Lovely to hear that Tiger Tale went down well at the Dublin Dance Festival this week. A great ✪✪✪✪✪ review.
My friend Ja-wé is turning 40 today. He said I needed to think ahead and worry less about the present. So I have decided to invest in property and not go out any more.
Still writing a play and casting for an as yet un-named sitcom that I have written with Ben Lewis.
Casting is strange. If only all actors knew how very random it is. My advice would be not to self-tape on an iPhone. And definitely think twice before involving a bucket of shit, a toy pony and a glue-gun.
I love music. I can't imagine not having it. This world would be dead. That's my update. I wish I were a better blogger and had recipes or something. Or cats. Or I had made a rocket from Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate bottles and fired it at the moon, immediately smoothing out its craters and gullies, making it look 20 years younger. All I've got is a hum and an orthopaedic desk chair.
8 out of 10 say they prefurrrrred it.
The Voice Thief has been nominated for 4 Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS): Jenny Hulse for best Female Performance; Best Show for Children and Young People; Karen Tennent for Best Design; and finally Best Technical Presentation. 'Splendid' said the Wolf to the Archdeacon. 'Lovely' said the dancing girl to the yo-yo dancer. 'Eat my hat!' screamed the babies and we all went to town in a little brown boat.
It has taken a while, but finally a page about the promenade show I made with Catherine Wheels last year in the basement of Summerhall in Edinburgh.
“everything a piece of theatre should be: not just funny, tense and alarming, but politically engaged, angry and inspirational.” ★★★★★ The Guardian
Writing a play for the Royal Court and the feeling overtakes me that everything is linked. At night I read War and Peace until it's one o'clock in the morning and the girls and boys from the pub are screaming on the street outside. Read Pitchfork Disney again to see what exactly happens in a play. Looking back at photos from two development weeks I realised that part of researching and exploring stories seems to involve me repeatedly taking my trousers off and running around various rehearsal rooms in my pants. And then War and Peace again and transfixed by Pierre's experience of the battlefield. Like Thomas Hardy it seems so modern. Everything it describes is with us now. I spend a week in Tramway, Glasgow with 3 incredible dancers and Natasha Gilmore looking at Little Red Riding Hood. Once more I take my trousers off. In the dark the wolf appears. He's so fascinating. I think I want to live in the woods. Argue with friends about using the term 'London' to mean a rich, powerful and isolated elite. People here in London say 'Scotland' and mean something equally untrue and vague. Hopefully on Wednesday there will be news about spring. Will I get to spend time in the woods, filming horses, bow and arrows and people in armour? Fingers crossed...
Today it begins! The lines are learned, the story ready, now we begin the mammoth task of lighting and getting the sound in place for The Voice Thief. It's incredible how the design team have transformed the entire basement of Summerhall into MIEVH (The MacKenzie Institute for the Encouragement of Vocal Harmony). There is a Vocal Cocoon, an aural and oral decontamination passage, a laboratory for the capture and treatment of difficult voices and under it all runs a dark, dark secret that threatens to destroy it all.
I've just walked through the facility and heard a few of the hundreds of voices that Doctor MacKenzie has captured, voices from all over the world that are sent to MIEVH for treatment. I was also given 5 minutes access to the Vocal Periscope, which can pick up sounds from across the city, where I heard what sounded like a dog licking a cobble stone on the Royal Mile. The detail is incredible.
With over 2,500 vocal containers/jars, 3 control centres, 45 speakers, 60 metres of dance floor, 312 sound cues, 34 metres of aluminium tubing, 47 feather dusters and more mirror-balls than a Shona Reppe show The Voice Thief is going to be a deliciously scary show you won't want to miss. Tickets are on sale here and the audience is limited to 30 at a time so book now or be disappointed...forever!
I wrote a new version of Peter Pan a couple of years back for Sherman Cymru. I'm delighted to see that it has been picked up by French publishers l'Arche who did a beautiful job of publishing Pondlife or Simon la Gadouille as it is know across la Manche. Simon is about to go on a tour of France directed by Phillipe Marteau of Theatre des Lucioles and someone else seems to be doing it in Geneva to 100 kids who all get blindfolded to listen to the show. What a great idea.
Two weeks has flown by and 16 shows of Pondlife have come and gone. After the slightly flying by the seat of your pants nature of Kappa, where you never knew quite how the classroom would be set up, it was nice to be in the controlled conditions of the New Victory Theatre. Indeed, the show took place right on stage, something that I think the audience for Pondlife found really exciting and once the air conditioning had been cranked up a few notches was also quite fun for Andy and Craig. The audiences have been great. I suppose it’s unusual to have a show quite as bare as Pondlife is when the intended audience is families and young people. Just a few rolls of carpet, 4 boxes and minimal sound and lights is all the theatre provides, the rest is done by Andy and his storytelling skills. It’s always a pleasure to see an audience slowly settle down, stop waiting for the other actors to come on and get lost in the world of the story. It was particularly nice to see New Yorkers enjoy this tale set in a distant Scottish primary school and only one girl asked Andy afterwards why he was speaking British.
This week I also led a workshop for New York artists interested in making work for young people. It was a blast. Workshop leading is often a case of making people feel comfortable enough to try out new ideas and not worry if they fail. They have to fail for it to be any good, but often participants understandably find it hard to dive in. Not these guys. They weren’t afraid to fail and fail and fail some more and as a result they were completely and wholeheartedly successful. All the participants had to make installations based around Little Red Riding Hood and as we were about to share the work I realised I couldn’t wait to see them all. They were thrilling. It was like our own tiny little show. I hope everyone involved goes on to make more work. I felt they had the skill and imagination to make some beautiful things.
So, now we fly back to the UK with copies of the New York Times under our arms. “acutely perceptive and quietly devestating”. Not a bad note to be leaving on. We’ve been to schools in the Bronx and Harlem, seen Penny Arcade screaming at her audience, walked the High-Line and performed on 42nd St, but most of all we finally had the 4 cheese gnocchi that Andy wouldn’t stop going on about. And it was DELICIOUS! MMMMMMMMMMM!
Artists Workshop at the New Victory