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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Differing spaces...

Decisions, decisions... The Natural History of Trolls has an out of town tryout before the run at Barons Court.  Now, the Quay Theatre, a lovely theatre in Suffolk, is a very different space to Barons Court.  The Quay is an end on space - 125 seats facing a stage at the other end of the room.  (See picture of some of the seats in the theatre - and some orange penguins.  I know I keep putting this picture up but I do love it so.)


Barons Court, however, has 60 seats which surround the stage on three sides.  The decision I need to make is this - do I stage the show for Barons Court and slightly adjust it for the Quay or do I go all out on the Quay staging and change it completely for Barons Court?
The Quay is a bigger space and requires the performer to go out to the audience - it's a space where video projection will work, where a pictorial aesthetic will work, where music and sound effects will work, it's a space for bigger gestures.  Barons Court cannot be pictorial because only those sitting facing the front of the stage will see those images - Barons Court works in three dimensions rather than two and a bit.  It is easier to stage for Barons Court and remove a dimension for the Quay, but who wants to make life too easy? 
I've faced this decision before with Cuckold's Fair when we filled in a last minute vacant slot at the Quay and we didn't change much, just turned ourselves around a bit, but this time I don't want to ignore effects that will work in that space, even if it means cutting them completely once we return to London.
Re-rehearsals with the cast begin next week, so I've got a few more days to decide precisely how it's going to come together.  Around these deliberations I'm performing version  two of the GhoStoryteller show, this time in a pub in Glemsford.  I'm performing ghost stories on Halloween.  I must be mad.  Especially as since starting this GhoStoryteller lark I think I've invited a ghost into my home.  Well, I say a ghost - I mean that in a room in the house, where there are not sources of water and where the ceiling is dry, a puddle of water has appeared.  No one knows how it got there.  Spooky.
Or someone in the house is sleep walking and pissed on the floor.  Jury's out on that one.  Does anyone know of ghosts producing water?  I've not come across it.  Answers on a postcard.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

After The Ghosts...

Well, the first GhoStoryteller show is past.  The Ghosts of Lavenham, the template from which the GhoStoryteller show will be based on, has come and gone.  It was a sell out show, the audience went home very happy and I got a real sense of where the final show is going. So, what will happen to the show between here and Barons Court.  Well...
Here's the running order as performed in Lavenham, with notes as to how I will alter each section.

 
Introduction: Spooks or Spooked?  Local stories of ghosts and the problems of the ghost story.
# This is a general opening, non-fiction, which will be shorted and simplied and generally de-Lavenhamised.

The Wheel of Shame: A semi-comic tale of one young girl and her unique poltergeist.
# This is the new Molly (Bink! & Teaching Gods) story.  I'm very happy with this - even though I actually only wrote the ending for it at 4 o'clock in the morning prior to the Lavenham show.  There was an illness in the family and, inbetween the piercing screams of pain, I suddenly realised how to end the story.  Now, all I need to do is tie the loose ends together.

Countdown to the Other Side:  A short comic tale of a ghost that refuses to give up its daily routine.
# Noticed a massive error in the text as I said it during performance.  No one mentioned it, so I assume I got away with it.  This story is very short and will go to our fabulous special guests - hopefully a different person  every night.

The Ghosts of Lavenham:  Set in the market town of the same name, though all characters and persons featured are entirely fictitious.  Milk Bottle cannot be held liable for any shoes that fit, these are purely coincidental and should fit any community.
# Though the story will remain fundamentally the same, I'm going to pull it apart and reconstruct it in a different shape.  The town will become generic, rather than specific, and the two plot strands - which in the original occur in two different places - will be pushed together under one roof.  

I have no plans at this time to write an additional material for the GhoStoryteller show - it does all now hang rather nicely together.  If the audiences in London like it half as much as in Lavenham, then I'll be most please.

And, on a final note - I did say you'd see a bit backstage of the photoshoot for The Natural History of Trolls.  Well firstly - a silly Blue Peter how to guide to making your own orange penguin.



Followed by a few snippets of the shoot and in the Guildhall itself.



And, of course, the resultant photo, because I love it so.



Till next week!  And remember to buy those tickets.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
STORYTELLER
The Natural History of Trolls
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton
Plus Special Guests: Georgina Blackledge, Pamela Flanagan, Jessica Moore & Sophie Morris-Sheppard
 
SUFFOLK TRYOUT -

Sunday 20th November at 7.30pm
Tickets £7 / £6 Friends of the Quay
The Quay Theatre, Quay Lane, Sudbury
Box Office: 01787 374 745


LONDON RUN - 
Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2011

Tickets £12 / £10 concessions
Tuesday to Saturday starts at 7.30pm – doors open 7.15pm.  Sunday at 7pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Barons Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube:  Barons Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Do Penguins Read Newspapers?

