opportunities, Shows, theatre, Writing

We All Have A Magic Gun…the quantum play lives…!

I woke up last Thursday morning feeling like a child with a hundred wrapped presents at her feet. Because Wednesday’s rehearsed reading of the quantum physics play, BOX, was an utter joy.  The marvellous audience let me record the Q&A, so I can use their feedback as I work to complete the script. Here are some of the useful, and kind, things they said:

“It’s a playground full of swings!”

“I liked the playfulness, how you played with the two varieties of the characters and embodied the quantum physics in them”

“You really engaged us with the science”

” I like that it wrong-foots you!”

“It made me think of Caryl Churchill”

“It really reminds me of Carl Djerassi’s work”

“Much more playful than Stoppard; you empowered the audience”

“It was a challenge but it was entertaining!”

They even laughed – a lot – and made jokes about entangled, vanishing booze.  If any of you are reading this: thank you again.

This play’s been bubbling in the cauldron for five years. In 2014, it had very generous support from crowdfunding friends and colleagues and then professional development with a dramaturg (David Lane) and a team (director Julia MacShane, actors Clare Latham & Chris Hughes). It’s won Old Vic New Voices Lab development support and done nicely in a few competitions. And this year, generous feedback from (I’ll save their blushes) a visiting summer actor at Theatre Royal Bath, and now from Brighton.  Next paragraph, new chapter…

Yep, Brighton. Which came about in a way that was very much in the spirit of the play. The play’s about parallel universes, about the day-to-day, ever-widening consequences of our choices:

Text from "BOX" by Gill Kirk

A year or so ago, my very talented director friend Hannah Drake shared a Facebook post, as an actor friend of hers, Mary Chater, wanted to make new playwright connections.  Mary and I spoke and really clicked, but we didn’t work together this time.

A year later, Mary is waiting for an estate agent. She gets chatting with a lady. Eventually, about theatre. They meet again. The lady works at Brighton University; they talk about making rehearsed readings part of a new course. Mary emails me – would I be interested?  When Brighton’s Dr Kate Aughterson says yes to this script, I ask my Facebook chums again who they know in Brighton (as there’s no money in this!) and who do we get as director? That Hannah Drake again (superb at catching wannabe-vanishing trains, I have to say) who had no idea that Mary was involved. She was joined by Mary, playing Ali, and Matt Lloyd Davies as Mike. They were all absolutely superb.    I could not have been more proud of this team and grateful for their generosity.

So now, a mulling, and time to plan next steps. I have a feeling this script is dusting off her dress and is almost ready for the dance….

P.S. – if you want to know what the “magic gun” is in the title of this post, get in touch. You just have to see the play, you see…. 😉

31 Oct BOX Brighton RR poster.jpg

Shows, theatre, Writing

Box: development update

Very excited to say the quantum mechanics play, Box,  has a twinkle in its eye. After some generous and insightful industry feedback over the summer, it’s having a rehearsed reading on Hallowe’en, as part of the work done by Brighton University’s Performance and Community Research and Enterprise Group.

What’s that? It means I get to work with a cracking team (see below) and an audience to shake out the creases, ask about what works, what doesn’t – and get myself into a position where it can fairly – I hope – be deemed worthy of a full-scale production.

Other artists involved in Brighton’s programme this term include: Brighton’s Royal Society of Literature Fellow, playwright and novelist Hannah Vincent; performance poet  and Marie Curie IF Fellow Patricia Kolaiti; Marisa Carnesky, who about to tour with Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman;  playwright Morgan Lloyd and author PA Skantze  whose book Itinerant Spectator/Itinerant Spectacle looks at audiences who travel with shows they love.

Like I said above, I’m especially fortunate to be joined in this by a wonderful team of theatrical ambrosia:

Mary Chater, actor: Mary’s acting work includes the National Theatre, RSC, West End, rep and fringe. She recently returned from 9 years living in central Italy and is a founder member of Shakespeare in Italy: www.shakespeareinitaly.eu

Matt Lloyd Davies, actor: Matt is a director and actor who trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His screen and theatre work includes the West End and film, including appearing alongside Nigel Hawthorne in both the National Theatre production and Oscar- winning film of The Madness of King George. More at www.matthewlloyddavies.com

Hannah Drake, director: Hannah is a co-founder of award-winning Insane Root theatre company. She trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (Elsa Roberts Prize for Directing). In 2017 she was Resident Director to the UK Tour of Jane Eyre for the National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic, assisting Sally Cookson. More at: www.hannahdrakedirector.com

And if you would like a reminder of “the quantum mechanics play”, here’s the blurb….

