Tag Archives: Arts

Interview with the cast of Fen

As I haven’t been involved in the show, I thought readers may like to hear from the cast themselves. Cast includes first year Drama student Sarah, second years Hannah Putnam, Katharina, Amy and Becca Robson as well as Performing Arts student Alex, and third years Becca Cooper, Hannah Abbott, Jonny and Kirsty as well as their stage manager, Gina.

Q How has this experience been for you?

Amy: Really good
Hannah A: Yeah, it’s good to feel part of a company.

Becca C: Eye opening. I know Caryl Churchill was a varied playwright but I had no idea she was this dark. Tim’s made it a whole lot darker. It’s amazing to see how a director can bring out the potential in a play.

Becca R: Amazing. Acting is something I was considering but wasn’t sure about so this has been amazing to work in a professional company. Tim has been good for setting up a professional atmosphere and expects us to work to a high level. It’s good for me to know how it works and that it’s what I want to do.

Hannah P: Amazing, great to work with people of the industry, costume and sound. I’ve not done a production this big before.

Kirsty: This time round everyone is at rehearsal together so the company are really close.
Even when you’re not in the scene, you’re still in it. It’s like there’s more excitement when something awesome happens.

Gina: This experience has been amazing, it’s helped my develop so many skills and i feel especially proud to be the first student to work on the production side of a collaboration project

Alex: This experience has been a great one for me! I have been so privileged to be a part of it and would like to thank everyone involved for making this so perfect for me!

Katharina: It has been (well, still is :)) a very special experience for me. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the time with the cast has been wonderful. It’s such a great chance to perform at a theatre like Curve, which keeps you motivated to do your best. It has been very challenging as well, you get pushed to your boundaries and beyond, but it helps you to improve. And we had a lot of fun as well!

Q What have you gained from this experience?

Becca C: Acting experience. It’s so demanding – so many things I have to do with little lines. Also the friends I’ve made and the sense of community has been really lovely.

Sarah: More experience, it’s been more professional than anything else I’ve been in – I was in one other show which was a lot different.

Hannah P: Confidence. Tim isn’t the kind of director who tells you each position, he just gives you the overall idea and it gives you that confidence as an actor.

Kirsty: I’ve learnt to act bigger, I tend to do quite small acting. It was difficult but good to learn.
Hannah P: Pushes you.

Gina: I have gained so much experience working with curve and have developed some great contacts that I know I’ll be using in the future.

Alex: I have gained so much from this experience. Coming from the Performing Arts course rather than the Drama course, I started out feeling a lot less confident about my abilities than maybe some of the other performers. However after taking part, I have learnt so much in the way of acting and becoming stronger and more natural, and have made some brilliant friends along the way who I hope to be friends with for a long time!

Katharina: I have learned some new approaches and methods concerning character development, textual work and blocking. Tim is always very interested in little details and reminds us to think about each pause, each full stop. It is brilliant to see how much you can get from the play text! I’ve also gained more confidence in performing in English, as this is still a lot more difficult for me. We all became friends throughout the rehearsals and I’m sure we’ll keep in contact after the show.

Jonny: A massive boost in confidence. I have a bigger swagger in me step. I’ve liked learning different styles of acting, I feel extremely lucky to have been given these opportunities.

Q How does this compare to previous years?

Becca C: Greek pushed me physically, as in my physical boundaries but this has pushed me emotionally. Two different experiences with two very different directors. Adele brought out the style of the play whereas Tim works on emotions of characters.

Becca R: I didn’t even know this was a thing. I saw Laramie last year and thought Holy Bananas, was blown away by the standard of the performance and asked the cast how to get involved. Jonny and Kirsty told me to look out for the e mail from Roger at the beginning of the year and here I am!

Alex: I did not take part in last year’s production, although I went to see it and loved it! I have found that this year has been the perfect one for me to start on and I hope to continue this into the next year!

Katharina: I didn’t know that there was the possibility to take part in the show last year – I didn’t get any information about it. I would have been to scared to audition anyway I guess, as I just moved to England last year.

Q Do you feel this would help towards a career in acting?

Amy: Yeah, I’ve wanted it more since doing this.
Hannah: Good for lecturers to see you act

Amy: What you do at uni is …weird so it’s good to do real acting.

Becca C: Working in professional environement is different from uni, being directed is much more satisfying to the devising we do in class. I’m hoping to do an MA in acting.

Gina: This project has shown me that i do want to be a stage manager in the future, i know that i want to be taking a MA in a few years and i believe this will help me gain a place on a prestigious course.

Alex: Absolutely! As a Performing Arts student, I learn more about contemporary styles of performance, so to add one more string to my bow is always helpful!

Katharina: I do hope so – you need as much experience as you can get. It’s good to be able to provide some evidence of what shows you have been involved with.

