Monthly Archives: March 2013

‘The Arrival’ cast member Jackie Le blogging on tour!

Photo by Jackie Le

Photo by Jackie Le

Week One – The first day of rehearsals, I arrived to Circus Space overwhelmed by the huge welcoming committee already there. They were to introduce the new cast consisting of 1 actor and 7 circus performers for ‘The Arrival’ production directed by Kristine Landon-Smith from Tamasha Theatre Company in collaboration with Circus Space.

The cast – Actor Charlie Folorunsho, with Circus Performers – Antonio Harris, Gisele Edwards, Nektarios Papadopoulos, Antoinette Akodulu, Addis Williams, Sam Hague and myself.

We were lined up in the training space which would be similarly spaced out to the actual construction draft of the stage setting but not quite in the exact measurements. This we found out became to be difficult later on for some scenes. As we stood in front of roughly 30 people, we all introduced ourselves and what we did as a profession. Once the introductions and visual aspect of the stage setting were looked at, Kristine and Sita Brahmachari who scripted the play sat us down for a pre-rehearsal chat.

Kristine started us up on some improv work and positioned us to work on the major scenes we knew would be the most physically exerting. With some outsourced help, she had Freddie Opoku-Addaie to be our choreographer.

Freddie worked us hard. I admired his determination and ability to focus with such precision as he remembered each cast member’s sequence and set rhythms he had given us for certain scenes. He worked us till we remembered each sequence in our sleep. I vaguely recall at the time how hard it all was and how I would ever be able to remember the new counts he’d throw out at us, I’d become frustrated because I thought I wouldn’t remember. Now I thank him for drilling it into us as it’s been quite smooth sailing during show time.

Week Two – The second week was somewhat a blur and very similar to week one. Though we didn’t have to rehearse 6 days a week and on a Saturday. We went over everything we had begun to learn in week one and kept fine tuning little bits which were out of sync.

Week Three – The last week of rehearsals we were no longer at Circus Space. We were at The Hangar. A hard to get to place via public transport. It is an amazing training space although it is incredibly cold. Our beautiful stage designed by Adam Wiltshire was set up there. We adjusted some of our moves to the new set and by the end of the week managed to do complete runs of the show.

On Tour – Southampton was our first stop, we were to perform at The Nuffield Theatre within Southampton University’s Campus. The cast met the rest of the production team on Tuesday just after lunch to do lighting, audio visual, sound techs and how fast we could costume change including swapping microphones. We did this all of Wednesday morning into the late afternoon and did our first proper dress run Wednesday evening. Thursday we did a dress run in the morning, another dress run after lunch and had our first live performance with Q&A immediately after. Boy what a buzz that day was. Friday we only had an evening performance. The entire cast had gotten so used to seeing each other everyday rehearsing, it mind-boggled us to have the time off, we decided to meet for lunch before we did the Friday evening performance which was lovely, I have to say, I’ve grown to love each cast member and it has been nothing but delightful to see them and the production team everyday. Saturday we performed a matinee piece and an evening performance. Because Southampton was so cold, we all decided to catch a cab straight after the last show to the station and head back to London.

Next Stop – Coventry TBC…

Photo by Jackie Le

Photo by Jackie Le


New Writing Masterclass 2013

Ekta Baja, Participant

I enrolled to the workshop quite unsure of what to expect out of the week. I knew that I had a story in my mind and this workshop was to test if I had the potential to turn that story in a play. It almost seems like a universal conspiracy to get us all together in that room. Each one of the writer had an amazing experience to share and every exercise made us explore the domains within us to a much greater extend. I, personally was a bit nervous to start with the first exercise but the amount of encouragement, stimulation, ideas and sharing made the whole week just a great learning experience.
The workshops were well crafted and beautifully presented. The tutors put their heart into making every day, in fact every minute such a unique experience. I think enrolling in the course was one of the best decisions I have taken as a writer.

