Tim Elgood’s ‘Unforgettable’ on-tour Blog

Blog On The Tyne (more on this title choice later)

Well… what an ‘unforgettable’ week’s production…

The Derby Guildhall Theatre

The Derby Guildhall Theatre

How was the play received?

Tearfully. Now that could reflect poorly upon the World Premiere of any play. As too could the elderly lady’s comment to me as she left the auditorium at the interval with a wry smile, “Oi young man …” (ok – she did wear thick specs) “have you been eavesdropping on my sister and me for the last decade”?

How was it received?

With open arms and opened hearts. Not that you will ever persuade a cast of actors of that fact. The great ‘play within a play’ was the sister/brother post match analysis that developed in the pub each night. The scene was wholly juxtaposed with the lines from the play: “The old ones loved it – and the young ones were too pissed to care”. Our ‘young ones’ were clearly relieved and celebrating getting the first night under their belts. Unbeknown to them they also had a lot of glowing audience feedback to later digest.

The ‘older ones’? Well… what do they say about fine wine? Lesson learnt by me: You cannot tell an older actor they have performed well. It’s almost seen as a criticism. Lesson for older actors: How often did you see Tony Hancock smile? On stage or off. And how many times did he give a ‘forgettable’ performance?

The Guildhall might have provided us with a stage… but equally so did ‘The Brewery Tap’. After-show catch-ups with Anna, joined in The Tap by her husband, John.

Whereas Anna only drinks pints of things with a lemonade top, what are those colourful drinks Hayley drinks with a straw? And let’s raise a glass to her colourful lifestyle upon the Nottingham canal (for now) in her narrowboat, where she keeps her trusty bicycle and equally trusty ‘Brett’ (raise your glasses to a man who rolls his sleeves up on the final night at the Guildhall and gets stuck into ‘getting out’).

Hayley Dohert's narrowboat, 'Wanderer'

Hayley Doherty’s narrowboat, ‘Wanderer’

No time at this precise moment to mention the stars of backstage; Alison, Mandy, Gem, Mark and Drew, but their time will come. Also… conspicuous by her absence is director Theresa. Likewise, her time will come. And what of our ‘skipper’ Sally? Well the only photo I remembered to take (along with the tip of my forefinger to point her out) was Sally attending her al fresco supervision meeting with Anna’s husband, a retired probation officer, outside The Assembly Rooms.

'Skipper' Sally

‘Skipper’ Sally

So finally. What about the title of this blog? Hell’s bells. Forget Tony Hancock and the ‘stars of stage’. You can keep ‘em. We are in the company of a true talent. ‘Geordie Boy’ Adam… nurtured by a couple of pints of ‘Fine Continental Ale’ (aka lager) speaks of life before acting. ‘North West Young Footballer of The Year’. Lennox and I both sat up straight simultaneously and turned our respective ‘good ears’ towards young Donaldson. Presented to him by Gary Linneker no less. So why? Why on earth pursue such a dodgy career as acting? ‘Because football is marginally dodgier’. Good answer, Adam. But… his brother Ryan did pursue football and, as Lennox and I could both tell you, very nearly knocked Man Utd out of this year’s FA Cup.

So go and Google Ryan Donaldson, and while there check out the ‘Unforgettable’ reviews.

Cheers!

Tim Elgood

… And here are those reviews!:

Peter Ryley, Fat Man On A Keyboard Blog

Amanda Penman, Artsbeat

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The Snowball Effect – Week 2 of EP Company

Week Two of our Emerging Perspectives journey, and where the 1st session set the bar, packed with inspirational wonder, the 2nd refused to fall short of this standard.

We started our day with an array of activities, making sure we were stimulated both intellectually and physically (boy, were some parts physical!).

Question:

If a stage is empty, is anything happening in that scene?

If a stage is empty and you add a chair, what is that chair saying?

If a stage is empty and numerous chairs are added, all in different positions, angles, and groupings, what is happening in that scene?

Answer…Everything!

EmptyChair

In what some may assume to be a very simple task, placing chairs one by one in to the space, in no particular order, we realised that a story can be told even through inanimate objects. Similarly, we questioned whether power, or the lack of, can be displayed without movement or sound, simply by where or how someone is standing on stage. For me these activities were very interesting; having previously done work which involved the use of silence and stillness, I have come to love these ‘techniques’ and feel that in some cases these moments can be the most powerful. Like most actors, I have always been taught that for as long as you are on stage, you are in character. Whether you are centre stage, reciting a monologue or sitting on a sofa, reading the TV guide whilst someone else is reciting a monologue, you are in character. Despite being the person with no lines sitting on a sofa and reading the TV guide you could still capture the audience, by being that character. As well as a new appreciation of the staging of a scene, this fundamental rule of acting was echoed for me during these activities.

For someone who has a near addiction to all the wrong things to eat and who has forsaken the gym on more than one occasion due to impatience and frustration, it came as no surprise that I worked up a bit of a sweat during our more physical activities. One in particular stood out for me, rivalling one of my all-time favourites. The only equipment: a handful of creative souls, each armed with a two pence coin… The aim of the game was simple, keep your 2p on the top of your hand – do not allow anyone else to do the same! Slowly but surely, our numbers diminished until only two combatants remained. One of my fellow Emerging Perspectives compared this stand off to fencing and although I have never had the good fortune to try it, drawing from only Hollywood-esque images, I can see the resemblance. Again, this was a simple activity that could be considered as just a ‘warm up’, something to get everyone moving. Nevertheless, I can’t help but see something more in this: yes I was moving, yes I was indeed very warm and yes I may have felt a tightness of chest afterwards but regardless of all this, to watch this display, in its own way, is performance. The movement itself was a type of physical theatre or dance. The unified effect achieved by all members of the group working together, a version of ensemble. The almost rehearsed interaction between the final two, in close quarters, back and forth, the attack, the defence, the riposte (fencing terminology, thank you Google). How do I define this movement? It is the epic fight scene, the moment the hero/heroine seems to be against unbeatable odds, the point where she is about to realise she loves him, the moment just before they win the championship, the peak of tension, still, unmistakably performative.

scripts

The second half of our day brought to the forefront of our minds a crucial part of our time together (cue shocking sound effect): the scripts. Admittedly this filled me with a slight sense of dread, not because I was worried about the scripts or what the stories were going to be, nor the quality of them, but because I am very poor at reading something for the first time, especially in a group! Alas, onwards, we read the first, discussed slightly, read the second, more light discussion, then the third and final piece. Given I had no preconceptions of what they would turn out to be, or whether I would even enjoy them, I found myself enjoying all of the stories immensely, but especially certain aspects of each one, each for a different reason.

The first I enjoyed very much, feeling a great sense of connection to it. Certain lines within it I could hear being said by people in my own life, past and present, as if sitting amongst us, leaving me unable to avoid slightly smirking to myself.

The second I couldn’t help but enjoy, due to my sheer excitement of seeing this production off the page, plus a marvellous and rather ‘foxy’ reading by one of my comrades! The imagery this piece creates is so rich; the performer inside of me was salivating.

The third gave me so many images, colours, tastes. Images of rows of houses I had once seen, but had long since forgotten. Images of tea time at my Grandmother’s house, a place I loved visiting as a child, looking forward to this time of day, cold cuts, cheese, homemade scones, with a pot of fresh loose leaf tea.

kf

Safe to say I am growing increasingly excited about what each session will bring: the anticipation of the rollercoaster to come. Much like the snowball effect, I feel we will progress, gaining momentum, tackling any obstacle with ease, reaching the end of this journey, fully Emerged.

Kyle Futers