Setting the Scene

Stand-Up Comics is about comic books. To me comics are quintessential representations of the idea that anything is possible. Indeed Superheroes and Pulp protagonists act as grandiose extensions of our desires and insecurities but the books themselves are a testament to what we can create with unbridled imagination. Comics are not limited to a budget or technology, merely whatever the individuals involved can dream up with paper and pen. They are Da Vinci’s dwellings on man and visions of flying machines rolled into one, with metaphor and action to boot. Stand-Up Comics in story and design is embracing of this idea; it is us not asking “What can we do?” but rather “What can’t we do?”

However there is a stigma attached to comic books, that they are for children, that they are rudimentary and unintelligent. Perhaps comic books have appealed mostly to children because they are less cynical and still willing to believe that, yes, anything is possible. And thus we as producers of the show were forced to take on the archetypal role of villain. We had to trick you into coming by portraying the show as something other than comics, as something familiar like a television sitcom about situations we can all relate to such as the tribulations and fragility of friendship. We’ve also taken your money but I think that’s more earned rather than treachery.

The sitcom tropes are all there, they’re just displayed through a four colour, comic book filter and onto a theatre mentality. The single set ‘Work-Com’ perfectly transfers onto stage, however detailed set-dressing becomes something more abstract and a minimalist representation of a space. Shelves aren’t shelves but a 2D backdrop imbued with vibrant comic colours. Comic book captions and sound effects can become something visceral, invading our characters' physical world. By painting the characters’ everyday lives as something epic, we aim to connect our audience to comic book mythology and tropes. The events which impact our protagonists’ lives aren’t a radioactive spider bite, magical lightning bolt or lab explosion; Liam is stuck in what feels like a Batman villain's death-trap, Kris fears what he may be turning into and Liz interprets her friends falling out as the end of her world. We amplify the reactions and surroundings to highlight just what the tragedies and fights mean on a personal level. The catalyst that can transform your life could appear at any moment and in a more humdrum form than you are expecting.

We guide the audience to make the connection between their world and the hyperreality our characters inhabit because if the Sigil Club are the villains of this piece and the show itself is the catalyst of transformation, who do you think is our hero?

The story we tell in the play takes place over one day, but it is just one story in the expansive world of Stand-Up Comics that exists in my mind. We treat the show as though it’s an episode of serial television or an issue of a comic, as a further method of both presenting the audience with something comfortable whilst duping them into enjoying something from sequential art and linking fiction with life. There are ‘episodes’ the audience haven’t seen but they don’t need to have. The characters’ world, like ours is much bigger and whilst the events at the time are crucial to them, there is a much wider story as well. This, along with our non-traditional aesthetic and the conundrum Liam faces about what to write, form our message about not letting others restrict us.

We need not worry about our past, our present is an adventure and our future, the next page, is blank and we can fill it with whatever we want.

There are also penis jokes to stop people thinking we’re pretentious.