Jonny: Because of the first experience I had with Greek, it encouraged me to persue acting and get involved with Off the Fence. Infact, a Leicestershire theatre group saw me in Greek and took me to Edinburgh.

Q How does this compare to other shows you have done?

Hannah A: This is more relaxed, some directors can be impatient

Amy: But you still get stuff done

Becca R: It was interesting to work with my local drama club where the cast were quite adult so this is interesting because of the younger cast, it’s a different dynamic. I prefer this because its more professional, the community feel is down to Tim having everyone here, I reckon Fen will always have a special place in my heart.

Gina: I’ve always been interested in stage management and my friends encouraged me to go for this role. To be honest I didn’t expect to be the official stage manager, I thought I’d be an assistant so I was very surprised.

Alex: Without a doubt the best show I’ve done! I have enjoyed every second, and would like to thank everyone involved for this experience, and hope everybody enjoys the show!!

Katharina: It’s really different from everything I have done before, simply because this is probably the biggest live performance I have ever been involved in. It’s the first time I have worked with a professional director, which makes such a big difference. It’s so good to have someone to tell you if you’re doing a good or a bad job and who can instruct you. It’s also very different, as we’re all almost on stage all the time. It’s also great to see that everyone is fully committed, so it truly feels like a collaborative group work!

Jonny: I was in last year’s Curve Community production of Oliver! And I found these DMU Collaborations to be more professional, you’re held to a higher standard. Whilst this is a great opportunity for us we are held to these responsibilities to give you experience of being a professional actor, we are working under Curve’s name so we don’t want to show them up!

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Review: The Laramie Project

Whilst many people across Leicester were hitting the (alcohol) bottle, catching up with friends after a busy week or packing to go to Egypt (okay, that’s probably just my sister!!), me and a couple of my friends decided to go and see ‘The Laramie Project’ at Curve theatre. Now, this wasn’t the way that I usually like to spend my Friday nights, but I was so glad that I decided to swap catching up with ‘Jersey Shore’ to go and support my fellow DMUers.

I purposely didn’t research anything about the play because I wanted to see it with an open mind, but I was aware that ‘The Laramie Project’ had something to do with the murder of a gay university student named Matthew Shepard. Due to the fact that ‘The Laramie Project’ was a collaborative partnership between De Montfort University and Curve, I knew it wouldn’t be like anything else I had previously seen at the theatre. However, I was certain that it would be excellent!!

The play itself was split into two acts, with a twenty minute interval in between, and whilst it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it was definitely mine. Seriously, I was captivated right from the beginning up until the very end. I was so impressed by the acting and the way that it sort of dived straight into the story. You found yourself chucked in the middle of everything, trying to piece it all together. In addition, I liked the fact that the actors were addressing the audience throughout the play – bar two scenes (I think), because it kind of made it more personal and made me feel more involved.

I think the reason why I was so moved by the play (like many others, I’m sure) is because it’s a true story and uses the actual dialogue of the people of Laramie who were involved, people who are actually alive today. In fact, I was so moved by the play that as soon as I got home, I started researching the story myself and spent the next morning watching the 2002 film with the same name. In both the play I watched on Friday and the 2002 film, I found the monologue by the actor portraying Matthew’s father Dennis incredibly moving because in all the drama of it all, you sometimes forget that Matthew was someone’s son, brother, grandson, and friend.

Personally, I can’t believe that incidences like this can and do occur, because the way I see it is; love is love regardless of gender, age, religion and all the other constraints that people have placed on it. Hopefully, one day everyone will be able to look beyond the social constraints that have been placed on love and accept it for what it really is.

The DMU students involved in ‘The Laramie Project’ did an excellent job. They’re so talented and I hope to see them on stage again at some point in the near future.

If you’ve seen The Laramie Project or if you’ve got an opinion about the play/incident/etc, feel free to pop your thoughts in the comments box below.

Priya

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Curve Young Company’s 2012 Show – What’s Going On?

I’ve lost count of just how many Young Marketing Forum (YMF) meetings the forum has had, but it was only during the last meeting that we finally found out some details about Curve Young Company’s new spring/summer production. However, due to the fact that it’s a devised piece, these details could change by the time the forum meets again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with or can’t remember what devised theatre is, let me explain.

Devised theatre is a form of theatre where the show’s script originates from the collaborative work by a group of people. It can be the performers themselves, as was the case with ‘Hotel Paradiso‘ by Familie Floz, but it doesn’t have to be. It is my understanding that the Young Productions group are coming up with the ideas for the stories, but an up-and-coming scriptwriter is going to piece them all together into one coherent show. I think that’s right, although don’t hold me to it!

