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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Obligatory New Year Message 2014

Firstly, HELLO RUSSIA, Hello America, hello uk...
Yes, they may have an appalling President, terrible human rights issues and a disgusting state attitude to human sexuality, but Russia is currently the country reading this blog the most.  Second comes America and then, occasionally, my home country comes third.  Sometimes we're beaten by Greece.  Or Latvia.  Come on guys, this is embarrassing.
Secondly, the hit rate on my blog has gone through the roof since I fell dangerously ill.  This might be because of world sympathy, this might be because I've started an exciting new phase of work, but it's more likely because I stopped posting things very often.  Then I looked at the data and found, silly me, it's because even more of you are looking for porn.  Nice to know porn for porn outreach has travelled so far.  Obviously a lot of Russians are vigorously jerking off until they reach my blog and lose their rhythm.  Sorry.
So here's a run down of some of my favourite (largely non porn) internet searches this year that have lead people to my blog.

the room of trolls
couple having sex in nottingham (very specific, is there a local landmark in shot?)
dormouse slovenia
understanding beards
tinkerbells lines and speeches
and my personal favourite...
evil bagpuss

2014 is a year of many things. Ten projects await - the first part of Project One has just been posted (see below) and you just need to look at my last post to see how to get involved with Project.  But it is also the year that I have been transformed.  Yes, I realise now that my illness was in fact a symptom of my metamorphosis.  I have become... a genre.
Many of you will have suspected it for sometime, many of you have listened to my wittering on at a party say and thought to yourself, he's a whole new genre.  Or a cock.  One of the two.
It has been proven by the Quay Theatre, where I am Artist in Residence, whose What's On doesn't list me as drama or music or film or lecture, I am listed as Robert Crighton.  I am a medium in my own right!  Soon there will be special courses at University devoted to the Robert Crighton genre - there will be various schools of Robert Crighton with competing ideologies as to how a work in Robert Crighton should work, there will be children telling their parents that one day they to will work in Robert Crighton.
It's that or the What's On was compiled by a moron.  One of the two.
And now, the promised first episodes of Project One - Lost Tribe of the Trolls.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Watching Open Rehearsals...

Well, the starting line for Project 10/52 is getting close.  The first of January approacheth and the online You Have Been Watching.
world of the project begins.  But the bit that is more exciting, because it interacts with you real people, is Project Two:
This is a show that will be guided by the cast, by the people who want to get involved in rehearsing it.  It probably won't be a traditional play, though I have written material that could be presented this way.  It might end up more an installation, more performance Art, than pure theatre.
Which brings me to a question often asked about my residency: why am I an artist in residence.  Why not actor, or writer, or director... or...
Well, it's because none of those three titles covers the work I do very well.  I am doing all three, of course, and also working on visual art, set, lighting, costume - the totality of the work.  But not only have I rejected those other titles because none of them covers the work accurately, I have chosen Artist because the boundaries between Art, Performance and Theatre have never been more porous.  The techniques I may choose to explore in YHBW may not be theatrical in a traditional sense, but may involve set ups which are more akin to an art gallery than a theatre.
Then again, I may not.  But it's nice for one's title not to drag one down in one direction.

Anyway, what I want to do with YHBW is make it largely interactive - taking a cue from art practice - but the interactions will be largely theatrical.  I don't think I can describe the piece as immersive, that catch all participatory slogan which is very now, because I will never have such total control of the space/s we'll be using.

This is all starting to sound a bit wanky, let's move away from the arty bollocks for a moment.

What I'm doing at the moment is creating material for a show whilst at the same time devising exercises and games to play with the 'cast' which will probably destroy said material as we rehearse it.
No, still sounding wanky.  Oh well, I tried.

The rehearsals will be public, completely open to anyone who wants to be in the 'cast' or just watch.  It will be in a public space and so we will interact with people if they happen to come in, partly because the work will do this when finally 'performed' and the 'cast' will need a chance to practice this.
It isn't a work which requires many traditional actors as many action to be performed will not be acting as such - so anyone can get involved.  People will have tasks, some fairly simple, some what you might call acting, having a text to perform.
There will be two initial open rehearsal/auditions (I call them auditions, more a sorting hat process than ruthless culling) on Sundays 12th and 19th of January from 1pm at the Quay Theatre, lasting around two hours.  Everyone will get a chance to perform, do exercises, help create the work - but for those two sessions I will not know precisely how it will look.  We will test out material and ideas and then I will have a play and see what I want to do with everything/one.  Then there will be three more group rehearsals with whoever came to the first two sessions (plus extra rehearsals for individuals) before the final performance on Monday 17th February.
So, if you'd like to get involved, or you know someone who would, do come / force others along.  Or if you'd just like to watch, come along.  Full schedule below.

