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Seagull Show Report 19th July 2009
The Actress: Federay Holmes
The Writer: John Hopkins
The Brother: Jonathon Oliver
The Teacher: Max Gell
The Doctor: Jacob Krichefski
The Son: Tim Evans
The Girl: Amanda Morgan
The Bailiff: Scott Brooksbank
The Bailiff's Daughter: Elena Pavli
The Bailiff's Daughter: Elena Pavli
The Bailiff's Wife: Maddy Highland
The Servant: Sarah Bedi
*** I think its worth stating that it would be helpful to nominate a person to write the show report before the performance so notes can be taken and specific details remembered. As it stands these are just a few of my thoughts on the show.***
"Dont get me wrong, I'm enjoying it, but what's the point?" asked a friend of mine during the interval.. "Why are we putting The Seagull into our own words? Why are we choosing to use our own names rather than those of the characters? Are we watching a process in rehearsal rather than a finished product..?"
Does it matter that he was confused? Probably not. Especially since he seemed pretty excited by the end of the show and dead keen on getting involved with the factory himself. But I think it reflects that there may have been very different halves of the show. Obviously the more 'dramatic, showy' scenes fall in the second half of the play which probably woke up my friend and he'd had the time to get used to the whole thing. However I think I had a similar reaction. There seemed to be a particular kind of energy in the first half, a tad back-footed perhaps, as if the nature of wrestling with how to say things pulled the actor away from attacking his or her action with complete clarity. Or the action could not be realised until after the line had been said, when the opportunity had passed. There was looking downwards, upwards, some pacing about and so on, in the search for the right words and I personally craved more contact and feeding directly off the other person. Looking over previous show blogs, this sense of 'holding back' is a recurring theme. And I'm not sure if its just a case of knowing your units better as when I was following the script people were generally on the button.
That said, there was loads of pace in the first half, which I'm sure was helped massively by the speed run warm-up (I think it was 10 minutes per act). The audience seemed to respond well; not least when peanuts were being tossed into their mouths; 'she loves me, she loves me not' or when an actor needed a drink of water; "Will lager do?" (Cheers mate.) Great sense of fun and play, the company trusting eachother to go wherever.
In act 2, when Maddy took the girls' flower from Jacob, I thought she was going to throw it back in his face but instead she let it softly fall from her hand. It was a beautifully subtle moment. And a great scene between the girl and the writer in act 2, though Jopkins is a ***** for the audience and couldn't resist a couple of winks and nods where his words were doing plenty enough.
So the second half was cooking on gas and for me the entire company were risking more, or maybe not caring as much. Elenas' request for the dedication in the book to be "doop de doop, doop doop doop de doop, doop de doop, doop doop doop de doop doop....." Nuff said.
Post show we talked about the use of overlapping in the final act and whether it became too chaotic to understand. I thought it was incredilbly exciting to watch and didnt feel I was losing important details (although I dont seem to be able to remember anything either). Units were communicated in a much simpler fashion. One word often did just fine.
We discussed whether characters needed to know the rules of 'the game' beforehand as they do in our hard-copy versions. I don't think there was a strong feeling either way, other than the observation that there was a difference. Most people understood the rules of tonights game of Pictionary; including the audience.
It was felt by all that the sound of feedback through the speakers for the gun shot was slightly odd, but that there should be a much stronger reaction nonetheless. And the final unit of the play was a bit quiet. And as MC, I jumped in too fast without allowing the moment to linger.
Well done to all and especially Jono on his first show!
***Please all add what you can remember!***
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|AmandaMorgan||A post Seagull conversation with my family||10||Aug 2 2009, 8:16 PM EDT by AlanMorrissey|
Thread started: Jul 23 2009, 11:52 AM EDT Watch
A post show conversation with my parents and sisters who were in, none of whom know the play although Mum saw The Pleasance show...
All: We really enjoyed it. Great performances all round. It was really hot in there though.
Mum: Did you change the ending from last time?
Dad: We didn’t realise it had finished.
Mum: What was that funny static noise?
Dad: What actually happened at the end?
Mum: He kills himself.
Dad and Samantha: He kills himself?
Mum: Did he not kill himself this time?
Samantha: That man with the beard (Jacob) was brilliant. What a sexy voice – you could totally see why the women would go for him.
Sarah: Why do you touch your nose all the time on stage like a coke addict?
Samantha: Why did some people call you Amanda?
Sarah: It was really good. The improvisation was very fluid.
Samantha: So essentially, you were all writing the script on the spot?
Dad: I liked the mum and the brother very much!
Mum: Didn’t the girl wearing black (Elena?) play the same part as you last time?
Samantha: The guy with the moustache (Jopkins) had great chat – very witty.
Sarah: Does he have that moustache for a reason?
Mum: He must do.
Samantha: Does it bother you when people laugh during the serious bits?
Sarah: I liked the overlapping.
Samantha: I preferred the second half.
Samantha: The bailiff’s wife was good - very believable.
Dad: Not sure about this getting props from the audience thing.
Mum: No, I think that’s good
Dad: Do you think that girl brought the Seagull style hair band on purpose?
Mum: She must have.
Sarah: I’d like to see Chekov's version now to compare and I'd like to see how a different Factory cast do it.
Me: You’ll have to come again.
|Federay||the Game||2||Jul 23 2009, 1:06 PM EDT by Federay|
Thread started: Jul 23 2009, 12:58 PM EDT Watch
We had a very useful and interesting discussion about what has become the Issue of the Game (Act 4) after this show. I have thought about it a lot since... at the moment I think this: if you look at the script everyone is very, very familiar with the game - even the actress indicates she has played it since childhood and it is a predictable house-routine. The Bailiff's daughter leads it but it is not a dominant element of the scene - what dominates is the conversation that surrounds the game - so the game frames that conversation - most of which is about the Son. We are still losing a lot of the points made because they are many and economic, I think we are also allowing the game to dominate the conversation, perhaps because that is easier. In the versions I have they can play this game with their eyes shut - and that is what they do in this scene.
I also now think the gunshot at the end is a key prop and has not yet been solved. Without that one sensory element we are trying to play a Mahler symphony on kazoos, everywhere else - the kazoos work fine.
And finally the point about actions: we have graduated quickly from the early stages of doing this play SERIOUSLY not knowing if it would work - and utterly prepared for either failure OR a miracle. Perhaps we are getting used to working a miracle - the devil is in and the first thing to wither is our need to get That Vital Thing from the Other Guy - because that Need is all we have. In Hamlet, the poetry/text held us and our actions aloft, in this the actions are all we have.
We have to return to that simple state of not-knowing every time we play or the audience, quite rightly, have time to think: why are we here? Why are they doing this and why am I watching? Which, to me, is what Laura's friend was saying. (cont)
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