Post-Production Depression

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Well done to all of this lot!

I’m not sure if there is officially such a syndrome as “Post-Production Depression”, but I know that for many people involved in theatrical productions there is certainly a sense of sadness when they’re over.

Over the last 3 months and especially the last 6 weeks, the cast and crew of The Matchgirls have been like a second family. Some I knew beforehand and others I met at this production. They’ve been a great bunch to work with. We’ve had our ups and downs but I’m glad to have worked with them all for this production, and in a strange way will miss not seeing them tomorrow, as I’ve seen them everyday for the last 2 weeks.

Looking back, how did the run go? Well, it certainly had a rocky start, and was a challenge each night to pull off, towards the end of the run I felt we were in the swing of things. This was the first musical I’ve done and it was a lot harder than I ever thought it was going to be. As a cast we perhaps “bit off more than we could chew”, with this production. John Harries-Rees the Director guided us and helped us pull it out of the bag.

The last 6 nights were all sold-out and that certainly helped us up our game and it was a great buzz to be playing to a full crowd.

The Miller Centre Theatre hasn’t done a musical for a few years previous to this and I imagine there will be a gap before we do another. Lessons have been learnt and we’ll build on that. For now, I’m glad I was given the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, try something new, makes some great friends and see what it was like to be a “ginger” for two weeks of my life.

Well done to the cast, crew and a big thank you to our family and friends and audiences for giving us your support.

Now I look forward to a well deserved rest!

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The Matchgirls – The Photos

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Well it’s the penultimate night tonight, this run has been challenging in many ways (I’ve got LOTS of ideas/material for future blog posts I can assure you!) The good news is that we’ve been SOLD OUT for the last 6 nights and had good attendance the first few nights too.

 

But for now here’s some great pictures from the highly talented photographer Avril Jones.

 

Our Amazing Set! Tony Dent was our fantastic designer and a team of hard-working chaps constructed it

The Empty Space needs people on it to create theatre though - here they are for the wedding scene

Here I am as GBS with my co-stars

I love this picture. and Polly's response to the banner - "Not yet, but I'll let you know when I am!"

Ranting to Annie over the "Tory Press"

A great image from the show - "We've Won!"

All the cast for the finale

Belting out the last number - George Bernard Shaw singing, that's not something you see very often!

The End

 

Two more performances to go and then this show that’s been part of my life intensely these last 3 months will be gone! There’ll definitely be a post on “post-production depression” coming up!

Break a Leg!!! for the last two shows folks!

Happy Birthday – Have Your Hair Coloured!

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Firstly – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! Theatre Thoughts Blog is ONE YEAR old today! Thanks to all my readers, writing this blog has been a steep but enjoyable learning curve, I trust my reviews and ramblings have been entertaining and enlightening!

Well it’s often said that we “suffer” for our art, and for this latest production I’m in, I’ve had to undergo a transformation of a rather radical nature.

 

A picture of me taken backstage recently

The hair stylists set to work

Letting the colouring do its thing - notice I'm reading a college book swot that I am!

Colour is looking good

 

Costume added, George Bernard Shaw is starting to take shape

 

In the dressing room today, some of this is needed and one final finishing touch

The beard is the finishing touch - transformation complete!

 

So there we go! The things we do for our art!

Rehearsals went well today, the Dress Rehearsal tomorrow then we open on Thursday!

Tired but Enjoying It (except for wearing a corset!)

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Working hard backstage

Firstly, I must say a big “sorry” for not posting over these last ten days. A combination of new job, college assignment and rehearsals have got in the way.

As most regular readers (yes I do have such things at this blog) will be aware, I’m currently rehearsing for a musical, The Matchgirls. This is the first time I’ve been in a musical and I’m loving the challenges it’s bringing. I’ve always heard musical theatre performers say how hard it is, and having now had my own taste, I agree, they’re VERY hard work.

I’m only in two musical numbers, but that’s giving my brain more than enough to cope with. As ever though the rehearsal period is teaching me more about myself and theatre and that’s great. It’s also fab working with others that are into theatre and having conversations about all sorts of random theatrical things, such as Hamlet being a girly play, the works of Sarah Kane, The Railway Children and finding out what others like and dislike in this crazy theatrical world.

The females in the cast are having to wear corsets as that’s part of the period dress. A word of warning, if you’re a male, be EXTREMELY sympathetic to your female co-stars if they have to wear these weird things. I thought they were just moaning, so I got strapped in one today – OUCH!!!! How they can do a whole musical in one I’ve no idea! Kudos to the Matchgirls!

Me laced up in a corset, suffering for my art!

“If that’s 12 foot, we’re £$%@&* !!!”

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These folks have serious competition from us.

