Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Voice Reel 1 - Sin City

Got back from Edinburgh to find my completed voice reel had arrived. 10 tracks I'm hoping to use to get me some radio and audio play work.

Thought I'd let you hear my favourite.

So for your pleasure David reads - That Yellow Bastard

Monday, 17 August 2009

One Man Lord of the Rings

I caught up with this show in Edinburgh, which is by Charlie Ross, the guy who did One Man Star Wars to much critical acclaim.

I also got the priviledge to get an interview with him. Check out my review and interview here - One Man LoTR review and interview

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Diary of the Strange 1: Pirate at the Bus Stop

So I was waiting to get the bus to work last night and this pirate was looking at apartments in the estate agents. He turned round and I noticed that he'd been shopping at Budgens, which surprised me for some reason. I don't know why.

He got a different bus to me.

Friday, 14 August 2009

First Professional Review of belle Canto

Belle Canto's Opera Hour: Tales of Love and Lies
Belle Canto
The premise of this romp through the world of opera was sweet and original. Our main characters, Belle and Scherzo, created a storyline around the tropes of the opera world with beautiful singing; the between-song exposition was a little stilted, however, as the dialogue let down what could have been a really well-rounded and interesting piece. The costumes were beautiful and the set well-designed, but again this was failed by poor lighting, which will hopefully be sorted out as the show's run progresses; no-one wants to be singing in the dark. The live music was lovely, though, and, despite the smallness of the space, it happily held Bizet, Mozart, Verdi and more. You'll be humming 'Libiamo' all the way to the mile.
Sweet ECA, 6 - 31 Aug (not 17, 24), 4.20pm (5.10pm), £8.00 (£7.00), fpp166.
tw rating: 3/5

This is from the publication Three Weeks

Again, I'm happy, apart from the ongoing fiasco with the lights. The people before us kep screwing them up for us and the rig is a bit crappy anyway. The lights haven't been right once yet. Its really annoying/

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Reviews of my show

Ir's a real weird feeling to watch a show, really enjoy it, and think "I did that". Although technically, it should be "we did that", because I left it in the hands of the most capable Joanne Bonniface while I went of to Poland.

Anyway I have watched Belle Canto's opera hour quite a few times now and I love it every time. What's really scary is waiting for the reviews to come in.

Apparently there has been one professional reveiw so far which I haven't seen, but some of the reviews from people who have been to see it have started to trickle in.

Here's the latest 3.

So good we saw it twice

13 Aug 2009

reviewer: Nick and Sarah Page, UK
A highly enjoyable show with a wide range of music woven into an examination of love and passion. Seasoned opera lovers will enjoy the beautifully sung arias - including lesser known ones. An ideal introduction for those who have never seen opera before, with enough familiar tunes to draw you in and a storyline to put into context what you are listening to. The cast brought out the full emotion and eroticism of opera in an intimate setting. Two of us went yesterday and we came back with six more people today!

11 Aug 2009
reviewer: Kay Dee,,
A lovely introduction to opera. Beautiful singing and playing. Almost a 5 (too many half costume changes, which aren't really necessary)

11 Aug 2009
reviewer: keith, scotland
The perfect introduction to the seductive power of great opera. It's basically the same idea as Scottish Opera's "Essential" tours - a linked programme of short and well-chosen arias, beautifully performed at close range and with minimal props by a versatile and hugely talented troupe of singers. The links let it down slightly, being palpable nonsense, but the charm and excellence of the performances make this a real oasis of afternoon delight.

I never knew
10 Aug 2009
reviewer: David Gilhaedril, Britain
I'm not an opera fan, but this show was so joyous, so sad in places and so much fun in others that its awakened my desire to find out more. The cast are obviously enjoying what they do and are doing it well. This is a damn good way to spend an hour.

Ok so thats 4 but what the hell. I'm pretty damn pleased so far.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Geek Theatre Review - Bane

As a host of Geek Syndicate, I’m always on the lookout for geek stuff and there is a plethora of it on TV, in comics, books and the movies. As an actor I have recently been thinking about the perceived lack of it on stage. Earlier this year, a Geek Syndicate listener wrote a sketch for me, that was set aboard the International Space Station and this was later performed. So it was with a great deal of curiosity that I thought that I could use my limited time at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival to investigate what existed of Geek Culture on stage.

