A week in London with Josh, Being Men.

Last week I travelled down to London and met up with Josh Coates, who is the director of How to be a Man. Josh had already been in London for half a week as he had performed his show Particles at CPT’s Sprint Festival. We proceeded to spend the next week working on How to be a Man, so here’s a little post about what we did.

First thing to say is that it was a bit hectic at Ovalhouse, they’d had a fire in January so space was like gold dust and the season was kicking off on the Wednesday so there was a lot going on. Nevertheless they accommodated us nicely and we were well looked after.

On the Monday we went into an office space and talked, for two hours. It’s all recorded. Josh wanted to challenge me, he wanted to find any weaknesses in what I was saying with How to be a Man and in the ways I was saying it. He wanted me to explain why I was making the show, and then tear my reasons apart. He did all of that. For two hours. It was fairly exhausting. It was also all recorded (I’m hoping to maybe cut it up and put the good bits online at some point, but that may not happen if I’m being completely honest) A lot of great things came out of that two hour chat and it set us up for a really good week. We started generating new material in a rough form for the rest of the day. Then Josh sent me back to where we were staying and said that I had to type all of the new material up, make changes to the original script and look up some facts whilst he gallivanted off to watch some theatre. Bastard.

The next few days we went into the space, we did some warm ups. I am not usually a fan of warm ups and some of the things Josh was making me do were quite different to what I would do on my own (kind of why I asked him to do it) some of them made me so uncomfortable (bearing in mind there was nothing embarrassing, I’m just very stubborn) that I just sat and glared at him for a bit, this wasn’t me refusing to do it, it was me preparing myself. I am very sorry that I was so stubborn, on the other hand, I did do everything he said, eventually. And it really did help.

We also refined the new material, we shaped it, some of it we cut, some of it we moved around.

On the last two days we did some runs, we added in some music, some fantastic music. I mean truly outstanding stuff. Honestly.

We also added in what is now one of my favourite bits of the show, it involves a bar and some drinking and a nice bit of storytelling.

I don’t want to tell you all of what we did. It would ruin it for you. Here is a basic conversation that would sum up the whole week.

Me: Hey Josh, could you come and direct my show?

Josh: Yeah sure thing.

(A week later)

Me: Josh, what did you do? Why am I now talking about strippers and masturbation?

Josh:

bender

That is pretty much exactly what he said to me and I’m fairly certain he was wearing a whit fur coat. I think maybe he slapped me too… But Josh has really helped me to say what I wanted to say. When you make something on your own it get’s hard to see if you’ve achieved what you wanted to, and having Josh on board was a massive help.

Now for the sad news. Leo, the inflatable mannequin, died. When we unpacked him he had two large holes in his head. At the end of the week we gave him a proper burial, in a bin at Ovalhouse.

To cheer you up, here’s a manly song.

And finally, don’t forget to follow these two links…

How to be a Man Crowd funding campaign. We’re a pretty long way off from the target, but there’s still two weeks left and it’s possible. So please have a look, help out if you can and share it far and wide!

How to be a Man at Ovalhouse – April 8th-11th

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