Standing Up

After some slight nerves and prop related problems on our opening night the show is now in full swing and going well. People seem to be enjoying it and the cast are definitely having fun.

We've updated the website to include photos from the show and they can be found here.

Click around, there's some nice looking stuff.

Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 1 week

There is now only one week until our run at the Etcetera Theatre begins, our final rehearsal was last night and we are ready to please. Thus I implore you to BUY TICKETS and recommend the show to friends, acquaintances and people wearing Multiple Man T-shirts. If we haven't done enough to convince you with our shorts, good reviews or friendly smiles then why not ask us something at our formspring page? Let us sell the show to you. Or ask us about food, drink and sex like everyone else.
We are ready to perform; in our full run last week we still managed to make each other laugh even though the jokes are seven months old to some of us. We have a good show; we just need people to see that.

Our first rehearsal of last week was on Monday, in which Kris and I met with "Special Guest Star Customer" Nina. It's really fun to do the same scene with different actors, you get a different, but just as valid, interpretation of the role that also makes Kris and I perform the scene differently. By forcing myself out of the natural rhythm of the scene predicated by our rehearsals with Amy it now makes it harder to return to the rhythm with Amy creating a looser, more natural performance with both actors. We took a break from constantly running the short scene which resulted in Kris and I explaining time travel theories and some string theory concepts to Nina because there's a lot more to us than pretty faces. This lead to Jackie attempting to explain The Return of Bruce Wayne to Nina whilst I gurned and shrugged. After Nina left, Kris and I performed the opening scene in front of Jackie for the first time since August and because it was so long since rehearsing it, the scene was a lot looser, we relied on instinct to move us where we needed to and some of the changed line readings fit naturally amongst everything else. It was certainly the most comfortable performance of the scene we've done, if not the best.

Tuesday was our last chance at a rehearsal with Dan so we took the opportunity to run through the second half of the play. All went very well the first time through and after some brief notes and picking out things to work on we've dove right in. The second run was another high-energy good performance, the moment Ashlynn and Liz meet is so charming and entertaining to watch but then just before my scene with Ashlynn I mentioned that my biggest fear is saying "You wear faiwy wings for wefewence.." which made Dan, Sandy and Kris erupt in giggles. And then of course I started acting up, replacing every r with a w, directing lines towards them and rudely gesturing at them whilst trying to remain natural. And then when Sandy and Kris re-entered the scene they got their revenge. Basically we performed the last few minutes of the play broken and in hysterics. And it was some of the most fun I've ever had doing a play.

As I mentioned, the full run on Thursday went really well, with us all hitting very high points. There was one stand-out mistake but the culprit was flogged and now I really wish I hadn't done that to myself. It really did go well but the post-acting drop in energy after a consistent high for 90 minutes meant I probably wasn't able to articulate thoughts and feelings to other actors afterwards, one topic in particular anyway. In those situations I find it easier to be dismissive and approach things when my head is clear than to be misunderstood or snap when in a downward slope. So, yeah, sorry if that was annoying for you.

Last night Nina was integrated into the rest of the cast, she got to see the other parts of the play and Sandy and Natalie got to watch the Customer scene with Nina playing the part. We were without Mr. Daniel Farley and I decided to run the play through but skipping over the entirety of Scene 4, which oddly enough still allows the plot to make sense but it's rather abrupt and you lose a lot of character development. Another good run, perhaps not at full energy, but still technically good and we made Nina laugh, which was a pleasant surprise. We had lighting man Julian there to get a sense of the show and watch us fight. He too seemed to enjoy the show (you probably will) and was very complimentary about our actors, which was just lovely to hear.

And that was that. I made sure to tie up all loose ends; clarifying costumes, van hire and the like before saying farewell for the week. It is going to be a weird week and weekend, I will no doubt become increasingly anxious and a small programme problem will no doubt result in me throwing something across a room. But Tuesday will bring that magical moment of entering a space we control. I hope to see you there.

And don't forget you can ask us ANYTHING on the formspring page. Here's a snippet of what to expect:

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Nina Bright (Customer 25th & 26th Nov): I would like to be able to teleport. For the sole purpose of being able to stay in bed longer.

Sandy Jarvis (Liz): Telekinetic. Able to move things with my mind [Like we don't know what that means Sandy]

Kris Wood (Kris): The ability to turn myself to smoke, a la smoke from Mortal Kombat [presumably Kris wouldn't want to be turned into an android]

Jackie O'Sullivan (Producer): Super speed. With my increased metabolism it would be socially acceptable for me to eat more.

