Musings . . . a chance to speak thoughts out loud!
We're just about to start the process for devising our next production Love In A Strange Place . . the call for Actors is ready and we hope we get a high calibre of response . . . the research material has largely been put together . . . and now the pennies need to drop into place . . .
It's funny how things turn out . . . no planning and then suddenly it's happening . . . the idea that our pieces of Theatre can be read on the internet . . . too amazing for words! Most importantly as a writer it is a tremendous lift to think that there is a potential audience out there . . . well, hopefully!
It's like coming full circle - or more accurately full spiral . . . verse is where my theatrical journey began, and now it's back again . . . or rather the question's back . . . how to write theatre pieces that are poetic but not poetry as such . . . trying to get into the very essence of how and why words work the way they do . . .
Currently reading the latest Mark Forsyth Book The Elements of Eloquence - and what a read it is! It's like going back to school again . . . things that you think you know already are wonderfully shaken up afresh . . . rehetoric, that 'dirty' word is not so 'dirty' after all . . . a whole compendium of writing insights and tips. Brilliant!
Things seem to be moving forward . . . ideas for a new format of Theatre experience for Actors and audience are taking shape . . . linked to that are ideas for new pieces of writing . . . hopefully the break over Christmas will allow things to develop
Can't believe it's been such a long time since the last posting . . . it's been a good opportunity to get some much-needed energy back . . . starting to feel the urges again . . .
Seems strange not being submerged in the next production . . . quite refreshing really! . . . I'm hoping I can start a few jottings . . . seems such a long time ago now . . .
Went to an interesting Study Day at the BMI in Birmingham . . . The Plays of Stella Feehily . . . someone who I hadn't heard of before . . . she's had 4 plays performed to date . . . there were a number of interesting styles being developed in her plays . . . we managed to have a canter through all 4 plays, which was a good way of getting in to the playwright. Nice stuff!
Things have been a bit too hectic the last few weeks . . . so much so I've decided it would be best to cancel the next planned Workhop Beckett & the Theatre of the Absurd . . . I don't like cancelling events but sometimes it's the right thing to do . . . and there's always the ext one further on down the line.
Beckett & the Theatre of the Absurd will be the next Workshop . . . this has been suggested by Tim Wright (and eagerly accepted by Marc Phillips!) . . . it will be the second of the Theatre-Go-Round series
of workshops . . . they are deliberatelyset at a low price (£10 for a day's workshop) . . .
Putting together ideas for a regular bi-monthly series of Workshops . . . continuing the format of the last few Workshops . . . .would like to encourage people to come along on a regular basis . . . will take a fresh angle on Theatre each time . . . will also continue with a slot for people to bring their own pieces of writing . . . exciting!
The first Workshop went extremely well . . . we managed to cover a lot of ground . . . everyone contributed and hopefully took away some nice insights . . . this Saturday's Workshop will focus on new and contemporary Theatre writing, using the experience of the first Workshop . . . people have been invited to bring a short piece of writing
Details of our next Workshop have now been sent out to everyone on our mailing list . . . just finished reading the Quality of Mercy by Peter Brook . . . a wonderful read . . . the joy is to let the unassuming style of the words reveal the hidden gems . . . I would recommend it to anyone with a real interest in Theatre . . .
Saw Tell Me About Your Ex last night at the OJST . . . an interesting production which demanded a lot from its excellent cast . . . especially liked the impro at the end . . . overall it shows that you don't have to stick to the traditional approach to make Theatre . . .
Looking forward to a week away in Canterbury, hope to get some time to bring thoughts together . . . the next NTI Workshop kicks off in a few weeks, so prep work needed there . . . also ideas are starting to form for the Spring devised piece of Theatre.
Exhausted but very satisfied . . . I got lucky with the choice of plays that I saw, a lot of very strong Theatre . . . as usual the biggest gripe was the randomness of the reviews . . . how plays I saw with incredibly high standards could only muster 3 stars beggars belief . . . not an awful lot of writing achieved, even though there was plenty of time between shows . . . but then the Edinburgh experience was really what I was there for.
Quietly was most decidedly excellent . . . still, quiet, powerful in the moment stuff . . . Chalk Farm, a lovely piece of verbatim Theatre set in the Riots of 2011, most excellent . . . last active day, overall it has been very satisfying . . . plenty of Theatre highs and a few lows . . . and Edinburgh of course.