Perusing the fringe guide the first thing that my eyes fell on was Bane. Here’s the blurb –

“Bruce Bane is a hired hand that gets the job done. Join Bane as he works his way through the city in this dark comedic tale of revenge. One-man film noir parody with live music.”

My first thought was that the name was disturbingly familiar to Bruce Banner, alter ego of the Incredible Hulk. My second thought was I like film noir. My third was this could be really bad.

So armed with my Geek Syndicate press pass, a pen and a paper I went to check it out.
It starts with a guitarist playing a bluesy Latino theme tune, which turns into a suspenseful strum, as we are party to an offstage panicked phone call. Eventually we see the character making the call. He is scared and packing, obviously intending to get out of town. Another, invisible character enters, killing him. The actor wheels round makes a machine gun sound and shouts “Bane”. The movie has begun.

Bane is a nasty piece of work, who shoots first and isn’t even bothered about the questions. For the next hour, the writer performer Joe Bone single handedly and without props takes you through a week in the life of Bruce Bane. He also plays all the other characters, Alonso the Italian Chef, Mavis the receptionist, Victor Necropolis, the mad scientist and more; each character clearly defined and represented.

This is a brilliant story; it has everything you want from a noir production, thrills, spills, twists in the plot and a brilliant villain with a unique method of killing his victims. To my surprise, the narrative held together very well, with plot elements weaving in and of the story appropriately.
Wonderfully Bone manages to incorporate a lot of action into this show. Not only are the fight scenes graphic, fun and well executed but he even pulls of a pretty good car chase.

The writer/performer obviously has his geek credentials well established as I saw references to Leon, Blues Brothers, Batman, Back to the Future and Kill Bill amongst others.

This was a well spent hour, funny and dramatic by turns. If you should get the chance to see Bane by Whiteface Productions, then do. Somehow, one man, a bare stage and a guitarist made the most wonderful cinematic theatre I’ve seen and the best thing is that in good cinema tradition, they’ve left it open for a sequel.

Goodbye Poland - Hello Scotland

So I'm back in a wi-fi world now. I'll come back to talking about Poland soon. On Wednesday morning I arrived back in London. In the evening, I rehearsed the opera Orfeo and Eurydice which I'm directing for the first week of September; and then on Thursday morning I flew of to Edinburgh to help tech the show Belle Canto's Opera hour - tales of Love and Lies.

The tech was an umitigated disaster because of some problems with the venues and our show that day was cancelled. I had an emergency which meant I had to fly back to london and trained back to Edinburgh the following day.

The show however is going very well and I'm going onthe search for some sci-fi/fantasy theatre

Friday, 31 July 2009

Making The tempest - Gdansk Day 5

Went to Sopot tonight, which is a seaside town and way more impressive than your average English seaside town. More going on, lively and fun. We went to this open air Martini bar which was just class. Going to this bar is also the reason tonights blog is so short, if you take my meaning.

There are a lot of kebab places in Poland and this is by far the best. We saw it on the way home and tell me, is there a better name for a kebab joint?

And finally a pic of me from today's rehearsal

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Making The tempest - Gdansk Day 4

Today I felt truly awake for the first time since I got here, which is a problem since I only got the chance to start learning my lines on Sunday. However apart from a killing muscular pain in my back I'm doing good. Another 10 hours of rehearsal, dinner at the mexican under the hotel, with the hot staff and an hours script work before bed.

Language Watch

So today I learned how to say "It's a pleasure to meet you". Which has already come in very handy and made certain girls blush. I will endeavour to say it with slightly less suggestiveness in my voice.

Stagecraft part 2

I thought I'd show you how we are constructing one of the scenes that makes use of video cameras today. We worked really hard at getting it down and I think it's gonna look impressive. In this scene Prospero's daughter Miranda is getting all hot on Ferdinand the prince of Naples. However in this production, Prospero never leaves his cell. We ae trying to communicate his power comes from knowledge, technology and surveillance. So the challenge is to make the dialogue happen using the whole stage, without Prospero leaving the area that represents his cell and using technology.

So in the first picture you can see me filming Prospero.The next picture is actually the same thing from a different angle so that you cant see me.
The monitor that Prospero is looking at is linked to another camera focussing on the performance space and it his link to the action. The two vaguely people shaped blurs you can see on the monitor are Miranda and Ferdinand. he next few are examples of what the scene looks like as Miranda and Ferdinand interact with Prospero's image.

What do you think? Does it work?

