WiLD Nights – (but what if they heckle?)

October 24th, 2012 Comments 2

What went down on and offstage in WiLD-land these past few weeks?  It was memorable, hard work, and absolutely wonderful.  (There are two more performances this week in Birmingham!
Book now!)

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“Hilarious, beautiful, enchanting… just incredible.” audience @ Chapter 2012

Performing WiLD for some real live audiences has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every audience to date has been so responsive, kind, and generous with their feedback. I really, really enjoyed every single second onstage. I started looking forward to scenes that I had felt less close to up until that point. By the end of the Chapter run I had new favourites.

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“An astonishing solo performance” audience @ Chapter 2012

It’s strange creating something that you believe in, that you keep working on and want to share, you have a hunch that it could be good – but you don’t know if anyone else in the world will see it’s value, or enjoy it. Sharing it with an audience is the only way to find out, and based on the responses I received, I feel proud of myself and everyone who worked on it.

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““Probably the best show I’ve ever seen. audience @ Chapter 2012

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“A comic explosion of acute, cringe-making social observation,
a painful onion-peeling of the soul… a joyous babbling stream of surreal connections
and wild ideas” –
audience @ Chapter 2012

There were challenges, as you might expect. I don’t usually get nervous, but doing an hour and a half long solo show is something else. The pressure is huge.  I lost my voice before the first night, which was… interesting. I didn’t speak all day Thursday to help it rest.

By opening night my voice had relaxed, and I was fine. Over the course of the week my nerves ebbed away. This was actually a positive experience for me, one of learning to trust and rely on myself.

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“The enviably multi-talented Emerald takes us on a winningly imaginative eighty-minute journey… A technical tour-de-force”  – British Theatre Guide

Yesterday Rob started reciting lines from the show to me, so if I ever can’t do a performance in future he can do it instead :) . One of the nicest parts of rehearsal were the times I couldn’t quite get something, or was too tired to lift a duvet over my head for the eleventeenth time in a row, so I would sit down (with biscuits) and ask him to do the scene for me. Directors aren’t really meant to show actors how to do something, but we were making up our own rules, (one of the best things about making theatre yourself). What a joy! Learning by copying is easy, I could clock a rhythm of an action by watching it, and then leap up and do it ten times better than I had before. Sometimes you can feel the rhythm of a series of actions inside yourself but it needs encouragement to come out.

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“The performance constantly surprised me” – Bethan Natalie James @ National Theatre Wales

Going to The Richard Whiteley Theatre in North Yorkshire was another challenge. Would the audience of mostly GSCE and A level drama students get it? Would they laugh? Would they heckle? Would they walk out when they heard some Welsh!?

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“A bit funny, a bit sexy, a bit quirky, a bit imaginative, a bit weird, and very amazing” audiences @ Chapter 2012

As it happens they were a bloody brilliant audience. They showed me moments that were funny in a new way. They laughed at some references the older audiences didn’t see (while missing other Radio 4 based references). They even enjoyed the scene in Welsh! At the end of the night a few students stayed behind to chat. They were so happy! In that moment when I walked up to meet them my fears disappeared; something had worked here.

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“Touching and deeply moving” - audience @ Chapter 2012

So what next?  I now feel more confident and more ambitious, with plans brewing both large and small.  I’m looking for a producer, and I want to book a shiny new tour for next year.  Watch out, here I come!WiLD 07

“I was tempted to go twice – there were many magic perceptive moments
I wanted to hold onto” –
audience @ Chapter 2012

Book tickets to see WiLD at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham
Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October 2012 @ 7.30pm
Book here!

Thanks to everyone who sent their feedback, in whatever form,
Plus check out other really lovely words about the show on Twitter @actsofbeauty

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Photography by Ashleigh Haddad

Sad news about WiLD

January 9th, 2012 Comments 0

dove directions

I am very sorry to say that WiLD is being postponed.

A core member of the WiLD team has been ill for three weeks and is now in hospital.  There’s no way we can do the play without them.  Thankfully, they are getting better and should make a complete recovery.  The decision to postpone the show was difficult to make but was definitely the right thing to do.

The show will go on!  Please watch this space for an announcement of new dates!  WiLD will go ahead, bigger, brighter and better!  I will be using the extra time available to improve the play in every way possible, and I will keep posting about it here.

