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Monday, 26 September 2016

Undead Bard - Update

I'd love to be posting more about how the show is going, how rehearsals are stepping up, of the general Shakespeareness of my brain at the moment - but I'm rehearsing a lot and those rehearsals are stepping up and the general Shakespeareness of my brain at the moment is getting in the way of writing a post about how rehearsals are going - etc.
It's going really well, I'm running the show every day, doing detailed work, playing still with new material and finishing some props.  Very soon it'll all be about the audience.  And that's where you can come in.  Be the audience.  Make this the best show ever.  Details below.
More soon.
Robx

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Undead Script

The full - or as full as it ever can be - script for all my Undead Bard projects is now on sale online.
Online - £9.99 plus p&p

The book features - full text of The Shakespeare Delusion, Historic Crimes, Shakespeare: The Ever Living, plus introductory notes, outlines of short pieces and deleted material.

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Another Untrailer

Busy, busy rehearsing, so just a quick post today - another, even sillier, untrailer.


Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Give me the Mystical Lute Body!

Undead Bard - lots of them!
The title for the Shakespeare show was long in the debating.  It was going to be The Shakespeare Delusion, then Shakespeare Undead, then - oh, there was a long discussion in a coffee shop with Chris,* let's cut to the chase - Undead Bard.  
Now, and this is a simple bit of wisdom I pass onto all creators of books/films/theatre/etc., the first thing to do after deciding a title is to GOOGLE IT!  Because however good your title is, if someone got there first, you're stuffed.  So, I Googled it - and even Binged it (other search engines are available) - and nothing major came up.  Most other options have been used - Shakespeare Undead, for example, is the subtitle of a genre mashup series of books I think.  
But, now the show is nearly upon us and it behooves me to check how well the title is searching - if someone types the title in, does a relevant tickets available here type page appear.  And we're doing alright.  We do appear a couple of times on the first page - so anyone looking for the show, but forgetful of the details, will find it.

But they'll also find a lot of beastlords.  Which is nice.

The first thing that comes up is a role playing site Ever Quest and a thread featuring an undead Bard. The search engine jumped on the phrase: 

"An Undead Bard says 'Give me the Mystical Lute Body you have."
Which I'm now determined to get into the show. I mean, who wouldn't want a Mystical Lute Body? I want a Mystical Lute Body. I want one NOW!
Similar finds on the same thread include: "Kill the An Undead Bard, upon death he spawns Trakanon, kill Trakanon ..." Which sounds like an analogue for a night out clubbing.
So, bring on the hordes of the undead - maybe we'll get some crossover.

* or maybe it wasn't long, maybe I'm making that up - actually I think we hit on our answer in ten minutes... and I think it was Chris, my publicist, who came up with it.  It was ages ago, I can't remember these things like I used to.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dear Shakespeare

It's a busy time at the moment.  Rehearsals for Undead Bard continue apace (I'm working against the grain by doing early morning rehearsals rather than late evening... it's interesting), distribution of my audio work has stepped up a gear (the new audio work is going out on audioboom as per usual, but I'm also doing them as YouTube videos, as some people find them more approachable https://youtu.be/264kuBwBr58), and I'm about to go off to do some directing for The Yellow Wallpaper which is showing in November (more info to come).

But I thought I'd stop and ask the world for their thoughts on Shakespeare - I've been doing enough telling, now for some listening.  A new part of Undead Bard, that I'm trying to create at the moment, is called Dear Shakespeare.
If you could write to Shakespeare, what would you say?  Suggestions on a postcard/comment below/tweet @RobertCrighton

Dear Shakespeare...
Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Monday, 12 September 2016

Undead Podcast

Hello! Just a quick one - as I rehearsed this morning I recorded a little podcast - some background to the new show.  Have a listen - some good stuff.



Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee at Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Fifteen Years

It's fifteen years since the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th 2001.  I find it hard to believe it was so long ago.  Could it really be so long since the world took that turn, a turn largely for the worse?
In the aftermath of the attacks it became very clear, very quickly, that a knee jerk reaction of violence and aggression was the worst possible course of action, and that this was precisely where the world was headed.  The wars that followed 9/11, and the wars that have fed off them, seem no nearer to burning out.
Since 9/11, intolerance of different cultures has increased, terrorism has got worse, religious fundamentalism in its many guises has retrenched, and millions of people are on the road possibly never to return home.  In my home country there have been many attacks on our way of life, both physically and in legislation - especially in terms of civil liberties that in some places are in open rout.
Within a day of the attacks I'd started to write about them - mostly not very well.  My first effort was presented a year after the events and was truly awful.  I feel quite ashamed of it, but I was only twenty at the time.  It took me a few years to find what I needed to write about - and, since 2005, our failed response to terror as a society has been a major part of my work.
On this anniversary of those attacks I'm releasing as radio dramas two short plays I wrote around ten years ago - both are about how terror is a catch all excuse to take our rights away.  The first is Fantasy Terrorist League, which is about the abuse of detainees, torture and internment.  The follow up, Keynote Speaker, was a comic variation to the original story - about a man who wants to get interned so that he could sue the government for compensation.  I had hoped these two plays would cease to be relevant after a few years, but both keep popping up.  They are available to listen for free, for the first time, see below.