Box – by Gill Kirk

“This is my story. Of when I was famous and when I was invisible. I was loved, and irrelevant. I ruled the universe and it ruled me. But here I am, now: telling you TED-junkies about something we all dream of, and never understand: parallel worlds theory. What if, what if, what if…”

Who do you think you are?

In BOX, Allie and Mike’s parallel lives collide and ricochet to give us a 360-degree sense of not just who they are, but who they could be, given the right (and wrong) circumstances. Tales of love, ambition, disappointment and elephants hang like socks on the washing line of Allie’s brilliant, upsetting, weird and wistful TED talk, as she stumbles around the questions of quantum physics, who we are and who we could be.

The universe plays Mike and Allie like rats in a maze. In world after world, we follow and understand their desires, conflicts and triumphs as their personalities vary wildly, depending on which stepping stones brought them to “today”.

There is, however, one constant: the “quantum suicide rifle” – a real-world manifestation of a thought experiment, theoretically posited to be able to fire its victim into all possible worlds. It’s always with them. It’s always an option.

_________

Shows, theatre

Review: The Whale

I was lucky enough to see and review this incredible piece of theatre back in May. Apologies for missing the boat on re-posting my review for Bristol 24/7, but here it is:

The-Whale-Charlie-Shuler-Hensley-©Simon-Annand-2-e1525437529693.jpg
Shuler Hensley as Charlie. Pic: Simon Annand

As an adult, it is genuinely rare to sit in a theatre and utterly believe. But Shuler Hensley’s performance in The Whale is perhaps the most visceral, convincing, immersive depiction I have ever seen, on any stage. This is one powerful piece of theatre, with award-winning performances from a cast giving their all, in a completely engaging world.

Charlie (Hensley) is not just obese, but morbidly so. The kind of  “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape“ “big” that involves hoists, or windows being taken out. But Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale is not a play about a man being fat. It’s a play about despair, grief and regret; about self-loathing and a suicidal lack of self-worth. It is one of the saddest and most eloquent plays I have ever come across. It’s a play about love….

Read more…

Shows, theatre, Writing

Glittery Glee

I’ve just showed this vid to an industry pro, and realised that it might never have made it  here – apologies! It’s the 90-sec promo for Glitter Knickers, designed to help it out of its R&D box and onto the next stages. Weirdly, both the actor Lucinda Holloway and I have been asked about the play’s next steps a few times in the last few weeks. So, here’s to some Friday smiling – I hope you enjoy it:

 

Learning, Shows, TV, Writing

A Song & Dance for your details…

A much-loved but unproduced theatre script,  A Bit of a Song & Dance, made the BBC Drama Script Room long-list! They had a record number of entries, and a phenomenal amount to read, so I’m especially pleased – and grateful! As all writers out there know, there’s subjectivity in all of this, too, so I’m well aware that there’s a decent degree of good fortune in getting this far.

Writersroom is a phenomenal doorway for writers; a great deal of the talent that reaches your screen passes through this system, and I know many who have been coached and nurtured by it (and by others, of course): it’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s this kind of thing that gives hope, ambition, support and professional education to me and THOUSANDS of would-be broadcast writers.  The recent comedy script room has had 2,629 entries and as you can see below, Drama had almost 4,000.

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 09.50.39.pngThis is the best any of my scripts have done with the BBC and it is a script I love (with characters I care about – but then, I always do). As one of the longlist, the BBC will give me a script report, which is invaluable – because without audience feedback, a script is nothing. Its life is in the imaginations of others….

And on that slightly strange final note, I’ve been looking for a wordpress GDPR thing and can’t find one. Some of you have signed up to get blog posts by email. If you are one of them and no longer want to, obviously do unsubscribe! Otherwise, let’s carry on! (As I try to capture your imaginations!)

 

Shows, theatre

Review: Posting Letters to the Moon

Very happy to have reviewed the opening night of posting Letters to the Moon last night as it starts a tour that takes in Wimbourne, Guildford, Chipping Norton, Malvern and Devizes.

Oh, what a lovely, love-filled, heartwarming evening you will have with Posting Letters To The Moon. Opening night at Bath’s Ustinov Studio (Theatre Royal) looked like a full house for this charming legacy of a show.

But where to start? You could come into this piece through so many different doors. A Brief Encounter fan? An Archers addict? Maybe you’re a soul who loves the “letters from” format, or even “an audience with-“? Perhaps you’re an incurable ’39-’45 nostalgiac?

Whichever door works for you, this space is as welcoming and nourishing as you could possibly want. Huge congrats to Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams – and their family – for sharing these letters in such a generous way.  More …