You Have Been Watching - basic rehearsal / performance schedule
(Will include additional rehearsals at discretion of participants.)

OPEN REHEARSALS / WORKSHOP - Sundays 12th & 19th January from 1pm at the Quay Theatre
Anyone can turn up and get involved or just watch.

GENERAL REHEARSALS
Specifically for those who came to the first two sessions or collaborators - anyone who didn't get to the earlier sessions maybe allowed in if they ask me nicely.
Sunday 26th January from 1pm: first trials of devised/text work
ONE WEEK BREAK TO ADJUST / LEARN MATERIAL
Sunday 9th January from 1pm: adjustment and revision of devised/text work
Sunday 16th January from 1pm: technical runs
Sunday 17th January: performance in the evening - tickets available now!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Free Stories Online - A Troll New Year

It's that lovely period of silence between the hullabaloo of Christmas and New Year, when little trolls come out to play.  Over the next few days I will be uploading the complete audio book of The Natural History of Trolls (see blogs en passum) as a prelude to my first project of Project 10/52 - the next two stories of what is not The Trolls Trilogy... or trology, if you will.
In fact, I'm a day early, but we'll see.  Hopefully there should be four series of episodes released each day between the 28th and 31st December, so that you're all up to date when I start releasing the next story in weekly episodes every Wednesday - starting on the 1st January 2014.  So, here, hopefully, are all six episodes of the prologue of The Natural History of Trolls - and probably much much more.
Happy between Christmas/New Year!

#Nov 2014 - Audio streams for the stories can now be found at http://robertcrightonstoryteller.moonfruit.com/

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Retreating

I've been a little quiet of late.  It's winter, it's cold, I'm comfortable, go away - can't you see there's snooker on?
I'm currently in retreat in Aberdeen, visiting family, and in theory writing.  I'm currently working on Project One - The Trolls Trilogy - or Trology if you will - and not exactly rushing.  As I say, it's cold outside and there's snooker on.
But, the deadline is looming, so I have to get something done now, or I won't be ready to record.  I'm working on the second part of the trilogy, Lost Tribe of the Trolls, which will start premiering on Wednesday 1st January 2014.  It's quite a task ordering the material into shape - for this is a piece controlled by it's structure.  It's being broadcast once a week for half the year, so that's twenty-six episodes - not only that, each episode needs to be only three minutes long, maximum - so that the final story orbits 75-80 minutes in length.
It's a matter of trying to create a straightforward narrative but also one that breaks into recognisable self contained chunks.  This is rather fun and very important - because the text will need to be turned into a live show at the end of 2014 and so must remain active.  What do I mean by this?  It has to move, have action, change of direction, because though a story it has to be a story told, something that has potential theatrically, as well as narratively.  So, condensed, engaging three minute chunks work well - and looking back at the basis of some of my more successful monologues.  Teaching Gods is similarly episodic (though closer to five minutes than three) and moves the action along by jumping between characters - as was, to an even greater degree, Cuckold's Fair.
I'm using the same story structure to the first part of the trology The Natural History of Trolls, in that there is a prologue, part one of the main story, an interlude, a part two of the main story and an epilogue.  So, the three minute episodes are similarly connected together in wider chunks of story.
So, what is Lost Tribe of the Trolls about?  Well, it all started when I was on the tube on Remembrance Sunday and I saw a woman, chest bristling with medals, sitting almost opposite me.  She was mute and relaxed until suddenly she realised she had lost something... and that set off a chain of thought in my mind.  What if she had lost a medal?  What if the medal she had lost wasn't a normal medal but something greater?  That each medal represented a war and captured the experiences of that war - that she was not ex-service, but a Recording Angel, collecting the memories of those who had survived the wars of the world.
It wasn't a hung leap to think this might connect well with the world of the Trolls I had created in The Natural History.  And she has lost the Crimean war.
To find it she calls on her adoptive family, who are the lost tribe of the title.  We assumed that the Trolls we encountered in the first story were the only ones - but another tribe have lived a different, parallel life.  These Trolls are not the quiet, semi-religious, victims of before; these Trolls have abandoned their past and become part of the modern world, they are wheeler dealing neoliberals and love the marketplace.  They are the Noble Guild of Trolls (Luton Branch) and they'll sell their grandmothers if it'll make a profit.

All this, as usual, is subject to much change - the plot has already shifted twice this week - so don't expect it to remain exactly the same.  Off to work.  Ta ta.