To be updated about a new performance schedule and rehearsal progress click ‘subscribe’ on the left hand menu, and follow the links.

Thanks for joining this journey so far, I feel it has only just begun…

Tickets are on sale!

December 8th, 2011 Comments 0

Drumroll….
WiLD will be performing for two nights at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on January 20th and 21st
Tickets are ON SALE NOW!!!
The audience seats 96 (it’s an intimate venue) and I would LOVE to sell out the show.
(There are secret reasons that I’d like to sell out, on top of wanting a full house and a fun audience, but they’re secret so I can’t tell you… yet…)

Maiden 1

If you’re considering coming to the show, please book your tickets early, in fact please go and book them now!

http://www.chapter.org/25125.html

I was in Chapter on Sunday and as we were leaving we spotted a poster for the play up in the courtyard.  I was so excited!  It’s really happening. 

I’d love to have you in the audience, and I wager you will laugh at least once, be intrigued, be amused, surprised, moved, entertained, entranced, and leave happy.

Plus if you’ve not been to Chapter before, it’s a great venue, the theatre has a lovely atmosphere, and the cafe and bar is fantastic.

If that weren’t enough ticket prices are £8, £7 for concessions, and £5 for Chapter members
So go!  Go!  Go to the box office!  And bring all your friends.

TRIUMPH! And thank you!

November 15th, 2011 Comments 2

Well…  I did it!  It actually went really well!

busk1

The odd bit I can’t quite remember is the key moment, going from not singing in public, to suddenly – ‘look I’m busking, you can all hear me!  Look at me!

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What helped get over my fear was making a connection between the way I am before a theatre performance – excited, happy to be doing it, in my element – and to this impromptu street singing.  I realised I can simply trust myself to turn up and do a job. 

Once I took a deep breath, opened my mouth and sang the first note, it became a real pleasure to sing for the next hour and a half.  It was wonderful!  I had enormous help from my family who were stopping people to talk about the play and hand out cards, plus some lovely audience members.

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I was singing outside a bookshop, near a bus stop, a zebra crossing, and on the corner of a shopping arcade.  There were people everywhere, some standing across the street watching and listening, some closer, people in the bus queue, people in cafes nearby. 

The people of Penarth were incredibly generous and I want to thank you all for being so kind and donating money, and also for wishing me well.  Thank you so very much.  We raised quite a bit and that will really help the project.

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Thanks also to Penarth Natural Health Services for their generous donation.  They have a little tiger sanctuary inside there (and a great chiropractor).

The whole experience has left me feeling proud of myself.  It has given me greater confidence in my voice – I realise I can get an audience even over the noise of traffic, and without any indoor acoustics to help me.  Demons successfully vanquished.

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Do the thing that scares you…

November 11th, 2011 Comments 0

Arti yawn

Observant readers of this article will notice that tomorrow I will be busking around and about Penarth Town Centre, to help fundraise for my show and to thank funders for giving generously.

Cue internal terror.  I’ve never busked before and I am mildly petrified.  Of course it’s my fault, I set myself up for the gig, I put the date in the paper, so what’s going on?

When I imagine myself busking I picture the positivity I can summon whilst performing or doing creative work.  Sometimes I have a great sense of love for the world, especially whilst singing – it seems to connect people from the heart.  I imagine it as a magical experience, where I turn up and don’t care what other people think, where I’m just happy.

Then the reality arrives, and suddenly I’m terrified of how other people will judge me.  I imagine people’s faces walking past with sneers or looks of incomprehension.  I imagine teenagers giggling and pointing.  I imagine not sounding good enough, of the whole thing just being a bit… odd.

There’s a big difference in my mind between performing in a space where you have been invited, where you are allowed or even expected to sing, and pushing yourself forwards when nobody has asked you to.  It implies some kind of confidence bordering on arrogance, which I’m not comfortable with.  Of course performers need that internal push or they’ll never get anywhere.  I’ve got push.  But I also have resistance – all the doubts and fears. 

The reason I’m sharing this is so I can abandon those fears and doubts.  Tomorrow I will be positive, I will do it for myself – to say “I turned up, I did it”.  I have a list of personal challenges that I wrote maybe a year and a half ago. The challenge at the top of the list is to go busking.  So at the end of tomorrow hopefully I will have done something I’m afraid of, that I really want to do, that represents climbing a personal mountain, and that I hope will help my show.