Fariyal Wallez, Participant

When I enrolled on this week-long exploration of playwriting, I felt a bit of a fraud. I was in the process of editing my first novel and had never attempted to write a play. Yet, from the word go, we delved into writing exercises that were somehow easy, fun, inspiring, deep and personal, all at the same time. In my reflections from the first day, I recognised how difficult I make the writing process for myself; I have some weird, ingrained notion that true creativity can only be the result of hardcore hours spent in suffering and desperation. By the end of the week, I had seen again and again, that this belief was just not true!

The sheer simplicity of the techniques that Philip and Sudha got us to engage with; the breadth and depth of how to develop an initial idea for a character; and then to let my imagination run free with the drama of a narrative…It was one of the most inspiring courses I have participated in.

The crucial insight for me from the week was the realisation that who I think I am and what I think of as my identity (cultural ethnicity, educational background, gender biases, etc) is a delusion. When I allow ‘my self’ to be free and look outward to my environment and pay attention, I am able to inhabit and create a narrative for any character; be they an actress, a victim of violence, a high society woman, or a rapist. The ‘I am’ is not of importance; the creative endeavour lies in my relationship to and with others.

Lucy Basaba, Participant

I’d consider myself new to the playwriting world, having only written a few short plays in the past. Prior to the workshop, there were potential themes and ideas I wanted to explore, however I didn’t quite know how to go about articulating them. I definitely feel that the workshop has provided me with a fresh approach when it comes to exploring ideas, allowing for me to go with the moment and to improvise with text rather than to just stick to one formula. It was great to be taught by tutors who provided a creative and encouraging environment and was lovely to be surrounded by a supportive network of like-minded people. It was also a useful platform to hear out loud what I had written, and to receive feedback, which was very valuable as it was an opportunity to hear what resonated with people. I found the verbatim exercises particularly helpful, as this was an approach I hadn’t used in the past. The scenes created using the Verbatim obtained made for compelling theatre, and a useful way to begin developing multi-dimensional characters. In a week, I felt that had learnt a lot, and would most definitely recommend it to aspiring playwrights.

Sally Woodcock, Participant

Just finished a week’s play writing course with Tamasha. Found myself scribbling away on different writing exercises every day and enjoying every minute.

Exercises included: recording verbatim dialogue, responding dramatically to verbatim, particular words as stimulus for dialogue, news events as catalyst for story, using existing classic texts as blueprints for re-telling.

The group’s diverse cultural and social positions were handled with great sensitivity and also proved stimulating to creativity. I ended the week tired but greatly enriched and having forged some interesting new friendships. I highly recommend this course to any writer looking for fresh approaches, inspiration and illuminating company.

Jade Greyul, Participant

Before I started the course I was very apprehensive as to whether I could bring any new and exciting ideas to the table, or that I even considered myself enough of a ‘writer’ to take part. I worried about being put on the spot and freezing up or that I wouldn’t produce anything I deemed ‘good enough’ to share with the group. Within minutes of meeting the tutors and my fellow participants I realised I needn’t have been so nervous! The wonderfully relaxed atmosphere meant I felt safe, with everyone’s support, to share and explore new ideas. The pressure I had feared when doing spontaneous writing exercises was purely a psychological barrier, and the fast turnover of written exercises was actually a very freeing experience! Every day I learnt a new skill or technique that I could put into practice immediately – going from being anxious to even put pen to paper, to having the confidence to let my mind and imagination flow, constantly creating and shaping characters from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds – surpassing my previously thought capabilities.

I decided to apply for the course because I felt the outlines spoke directly to me as a young multi-cultured writer, eager to refine my voice. They say you should always write about what you know; my previous work had always been very personal and relating to the same, small ethnic group, but this course taught me how to channel those thoughts and emotions and transpose them onto a multitude of different settings. It has shown me that what I know, and who I am are separate entities, and can influence my work in their own ways. The course affirms that what we observe and experience as people can inform our work, creating worlds far beyond our own whilst still remaining true to who we are as writers, and our own unique voices.

