The Milk Bottle Irregulars is a more cut and thrust version of the more considered productions I produce as plain old Milk Bottle. MBI is actors on stage, it's nuts and bolts, it's simple and direct.
But Monday isn't a full production anyway - it is but a few scenes from The Tempest. It is, as advertised, an experiment. An experiment to see how to make simple theatre and make it swiftly, and yet to keep it to a high standard. To do this, we cheat. And there are several ways we are cheating. But I'm not going to go into that, because they're our cheats, so there. (Blows raspberry!) The experiment is to see how distracting our cheats are for the audience; is the final product good enough?
If all goes to plan, this will be the beginning of a regular pattern of work for Milk Bottle. As mentioned in the last newsletter, I haven't produced a classic play under the Milk Bottle banner for nearly a decade, I've always gone to other places to do so. This plan could mean there will be a semi regular series of one-off productions of classic drama - Shakespeare for the most part, but there are other plans - led by an irregular band of actors.
There is another reason for the Irregulars and it's a bit old fashioned. If this test is a success we'll canvas the local schools and youth orientated organisations asking them which Shakespeare / other playwrights they might be studying next term (just checking the syllabus is hit and miss, there is some choice) and then, essentially, offering them access to a production of play/plays and free tickets. Not discounted tickets, free tickets. Not an infinite number, but enough for a class or two. It's that rather old school idea that an education should be rounded; that the young should get to see drama, not just read it; that, as a company, we should reach out to the community and to the young.
Not only that, but the tickets on general sale will be as close to dirt cheap as I can manage. Because theatre should be for everyone, not just those lucky enough to have deep pockets.