To quote the fabulous Erykah Badu: “What a day! What a day!”
In fact what a 5 weeks. It has flown by and I’m at a most strange place now: planning my next steps.
But before I go on to that I think it’s best to reflect on what’s just happened. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea!
So I woke up at 6.45, got my stuff together and double-checked that I’d packed everything. (Not very well it seems as I left my camera at home. Onwards!) And I set off for Kingston.
I arrived at uni for 8.30 and, as I walked through to the LRC I was greeted by the sight of the Cheerleading team with their PJs and pillows. That aside, I found out that the opening hours of the LRC was 10-5. Arrrrgh! So I headed to get a white shirt – the last prop required.
The dance and drama department have a separate building which, thanks to the wonderful Mr Pringle, was open and ready for us to use. During the morning it was made available to the cast and directors to rehearse and Team Geek to get the interviews underway.
Then we headed over to the space and grabbed lunch en route, signed in and started to get our props together. I had organised it we would have the space for 2 hours before we opened: an hour for warm-up and an hour for organising the changeovers. The brilliant Selina, Stuart and Caleb led the warm-up and got the cast fighting fit. We then had to work out the sets for each piece and who would do what. After that it was just a question of letting the plays speak for themselves.
As we opened the doors and people started to come in, we realised that we might need more seats. At 63 we had taken all the seats they had and some members of the audience had to stand. We couldn’t have asked for more.
To open was Mark Ravenhill’s A Bigger Banner with Mima Harris, Sam Kozlowski, Kelsey Williams and Simone Smith. The audience entered and saw the lovely Shona making her banner. The play shows Shona after being locked up in the university for three weeks. She begins to question whether we really have achieved everything our post-war idealists set out for us or whether we’ve actually gone backwards.
Then, from out of the audience, Lucy Kirkwood’s Housekeeping appeared. This dark comedy explores the deep cuts imposed by the Coalition Government on our country. The manipulative Coal (Emily Case) approaches Bill (Sam Reddin) with her bargaining techniques to achieve the best for society whilst, the elderly Mrs. Dean (Lucy Cole) reminisces about the Britain she remembers from her youth.
Due to performance nerves, we had some timings issues that left us with a 40 minute interval, instead of 15 – eek! – so I sent the audience out for a drink and a chat.
On the audience’s return, The Fat Man by Anders Lustgarten started, this was a brilliant physical theatre piece based on an initial conversation with playwright Simon Stephens. This adaptation allows us as the audience to laugh as well as be shocked at ourselves and the way we behave. Demonstrating the real problems of politics, it is a call to take action, marvelously portrayed by Sarah Bartholomew, Jenny Dunne, Ines Loughrey, Stefan Savage, Claudio Vera Fernandez (a special nod has to go to him for his wonderful and faithful Nick Clegg!) and Kelsey Williams
This was followed by Whiff Whaff by Jack Thorne. We meet Nigel (Sam Kozlowski) and Julie (Lacey Webdale), your typical suburban couple: happily married, 2.4 children and a cat. Or so you think. See through the eyes of a couple that have learnt from the poor decision-making of the governments over the last 20 years with devastating consequences.
And to end we had Things That Make No Sense by Dennis Kelly. Three people. One room. And one crime of which someone needs to take the blame, but who is responsible? With this play I explored the blame and guilt of the Government. Our three main political parties were three main characters arguing out responsibility whilst members of the general public sat there trying to work out whether to vote for Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats or Action.
Over the next week or so, Team Geek will be putting together a video of clips and interviews with the cast and creatives so keep your eyes peeled!
I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came down because you made it what it needed to be. Also to Dominique Flook, who did the hair and make-up for the day, and Phillip Crossman who kept me sane all day as my right-hand man.
Now for the next step, for those who can make it, we should turn our attention to the March for Alternative next Saturday, 26th March.
These plays gave us an opportunity to examine what’s happening with the cuts, made suggests of what we can do and how not taking action is the same as giving these cuts a helping hand. As David Greig finishes Fragile:
‘This situation is all f**ked up and it has to change.”
This is not the end, this is just the beginning…