Another night, another audience, another totally new event.

Last night was a whole new ball game.

This was posted on FaceBook:

Heather Jones: has just seen the extraordinary, subtle, arresting and amazing production of ‘The Fall of June Bloom’. For anyone who loves theatre, words and Shakespeare, it’s a must!

Considering that this is a play about an older actor who forgets things – her lines, as well as events in her background, it is hardly ironic that there had to come a time when I would actually forget my lines.  This was possibly one of the most useful things that could happen to me, because it reminded me that in ‘real life’ we don’t try to forget, we try to remember, so acting ‘forgetting’ is actually about trying to remember.

I must remember that… 

 

First review: Full Version:

This was for me, one of the most engaging and rewarding pieces of theatre I have seen for a very long time.

I found it startlingly and brilliantly unsafe. A pretend lecture on Shakespeare became an edge of your seat experience. What was being asked of me as audience member? Am I suppose to chime in? Am I supposed to respond? The apparent plant, yes. But other audience members fell under the spell and responded as well. Were they ruining it? Were they making it better?

“We need to stop asking rhetorical questions in the theatre”, the character of June tells us. And with a single line brings the whole show into perfect clarity. This is not a performance. This is not a lecture. This is now. This is a moment. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt that I (the audience) was part of that moment. Trying to capture a theatre that we have lost. Memories that are no longer our own. Rules and guidelines have replaced what once was skill and human instinct. We have become creators of oh-so-clever recitals. What Flloyd has captured is the importance of that all pervading, all-powerful question that (at least for me) all great theatre is based on – “What Happens Next”?

Bravo.
Matthew Ryan

Jumping in the Blue, New!

One down, three to go. Three more chances to play, to discover, to invent and explore, to realise, to actualise, to – oh, I could go on, but really, I should take a shower and cool down.

Last night, our opening night audience included friends and family, colleagues and students, and their friends and partners. In other words, the home team, very supportive and responsive, some of them theatre makers themselves, and some relatively new to theatre going.

The idea that you can sit in the audience and also contribute to the discussion and to the action on stage can obviously be confronting, but that is something I hope to change before the end of this run. This is one of the challenges I have set with this play, how to create an atmosphere in the theatre which encourages participation, which is clearly not about humiliating the audience, but about engaging with them on equal terms.

Last night, when my character asked for a volunteer to speak some Shakespeare text, someone came out and did so. The short improvisation that resulted allowed me to share yet another vocal quality with the audience, and to highlight yet another aspect of performance that was not otherwise mentioned in the script. And so the work evolves. It is never the same, we do not repeat ourselves, our rehearsal process has been totally geared toward being present to the actual moment, going with the flow in every sense of the word. That doesn’t mean we don’t have marks to hit, climaxes to arrive at, stories to tell, lines to remember. It’s just that we do it as we encounter it, and that means being actually present to the audience that happens to be in the room, and responding to their responses.

Last night, one member of the audience interjected freely throughout the play, prompting me when I forgot my lines (part of the script, I assure you – my forgetting, not his prompting!) so I had to deal with it. He knows his Shakespeare, and was most free in sharing his views on points of interpretation, and his opinion of when we, the performers, hit our marks as he perceived them. I wish he would come every night, because he would have something different to respond to every night.

We are in the process of making the kind of theatre I enjoy. It’s alive, inclusive and it deals with the human condition and some of the philosophical concepts we humans love to toy with. That sounds dry, and it’s not dry by any means. It’s warm-hearted, funny and even a bit silly. And I’m probably going on too much, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be any reviews, and somebody has to tell you about it, otherwise how would you know?

I’m now exploring the idea of setting up a live stream on Friday night. I need someone to operate the computer, and an external mike, so if anyone is willing to lend a hand, give me a bell! One way or another, Dame June Bloom will be heard!