On the one hand it’s exciting because you’re kept on your toes, but on the other hand it’s difficult – for the YMF, especially – to know just what to communicate to the public. The reason for this is because it has to be vague enough so there’s room to make any necessary changes to the show, but clear enough to give the public an idea of what the show is going to be about/like.

I have some experience with this type of theatre because a very long time ago, when I was in secondary school in London, I took part in something similar. I initially only participated because of my friends, but I am so glad I did because I picked up a load of transferable skills that have come in quite handy whilst I’ve been working with the forum. Basically, what we had to do was to ultimately devise a show to be staged at Ilford Town Hall. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed because I was involved with scripting the show, naming the show, getting sponsorship for the show and marketing the show – which was the most challenging aspect because, like I previously said, it’s difficult to know what to tell potential sponsors about the show and what information to put on the marketing materials for the show when it’s continually changing.

The details that I know so far, and am allowed to tell you about, are;

  • Initially the show was going to be a double-bill, with the group splitting into two depending on their age, but it has now been decided that both groups are going to work together to produce one fantastic show. I think the forum is happy with this decision because it means that we now only have to think about marketing one show, as opposed to two.
  • It looks like the show is going to be inspired by London 2012 and the themes from the Olympics are going to be incorporated into the stories. I think that’s an excellent idea because it will provide some structure to the show and it’s capitalising on something that’s only going to grow in popularity – London 2012. However, as opposed to being purely sports-orientated, I think the show it going to be more rooted in real-life and the audience are going to be able to identify with the core meanings behind each story. Does that make sense?
  • Presently, the show is going to tell a number of different stories that tie-in with the themes of London 2012. These shows are probably going to be told using a variety of different approaches, including; dance, interviews, physical, monologue, etc. That’s the element that I am most looking forward to seeing, in addition to finding out what the tone of the show will be. Will it be comedy, inspiration, emotive, all three? Only time will tell!

I think those are the main points to mention in relation to the impending Curve Young Company’s Spring/Summer show, although if there are any others I am sure one of my fellow forum members will write about them and fill in the gaps.

The challenge for the Young Marketing Forum, in my opinion, is the communication of the show to the public. As I previously mentioned, due to the nature of devised theatre, we can’t be too specific about what the show is going to be about or be like because it could all change – especially as the show is in its improvisational stage – yet, we can’t be too vague because we want to convey a sense of what the show will have in store. In addition, this is something that we immediately need to think about and pin down because we need to create a title-treatment for Curve’s website, alongside details about the show. However, once we’ve all decided on this, everything will be set in motion such as the title-treatment can be produced, the leaflets can be designed and printed and we can all breathe a little easier!

I don’t think there’s much more to add, but the forum will definitely keep you up to date with the gossip in relation the new show.

Until next time,

Priya

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Hotel Paradiso

I have to admit that my highlight of the week was seeing a show that I hardly knew anything about at Curve. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, the show was called ‘Hotel Paradiso’ and it was only stopping in the UK for three nights – so it’s a good thing I was able to catch it when I did. However, before I tell you all about the show, let me tell you about its co-producers; Familie Flöz.

Familie Flöz can trace their roots all the way back to the main coal-mining area of Germany, the Ruhrgebiet. The ‘Flöz’, the German world for ‘seam’, is a layer in the earth and it gave the company’s first place its title; ‘Family Flöz Reaches Daylight’ (1996). A few years later the company started using ‘Familie Floz’ as its name and they gradually expanded into an international pool of actors, mask-builders, directors, producers, musicians, set-designers, light-designers and artists. That’s ‘Familie Flöz’ in a nutshell.

Now, on to the show itself.

First and foremost, I had such an excellent seat – right in the middle of the first row (thankfully the show took place in the studio so I didn’t spend the whole time looking up at the action), which was exciting and intimidating at the same time because I was dreading any kind of attempts by the actors to engage the audience. Yes, contrary to popular belief, I am shy!

I had no idea of what to expect before I saw the show, Curve’s website didn’t say too much, but I think that’s a good thing otherwise it might have given some of the best elements of the show away. For example, the characters convey everything from happiness, disappointment, confusion, annoyance and a whole host of other feelings, without actually uttering a single word. In addition, each character had its own mask and it was quite remarkable just how many emotions can be conveyed to the audience by tilting the mask in different ways, by using expressive body language and without saying a word. I was amazed! Finally, I would say that there were over ten characters, all brought to life by four talented (and good looking!) actors. To say that they did a good job is such an understatement, they were fantastic.

I am being completely honest when I say that I didn’t think I would enjoy the show half as much as I did and, although my initial motivation to see the show was so that I had something completely different to write about, I’m so glad I went to see it. When I tried telling people about how good the show was, they don’t really believe me, but I’m not even joking. Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity to see anything by these guys, go and see it – you won’t regret it!

