So, I did say I would post this blog on Tuesday. That said, I had a couple of days off work and out of rehearsals and I decided to take a bit of time off. Anyway, it was my birthday on Thursday, so I ate nice food, drank whiskey and had a lovely time. Besides, I’m sure you don’t care that much. Or do you? No, probably not.
I was going to put in a summary of the feedback that I recieved and what I intend to do with the Waiting Man from here, but this post would have been waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long if I did that. So you’ll have to wait. I’m sure you can 🙂
So the shows. I will apologise for not remembering all the details of the makers, it was over a week ago and that feels like a long time ago.
The first was entitled One. It was a one woman show and I had some misgivings. It started out nicely with a voice recording of the performer, sat in a rehearsal space, describing how scary and difficult it can be to make a solo show and how strange it would be to go from being alone in a rehearsal space to performing in front of a crowded room. It was a nice image, a tape recorder sat on a chair on an otherwise empty stage. That said, the first half of the show was about making a solo show which I personally didn’t find interesting. Then the topic changed and became about loneliness. This is a much more interesting topic, however the massive, and unexplained change in topic threw me. If you’re making a show about one thing, I don’t feel that you can just change topic without acknowledging it. The performer also kept swapping between performer and actor, which was inconsistent and it makes audiences uncomfortable, and not in a good way. Still, it wasn’t all bad, there we some nice moments and I liked the performer, but the show needs work. She was more than likely aware of this, hence she took it to a scratch night.
The next was a one man show set in 1930’s Soviet Russia and the central voice of the piece was that of a dog. The story was entertaining, the performer was fantastic, easily and convincingly swapping between the central dog protagonist and several human characters. I really enjoyed this piece. I did get a bit thrown when one of the prompts for feedback asked if it was clear that the central character was a monstrous half dog, half human creation. This wasn’t clear. The piece didn’t need that, it was well worth watching without it and unless it’s vital to the story later on in the piece, I don’t think it’s necessary.
The third piece was another solo show called 25 and was about turning 25. It was autobiographical. The performer talked about some of the experiences she’s had in her 25 years of life, missed opportunities, goals and desires. It was a lovely piece. It featured one section that I really enjoyed during which a letter that the performer had asked her mum to write to her 25 year old self was read out. In this performance it was read out by her actual mum, which was a nice touch. Whilst this happened the performer went round the audience and collected slips of paper that people had written goals and dreams for their next landmark birthday. After the letter had been read out these were shown to the whole audience. It was really nice and got the audience involved in a fun way. I really liked this piece, it was honest and funny. It had light hearted moments and some more melancholy ones. What we saw was only segmented moments of a longer piece but I still really enjoyed it and would love to see the full performance.
Finally there was a piece that relied entirely on the audience for its content. There was no onstage presence except a screen. On this screen there were videos that had been edited together during the evening. These video’s were of audience members answering two questions.
1. What is your favorite word?
In between the two sections the audience were asked to write down their favorite thing, be it a number, word, object etc, and tie them to two pieces of string hung across the stage. At the end the audience were asked to have a look at the other things hung on the string, and if they liked any they were invited to take one home.
Again, this was a nice piece. It was very short and felt like it belonged more in an gallery as an installation that grew and developed rather than on a stage. That said, I can imagine that if there were more elements and it was possible to see the makers editing and constructing the piece whilst it went on it would work in a theatre. It created a nice sense of community and was just very pleasant.
Once again, this is quite a long post. So I’m going to save my feedback for another time. I’ve managed to get three blog posts out of this one day in Newcastle. Doing well.
I would also like to repeat, if you have any work that you want to try out, or if you would like to go to an evening of interesting and varied theatrical experiences as well as having the opportunity to provide feedback and have an impact on the work you see. You should apply or go along to Northern Stage for first in three. The next one is on May 23rd.
Here’s a link… Link