An experimental, audience participation script that I wrote over Christmas has been chosen for production at the Penang Performing Arts Centre on September 6 as part of their Black Box Experimental series. I’ve hired my super-talented, former actress Yzzy Loh to direct the piece, and she came up with the first graphic poster for the event. Here it is. Really cool, isn’t it? It’s going to be a fun and interesting night! More info to come.
Experiencing the Finale
Last night was the finale of the limited three-show run world premiere run of “The Secrets of the Magic Pool.”
It was everything I had hoped for and more.
First off, the crowd. It was a sell-out! I give it an “A”! Excellent, engaged crowd that got the raucous, rolling laughter going back and forth all over the theatre. It may have been the best crowd that any of my shows ever experienced – even to the point of being a little over the top. But that’s okay. It’s much better than the alternative.
The acting. I give it an “A”. These young actors were superb. A few flubbed lines here and there that the audience wouldn’t even have noticed. Their recoveries were smooth. They performed with such passion and life that the audience couldn’t help but love them. I’m so proud of all of them.
Tech. “A” – We finally nailed it. This was a taxing show for a variety of reasons. 106 lighting cues. Nearly 50 sound cues. Follow-spot. Tracking 11 microphones. Lots of moving parts. The first show we saw some of the challenges manifest themselves on-stage with some uneven and loud sounds. But this final performance was perfect. A great blend of sound, wonderful scene transitions. Everything was executed perfectly, performed by 4 your techies who never get enough credit.
The story. Well, yes, I am biased since I wrote it. But I am very pleased at the interpretation and the way the actors communicated the story. And based on the audience’s response, it was a huge success.
I hope other theatre troupes will try out the script sometime. It’s challenging yet very fun with all kinds of interesting themes woven through it.
This was such a fantastic night that I’m sorry it’s over.
But with any worthwhile endeavor, it was worth the hundreds of hours of dedication to pull it off.
So now, what’s next?
Oh yeah, now I need to write a new Christmas show for the RLT Players. A writer’s job is never done!
I enjoyed reading THIS opinion piece on fictional storytelling and verbatim theatre. Honestly, I know very little about verbatim theatre and have not had an opportunity to see any verbatim shows up to this point. What is ‘verbatim theatre’ you might ask? It’s theatre which uses the real words of people who have been interviewed. Actors here and use the real words of real people and then act accordingly based on the show’s direction. It’s sounds interesting to me, and I might even like to try it at some point. According to sources I have read, verbatim theatre has moved into the mainstream in the London theatre scene, which is why Ms.Gardner wrote her piece, somewhat lamenting the fact that fictional storytelling seems to be taking a backseat in the theatre, as if real words from real people are more correct in portraying authentic human experience. As Ms. Gardner points out, this is not the case. Fictional storytelling can and does portray human emotions and desires in vivid ways, relate-able to everyone.
While I am no expert about verbatim theatre, I have seen my share of experimental theatre over the years. While I often find the performances interesting, and I’ve even dabbled in different types of performances from time to time, this is nothing like a great story to make great theatre. Modern theatre seems to experiment with everything and anything. Well, hey, I have an idea, let’s experiment with some fictional stories. Some full-length dramas – a full length original musical. Let’s put on a show that has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Boring, you say? Been done too often, you say?
Not by a long-shot, I reply.
I could be wrong, because I have absolutely no research to back up this statement, but perhaps the general public has pulled away from the dramatic arts because of this very reason – the lack of gripping stories. (Sadly, I’ve run into way too many people who tell me they do not like going to the theatre, but they love watching movies!)
I do have anecdotal evidence. I have heard comments like this from people who occasionally go to the theatre – “that was just weird” – “it was okay, but I didn’t understand it” – “what was the point?”
The fact is, people LOVE stories. People love to be drawn into a character with whom they can relate. They love a plot which twists and turns and keeps them guessing. They love endings which are satisfying. Many people don’t like head-scratchers, and when they see one strange drama too many, they often decide to do other things rather than go to the theatre. And you have to admit, there are an awful lot of entertainment choices out there.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all kinds of dramas – including unique experimental stuff.
But if I ever had a choice, I’d take a gripping, well-written, beautifully plotted out story-line on stage any day of the week.
Here’s hoping that theatre will never forget that we are in the story-telling business.