Michael Eckett (Liam): I've always thought that combining my biochemistry knowledge with well-honed telekinesis would be pretty powerful. I could controll cell signalling, metabolic processes. And levitate like a boss.

Natalie Martins (Ashlynn): The power to teleport, so when I want to get somewhere, I don't have to sprint to make my train then awkwardly have the door shut a second before I make it, leaving me standing, out of breath and redfaced on the platform like a lemon. Plus it would probably give me 4 hours of my day back. As a bonus I wouldn't have to pay for fares, petrol or air tax, unless the government find a way of somehow taxing teleportation.
Or stop time like in 'Bernard's Watch' Did you ever watch that? Amazing.

    Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 2 weeks

    It's not long until the show now; whilst two weeks can be enough time to rehearse an entire play for companies, with our schedule (and Dan Farley's work schedule) we need to be close to show ready now. Luckily everyone has worked hard to get to this point and we're at a stage where we can confidently go through individual scenes at a high level. The next two weeks will be about piecing scenes together and performing longer stretches.

    And of course concentrating on selling tickets. Our flyers and posters are in the theatre, in the hands of our actors and in reputable comic shops in London. Now that we have a good show it is important to ensure we have a successful show. Thus I remind everyone reading that we did manage to sell over 80 tickets in the Roundhouse in one night, so to avoid disappointment at the Etcetera (42 seats) I would suggest booking tickets.

    The week just gone was about nuance. At the top of the week I rehearsed with Kris and Sandy; we are at the point where the blocking is natural and the movement fluid so that the real performances are starting to come through and this allowed me to pick out looks and gestures in key moments to reveal some emotional clarity. I touched on a quieter moment between Sandy and Kris in which Liz is pressing information from Kris regarding Liam's other artist, Ashlynn, as she is slowly figuring out how to bring everyone together. In doing so I mention a plot point from the characters past about Kris manipulating Liz into thinking Liam might fancy her and complicating their relationship. This bit of history is only vaguely alluded to in the play and happens about 18 months before the time our show covers. It's the kind of information that I have as the writer and that can help an actor understand a character but isn't necessary for the audience to be barraged with. It's sort of like comic book continuity, there's decades of it and some of it is going to mean something to some readers and affect how a character reacts to things but you can't bog down your story with it.

    Actors are still yet to ask me if a character is vegetarian or not.

    And then on Thursday we rehearsed our scenes with Dan in between talking about S&M clubs and furries.

    (Post script: Rather than Michael setting questions for a series of Cast Interviews as we have done in the past, we're opening up a Formspring page for our audience to ask the actors and creators questions. It can be anonymous, you don't have to join; you can use the opportunity to find out more about the project, its origins and influences or ask the actors about what inspires them or things about their characters)

      Countdown to Theatre Crisis: 3 weeks

      Soon after the revival of Stand-Up Comics was underway, after corralling the necessary troops and settling into our first rehearsals, I was comfortable that this iteration of the show could be better than the first. This was four weeks ago now and whilst I still think it is true, there are times when the thoughts residing in my head are not that the show will be better than before but that it has to be. And that is a very dangerous frame of mind.

      These thoughts were only compounded by our first rehearsal of this week, in which Kris and I met with Amy for the first time since August. After dutifully catching up and giving Amy an idea of how the rest of the show is progressing we stormed through Scene 2; the only scene untouched by cast changes or feedback. Almost instantly we were performing at the level we did in Summer and soon Amy was happy to start experimenting and pushing herself whilst Kris and I were content with being able to relax for a change.

      But with this cementing my notion of this performance of Stand-Up Comics having to live up to the previous one and even out do it. I started to dwell on vague doubts and criticisms attached to the final scene of the play. There is still one thing I'd like to try with regards to the Liam/Kris dynamic that I didn't this week because when meeting with Kris, Natalie and Sandy I became far too focused on a pair of fairy wings and tangibility and imagery and I let doubt infect the rehearsal, letting it take up time rather than allowing actors to craft something stronger.

      Then came our last rehearsal of the week, with Kris, Sandy, Dan and me laughing our way through the night. All previous doubts were washed away by the enjoyment of the experience and the knowledge that we were doing well. Halfway through the week, being three weeks away from our performance at the Etcetera, felt tight, now it feels like all the time in the world. Surely enough time to make the show the best it has ever been and I strongly encourage you to buy tickets and see for yourself.