Archive for the ‘Current theatre’ Category

We have lift off!

At long last, our first project took place last Saturday!

Our old friend Jennifer Lunn, who spent three years at Rose Bruford College training to be a director while Heidi and I were on the acting course, asked us to direct and perform two short plays as part of celebration of new writing, called ‘Write Here’, at the excellent Brockley Jack theatre in southeast London, where Jen is an associate director. Many first-time writers had taken part in recent weeks in a playwriting course and in pairs or threes had been guided towards writing a 10-12 minute piece, which would then be performed twice for them and their families to see their work up on its feet. Many directors and actors were needed to rehearse and perform all of these pieces, and Jen was kind enough to think of me and Heidi.

Things have been very busy for us recently (sadly not much of it Boffo-related), especially for Heidi with her various youth groups, so we didn’t have much time to rehearse and when we did it was in our own living room! But this was fine. Our friends Carly Caller and Kathy West from the Rainham Amateur Theatrical Society were magnificently kind in, at extreme short notice, playing the third part in each of our two pieces and in only 4 evenings we were ready for the show! Not that it felt like it at the time, we felt severely under-rehearsed and very nervous!

Both plays, as I said earlier, were by first-time writers and each had their shortcomings, but we managed to make something out of both of them. One was a farcical comedy about a weak man trapped at St Pancras between his overbearing wife and his pregnant young French lover; the other a heavygoing drama about a woman unable to pay for her dying old mother’s hospital treatment in modern-day Russia. The former involved lots of ‘business’ – paper being dropped all over the place, heads hitting chairs and tables, drinks being spilt. A bit of a nightmare in the short rehearsal period!

But we did it! The performance day itself was enormous fun, once we got over our nerves. The Brockley Jack is full of wonderfully friendly people, and all the casts got on well and enjoyed themselves. The two performances of each play went well – the comedy got a lot of laughs, which is always an ego-booster! – and the writers were apparently very happy with the results. Jen was very thankful that we all did so well with the nascent material and it was a real pleasure to finally get going and perform together, even under such stressful circumstances!

What happens next, I’m not sure. Our own playwriting continues in fits and starts. Heidi will be very busy over the next 3 and a half months rehearsing for the Olympic opening ceremony – AMAZING! – so there will be little chance for us to do any more shows before the end of the summer. I acted in a short film made by my hugely talented brother Rob at the end of February and he’s editing it now. I wasn’t terribly happy with my performance in the rough cut I’ve seen, but it was a great experience and one I’d love to repeat with him soon. There’s always room for improvement! In the meantime, I shall keep trying to find other projects, if anyone wants to engage my services and it fits in with Heidi’s hectic schedule. And keep writing and reading as much as I can. Slowly but surely we will get there. Chris

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A plan coming together!

We’ve somehow ended up in February!  Time travels too fast.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that we’ve finally decided on our first few projects!  Now all we need is to find time to work on them. AAAAArrrrgggggh!

I’m again busy working on a play at our local Oasthouse Theatre.  “Kindertransport” will open mid-March, for six performances, and will end just in time for me to start rehearsals for the Olympic Opening Ceremony!   Again I would like to say, Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhh!

But alongside these projects I am also directing my youth theatre’s production of Caucasian Chalk Circle, planning the next adventures for my other youth group, Musical Misfits, and of course attempting to move Boffo forwards to a prosperous 2013.

We’ve been discussing what the purpose of Boffo should be, trying to force ourselves to choose a direction, but we’ve quite happily settled on something very simple.  We would like to entertain.

Like I said, we’ve finally decided on our first few projects.  We’ve put together the synopsis for a children’s play that we are intending to offer out to wherever there is a performance space available.  I don’t want to say too much, but it involves gigantic toyblocks and lots of homemade cushions.  :-S

Our second project is also for children.  The storyline will be created by our two children, aged 4 and 6, and so far it includes a pyramid, sinking sand, cowboys and squids.  It’ll be an interesting one.

Our third project will be an evening of shorter plays for adults, and so far none of them include squids or cowboys.

Heidi x

An update

Chris here. It’s been a sinfully long time since either of us wrote a new blogpost. Since early April I’ve been cast in a professional London comedy sketch show, rehearsed it and completed 4 out of 5 performances!

It was a fun experience, a wonderfully familiar one in that at last I’d returned to performing but also new in the sense that I’d never previously been in an out-and-out comedy show before. The idea that the four playlets I was in would only be deemed to have succeeded if the audience laughed at them was a daunting one but it’s good to have a challenge! And the humour was, shall we say, a matter of taste: purely for adults, and with more than a hint of the dark and the surreal. I have two favourite characters that I got to play. The first was a lunatic who corners some unfortunate City trader type on a park bench and proceeds to list his favourite sweets almost ad infinitum before moving on to children’s TV shows and then, logically, serial killers. The climax comes as my victim discovers we share a love of declaiming the prime ministers of Great Britain. Trust me, it’s funny. The particular challenge with this sketch was to find the variations in what was a 10 minute monologue of lists. Enormous fun but hell to learn the lines.

My other favourite character was a jaded businessman who has regrettable amorous feelings for a teddy bear that happens to be the cruel managing director of the company, embezzling from the profits to pay for jollies to EuroDisney. I think the audience were suitably shocked when I actually acted upon my lustful feelings on stage. Like I said, this was not quite like any other show I had done before! But I’m glad to have had the experience and it’s been wonderful performing on stage again. We have one more show, on Tuesday 12th July at 7.30pm at the Hob comedy club in Forest Hill, as part of the Sydenham Arts Festival.

The name of the show is ‘Ocelot Gymkhana: The Final’ and the director is Jonathan Kaufman of Spontaneous Productions (http://www.spontaneousproductions.co.uk ). Jonathan co-wrote the sketches with his brother Julian, and is a very warm and generous director. The last three performances (we only did Sunday evening shows) were at the Canal Cafe Theatre in Little Venice, a cosy and chic little venue. The best part of the whole thing was the fact that we rehearsed it all in the back room of a bookshop! There’s a first time for everything!