I’ve made some great new friendships and have a refreshed outlook on the next stage of my writing career. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in theatremaking – I’m certainly very thankful for the opportunity to go through such an organic learning experience.


TDA Observer Lisa Peck on the 3 week rehearsals for ‘The Arrival

In rehearsals

In rehearsals

Week one.

Noun. Spirit
1. The vital principle or animating force within living things.
2. The general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect it has on people.
3. A fundamental emotional and activating principle determining ones character.
4. Animation in action or expression.

Kristine uses the word “spirit” often when talking to actors and as I sit in rehearsal on Day One of the Arrival this is the best way I can describe the quality in the room. The human spirit at the heart of Shaun Tan’s graphic novel is one of courage, fortitude and collective hope. It feels like it is in the room with us.

As Kristine uses ‘play’ to activate the sprit of the ensemble, beneath and between a canopy of ropes, wires and poles, these performers embark on their own journeys. What is striking to me is how play releases the individual and collective spirit. The mixture of camaraderie and competition animates the bodies and voices and opens up a genuine open and creative connection between people. The group plays volley-ball, tag and a chair game and during the hour of “playing well” so much work is done with so few words. People relax, listen, discover their default positions and diagnose themselves. Kristine is able to twist the keys, tune the chords and tighten the strings of the individual whilst everyone works together to define and enjoy the spirit they will need for the journey ahead and to find a shared understanding of that. What is particular is that Kristine is playing too, as referee, coach and competitor. I witness how important it is that a director enables and models the “spirit” they need in the rehearsal room.

Week two.

Noun: suspension.

1. A mixture in which fine particles are suspended in a fluid where they are supported by buoyancy.
2. A time interval where there is a temporary cessation of something.
= break, intermission, interruption, pause.
3. The act of suspending something (hanging it from above so it moves freely).
4. An interruption in the intensity or amount of something.

The novel is the story of people suspended, physically and geographically and in memories of time, place, and people. The architecture of the circus and the movement sequences, which are being refined in week two, define these moments of suspension. It is in these’ moments between’ that so much about being human exists.

Bodies roll slowly across the floor as the boat creaks and the storm builds. The motion of the rocking ship suspends them for a moment before they are rolled the other way. With loss of balance and gravity bodies are tossed this way and that, desperately struggling to escape, climbing, balancing, dropping, hanging. What happens when gravity disappears and one is left suspended in that moment between, not knowing what the next moment will decide? Managing how to fall safely is fundamental to the circus performer and it at the heart of the poetry and poignancy of this story on an epic level and domestic level.

A mother climbs a rope to be on the same level as her son who is filled with
anger and confusion. His father has just said goodbye. He is travelling to the other side of the world and leaving his family behind. The actions of the performers as they play out the argument between mother and son are mesmerizing and heart-breaking. No words are needed. The movement up and down the ropes and the suspended moments of decision, tension and confusion is so sensitive and moving.

Week three.
Noun: Rhythm.
1. Something occurring at regular intervals.
2. The basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music.
3. An interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs.

Intricate and detailed choreographed sequences take time to build and fix on the stage and Freddie Opoku-Addaie is working with the performers on the cockle picking scene. They have trays and rakes and scrape the sand with an almost hypnotic rhythm. As the sand is worked, trays are filled and emptied into the bucket, I am pulled into rhythm of work, of shared labour and our need for productivity, however precarious. This work is painstakingly detailed and the performers are counting sequences which, even having watched this scene in its various stages over the last three weeks, I still cannot decipher.

The show is packed with these extremely complex movement sequences where rhythm and timing is key. What makes these sequences so beautiful is the detail in the deconstruction of the rhythms. By “messing it up” a synchronsied or “held” form becomes human and identifiable and the subtlety of this defines the movement approach I see in rehearsal. The poignancy of failure, of flopping and of loosing ones balance is a defining human quality in this story.

In this final week the fine-tuning of these delicate rhythms takes over. The rhythm of an exit or entrance, the delivery of a line, holding of a moment and working with the musical score. Kristine has a heightened sense of these rhythms and how they affect the audience and at this stage she is orchestrating and conducting the rhythms of the show.

