Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Civil Unrest

As I write this my back is fucking killing me, the demands of Zero have clearly taken their toll on my useless fucking body and I've done me spine in.

Luckily, I can walk and talk so the show goes on, as it should but I can't help but feel like I'm letting myself and the rest of the team down; I could kill someone I feel so bad, feel so weak and useless and like I need to be carried (literally) though the show.

But no time to wallow in this bullshit, Zero is a show to do and die for and the early feedback and reviews (will link when they go online) have been great, this is a piece of art that can affect change!

So onwards we go, to cause unrest, to stimulate and to make people feel.

UPDATE: first review is here and jolly good it is too.

UPDATE 2: second review is here and they call me exceptional. FUCK YEAH!

God is not Great: Religion Poisons Everything

I was going to call this post: "MiniDiscs are not Great: Bad Technology Poisons Everything" but decided against it at the last moment, mainly because I've just finished reading Christopher Hitchens wonderful book and even though the sound fucked up a bit last night during Zero, it couldn't stop if from being an excellent opening night.

But before that, a brief word on Hitchen's grand book. I won't harangue you with large swaths of the text or bang-on endlessly about how much I believe all religion to be deeply wrong, anti-humanist and the nearest we have to organised child abuse but I will share with you my favourite bit that made me laugh out loud on the bus to the theatre.

One recalls the question asked by the Chinese when the first Christian
missionaries made their appearance. If god had revealed himself, how is it that
he has allowed so many centuries to elapse before informing the Chinese?

Like the best texts that outline the case against religion, Hitchens presents the argument that for me is the desperate undoing of all the organised forms of human control: is your god/gods willing to prevent evil but unable? Thus she/he is impotent. Or is your god able to stop evil but unwilling? Thus making she/he malevolent. Or perhaps your god/gods is both willing and unable? Thus they are evil.
Back to Zero, as I mentioned, yesterday was our opening night and it went very well indeed, aside from some sound issues and tonight promises to be another grand adventure.
As well as reading Hitchens, I've been digesting some of Leon Trotsky's essays of late and was struck that his idea of the working class looking to transcend the world of material goods and material wealth in which they could never hope to be a success in, is in part reflected in the story of the terrorist in the play itself.
The idea that when the world of money and wealth seems so far away as to be unreal, a fantasy, then action can be taken to transcend this world by acts of violence in order to become something in another way, in order to find a degree of success in humanity by playing by a different set of rules.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Tech Week Blues

Just like the world economy, Zero has been experiencing technical difficulties but unlike the world economy, which is fragile because of the trading of money and assets that don't really exist, Zero's problems have stemmed from the vagaries of the MiniDisc.

Yes, some people do still use the little bastards..

You'd have thought that welcoming a new actor on board with only a weeks rehearsal would've been the problem but no, Kate has slotted in nicely and has risen to the challenges set her, indeed, exceeded expectations. The band of actors is tight, ready and primed to destroy all before them but during the tech week, it is of little surprise that the bane of our lives has been a technological one and it is the soundscape that has caused blood pressure and angst to spill around the show.

In reality, the show is in fucking good shape, to be truthful, it's ready to go and what we could perhaps do with is a nod of approval from those in power to search and destroy and do the job asked of us because I have no doubt that we're up to it.

Zero is ours now and will soon be the audiences, as we open tomorrow at Warwick Arts Centre and run there for a week before going on tour (do remember to check in and see us if you can, the show is very bloody good).

Eva-Jane came to Coventry to stay with me and she saw Zero twice, she is not one for unfettered praise but she was in awe of the work and I trust her judgement, thus I am even more excited about getting it in front of the spectators.

"We're on and in it"

Wish us luck!

Friday, 19 September 2008

End of Zero Rehearsal Week 3: We've Lost an Actor

Now when I say lost I don't mean misplaced in the cupboard or abducted to some strange island full of polar bears and plane wreck survivors, I mean departed. Gone. Left.

The reasons were personal, not show related, indeed, the rehearsals are going very well, the show is taking shape and progressing leaps and bounds and aside from a cast of five briefly becoming four (our replacement is winging her way to us as I type) we are a tight group of actors making an exceptional piece of work.

Our gang mentality remains unbroken and has developed steadily into a bizarre collection of nicknames that includes: Manbag, Da Lynch Mob and The Hudson River. It has also led to a vocabulary of facial expressions, gestures, fight moves and a world of phrases that is a comforting joy to be part of. Yes, it is one big in-joke (and we must be careful not to alienate our new actor and induct her in the ways of our band of players) but there is something life-affirming about being part of a gang and quite frankly you can't beat shouting 'GUARD' at inopportune moments or our latest catch phrase...

"You're a ballbag Brines!"

This week also heralded a lot of stage fighting and the first experiments in simulated torture, however, the torture is carried out while the victim is hanging by their ankles upside down and I am one of those said victims.

At first, being suspended upside down was frankly, fucking horrible, now it is quite alright and as long as I've let my food go down before I get strung up, this new outlook on the world and rush of blood to the head is a welcome change.

The only downside of Zero is how much I'm missing Eva-Jane and this is the first weekend that I am not returning to London as we are rehearsing tomorrow. So you'll forgive me for using this blog to send a message to her...

I miss you and love you in equal measure my beautiful darling.

I hope to update you as and when I can from the frontline of tech week and our grand opening and if you can, come and bloody see me.

Friday, 12 September 2008

"However, I Stand for 8-10 Hours a Day. Why is Standing Limited to 8 Hours?"

The above words of course belong to Rumsfeld regarding enhanced interrogation techniques and for the past week, as we've worked on Zero, the concepts, actions and ideas behind torture have hung over my work; for me, it fuels much of what I'm doing in this fine play.

Zero does not choose one side over the other, does not preach, does not hector but presents all the elements of the issue at hand for the audience to absorb.

The second week of rehearsal has gone very well, excellent progess, most of the lines are learnt and scenes fleshed out. Next week provides the challenge of using the torture equipment for the first time and working with a fight director on the various violent set-pieces.

Can't bloody wait!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Colouring Zero

First week of Zero rehearsals are over with and it has been brilliant, tiring and overwhelming but totally brilliant.

Not only have we amassed a cast that are not only very gifted but also cool people but a writer/director team that have a genuine vision for the piece and the ability to pull it off.

The script is fucking ace, real top notch stuff and my character (Tom) is a dream to play, easy in the best way so that I've room to play and invent.

We've already developed a code between us, like a gang I suppose, our own conversational short-hand, references and sense of togetherness that bond us together for the journey ahead of us.

Must go, lines to learn and torture techniques to get familiar with...