This Storyteller blog follows the progress of writer/performer Robert Crighton as he writes a series of new stories for live performance - as well as any other interesting theatre thing that might cross his path.
The first rehearsals for You Have Been Watching are now behind us. I'm now creating material, or finding material out there. I've collected a fair amount of spam now (see last blog) and am currently playing around with how I could incorporate it into the show. Do keep sending. But now I need to get the order in for the dark glasses and the paper boiler suits, so I will leave you with a few photos (taken by Mark Pavelin) from the first rehearsal - more will follow. Ta, ta!
I'm looking for material to help create the text for You Have Been Watching. Can you please help? No matter what part of the world you are, please send me any examples of electronic spam. Junk. Rubbish. Scams.
Yup, I know, I'm asking for trouble here... asking for spam, (Spam, spam, spam, spam - lovely spam, wonderful spam etc.) but I would like to include some interesting examples into the show. Obviously, I want examples of spam sent by real people (say hello at the top of the email - introduce yourself - I like to meet new people!) but I don't want to be swamped with real spam, that would be very annoying. So this could be a self inflicted Armageddon.
Email any interesting begging letters, scams etc (with any links, I'm only interested in text) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any material used will be acknowledged - so long as you also include some details about yourself at the top of the email with the spam.
Okay, not the post I planned to write - stories of the dead kind can wait. But last night we recorded the first bit of material for You Have Been Watching. A friend (and benefactor to Milk Bottle) is off to Middle Eastern climes, but wanted to be in the show. We did discuss skyping his bit in - but decided that might be asking for trouble. So, instead we videoed him doing the first 'story' of the show. YHBW doesn't really do storytelling as such, but this was close enough. With a hot off the press - almost literally, the pages had just about cooled off - script, a pair of sunglasses, a camera and an auto-cue we were off.
And what is this material? How will I be using this video? Well, the simple answers are, not telling you and not telling you. This is one of those frustrating things about blogging about stuff like this - if I tell you and you see the show (largely impossible for the majority of the viewers of this blog) then it'll be a bit ruined. I won't just be using a screen and showing a video - that would be dull - it is more human and interactive. In fact, for those who know Mr Adam Webster, currently waiting in a departure lounge to catch his plane, you will discover he sounds very different to normal.
And now I'm off to rehearse for a bit in a production of She Stoops to Conquer before open rehearsal number two for YHBW. Where we test out the soundscape and find out if my plans will all crash and burn.
Well, Project Two is now officially underway. What with Project One (Trolls) each week and the
unexpectedly early arrival of Project Seven (Squirrels - see previous post) I think I'm allowed to say we're cooking with gas.
Project Two: You Have Been Watching (YHBW) has started to crystallise. Today was the first open rehearsal, which was more an open chat really as I pitched the basic idea to a nascent cast - if you're interested in being involved, next Sunday at 1pm at the Quay Theatre is your last opportunity. And then we just tossed ideas back and forth, and I made lots of notes. I now know what the show will broadly look like, who will be in it and what shape it will now need to be. My original plan featured three areas of activity - though I have now jettisoned one of these as unrealistic. So there is the pre-show element and then the main feature, which I can now start to write material for.
What I now know is that it will definitely not be straight theatre - it will feed off a performance art tradition as threatened in previous blogs. How far I will break up my natural instinct of storytelling we will find out in rehearsal. For now, it's eyes down to the laptop and the creation of material. Though it maybe something that happens late in the night as time pressures take over more. Tomorrow (Monday) is the day I set aside to write the next episode of Project One for record and editing on Tuesday for release on Wednesday. Then there are the various performances I do of old and new storytelling material.
The last week has been really rather fun, doing home storytelling for people. I did some readings on Sunday and on Friday gave the world premiere of Attack of the Christmas Squirrels. Which, for a first bash, gave out rather well - though there's a lot of work still to do on it. The great thing about telling stories in peoples homes is that they are so up for the activity. It's such a novelty they want to listen. And the heckling is much easier to cope with.
Me: Now, is everyone comfortable?
Audience Member: We make a living.
Always nice to see an old joke given a good home.
And then I'm performing an old story The Wheel of Shame on Tuesday for a branch of the WI - so have rehearsals for that to fit in over tomorrows writing period.
What I'm rather clumsily saying is that for me, when it comes to being creative, everything tends to come at once, in a jumble, without much sense of order or narrative. I sometimes wish I could sit down and work on one project at a time, working in a less picaresque fashion. But, really, this is just who I am. I'm working actively on three Projects, and passively on another two, and it's all slotting together rather well. It means if I'm bored of one project one day I can always play around with another instead.
Of course, it could all turn into a seething pile of excrement in my hands - but that's the risk you take making new things. In fact, that reminds me, I haven't spoken properly to you about the last Storyteller Saturday from last year. Now that was a show that died on me. I will write about that soon...
One of the projects for Project 10/52 is my private home show - Attack of the Christmas Squirrels. I'd intended to launch this show in July, making it project seven, I think. However, I've been rather busy with home shows and other private gigs this month and so I've brought the first performance forward. By six months. Eek. As a squirrel might say.
A little background - I do storytelling, I do readings, I do a lot of telling people stuff to their faces. It's fun. I did one, readings of classic mysteries, the other day and everyone seemed very happy. But I planned to create a special show to tour to peoples houses, not just any old material, something created for a house setting. You would organise a party, fill your house with people and I'll appear to entertain you. All you have to do for my payment is pass a hat round. So, if you'd like to have a storyteller come and visit you, I'm on call - or I'd planned to be from July.
But, since I announced the plan people got in touch and wanted something now - which is lovely. So I said, for now it would have to be an old show as I don't really have time etc. And then I wrote Attack of the Christmas Squirrels six months early. Yesterday. I'm tweaking now. And testing the show out on Friday. Sooooo, if it works I'll put in some midnight oil, tighten it up and offer my services from March onwards. You read right, the July show will be available in a little over a month.
Book an evening with me, get some friends round and I'll tell you some silly stories. Just email me email@example.com or give me a call 07704 704 469. So far this is on offer for the UK only, but I could be persuaded to travel quite far if possible.
And don't worry - if Attack of the Christmas Squirrels sounds like a Christmas show - it sooooo isn't. It's about a chap called Reg who hates it that Christmas adverts come around earlier every year. So, it's a sort of anti-Christmas show.
And it has squirrels in it. Regulars on the blog will know that I have promised that this will be the last cute animal I will use in a story. I've done cats, hamsters, badgers and various others. So, no more animals.
Apart from Hang, which will feature a zebra. And lots of animals. Apart from that.
P.S. Part Three of my online storytelling show Lost Tribe of the Trolls is available now! https://audioboo.fm/boos/1837513-lost-tribe-of-the-trolls-part-three
Happy New Year - and here we have the continuing adventures from The Trolls Trilogy - with the first episodes of the second story Lost Tribe of the Trolls. For those who want to hear the first story The Natural History of Troll, it's available at the bottom of the page... if not there is a brief introduction to ease you into the basic premise at the start. Enjoy!