THE GLACIAL PACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE – A LAUGHING MATTER?

– I didn’t tell you to have a climate emergency panic!

– You didn’t?

– No! That’s a typo. I want you to have a climate emergency PICNIC.

At Bath’s Rondo Theatre at 7:30 on Monday 2 March, writer Gill Kirk’s giving theatre lovers a chance to peek behind the curtain of her new show – halfway through its development.  With this pre-tour script-in-hand show, she and her team at Glitter Knickers Productions are encouraging us to laugh at the dark side of our attitudes to climate change.  

The show, SKIN IN THE GAME, is about a near-apocalyptic near-future. The once-unimaginable has happened; climate despair is not only met with lots of tasteless “bread & circuses” light entertainment – but also with worrying abuses of power. 

Gill’s developing this satirical dark comedy with a talented team from TV, film and theatre.  Directed by Bristol’s Amanda Horlock, the cast on 2 March include familiar faces: 

  • Ed Browning – known to Poldark fans as Paul Daniel from the BBC 1 ratings-winner
  • Emma Cleasby – the lead in Sean Pertwee horror Dog Soldiers, and from 55 Degrees North alongside Dervla Kirwan and Don Gilet
  • Nik Howden – Stan Laurel in BBC4’s  “Stan” 
  • Zachary Powell – a regular with Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Luke in the David Tennant film,  ‘You, Me and Him’ 
  • Rachel Vowles – from Exeter’s Nuts & Volts theatre company, a physical theatre expert and a Director of CredFest.  

Inspired by a holiday walk in the Highlands, Gill’s idea for the show won her an artist’s residency with Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It’s attracting interest from theatres across the country and she’s working with Olivier-winning producer Joe Brown (whose UK and international tours include Footloose, Bring It On The Musical, We Will Rock You, Fame, Avenue Q) and Trowbridge-based production manager David Doust to take it on tour after 2 March’s one-night-only audience event. 

Held at Bath’s new writing theatre, Larkhall’s Rondo, 2 March is a must for the climate-curious and concerned, for theatre-lovers who want to see the creative process in action and would like to contribute to a new work, and anyone who enjoys a skewed look at the possible future to come. “Dark comedy is perhaps how we cope with life’s tough questions,” says Gill. “Whatever your feelings about our climate-future, the question for us is, ‘Are you game enough to be in the audience?!’ ”. 

NOTES TO EDITORS

1.Skin In The Game – script-in-hand: 7:30, Mon 2 March, Rondo Theatre, St Saviours Rd, Bath BA1 6RT

2. Booking’s recommended (limited seats): £5.34 at: www.ticketsignite.com/event/2490/skin-in-the-game

3. Gill is a graduate of Channel 4’s prestigious 4Screenwriting programme and perhaps best known locally for her 2016 play Glitter Knickers. Others include Passion (London Vaults, Aberdeen Dance, Tobacco Factory), Away With The Fairies (Bristol’s Alma), Water’s Not So Thick (Ustinov development; Rondo). 

4. For more information, please email the producers ddoust123@hotmail.co.uk and joecbrown@live.com 

Booking Open: New Show

My new dark climate comedy Skin In The Game has a pre-tour script-in-hand show on Monday 2 March at Bath’s Rondo Theatre. Seats are limited – get yours here:

https://www.ticketsignite.com/event/2490/skin-in-the-game

The cast and creatives are ridiculously talented. I’ll tell you more about them very soon. Meanwhile, some smashing images that illustrate a little about this dark climate comedy…

“The Pitlochry Play” #2: ‘Skin in the Game’

Due to some unexpected cancellations in the diary, and some jiggling about of other stuff I am a major over-achiever: October’s expenses are begun, there’s mugs soaking in the bubbles, and here I am.

I’ve just sent another thank you letter to one of my funders for the “Pitlochry Play”, and as I wiped the suds from my hands, thought that some of what I wrote would be apt for here.