I have recorded a number of variations on this theme - a related but slightly different story is The Project After which another company recorded a few years ago and is linked below.  It's a short comedy about censorship, often self censorship, in the modern world - I presented it with the first two plays as The Fantasy Terrorist Variations in 2012.
Lastly, there's the short drama, A Little Learning, based on accounts of the kidnapped school children in Nigeria, but which has been a repeated troupe throughout history.  Whilst all the plays below have their moments, that is the only piece I would class as requiring a trigger warning - loath them though I do.

Despite the generally depressing nature of these events in the world, there is hope.  Hope that if we treat people with decency and don't club innocents in with genuine 'evil doers', then we might get through the next few decades with our humanity intact.  I'm currently planning a large scale account of the post 9/11 world.  I fervently hope it will become swiftly irrelevant and that the audiences wonder what the fuss is about.

Fantasy Terrorist League - written and performed by Robert Crighton


Keynote Speaker - written by Robert Crighton
With Simon Nader as Sir John Spencer


The Project After - by Robert Crighton
External Link - http://www.frequencytheatre.co.uk/play/the-project-after/

A Little Learning - by Robert Crighton

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Many Faces of Shakespeare

Many people ask me about the artwork for Undead Bard.  This is, of course, a lie - no one does - but it's nice to pretend.  You could have a go if you like.  Go on, ask me on Twitter @RobertCrighton - actually, ask me anything you like.  I might not know the answers, but hey...
The poster was created via a mix of careful preparation and random improvisation/chance.
I wanted to create a version of the famous picture of Shakespeare from the First Folio - you know the one, looks a bit like this.
Courtesy of our friends at Wiki
So I printed it off and started trying to paint my face to look a bit like it.  That was relatively easy, white then strokes of black, with strokes of a mascara brush across the skin to make my face look etched.  I'd love to say the process was all glamour, but it was me, a grubby mirror and that's it.
Here's a video of my attempt.


Then, with a bit of cardboard to act as a rough collar, I took a lot of photos.  The one I chose was this one.

Doesn't look like much, does it?  I mean, it's the wrong way round for a start.  (That was deliberate, not because I forgot that mirrors reverse things... honest.)

Well, then I put it into the computer, upped the contrast and removed colour - to create a black and white etched look.  Then I removed all the white, so that it was just the black etching lines and layered this etch over the original photo - so that there were hard lines detailing the face.  Then I messed around with the photo - adjusting the colour palate.  I was going to bleed the colour out, but I decided I liked the weird colours and textures and so made more of them.
Finally, I took a version of the Folio image to layer over the picture - to replace my hair and the collar, so that the image was more clearly like the Folio Shakespeare.  There needed to be some anchor points to show who it was.
The final picture is very different to what I'd planned - more colourful, a bit Soviet, and slightly terrifying.  It's Shakespeare as scary Big Brother - and I rather like it.


I then, for the hell of it, took the unused pictures to create an Andy Warhol style picture board of different faces of Shakespeare - as the show could perhaps be subtitled The Many Faces of Shakespeare.  
Just a pity I didn't think of that earlier.


Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee at Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Undead Bard - Returning to London

I'm coming back to the London Fringe people!  I've been away from London for four years.  Okay, that's not quite true.  I've done the odd one off night, but haven't run for a week or more since 2012 with Ghost Storyteller and The Fantasy Terrorist Variations.  It's not that I haven't wanted to return - I've just not been desperately well on and off since 2012 and you can't do a run if you're not physically up to it.  For the last few years I've been focusing on smaller, one off and more internet based shows.  I've just finished the first of (hopefully) many live radio comedy shows and have a more audio podcast based practice now.  In terms of doing live shows, I'm looking on two big projects each year, with one hopefully coming to London or maybe to the Edinburgh Fringe.

So, Undead Bard.  It's the end of nearly four years work - a series of plays or pieces that dance around the afterlife of Shakespeare.  They don't focus on the plays or his work, they're about his reputation, the love or hate people have for him and his work and the Shakespeare culture industry.  The show performing at Theatre N16 (in Balham) is the final stage for the show/s.  It will feature new work and the first piece in the sequence, The Shakespeare Delusion, a piece about the authorship 'question' which is where it all started in 2012.  Then there's the new(ish) piece The Ever Living - which is about Shakespeare the brand that eats our culture.  Lastly, I'm currently writing a new new piece about Shakespeare as secular God - as yet untitled.  This last piece is taking me full circle with this project, as it's based on a section I cut from the first draft of Delusion because it didn't fit.  It will get it's own chance to shine.

Stating all the above makes the show sound terribly dull and worthy - but basically, it's all comedy and at times downright silly.  It's a show that the most die hard Shakespeare fan should love as much as the greatest Shakespeare hater.  And, for those who've been suffering from Shakespeare fatigue this long three year 450th Birth/400th Death anniversary cycle of Bardolatry, it features almost nothing from his plays at all.  Hell, I'm not stupid enough to put my dialogue next to his, you tend to lose.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
UNDEAD BARD
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at www.milkbottleproductions.co.uk

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee at Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/145903
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD - www.theatren16.co.uk

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton