Busy week

Last week was so busy that I’ve only just got around to looking at the pictures.

On Saturday Auntie Claire came to visit, helping us sofa shopping and playing in the garden.

Then we had a bit of cultural exchange and met my Italian friend who is over for the Be Festival.

Speaking of the Be Festival, we actually went along for Friday night to watch a few shows. She made it through the first 10 minutes of the first performance before waking up and adding her own commentary to the (terrible) proceedings. I think she was really complaining that she hadn’t had the chance to watch Andy Murray making it into the Wimbledon Final. So we took some time out backstage and enjoyed the improvised furniture.

She’s still developing incredibly quickly; we notice new changes almost daily. One big change is a discovery of toys. She particularly likes Monkey (thanks Claire!).

Bite-sized Theatre

Photo credit www.carolinehorton.net

A busy day of theatre at Warwick Arts Centre (it’s at the University – you should really go). The centre was bursting with people due to the concurrently running TEDx conference and Bite Size theatre festival. I could have gone to either, but had tickets to Bite Sized so I went to that one. And just as well, because I certainly wouldn’t have got the chance to unexpectedly take the stage at TEDx as I did thanks to that cheeky Tom Wainwright. Tom’s show was on the quirky side, and demanded the audience to pay close attention as he tried to be truthful and play himself, alongside his co-conspirator Sam, but also to put on a wig and play John, who is dying of something (what? no, it doesn’t matter to the plot).

There were a series of brief (oh, too brief) extracts of Only A Paper Moon by Little Earthquake. I blogged about this show before when it was on First Bite (in fact, I haven’t blogged about much else since – it’s still on the first page even though the post was back in September.) Gareth and Phil have polished the performances of the four separate stories and dropped a few of the weaker experiments from the previous show. It is really shaping up, and I look forward to seeing how the disparate stories and characters with their lunar obsessions intersect in future work in progress showings.

Caroline Horton is a compelling performer and her new show is about anorexia nervosa. There wasn’t much in the way of plot in the short extract, but the promise of enormous duvet covers sounds, um, interesting. Katie says it’s a pastiche of an earnest issue-based theatre piece. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Our Fathers by Babakas was a curious mix of storytelling, audience interaction and dance. It was a very person piece with some touching moments. Instead of dealing with “issues” it drew from the relationships between the artists and their fathers.

Stop the Clocks

Traditional theatre keeps actors a safe distance away, preferably on a stage. Barring a serious mishap, nothing is expected to go wrong, and the realms of possibility remain confined. Even better, one may watch a play which was written a few hundred years ago, well ingrained in the public consciousness. This will restrict the number of surprises.

Tin Box Theatre Company take a different tack. They invite the theatregoer to a derelict coffin factory at night with no electricity. They lead them through the eerie vacant space by torchlight, gather them in close, and tell them stories of a dead woman.

The show used a range of theatrical tools to tell the story, stimulating all the senses, from the olfactory assault of the dusty old factory, to snatches of physical theatre, close-up storytelling, and audio overlaid with headphones. It was a really great show from a young company, and not creepy as it might have been, for a show in a coffin factory.

First Bite

I spent the afternoon sitting behind a desk in mac distributing instructions for Katie’s iPhone app geo-located bandstand experience. In a prominent position in the foyer, I saw all sorts, like the these guys, queuing for a ticket…

The Bandstand show seemed to go well, people downloaded their apps, pointed their cameras at the QR code, and bing, the experience downloaded and ran on their phone. As they walked up to the bandstand in Cannon Hill Park, the audio track started playing automatically, and they were invited to live through a post-war romance.

Bandstand was just part of the First Bite theatre event run by China Plate Theatre. There was quite a mixture of old and new companies performing stuff. The stand out performances that I saw were Theatre Absolute/Naomi Said – “The Wedge”, a one woman show, with great on-stage charisma that drew you in, Little Earthquake – “It’s Only A Paper Moon”, a seamless blending of stories about the moon, and Untied Artists – “For Their Own Good”.

Is you the Minotaur?

Kindle Theatre have been running a summer school, and tonight was the one and only performance of the show they’ve been producing. The cast was mainly young, eclectic, with high energy, some sharp dance moves and loads of emotion. For a “community theatre” performance it was pretty experimental with a strong conceptual take on the Greek Myth and a good use of the open spaces and indoor and outdoor theatre spaces. There were some slight pacing issues but these were soon forgotten after a crashing finale where we were all forced to confront the monster inside us, because of course, We Are The Minotaur.

2011-08-06