Quiet on the Set

We also did some outdoor filming today of one of the scenes that will have to pre-recorded. We had one rehearsal and only had time for One Take, but there were three cameras. What thats gona look like after editing is anyones guess. But the audience will see us walking out the door and then the pre-recorded footage outside giving us time to get into place for the next scene.

Busking Shakespeare

I have to sing 4 songs in this and so far I've just been making up the tunes. So I sat down with Philip Parr the co-director and he scored a couple of the tunes for me. He adapted one from what I had been doing already. What he didn't know was that I had based the tune on the Lay of Gilgalad from the radio production of Lord of the Rings. Ah yea - get your geek on Ninja!.

If you fancy a little preview heres a few seconds of a early rehearsal version - Five fathoms


I was gona tell ou about that today but I can actually hear my bed calling my name. It's disturbing the other guests so I'll do it tomorrow!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Making The tempest - Gdansk Day 3

Ok first lesson people. if you ever come to Poland bear this in mind. These people eat big. They don't believe in small portions. For example, I had a huge grilled Salmon salad for lunch but couldn't resist the had yogurt, bannana, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and who knows what take a look for yourselfThe point is I gotta stop ordering more than one course because there is no such thing as a small portion over here. Oh and a different lady laughed at me today.

I must learn my lines, I must learn my lines, I must......

I am so so tired right now. The busyness of the past few weeks is finally catching up with me and its making it hard to learn lines. This worries me because i'm not brilliant at learning lines anyway and evryone else is far ahead of me. However I have no choice. I've given myself up till the end of Thursday to be of book, which is scary as our first show is Saturday.


But things are starting to take shape. This is my area. The place where Ariel stands for the whole play. You can see the video camera that will be pointed at me, two microphones (as well as the radio mic in my hair), a light facing me and the sail behind me, the other side of which faces the audience. this makes for an interesting dynamic for the actor - me. The audience can see me a little, they can see whatever the camera picks up and they can see my shadow through the sail. It means I have to deliver a performance which is mndful of all 3 things. I have to perform to the camera whilst moving my body to make the image on the sail evocative and interesting and maintain character for the times that I can be directly seen by the audience. Quite a challenge to master in a few days, but thanks to Aysha our movement coach I think we can do this. This picture on the right should give you a feel for the stage as a whole. On the right, the big black thing is a screen where inages will be shown, to the left you can just about see the rostra covered by the sail which forms the front of the area I'll be behind. And to the right of that you can just make out a wide screen tv which will also have film on it.

A big part of this is trying to work out how the staging will work especially as everybody is doubling up. This is the cast trying out a scene while Scott films it during and as part of the performance. And the desired product, a symbolic meeting of hands is broad cast. This forms part of the scene being performed simultaneously.

As I think you can see the execution of this show is very complicated.

Language Watch

Today I learned 2 phrases - "What is your name? "and "My name is ". Magda and Suzanne were very impressed except for the fact that we already knew each other's name.

Black in Gdansk

I have manged to recruit techie David into playing the spot the person spotting the black guy game. My aim is to get a smile out of people but David has decided he somehow wants to take pictures of the people reacting to my presence.

Did you know?

You can get done for Jaywalking over here. You actually have to wait for the green man!!!

Coming soon

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the subtext and someone emailed me asking what exactly I meant by that. Exploring the sub text is a vital part of the actors toolkit. I'll explain about it tomorrow because right now I'm too tired to do aquareobics, so I'm gone to bed. Later.

Making The tempest - Gdansk Day 2

Guns & Reggae

This is proving to be a truly collaborative effort. We got into the theater space today. It's a place called Club Zac which apparently doubles as a nightclub and has a health reggae scene....who'd have thought. I was a bit put out by the security cards from the accurately named SOLID security company and even more out out by the guns at their belts, but I was consoled by the thought that i had grown up watching kung-fu movies and all that absorbed knowledge would proabaly make me really adept at catching bullets, so it was ok.

Radio mics and other stuff

So the tech guys got busy making the place while the actors practised lines, or location work , or whatever. By whatever I mean stuff like this -This is David the sound guy trying to work out where best to hide the radio mic in my locs. There is also the erecting of a sail cloth. Behind which, apparently I will spend the entire performance as Ariel and Prospero will be in front of it facing the audience. There will be a camera trained on me the whole time and the image sent to a huge screen on stage with whichI will interact with the other actors. When I'm not on video, they will send my voice to different parts of the theatre. I think it will be impressive. Still a litttle concerned about how we do the scenes when Ariel talks to my other character Sebastian.

