The reviews are in

Not that I’m biased but I do agree with this particular review of Groover’s first ever stage production (with lines and everything) – Arsenic and Old Lace:

Within this set we meet Joseph Kesselring’s bizarre characters, all of whom are presented by well-chosen actors, but one must say that the standout character of Teddy Brewster/Roosevelt is played in a manic, no-holds-barred fashion by Groover. He brings a new dimension to the term ’barking mad’.

Einstein: My how I’ve changed…
Teddy: Well, you see, that picture hasn’t even been taken yet…

A classic moment.

Teddy:  I’m President Roosevelt.

Charge!

Mortimer:  Good news Mr President, your term of office is over.

Teddy:  It’s out of my hands.  He’ll have to be told.  Army regulations you know.

Teddy:  When the President of the United States can be treated like that, what is the country coming to?

Teddy:  So that’s it, a nature faker!

Shrouded City

Cloudy Perth

One of the things I like about commuting (rather than driving) to work is the feeling that I am part of something bigger.

Yesterday for example, looking  up as I walked up the ramp from the station I was struck by this image of my city shrouded in low lying cloud.

It doesn’t happen often.

Even today, when it was raining, the city was free and clear.

If I had driven in, chances are I wouldn’t have noticed.

I love over-hearing other people’s conversations as well.

Getting an insight into their lives and sometimes into mine.

The other day on the way home I heard two young executive types discussing the various talk radio shows in Perth.

So weird hearing strangers talking about people you know.

(and even funnier when you agree with their astute assessment!)

Amazing what comes through on the radio – you can’t hide!

Apart from commuting the other thing that has made me feel part of something bigger is Theatresports. (can’t wait for the spring season)

The little community that has built around it is lovely – I am having coffee (separately) with two friends from the group this week alone.

And Theatresports of course has led to Groover’s Acting Debut – this Thursday at the Midland Junction Arts Centre.

Supporting Arsenic and Old Lace has led us to go to other productions that our fellow theatresporters are in which is why you found us at the Limelight Theatre in Wanneroo last Saturday night.

I was impressed with the full house and committed community theatre going public.

It’s a whole world I haven’t explored (despite reporting on it years ago on radio).

We saw Chess, complete with a live band.

It is not an easy musical, and I’ve been singing the songs all week.

Badly I’m sad to say.

For the last few years I’ve been privileged to be invited to a number of professional theatre productions, ironic then that the first production in a while that I should pay for is amateur theatre!

But bring it on.

I’ve seen first hand how hard everyone works to get these productions up – with no pay.

They deserve to be supported.

And hey – they are one of the few public places I’ve been to which supplies nice quilted SOFT loo paper.

Which just makes the experience all the better.

Cloudy day

Getting excited

This is Groover as Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace complete with bugle and fake moustache

Only a month to go before the opening night of Arsenic and Old Lace, the play Groover is appearing in at the Midland Junction Arts Centre.

Four weeks to find out where that actually is!

Groover is the one with the bugle.

Scripts are already down and the group are doing full run throughs which I think is pretty impressive.

And I’m learning new phrases…

Like “speedlining”.

Or at least I think that’s what it’s called.

Where you go through the script at speed without the actions just to get the words down.

It also apparently has something to do with logging and is a brand of spray on ute tray liner.

I’m pretty sure Groover isn’t going out at night for a spot of logging.

His hands are too soft.

Anyway I’ve booked out tickets and – no pressure darl – but we’ll be there in force!

If you’d like to join us – you can book here.

Learning lines

Yes community theatre is all very well in theory – a fun time out showing off in front of your mates.

But there’s some serious line learning to be done – even if you’ve got a smallish character part.

So… what better way than to learn them and exercise at the same time.

Learning Lines

Learning Lines

Learning Lines

Once at rehearsal Groover says the lines didn’t come as easily as he hoped.

Apparently that’s quite common.

I can’t remember how I used to learn lines back at uni but maybe you have some tips to share.

How do you learn lines?

Bugle Boy

Groover practices the Bugle for his upcoming role of Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace

Well rehearsals have started and now we are without Groover’s company two to three nights a week as he heads to Midland to rehearse for Blak Yak‘s upcoming production of Arsenic and Old Lace.

(the season is in June – don’t miss it)

This is Groover’s first foray into community theatre and he has to learn the bugle.

(Luckily I spoke to someone today whose brother is in the Navy band and plays the bugle – how cool is that!)

Anyway… he’s done Mr Cha Cha’s ballroom and Theatresports but this is “proper” theatre with lines to learn and everything.

And it’s quite a commitment – 2 to 3 nights a week and more as the season gets closer.

He seems to relish this new experience and told me over dinner tonight he would definitely look for more opportunities.