Things have quietened down a bit . . . a disappointment was that Agammenon, the 3rd of trilogy was well below, in writing terms, the other 2 . . . still, not bad . . . The Event was another bad move, on my part . . . dreadfully contrived and intellectual . . . hardly a piece of drama in my book . . . so much for my take on drama!
Love Project was along the lines of Parklife, but it didn't ring true . . . Actors doing a whole bevy of different characters . . . verbatim Theatre that didn't come across as verbatim. It's Dark Outside - an absolute gem of a show . . . and not a word spoken (well hardly)! Beautiful puppetry work, great stylised physical acting, mixed media that actually worked, ideas that developed and grew rather than being tossed together.
A low key Theatre day . . . Our Fathers didn't really connect with me . . . Voices Made Night was well performed but what a waste of energy! Maybe the stories didn't travel well (for me!), but they seemed hopelessly out of tune with GB today. Instead had the first real drink of the Fringe - and felt better for it.
Started with a gem . . . High Plains . . . one man show . . . naturalistic and engaging . . . low key and engaging . . . wonderfully and simply presented . . . Nirbhaya was well intentionedbut unfortunately so one-noted . . . the lovely ideas got devalued everytime they got repeated . . . endings went on forever (or it seemed that way!) . . . to round things off, the second visit to the WW1 Bunker . . . this time Morgana . . . a beautiful blend of fantasy and reality . . . playful and deadly serious at the same time . . . incredible.
Arrived in Edinburgh . . . and managed to catch 2 shows . . . first one by National Theatre of Wales a big disappointment . . . too much actorly/director gimmicks . . . plot all over the place . . . the use of loud music to signify dramatic . . . however things picked up significantly with the next . . . Macbeth in the WW1 Bunker . . . haven't got enough time or words to express just how fine everything was about the production.
work now starts on our Spring production at the OJST . . . a lot of research into life back in 1914 . . . for me this is an exciting development . . . it will be part of our Brum Beats project . . . can see a lot of potential for the model of this play to be developed over a number of projects . . . much in the same way as Shakespeare developed the cycle of History plays . . . one of the more challenging aspects is to try to capture an 'essence of Brum' . . . whatever that is!
chatted with Tim at the OJST . . . how the Birmingham Fest went . . . what next for the New Theatre Initiative Workshops . . . we've booked in provisional dates . . . need to decide what the focus will be for the first one in September . . . really think these Workshops are a useful way for everyone involved to take a fresh look at Theatre . . . will be looking to include elements of creating devised Theatre . . .
bookings have now been made to spend a week at the Edinburgh Fringe . . . who knows what will be on display . . . I guess it's part of its allure . . . I always seek to nail 1 or 2 'must see' productions . . . the rest then is a bit of a mixed bag . . .
met with Darren & Ben (and Ami!) after the performance of Darren's play Sundown . . . I didn't stop for the production's Q & A . . . but their reactions confirmed to me just how unpositive these things can be . . . many just want their own personal prejudices aired . . . no thought given to the validity of what they are saying . . . some dominate and others can't get their views across . . . I think these are not the right forums for such debates . . . a personal view I know - but one nevertheless I stick to, passionately.
pleased with the performances of the cast of Parklife . . . they all did very well . . . some extremely strong performances . . . it was a challenging workshop & rehearsal process . . . a lovely bunch to work with . . . pleased they too got a lot out of it . . . excellent always round!
birmingham fest carries on for another week . . . hope to catch Darren's Sundown at the Blue Orange . . . also Tea at 5 at the Old Joint Stock Theatre . . . not sure about the final wind up bash though . . . maybe.
it's our third and final performance of Parklife yesterday . . . overall we're very pleased with the way things went . . . Parklife was a different piece of theatre for us . . . happily audiences seemed to get what we were doing . . . and enjoyed it!
birmingham theatre convention at the A.E. Harris . . . found it very inspirational . . . plenty of familiar faces . . . also lots of new ones . . . many of the usual grievances aired . . . money/venues/not joined up . . . led one of the discussion groups in the last session . . . writers & actors directly working together to create theatre . . . some good insights and useful tips . . . wait to see the reports from the whole day.