But this is a fascinating process, we have coaboratively edited the script, decided on location, use of film, staging etc., and the the whole crew is brilliant. Good people, who listen and take your opinion on board. This is a good project.

How many dave's is too many

This computer/ audio visual deck is actually part of the set and elucidates the surveillance/power theme running throughtout the show and although I've still got a long way to go on the lines, I really managed to hammer out some of the subtext with the other cast members. Actually this pic is literally every other cast member. Bryony, dave, Scott and Brett (from Left to right). oh yea I should mention there are 3 Dave's working on this show.

Language Watch

Ah yes, language. I have increased my vocab to include the words - Yes, No, Sorry, I don't understand and OK. I think I'm doing pretty good so I can't understand why the lady serving me food today laughed at me...actually at my attempt to disguise it...I have no idea why?

Black in Gdansk

Another interesting thing I meant to mention yesterday was that I am the only black person I have seen. I thought there would be a lot of staring....there was. However in the middle of town it was pretty subtle and non intrusive (apart from the lady who stopped, stared, exclaimed and called her friends to have a look, but she was quite clearly the town crackhead). However as you get more into the suburbs, the looks tend to be a bit more blatant. Well fair enough I suppose, we all stare at that which is different, I haven't been treated badly in any way so alls good.

....and finally

Oh yea, remember the thing about disguising the radio mic in my hair - which do you prefer, in the center or of to the side.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Making The tempest - Gdansk Day 1

So after 3 hours sleep and a comfortable 2 hour flight. I have arrived in Gdansk, whereupon we were greeted by two lovely Polish girls called Suzanne and Magda, who were looking after us. Now thats what I'm talking about, thats how you greet vistors to your country. Send the babes out to meet them.

Anyway we got ourselves ensconsed in a seriously lovely hotel, and really why do people have to cuss just cos i got the double bed. Life is unfair people - we just gotta deal with it.

So settled in and then we went into Gdansk proper to have a look around. incredible - a beautiful city with an obviously rich history, judging by the architecture.

We had dinner in this restaurant where the girls wore very shrt skirts - not that I noticed that! Because we were sat opposite the weirdest tableau of stuffed wild boars. I kid you not. Check out the pic on the left if you don't believe me...and this doesn't even show the carnage that was on the wll above it.

We had a bit of an adventure on the way back with the trams as we got a little confused and were eventually helped out by a family with which we shared not one bit of the same language with. Actually thats a lie - i have decided to learn 2 new words a day and use them each day. Todays words are Hello and Goodbye and people seem to understand me. I've also been assured I know the words for shit and whore, but I think a conversation that includes the words "Hello shit whore, goodbye," is probably not the way to go.

Finished the day with a Mexican??!! and 3 hours script work with the cast. Tomorrow the works starts in earnest. We got 5 days to sort everything out and the outcome is far from assurred.

making the tempest -pt 1

For those of you that don't know I am in a mutli-media production of Shakespeares The Tempest for the Gdansk Shakespeare festival in Poland. its a higly exmperimental production and indeed has 5 actors (playing 12 parts) and 10 technical crew.

I got the script a week ago, we've had 2 reherasals and we know this isn't the final cut of the script and we have a wek to go. How's it gonna work out. I don't know. Watch this space!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Arctic Vestibule

It's been a long time since I've written any fiction nad thats a shame because I dearly love writing fiction. So in an attempt to combat this I twittered that I wanted to write a short story and that I would like a couple of random words to inspire me. The words I got back were both from my lovely friend Elly in Austrailia. Arctic and Vestibule. To a normal man with a normal brain that would have been a problem but not to me. No siree. I have just finished this story on one of the 12 hour night shifts I find myself doing at the moment and shall post it once I've edited it. Keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

How was the opera?

For those that remember my post just below the post just below. the opera was a resounding success. I measured this in 2 ways. I wanted those who ad no experience of opera not only to enjoy the show but to follow the story, a challenge as it was in Italian. The feedback from this demographic was overwhelmingly positive.

And secondly I wanted the experienced opera goers to have a whale of a time. After the 2nd show a classical music journalist approached me and said how much he enjoyed it, that it was a fantastic first show and my future was bright.

These two pics are before and after shots of the same scene by the way.

So more direction? more opera for me? Only time will tell.

Suddenly remembered I had a blog.... thought I'd say just how ready I am to give up with computers. That's all for now. more to come.