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

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.

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