ellen_kushner (ellen_kushner) wrote,

Witches recording & BMC alums

Goodness, what a day! Went down to W. 26th, to a lovely studio where we recorded Neil Gaiman long-distance from the studio in St Paul where he'd conveniently gone to be on NPR's Talk of the Nation w/Neil Conant - he's playing Simon Jones' son in our new "feminist klezmer magic realist shtetl musical" radio drama, The Witches of Lublin (totally new website coming soon, but in the meantime this will have to do), which I co-wrote with Yale Strom (who also provides original music!) & Elizabeth Schwartz.   (The show is planned for a spring/Passover public radio Holiday Special in April 2011; I'll let you know how to bug your local station to make sure it's on!)

We'd already recorded Simon &  the entire rest of the cast up here in November the day before Neil's birthday, so of course he couldn't be there, and brilliant producer/director Sue Zizza - whose idea it was to ask Neil in the first place, as she's a big fan of his Audio work - gave him Special Dispensation to record separately later this month.  (Which meant, sadly, that he didn't get to meet Tovah Feldshuh and see her amazing work - she's playing our lead, Rivke, and is utterly breathtaking.  She made grown authors cry.)  Simon Jones (whom you may remember as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio drama . . . or even as "Bridey" in iTV's Brideshead Revisited) is such a pro.  He not only did all his lines over again so Neil could read into them, but he picked up everyone else's as needed, as well - I'm perfectly prepared now to re-cast him as the teenage female love-interest .  . . ! The man's a vocal genius, and he can turn on a dime.  I guess that's why we [are not] pay[ing] him the Big Bucks -- Bless his heart, he's also a perfect sweetie & is doing it at Public Radio rates as a favor to Sue, I think, as they're old friends (as Neil & I are).  Neil & Simon had great chemistry - turns out they're even from the same part of UK - though we asked them to do a mid-Atlantic accent, as they are both playing Poiish noblemen (!) . . . Neil has such a beautiful voice, and I even got to direct him a couple of times on lines I felt strongly about (which was very nice of Sue, as usually the Author is told to be silent on pain of death when the Director's speaking to the actors) - and it worked:  I got shivers a few times, hearing him speak our lines, infusing them with feeling & insight.

Trax done, I hied me uptown to present books at the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Club of NYC's annual Meeting & Holiday Party, where I re-connected with longlost college pals, and met some fine younger alum's, and bought some appealing books, as well.  I also realized, there, that I have taken to shortening my words & my sentences when around other people, assuming they wouldn't always understand what I was saying, otherwise. That was sobering - I'd had no idea I was editing myself like that, until I caught myself relaxing & not worrying about it, with a quivering of gears as the clutch eased up around folks I knew could handle it.  I'm going to see if I can't stop it.

Tomorrow, off to Philadelphia for PSFS talk  (all are welcome, and there will be books for sale, which I'll gladly sign). . . Heigh-ho & pack up the luggage!

And if you think I've gotten any writing done this week, you will be sadly disappointed - as am I.
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