Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 4 weeks

This was a week of confrontation and not just because Sandy and I worked on the fight scene as much as possible or because I've taken to kicking Natalie every time she slumps but because I have been confronted with the reasons and motivations for the play's existence that I haven't considered since I finished writing it. It's a lot like Grant Morrison's Animal Man in which Animal Man meets Grant Morrison, except not like that and more like a therapy session with an unlicensed stranger.

Monday's rehearsal was between Natalie and myself as we worked on Ashlynn as a character and her relationship with Liam. It wasn't all kicking and ridicule from a "professional" towards a tired girl; we sat down and talked through the subtext of Ashlynn's lines and the concept of Ashlynn as a symbol and instrument of change in Liam via her requests not to be treated symbolically.

Tuesday brought Sandy, Kris and I back together and was our first opportunity to try out some of the softer things Kris and I had spoken about, which have ended up working really well. Now, more familiar with the blocking and lines, small things are popping up like Sandy furiously drawing name badges and a collective of weird walks. Honestly a lot of the play is becoming impromptu weird walks across the stage. The small things come as a result of the time we spend getting to know one another now. Being together for some time now we cover loads including the weird times we've been on TV (Nickelodeon, Sock Puppets and fake wii) and more personal things like school, growing up and failed early romances.

Thus Kris and I applied this approach to our first rehearsal with SPECIAL GUEST STAR NINA BRIGHT (appearing November 25th and 26th). We spent a rather large amount of the rehearsal talking about Ryan Gosling, Drive, The fight scenes in Kung Fu Panda 2, favourite movies in general, Texas Battle and, our favourite subject, Demolition Man. We did this in the hope that by understanding me and Kris she will understand the piece. And because we really like Demolition Man. I also answered Nina's questions on whether "The Customer" exists in real life and wound up giving a brief history of comics from 1980 onwards and it must not have been fun for her.


Thursday marked two years since I met Dan, it was my Danniversary, and Sandy encouraged my noting of the date by bringing muffins for us all to devour whilst rehearsing. The long week had finally taken its toll on me though as I (and everyone else) wound up cracking up at some of those smaller moments and jokes that we've been peppering throughout the script. A nice way to end the week but I shall have to be tougher next time we go through this scene so that the audience can laugh as much as we have been.

Alongside rehearsals Kris has finished designing the poster which you can see on our Productions page and I created a facebook event for the performance. So if you want to declare your commitment to us to an entire social network, you are now able to. We're nice like that.

Confronted with memories and questions, by people new and old, by worries and stress. And we're surviving. It should be a good show.

Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 5 weeks

Reunions are tricky, just read any issue of Green Lantern where Hal has to say "Hi" to characters he'd previously killed when possessed by a yellow fear demon or watch the documentary about Steps reforming. This week was the big Sigil Club reunion for Stand-Up Comics and it featured more fights than a Green Lantern comic but less fights than Steps. Of course our fight was a choreographed fight between Sandy and myself, which is a slightly changed version of the Liam/Liz fight, now taking advantage of stuff Sandy can bring to it and will result in my having to stretch every day.

Tuesday was to be the first time Natalie and Sandy met each other as we rehearsed the final scene of the play but Dan Farley also decided to come down, offer insight and take the opportunity to meet Natalie when he might not get another chance. What that resulted in was big introductions, the five of us telling stories to Natalie, generally catching up and my favourite rhythmic nonsense warm-up as seen in a Sainsburys advert.

We've made a lot of progress this week; lines are almost perfect, Natalie has had a bit of time to settle in, my chemistry with Sandy in the initial read for the Liam/Liz moment has made me really positive about that and based on feedback from the summer show I spent Thursday with Kris going over parts of the script where we could bring different things out of his performance. And Dan comfortably returned to the role made for him whilst working well with the changes that Sandy brings. Though it's hard to stop a terrifying man with a booming voice and a shovel.

With everyone together this week we took the opportunity to take new photos for the poster/ flyers and sent this through to the Etcetera Theatre to put up on their website



Which means tickets are now on sale! And can be purchased from http://bit.ly/SUCtkt and I highly recommend purchasing some because it's looking like it's going to be a very exciting show and at £7.50 it will be better value than a Steps concert.

Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 6 weeks

It was a bust week for the Sigil Club including a trip to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I say "trip", what I mean is I went to see the film with Jackie. But we also saw and waved at Stripped actor Kate Quinn, so that counts, right? Bookending that were our auditions and rehearsals, which, whilst time consuming, were really enjoyable.

I started the week with Jackie and Kris, auditioning/interrogating the many brave women who wanted to audition for the role of Ashlynn. We saw a plethora of talented actresses, many different interpretations of lines and I consistently cracked up at the impeccable timing of every actress when they came to deliver one line in particular. And whilst it was tempting to put off the decision and listen to Kris's stories of the Channel 4 complaints department and the one person who consistent complained of aliens contacting him, we eventually found our Ashlynn. So come the 22nd-27th of November we will happily be staring alongside Natalie Martins.

On the other side of the "great Tinker Tailor divide" was a rehearsal with me, Kris and Sandy. I was struggling to remember a short story about a pig, Kris had overdosed on Snapple and Sandy was celebrating but we managed to pull ourselves together for a mad rehearsal. Much like Liz in the play, Sandy's presence in the scenes/ rehearsals is taking Kris and I out of our comfort zone; blocking is changing, emphasis is shifting and it has resulted in a refreshing and exciting experience. Scenes 3 and 4 are still very loose but once we get as much humour out of the as we can, we'll repeat the moves until it's reflex; a perfect, exaggerated image like a comic panel.

Next week I'll bring you links to tickets, images and hopefully a message of joy.

Merry Michael Eckett

Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 7 weeks

There is a long standing trope in comic books of people coming back to life; dead does not mean dead. One could be injected with a cure for a terrible virus, that can only be made airborne with the death of its first user, punched to death by a prehistoric alien with bones sticking out of it, or have one's existence snuffed out by fear of riots and still come roaring back at some point.

After having the second night of our Camden Fringe performance cancelled, Stand-Up Comics will be returning...or relaunching to use the current buzzword of the comics industry.

New theatre! Cast changes! Same dedication and energy!

We shall be entertaining in London between the 22nd and 27th of November and will be providing more details and links to buy tickets as soon as possible.

Until then I shall be your guide as we battle our way towards opening night, bringing you word of our triumphs and losses. One such loss is that Ellie Ross is no longer available to play Liz but we are lucky enough to have Sandy Jarvis, who previously portrayed Ashlynn, step up and be our new Liz. News of our new Ashlynn should surface in next week's update.

Our first rehearsal was Thursday and it was just Sandy, Kris and myself catching up and running the Liz introduction scene a few ways. We read through the scene with no strict blocking to give Kris and I a chance to see if we still knew our lines and to give Sandy the experience of chasing us around stage. We did another run in a style of a game from 'Whose Line is it Anyway' in which during the scene one of us must be standing, one on the floor and one sitting (either on the desk on on the chair) with the other actors accommodating when one of us changed positions. (This may have resulted with me rolling off a desk and on to the floor, but we are unlikely to keep that in the final piece). For our third run I asked Sandy to boil down Liz's motivation for the scene, the one thing she wants more than anything else and to then go through the scene solely dedicated to that one simple motivation with Kris and I acting as antagonists to that need. Sandy decided that Liz wants her friends attention to get them to spend time with her, and with Kris and I attempting to ignore her and have out own little feuds it resulted with Sandy stepping in between us a lot or following us around which was fun.

In between we stopped and caught up with each other, lamented the loss of our second night at the Roundhouse, rejoiced that we're moving to a space where there will be less hassle with complex materials like doors, went into semi-detailed accounts of Chlamydia screening and where bacteria fester and generally laughed and teased each other in the way that professionals do when they're tired of acting professionally.

After seeing a sign for a lecture/meeting entitled "Issues with modern culture" I decided it would make a pretty decent subtitle for a Stand-Up Comics venture, but I don't think we'll be adding it just yet. In future installments I shall chronicle our adventures, jokes and mistakes within rehearsals as well as updating you on new production details. But for now the return of SUC is feeling exactly as it should, a hint of nostalgia fueled by new energy.