If you’re in Penarth tomorrow – I’d love to see you, so come and be my friendly audience.  And if you’re not, then just imagine me triumphantly slaying my busking demons (and then running home at the end to hide in bed after a traumatic day of being laughed at whilst completely alone and vulnerable, and then watching the X Factor where I’m sure they have it much, much worse). 

I’ll report back next week.

pink flowers

WiLD Fundraising Campaign

October 19th, 2011 Comments 0

Today I am launching the fundraising campaign for my solo show WiLD!
I am SO excited but also terrified. I think this is normal.  Here’s the link to the campaign –

http://wefund.com/project/wild

I am offering all sorts of wonderful rewards to donors – handmade masks, a family of sock puppets that resemble your own family, a drama games workshop, me to sing at a party of your choice, a holiday, and more!  Any amount is appreciated from £1 to my target of £7,000.  I’ve got 4 weeks to pull this off.  Yes. 

In other monumental good news, today I found out that my Arts Council funding application was successful.  HOORAY!!!  And it’s my birthday week so things couldn’t get any better.

Yip yip yip, dancing around the kitchen!

Scenes from my play

May 14th, 2011 Comments 0

Well, here I am again, and with some lovely photos from my show!

These are screen shots from film footage so are quite low resolution.  I’m working on getting a photo shoot for some better quality pics.  These are fun because I could choose exactly which facial expressions to freeze.  Hopefully these pictures give just the right amount away about the surprises in my show.  I’m keeping some of the pictures secret…  hee hee hee

I will leave it up to you to imagine what is going on – for now…

Duvet1xDuvet2x

Maiden5xMaiden6x

Maiden DancexClock1x

Clock6x.pngClock8xInterview3Interview5Interview7xInterview10xInterview91xInterview92xInterview93xInterview99xMarilyn 3xMarilyn 4xMarilyn 6xMarilyn 9xMarilyn 91xMarilyn 92xMarilyn 93xMarilyn 94xTeabag 1x

So there you have it… a small percentage of the various costumes and scenes from my show, and a large amount of gurning and duvet wrangling so far.  (Not sure what that strange blob is in the last photo)

Please leave friendly comments!

Practicing random acts of kindness

April 3rd, 2011 Comments 0

Ah the spring!  It’s so wonderful to have more warm pink snow to play with this year.  I watched this shrub dropping it’s first clean pink petals onto the back alley on the way into town.  Several days later and those petals had already gone brown, but the pink ones keep coming.petal1

I decided to leave something for people to see as they walked along.  My first instinct is always to do a heart, but I tried to do something else this time…

petal2petal3petal4petal5petal6petal heart 1petal heart 2

It just wasn’t complete without the heartpetal heart 3

Wanna try one?

International Women’s Day Bridge Time

March 15th, 2011 Comments 0

I was on my way out for a walk, when my mum reminded me it was International Women’s Day (100th Anniversary!) and that women all over the world were congregating on bridges to symbolise peace.  Well that was easy for me as I knew I would be crossing a bridge in a few minutes time and I could congregate there by myself – how marvellous I thought.

Here are the arches of the handsome bridge,bridge arches

some speckledy lichens on bobbly branches,bridge tree

and here I am congregating on the bridge,

bridge shadow mebridge me

Further down the road I encountered another bridge – definitely the kind that Goblins live under – but probably very nice ones.  Just imagine the tinkly sound of water that makes you want to linger and you’ll be there.

bridge little

Then I went on my walk to a wonderful woods, and I’ll save those pictures for tomorrow…

I Did It!!!

February 26th, 2011 Comments 0

Dragon Head

I performed my first ever solo show on Thursday and it didn’t all end in disaster!

Well, more accurately, we did it!  I had so much help from two people in particular, that it was in no way a solo effort.

I am going to write a series of How-To posts based on my experiences.  I already started the first one mid-rehearsals, and the rest will be written with the wonderful benefit of hindsight, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and a warm glowy feeling of having completed Something Big.

So, off I go now with my warm glowy insides and on to the next thing!   

Dragon eating head

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