Having said that he was spotted listening to the last five minutes of the Dockers fabulous win on Sunday…

Groover listens to the Dockers at Rehearsal for Arsenic and old lace

But honestly – who could blame him?

It was an AWESOME win!

[more photos from rehearsals]

So what is Theatresports anyway?

Jen asks me to get back to basics following my Life Lessons from Theatresports post so here goes…

Theatresports was created by a guy called Keith Johnstone.

First of all Theatresports is a vehicle for improvised theatre.

A mechanic.

Ah but what is improvised theatre?

Acting without a script would be the first thing that comes to mind.

Theatresports then gives you a framework for a show… and games to set up the improvisation.

For example – you could do a game called “n-words” – this is one of my favourites.

In this game each person is given a certain number and they can only say that number of words at one time.

It can be hilarious.

If you can remember that you only have a certain number of words to say!

Another fave is when two cast members speak in gibberish and the other two “translate” what they are saying.

And I love “sing about it” – even though I can’t sing – here the MC calls out Sing About It during a scene and the actors have to make up a song on the spot.

I guess I love it because I can’t sing but this gives me licence to.

Having said that, I never got to play it in the three nights I was on.

Sigh.

Another favourite is Half Life.

In this game you improvise a scene, then replay it in half the time, half the time again, and so on until you replay it in about 3 seconds.

It is a lot of fun.

You play in teams, but the competition is really for the audience.

Does that make any sense at all?

Suffice to say that it is a bit like stepping off a cliff – you have no idea what the night will throw at you – you just have to step off and go for it.

It is very liberating.

And isn’t that what we do in life anyway?

** I don’t think I’ve done that great a job – help anyone?

Life Lessons from Theatresports

Unfortunately my photo collection from Theatresports is somewhat thin, so you’ll have to make do with this image stolen from Facebook (hope that’s okay Jo):

Over the past few months Groover and I have been going to Theatresports classes and performances.

I’ve always loved the idea of Theatresports.

It seems so clever and so fast.

And yet so lazy!

You don’t need to learn any lines!

I love that.

So this is what I’ve learned…

1.  It is okay to fail happily

Failing means that you have tried your hardest.

If you never fail, you have stayed safe.

Being safe means you have never taken any risks.

Without risk, you will never move forward, you will not grow.

Failing happily means that you celebrate growing and changing.

The chance to succeed.

2. Pause

Pause in order to listen.

Count to three before you respond to give yourself thinking time, rather than thinking about your next speech/comment while the other is thinking.

Listening is the greatest gift we can give another person.

We… I… don’t listen enough.

So often I catch myself waiting for a break in the other person’s conversation so I can jump in with my well formulated comment, when really I should just listen.

And when I do pause, I discover a lot more is being said than I realised.

And I wonder what I missed.

So… pause.

3. ….

(I’m pausing)

4. You are only there to make other people look good

And isn’t that true of life?

Yes, obviously it is YOUR life, but by supporting others around you, your life is enhanced.

For without their strength, you will end up holding the world up by yourself.

That’s exhausting and not so satisfying.

5. Keep it simple

In Theatresports the trick is to keep it simple and obvious.

Your audience has a set of expectations and they love it if you stay within that circle of expectations.

It’s why some of the best comedians are those who talk about everyday life – somehow the most obvious observations are hilarious when repeated back at you.

And don’t you think life is the same?

Avoid trying to be too clever.

People want to hear what you’re REALLY thinking, an honest response not some quick one liner.

Sure the gag is cute now and again, but it soon becomes wearing.

You can’t have a real relationship if you don’t have honest communication.

Conclusion

I thought I was learning about theatre, I was learning about life.

(I’ll be signing up for more life lessons later this year… find out when on Facebook.)

Early starts and wicket takers

melville-markets2

I’m tired.

My eyes are barely open.  They feel sandy.  And I feel quite lethargic, reclining as I am my head at an odd angle to gain the cushion, my body twisted so I can keep the laptop plugged in and lie down at the same time.  This can’t be good for my spine.

I shuffle along the couch to try and find  a more comfortable space.  Luckily my fingers know the keys but still I have to stop and correct now and then.

Despite a rather stressed work environment at the moment I’ve had a surprisingly relaxed weekend.

Friday night I played bridge with Arty.  She’s a great player.  She knows the conventions backwards and understands cards.  Even so we only came fourth.  Club bridge is somewhat unpredictable.  Afterwards we discussed the hands – we’re playing in the Women’s Selection next week.  She told me to study hard!

The next morning I got up latish and went for a coffee which turned into lunch with Jif, another bridge pal who I used to work with.  He is a font of all bridge knowledge and gossip and we had a lovely lunch down at Barista which, although I thought over-priced did a very nice Greek pastry thing. (Don’t you love my technical terms)

In the afternoon I went to Knitwit to see if they hold stretch sewing classes.  I’m sure they do but they weren’t open.  Sigh.  Don’t they know that some sewing types work?!  Saturday morning is such a drag to have to spend shopping.