“In 2011, a crack team of theatrical technicians, actors and wannabe directors were sent to a small studio behind the Miller Centre Theatre for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from this maximum security stockade. They now reside in the Caterham underground. If you have a theatre that needs it’s set/scenery and chairs moving, and you can find them (and afford them), maybe you can hire the M Team…………”

Yes, forget your recent remake of the classic A Team, watch instead the hard graft that’s done at the Miller Centre theatre.

Tonight an intrepid team of us, helped changed it from a Proscenium arch theatre, to one with a major thrust, that almost makes it playing in the round. This involves lugging groups of chairs that are bolted together in two’s, three’s and the colossus that is the four seater. These are now surreptitiously hidden in strange locations around the theatre (TOP SECRET). Also assembling rakes for the chairs to go on and building the thrust stage.

As for comparisons to the A Team, it goes;

Vernon = Hannibal, at the end, he almost said “I love it when a plan comes together”

Me = “Howling Mad” Murdock, my witty comments and lack of fear from crawling under raked seats, must make me a contender for this role?

Daniel = Face, smooth talking, smart dressing, yet always lending a hand.

Graham = BA Barracas, “I ‘ain’t liftin no chairs you fool”, and the title from this post comes from him!

Becky = Amy, who showed she could match the men no problems.

Two others helped too,  Alister and Chris – Thanks for being part of the team too!

All in all a productive and fun evening, alas I forgot my camera, but I’ll try to get some pics up asap.

Thanks guys (and gal) for all your help, any theatrical production is the sum of its parts and The Miller Centre Theatre Company has some great parts. (most notably George Bernard Shaw in the next production!!) 😉

Rehearsals continue apace

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Rehearsals continue apace for the Matchgirls. We spent a whole day yesterday rehearsing and we actually got through the whole show. I always love the camaraderie in productions and this one is no different. Despite it being a large cast, we’re all getting on well and having a good laugh along the way. We’re an eclectic group of all ages, abilities and experience, which is making for some humorous and interesting rehearsals. What’s nice is the support we’re giving each other and how people are willing to help each other out.

The Director John Harries-Rees in action

Our director John Harries-Rees, is getting to grips with us, and we seem to be slowly getting the play into some shape. We move into the theatre later this week for the remaining rehearsals. That will be a great step forward as we can then get the movements/blocking confirmed/learnt too. A key thing I’m learning from John, is the importance of technique. Getting that sorted is the first step, once the breath, position, lines are learnt we can then develop the play.

Doing further research into my character of George Bernard Shaw has been fascinating, the character of Annie Besant is my main foil in this play, and finding more about her, has also been a discovery. Which bits we use for character development I’m not sure yet. My Irish accent is coming along, but my beard hasn’t, so I’m going to get one made up. (picture to follow)

Tickets are available from here.

Swimming With Sharks – Miller Centre Theatre, Caterham – Review

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All I knew about this play was that it, a) contains a LOT of swearing and b) has a torture scene in it. So as I went off to see it tonight, I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but I’m keen to support my local theatre and I will declare now I know most of the cast as I acted with them in A Few Good Men last year.

What surprised me most was I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this play. I wasn’t expecting it to be so humorous and the tension builds brilliantly to a wicked twist at the end.

Peter Whittle the Director certainly made the right amount of cuts with regards the “bad” language, but without it seeming like these folks didn’t swear, they certainly did, as indeed I’m sure they do in the offices of Hollywood (and in fact most offices – usually at the IT department I find). The torture scene was also superbly well done, not too gratuitous but likewise not wince free, and the gun shots certainly made most of us jump!

Chester Stern is a gem of an actor within the Miller Centre Players (the recipient of the 2010 Miller Centre Theatre Actor of the Year Award, which I was pleased to see was displayed in Buddy’s office) and I knew I’d enjoy his performance. He didn’t disappoint. Playing Buddy perfectly, he’s (Buddy not Chester) such a nasty piece of work, yet he toys not just with the characters emotions but the audiences too, in the torture scene as I started feeling sorry for this “boss from hell”.

 

Gerard Kelly as Guy and Chester Stern as Buddy

 

Gerard Kelly gave a wide-eyed and innocent portrayal of Guy, who starts to climb the ladder and become more like the boss he despises. Not an easy journey to show, but Gerard did it admirably.

Sharron Cox, played the love interest and key foil to both Guy and Buddy. She too, took us on a journey and I was never sure who she was screwing both literally and figuratively until the plays end.

The rest of the cast gave suitable back up to the above main three and helped to create this weird world of Hollywood in sleepy little Caterham.

 

The bewitching Mitzy played by Becky Gordon

 

It is on until this Saturday (15th Jan) and I really do recommend it. It’s great going to the theatre and being surprised and I really thought my review for this would be “Great Cast, Bad Play”, I’m pleased to say it’s not, it is “GREAT CAST, GREAT PLAY.”