It’s been really busy here at Raby Towers, me and the minty-fresh Jonny Gill and the slinky-stealthy Ben Winterton have been making a BRAND NEW SHOW. It’s a fusion of theatre, poetry, music and comedy all about the perils, pitfalls and portrayals of LOVE. It’s called ONE LOVE. It will make you laugh a lot. It might make you a little sad. Stay tuned.
My solo show, Letter To The Man (from the boy) has also been confirmed for the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston! It’ll be exciting taking the show somewhere entirely new, more details to follow!
I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on three moments somebody said something, almost off hand, but it’s really stuck with me in my practise and art. Let’s review:
‘If you ask an audience member to help look for your dog, they go, “yeah, alright”’- Alan Lane, Slung Low.
Alan came and spoke in my 3rd year at the Workshop Theatre (BA English Literature & Theatre Studies, 2:1), and he also spoke at a NSDF training weekend I went to. I really admire Slung Low, they make immersive but political work, and I’m looking forward to their collaboration with Pilot on Blood & Chocolate. But what Alan said is if you give someone a frame or a task, they’ll go along with it. They’ll play along. Audiences aren’t stupid, but they have been made passive and need direction and that’s why in LTTM we tried to really outline XYZ with neat instructions. Theatre is a game, and all the best games have a rule system. It’s about knowing the rules in the performance means the audience can relax and go along with the fun! Below image from Slung Low's show Beyond The Frontline
‘The best writing workshops I’ve been in are ones where I’ve not realised I’ve written something good until it’s finished’- Tom Bellerby
Tom is an old friend and directed LTTM. He’s a director, not a writer by career, but anyone can write and anyone can write good stuff too. Whenever I plan a workshop, I try and use lots of games, techniques and playful formats to almost ‘trick’ people into writing good work. If they are really perturbed by writing, all they have to do is follow the instructions and it falls into place. It takes away the pressure, rather than saying “so now write a poem”.
‘The bigger the stage, the more work the eyes do’- Robin Lietch, Random Hand
I’m really paraphrasing, because this is something Robin from Random Hand said years ago before I really knew him as a friend. He was describing their first show at Leeds Festival, and the enormity of the stage. Robin has an amazing stage presence, he can dash around like a ska spider, but then he fixes the crowd with a GLARE. I think I’ve tried to explore my own style of performing, and with help from Tom, to have that fixed spot at the climax or important moment in a poem, to find that pinnacle where, after movement and energy, it gets brought down to the face and the eyes. It’s the difference between a reading and a performance.
That’s all for now!