Hmm speaking of shopping I’ve checked out the new Claremont Shopping Centre and found it a bit boring.  I know all the shops aren’t in yet but there is not enough there for me to make the effort yet.  And anyway big shopping centres are overwhelming.

Last night we went to see Shane Warne the Musical at the Regal Theatre.  It was opening night and a carpet of fake grass and a white picket fence led the way in. 

All the regular freeloaders were there and it was a good fun night.

I loved the different musical styles – from rap to gospel.  In that way it was similar to Keating! which you know I loved.

The story of Shane Warne – the bad boy cricket genius – has a bit to work with.  I’m not sure the straight autobiographical chronology worked for me so much – the AIS stuff was a bit creepy – but overall it was a blast.

The classic moments for me include the cigarette scene – worth the price of admission just for that.  I also liked the Simone meeting section and the wedding dance, the sledging song (wouldn’t mind reading the lyrics of that one) and the last song by Simone is also poignant.

Eddie Perfect is indeed perfect as Warney – and as he also wrote all the lyrics, quite impressive.

I would like to see the libretto though as I fear I missed a lot of the humour because I missed some of the lyrics.

While you don’t need to know a lot about cricket to enjoy this musical I recommend familarising yourself with The Ball.  You can see a video here and the wiki explanation is very good too.

A second opinion?

This morning we got up early – 6.30 AM to trek out to Melville for the carpark markets.

It was dark when we arrived, just getting light and already the place was busy with people.  A great place to buy plants I think and there were a few other bits and pieces of interest – a nice sewing machine I was tempted by  – a few clothing items – but I managed not to buy anything – quite easy with Groover walking near me – he is quite the handbrake on spending that one!

I went back to bed when we got home – it is Sunday right?

Although I did manage to get out my convention book to read through some of the bits and pieces I’m playing with Arty on Thursday.

Big bridge week coming up… Monday night with Gij, then I fly to Kalgoorlie for three days, back for Thursday night with Arty, Friday night at home (I think we’re cleaning the house… sigh) and then ALL weekend playing with Arty, and then Monday night again with Gij.

Insane.  It’s feast or famine.  And online I’ve found some bridge tweeters.  Happy day.

Red cordial deters thieves

At least I assume that’s why bartenders in our largest city get their customers to deposit their tips in a glass of red cordial.

Bar tips in red cordial

I decided to go and see Billy Elliot tonight as well, I wanted to really. I managed to get a great seat near the front and settled back to enjoy the show. It was interesting. A different focus form the movie and quite moving at times. There were scenes I thought were a bit weird – the dress one? Giant dresses dancing around. A little bizarre.

Tonight was a bit of a dramatic night – yes I know I should expect drama being, as I was, in a theatre – but during the performance Billy bashed his head on the door. We thought all the blood was part of the show but no. He was whisked off to have it seen to, the stage hands mopped the floor and the show started ten minutes later with the understudy – one of the five regular Billys and the one that looked least like the first Billy. Did a great job from a standing start though.

He had to come on for the big audition number.

Overall I really enjoyed the show and the venue – the Capitol Theatre in Sydney – and the experience was even more special as one of my colleagues knew John Xintavelonis – who plays Mr Braithwaite – so we met him at the stage door for a drink with him and his girlfriend who is a dresser and chaperone for the child cast.

It was really interesting to hear the behind the scenes stuff and find out if the first Billy was okay – apparently so.

At the pub where we ventured for a drink – the pub of the red cordial – the second with the red cordial thang happening – we came across some guys who go to the show several times a week. They are Friends of Billy. Imagine going multiple – and by multiple I mean many many times – not just two or three times. I can’t.

Anyway. Must to bed. Catch you from the Qantas lounge.

Me and Chas Licciardello

Claiming that my son is a huge fan and would be sick-makingly jealous if I had my photo taken with him, I stood next to the (surprisingly not tall) Chas Licciardello from The Chaser and smiled.

Chas and Me

Of course it’s me who is the big fan… and Hugamuga… but one doesn’t want to be so uncool. Oh except… um… I guess it’s pretty lame to then display the photo on your blog… And I don’t want to appear a stalker but that’s 2/5!

I took the family to The Chaser’s Age of Terror Variety Hour at His Majesty’s Theatre this week. I was amused, I laughed out loud, I sniggered, I wondered if we’re going to have a problem in the future recycling all those reusable green shopping bags…

A Green Shopping Bag

Hugamuga LOVED it.

It’s like a Uni Review crossed with the Chaser’s TV show. The demographic was young. It was fun.

Details of the show.

Speaking of things happening in Perth… apparently the World Blog Awards are in our fair city in August…