That’s one of the things I love about Curve, it’s so diverse in its offering and visitors have the chance to see shows that they might not have the opportunity to see otherwise. It’s such a huge asset to Leicester!

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Goodbye 42nd Street

On Thursday, after the Young Marketing Forum meeting, I was fortunate enough to see ‘42nd Street’. Seriously, I had high expectations anyway because Curve’s Artistic Director Paul Kerryson never fails to impress, but this show far exceeded my expectations. Honestly, I was toe tapping all the way home and I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I had the song ‘We’re in the Money’ stuck in my mind (not that I’m complaining because I love that song!). The dancing was amazing, the vocals were flawless and it was such a great show, I am SO glad that I managed to see it before its run in Leicester comes to an end.

Anyway, let me pause in my love-fest about the show and tell you what ‘42nd Street’ is all about. It’s the story of a small-town American girl called Peggy Sawyer (or ‘Allentown’ as she is frequently called throughout the show because that’s where she comes from) and her journey from chorus girl to fully-fledged Broadway star. A show originally conceptualised to cheer people up during tough economic times; it is packed with dazzling show-stopping numbers and impressive dance routines, plus a score including a song that I am sure everyone knows called ‘We’re in the Money’. Purely for my own amusement, here is a YouTube-clip of the song from the original 1980 Broadway production;

Speaking of the original production, the 1980 Broadway show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and went on to become a long-running hit. When the show was produced in London, it went on to win an Oliver Award for Best Musical. The 2001 Broadway revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival.  Impressive, right?!

Drawing your attention back to Curve’s production of the show, I loved the fact that it went straight into the story without beating about the bush. I also liked how the 14-piece on-stage orchestra were used to draw the audience in and the way it was interwoven throughout the show, it was flawless. Paul Kerryson used the stage in such an imaginative way and I especially liked how the backdrop was used to recreate the feel of the Great Depression. As I previously mentioned, the dancing was incredible and I am sure that the vocals were some of the best that I have heard at Curve. In addition, the talented cast were fantastic, particularly Ria Jones as Dorothy, Geraldine Fitzgerald (that is my all-time favourite surname!) as Maggie and Tim Flavin gave an extremely strong performance as Julian Marsh.

Before I stop taking up your time ranting about my love of Curve and 42nd Street, I need to tell you that the tickets for Curve Young Company’s spring show are going to go on sale very soon, so please make sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Last year’s show completely sold out, so don’t leave it too late to get your tickets for this year’s show. Keep your eyes on Curve’s website to find out exactly when and how you can book tickets.

Go on, support young people doing productive things!!

Priya

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Young Marketing Forum Meeting: 24/11/11 (Priya)

Last week we attended our third (I could be wrong, so don’t hold me to that!) Young Marketing Forum meeting. I think it was probably the most interesting meeting we’ve had so far, even though I was unusually quite thanks to the pressures of being in final year at university.

Before I go any further let me tell you a bit about the Curve Young Company – Young Marketing Forum. Basically, the Communications team pick our brains about what our opinions are regarding different communications activities that they are currently undertaking and proposing to undertake at Curve, Leicester. Does that make sense? Eventually we will all be able to get our hands ‘dirty’, so to speak, and get involved in an actual marketing campaign. That’s what we’re about, in a nut shell!

So, now that I have bought you up to speed (I hope), let’s talk about last Thursday’s Young Marketing Forum meeting. In the meeting we were brainstorming about what the best ways would be to reach audiences and to inform them about several of the productions being held at Curve. The productions that were under discussion were ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Hotel Paradiso’, after which we discussed other productions that individual members were looking forward to seeing. For example, I am sure someone was talking about wanting to see ‘The Butterfly Lion’ (Chris, I think that was you!).

I really like the fact that the Communications team at Curve are so open to the ideas that we come up with and that they generally take our suggestions on board. What I’m looking forward to doing the most, apart from seeing how the Communications team work our suggestions into their communications activities, is actually working on a real marketing campaign. I think this is because I come from a creative background and I have studied a variety of marketing modules whilst studying Business Studies at De Montfort University, so naturally the idea of working on a campaign is going to appeal to me. It will be good to see how the skills and knowledge I’ve developed whilst studying at DMU translate, if at all, into a real marketing environment.

The only ‘negative’ (I say ‘negative’ because it’s not really a negative) about the meeting on Thursday was that I think when we discuss things in small groups and then come together as a big group, it’s more effective because it increases the engagement of the whole group and it gives everyone a chance to contribute in some way. Although, that is just my opinion!

Anyway, I am going to have to love you and leave you now. Our next meeting is on Thursday 8th December 2011 (OMG it’s already Decemeber!!!) and, if I’m not mistaken, somebody else will be writing a post about it.

So, until the next time!

Priya

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