Without their (secret; modest) support, I am not sure I would have been able to justify the spend. But their kind cover for accommodation and travel meant that the project is truly growing. I had…

  • 100 hours thinking about & developing the show, meeting local organisations and experts
  • a “sharing” with the theatre’s associate directors, to review progress, get a sounding board, hear their thoughts
  • one of the ADs has very kindly agreed to be a mentor for the project’s future development (I won’t name them ’til I’ve checked they’re ok with that, though)
  • I’m working towards a February all-day workshop and “script in hand” in Bath – details TBC
  • Although I didn’t secure ACE funding for the residency, ACE have been really helpful since my return about planning phase 2 (writing) and building to a potential tour 
  • It’s now an exciting adult fairytale show about the climate emergency and that perennial human comedy: “personal agency”
  • I know my characters (damn their eyes) and I can hear the music… oh, yes.

A huge thanks to all so far. Names will come when I know you’re OK with it! (Photos if the machine ever permits….)

The Pitlochry Play #1: the sound of water

I’m here in Pitlochry, land of Pitlochry Festival Theatre and much, much more. Today’s day 3 of my playwrighting residency at the theatre and I’m rolling around like a pig in poo at the luxury of all this writing space and thinking time.

I’m not here to share anything about my “process” with you, but I can’t keep all this to myself, so I thought you would like a local waterfall.

It’s great to watch in real life (not so amazing in my rushed wee film from my August holiday here), but it’s stunning to listen to. Sound and water are featuring heavily in the project so far; trees and mountains are too, but let’s save that for another day.

Let me introduce you to the fantastic, the inimitable, the one and only: Black Spout:

Black Spout waterfall, Pitlochry, Aug. ’19

Do Not Disturb: an arts satire

“A satire about arts and funding in a post-BBC, post-sterling world. Two civil servants hunt a dangerous script to stop it infecting a world that’s free of disturbing theatre. They disguise themselves as theatre types and get enmeshed in the glamour. Everyone’s lying for accolades, acceptance and – er – maybe art.”

architecture room indoors auditorium

This is the blurb for Do Not Disturb, the latest to leave my redrafting fingers, ready for a wild world of producers and partnerships. Huge thanks to the talented and generous professionals who gave me a table-read in the summer and those others who’ve given thoughtful feedback on this pacy, satirical beast.

I’m heading into my next work – a very different thing – with Pitlochry Festival Theatre soon, but when I come back, Do Not Disturb will be looking for collaborators. If you think you’d be interested in hearing more, please drop me a line. Be great to hear from you.

Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

Wanted a Genie, found a Muse

Lovely news – I’ve just been awarded a writers’ residency at the fantastic Pitlochry Festival Theatre to start work on a new play. And it all started because I couldn’t get to Mull and in the (relatively) short time my child was away with relatives.

In July, I’d been facing the standard single parent dilemma: while you child’s off on adventures, should you do the DIY or have a hol? Validated by friends’ and parents; encouragement, “Have-a-hol” scraped through – largely ‘cos it whispered “Inspiration!” in a way that a “Paste-The-Wall” mini-staycation just can’t.

I’d had a great break in Orkney 10y ago, and while I’m desperate to return, I need to explore. My quest for rural adventure started with a day of crying into my computer because National Rail Enquiries refused to offer magic carpet options so I could see family & friends in Glasgow and nip casually to Mull. Four days’ travel in a 7-day break? I needed a Genie…

…But I found a smashing travel agent. Who suggested Pitlochry. And its theatre. EVERYBODY mentioned its theatre. EVERYBODY.

I didn’t need a Genie. I found the muses; or they found me. What a place. And what a theatre. By which I mean history, building, location, leadership, ambition, heritage, talent, teams, reputation… If you don’t know of it, check it out – only a few (gorgeous) hours’ train from Glasgow, there’s quality theatre in the stunning hills: go on, click!

And so on a long walk, a story bit my bum and wouldn’t let go. I came back and worked it up and worried – and then leapt: I sent it in to PFT’s artistic team and they have very kindly given me a residency this autumn.

Apart from my parents’ bemused pride, they’re also looking forward to my return – with a lot more Edradour Malt marmalade.

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…