It's been another exciting week of rehearsals for the ghost stories show - first tryout in Lavenham is nearly sold out, get those tickets while they're... well... there.
Otherwise I've been spending some of my out of hours moments doing a bit of arts and crafts for a photoshoot the end of the week.  I know, I said in my last vlog it should have happened by now, but I got my dates messed up and it's the end of this week.  Anyway, at present I'm constructing a troll.  And there will be video evidence of this later in the run up to BARONS COURT.  Yes, though there are lots of try out shows between now and then, BARONS COURT is the primary thrust of my thoughts at present.
So what changes will have been made to The Natural History of Trolls between the New Wimbledon run and BARONS COURT?  Well, it's going to have a smaller cast and a much more involved staging.  I've lots of little ideas I want to overlap onto the text - the physical score, if you will - but I don't want to over egg this.  I don't want to enact every moment of the story in ever increasing cycles of manic physical theatre balls crap.  I want to suggest elements, little light touches of sound and movement, just sprinkle a little fairy dust over it all.  I'd like there to be a little more magic.
Which brings me to announce - there's AN EXTRA SCENE!  A whole NEW SCENE!  Yes, exciting, I know. Those who saw it at the New Wimbledon will have to watch it again, if only to see the new scene.  It's like when they release an extended special edition of a CD eight months after the first version just to really annoy everyone who bought it the first time around.
That isn't the reason I added a scene - well section - to the story.  I've never been completely happy with the last quarter of the show.  Actually, I'm never completely happy with my shows, ever, but on this occasion there was a real, practical flaw in the text.  It's a bit rushed in places, some of the text was a bit phoned in, so I've been generally tweaking and adjusting the end and also adding in a short sequence about cakes and a new line to help end the epilogue.
This new section isn't entirely new; it's left over from an early draft.  In an early version there was a whole subplot to do with baking.  Yes, baking.  That's how we roll at Milk Bottle.  Trolls are master bakers.  This survived into the New Wimbledon show as a two line throw away, a reference which was little more than a bad pun.  This section - much longer in the original (about ten minutes rather than the current two) was too big for the show.  It didn't add anything to the plot beyond a bit of whimsy.  I couldn't see how I could justify going off on a tangant about baking, however nice the sequence was.
Then I came up with an idea of how to tie the baking into the structure of the story and move the character of Vicki forward more.  It's the story of her first experience of a Troll feast.  Spoiler: she gets to decorate the cake.  This doesn't sound like much, but that's because I haven't told you what it means, you'll have to watch to find out.  The baking of Trolls is life affirming and, if it comes out right, it should break some hearts.

Here's the first Un-Trailer for The Natural History of Trolls.  A trailer and various other Un-Trailers will follow soon.



Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
Robert Crighton:
STORYTELLER
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton
Plus Special Guests: Georgina Blackledge, Pamela Flanagan, Jessica Moore & Sophie Morris-Sheppard

SUFFOLK TRYOUT - Sunday 20th November at 7.30pm
Tickets £7 / £6 Friends of the Quay - The Quay Theatre, Quay Lane, Sudbury
Box Office: 01787 374 745
LONDON RUN - Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2011 
Tickets £12 / £10 Concession 
Tuesday to Saturday starts at 7.30pm – doors open 7.15pm.  Sunday at 7pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Barons Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube:  Barons Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Milk Bottle October Newsletter








The momentum is building for the six week run of Storyteller at the Barons Court Theatre this Winter.  For those out and about we're got a few tryouts of both The Natural History of Trolls and GhoStoryteller in Suffolk and Essex.  Trolls will have a completely new staging, based on the ideas that came out of the three night tryout out the New Wimbledon Studio in July - and it's turning into something very special.  The box office for all the showings of Storyteller has opened - see details below.  Book now to avoid disappointment!
As always it’s at these times we need your support all the more.  Your help is vital.  Please, spread the love.  The facebook group Milk Bottle Productions is shutting down I'm afraid - so do follow Robert Crighton: Storyteller. If you already do, then share it with your friends.  Or if you’re a twitter person @RobertCrighton:Storyteller.  Help spread the word about the work we do.  It really does help.
And, of course, there's always our blog, where regular updates arrive: http://robertcrightonstoryteller.blogspot.com 
Or keep checking the website: www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk
Milk Bottle Productions Presents... 
STORYTELLER 
The Natural History of Trolls 
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton
With Special Guests: Georgina Blackledge, Pamela Flanagan, Jessica Moore & Sophie Morris-Sheppard


“Whatever you do, don’t think about orange penguins!”
Multi-Awarding Winning Storyteller Robert Crighton is returning to his roots with a new collection of stories for 2011.  Featuring his trademark wit and dark humour, Storyteller will draw you into unusual worlds and introduce you to people you’d not normally meet.

This first show is the world premiere of the ‘The Natural History of Trolls’, three stories covering a hundred and fifty years of history, two Queens and their subjects in the fairy kingdom.  Midst this epic timeline is the story of an ordinary commute gone wrong, when a troll-like tramp in an Underground carriage turns out to REALLY be a Troll.
 Funny, thoughtful and with occasional attempts at wisdom, let Robert Crighton lead you through a world like ours – just a little off centre.
(Guest Cast - Left to Right:  Georgina Blackledge, Pamela Flanagan, Jessica Moore & Sophie Morris-Sheppard.)

SUFFOLK TRYOUT - The Quay Theatre

Sunday 20th November at 7.30pm - Tickets £7, Friends of the Quay Concession £6
Box Office: 01787 374 745
The Quay Theatre, Quay Lane, Sudbury, Suffolk.
LONDON RUN - The Barons Court Theatre 
Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2011 - Tickets £12 / £10 Concession

Tuesday to Saturday starts at 7.30pm – doors open 7.15pm.  Sunday at 7pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Barons Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube:  Barons Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)
Copies of the text of the story can be pre-ordered or purchased on the night.  You can buy it now - at lulu.com - where it retails at £9.99 plus p+p, or for much less if you download it to your kindle.  The easiest (and cheapest) way to buy the play is to come to the show - where we will sell it to you for only £5.  But numbers are limited, so if you want a copy you can reserve one by email - just send your name and night you're coming to contact@milkbottleproductions.co.uk and the book will be waiting at the show - pending payment. 

Praise for Robert Crighton in previous Milk Bottle Productions...

THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES - 2010 / 2011
★★★★  London Theatre Network: “Crighton is an accomplished story teller... Immersive, enjoyable and cosy, you will leave the room with a satisfied smile on your face, as if you’ve just visited some old friends.”
The Stage: “... a seasonal treat.”
★★★★  Remotegoat: “Robert Crighton gives you a unique evening of storytelling... It is easy to see why Robert Crighton has won awards for his performance.”

TEACHING GODS & OTHER STORIES... - 2009
Fringe Report: “Verdict: Funny, fast-paced, with depth... There are a lot of good reasons to see the show. It's funny, fast-paced... surreal fantasy, with an edge of revenge... Robert Crighton performs with great energy and no little charm... well viewed after a drink, before a bigger one and some cheese, in celebration perhaps of strange dreams and the campus cat.”


Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
Robert Crighton:
GHOSTORYTELLER
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton

Tuesday 27th December 2011 to Friday 30th December and Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th January 2012 (No performances 31st Dec, 1st or 2nd Jan)
Tickets £12 / £10 Concession
Two weeks of real ghost stories collected during our autumn tour.  From the ghosts of empty houses, to the personal ghosts we carry around us, this collection is a mixture of the fantastic and the “real”.  Do you have your own ghost stories?  Let us know and we might add it to the show.  Send to contact@milkbottleproductions.co.uk 

A FEW TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR:
The Ghosts of Lavenham
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton

This autumn we're touring ghost stories which will chill you just that little bit more in the darkening nights.  It opens with a special ghost story, written for and about Lavenham.  From the ghosts of empty houses, to the personal ghosts we carry around us, The Ghosts of Lavenham is a mixture of the fantastic and the “real”.  As he tours Robert is collecting new ghost stories – from his audiences, searching for the stories of real people. 

Funny, chilling and occasionally not a little sad, let award winning storyteller Robert Crighton lead you through a world like ours – just a little off centre. 

GET INVOLVED:  If you have had a ghostly experience, why don’t you share it with us – it may even end up in the show.  Just an outline is all we want as Robert will create a story round the idea – full written stories will not be used.  Send suggestions, with contact details, to contact@milkbottleproductions.co.uk – all contributions will be attributed in the show if used.

To find out more visit the Milk Bottle Productions website www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk – or follow Robert Crighton: Storyteller online on facebook, twitter or YouTube.

Friday 14th October at 8.00pm
Tickets £7.50, available from the Guildhall, Lavenham (open 11am till 5pm)

And finally, a little bit for my friends - Richard Ward, part of the original Trolls line up is in this next week.  Worth a look.