there would be a theme to the shop – I was particularly keen at playing Post Office and Bakery. And Library, which isn’t exactly a shop but follows some of the same principles (see, I was primed to spend a good chunk of my early to mid twenties in customer service roles).

And I couldn’t help but think back to that when I collected our shop keys today. Because – for (almost) three weeks, Charlie and I are officially shopkeepers. All I need is my old plastic till, some teddy bears and my doll Bonnie and I am ready to sell fake dog licenses and mud pies. Which probably explains why I was so excited as I went to open the shutter.

Only – well, there had to be something that provided some sort of comic interlude and, predictably, the moment I went to insert the key into the lock it became painfully obvious that something wasn’t quite right. Either my career as a shopkeeper was over before it had even begun as I was unable to do something as simple as insert a key into a lock or – I hoped – I’d been given the wrong key.

Thankfully it turned out to be the latter rather than the former and soon I was back, shutter opening.

And, erm, it is safe to say I wasn’t quite expecting the sight that greeted me:


Inside Shop 82.

Free Soup (& other crap)

On the plus side one of the things on our to-do list had been: ‘get a ladder’ (result), however I don’t remember the bit of the list that said ‘get several muddy crates’. And a ‘Free Soup’ sign?

So, yes, a little bit of a mixed bag of abandoned items from the shop’s last (temporary) occupants.

Just when I was about to start cataloguing everything in the unit (I do like a list) a man in a green hoodie popped his head through the open shutter.

“Have you been told not to use the sink?”

“Nooo”. For indeed I hadn’t been. Though now I look at it I can see it is partially disconnected.

“I’m the onsite plumber” explains Green Hoodie Man in a cheerful manner. “We think there’s a crack in the basin – it flooded the entire shop last week”.


Green Hoodie Man and I stand over the sink for a bit. He tinkers, we both wait. There is most definitely a leak.

“I wouldn’t use the sink” he says.

I agree.

Once we’ve said our goodbyes another man pops in.

“I got sent round to see about woodchippings” He says.

It is safe to say it was never quite this surreal when I used to play ‘shop’.

Tales From Ovid: Shutters and Sinks

Y’know yesterday when I said that we’d managed to put our favourite ‘Shutter Conversation’ to one side?

Turns out that such declarations were a little premature.

The only thing that threatened to blow the shutter out of the water?

The fact that we have a sink in our shop and thus a sink as part of our set. Thankfully, once we’d gotten over the initial bemusement, we were more interested in what we could transform it into than wanting to take a sledge hammer to it…