Thank-you Tamasha for your spirit and the opportunity to observe your process.

Rehearsal model box showing

Rehearsal model box showing


TDA Assistant Lighting Designer on the Fit-up and Tech

The Arrival

The Arrival

First day of fit up:

Today involved getting the lights in the air! Our challenge is to get the overhead fixtures up in the air as soon as possible so that the truss can be built.

Once that is up in the air we have been building booms, patching the desk, cutting colour whilst being mindful of how this will transfer from venue to venue.

It is really important to learn and absorb the different quirks to the lighting plan, and to learn what needs prioritising, what may take time/how long things take to do. All of this needs to be taken into consideration for the re-lights, I must know the rig inside out and learn how I can make it work in each venue.

Teching in Southampton:

So we are at the final stages of the technical rehearsals, everything is looking great and we have worked through without any huge problems.

Dennis and I have been working on the plans ready to send to the different touring venues, ensuring we have the right questions to ask and generally being as prepared as possible. The team changes now for the tour – no production manager, no lighting designer, so we must all fill each other in on how the show goes together.

Generally we are solving little problems and finding was around things, all working as a team to create a great show.

Very much looking forward to seeing the show now in dress rehearsal and we will go from there!

Tamasha gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Esmée Fairburn Foundation which has made this bursary possible.


Tamasha in India

Mumbai Seaface

Mumbai Seaface

On 21st February Artistic Director Sudha Bhuchar and I set off from Heathrow on an 11 day trip to India supported by the British Council, the purpose of which was to make creative connections and network. And so, with a number meetings in the diary, expectations of some sunshine and adventure and fear of the ‘Delhi belly’ (on my part at least!) we touched down in our first destination, Mumbai.

Sudha had not visited the country for 20 years and was looking forward to catching up with a number of relatives and friends and I had never been in my life so was thrilled to be on board.

MUMBAI
On arrival at Mumbai international airport we were met by a driver from the Hotel Regal Enclave who pointed out  construction on a new part of the airport, commented on the state of the traffic and complimented Sudha on her Hindi. The gorgeous heat, clamorous cacophony of car horns and dust were all completely overwhelming. I have since been reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers and can appreciate, having glimpsed from the plane window the famous sprawling slums next to the airport, the description of that road as  ‘Where Old India and New India collide, making New India late.’

So many details to take in; from the kids on the school run in their impeccable school uniform, the shanty-esque higgledy-piggledy shops and chaat stops, to the tuk tuks/autos/three wheelers and stylish 50’s cabs which I became a bit obsessed with (patterned upholstery, graphic stickers, marigold garlands – each one completely individual!)

We touched base at the basic but friendly hotel and after a quick masala chai, shower and a few jet lagged phone calls we were basking in the sun outside a cafe waiting for Sunil Shanbag; theatre director, screen-writer, documentary film-maker and our first meeting of the trip. When Sunil turned up he understandably thought we were a bit nuts to be sitting outside (sun starved Britishers that we are!) And we retreated into the air conditioned cafe. Sunil was responsible for the Gujarati Alls Well That Ends Well at Globe to Globe Festival and he and Sudha and he share a love of work derived from well-crafted text. He was extremely familiar with the work of Tamasha and, for me, was an introduction to the passion, tenacity and energy it takes to be part of the ‘theatre world’ in India (no subsidy, super long hours and 8 hour turn-arounds and get in-perform-get out-drive home).

That evening after a hazy ride over the sealink toll road to Worli we were warmly welcomed by Pramod, Sudha’s cousin and his friends and family where we had some amazing food including a delicious fish curry. Conversations turned to the economy, arranged marriage, regional cuisine and the changing nature of life in this city and Sudha observed on our ride home that that day we had already heard what would be some amazing nuggets for a verbatim piece “A Postcard from Bombay”. An insight into the growing ‘squeezed’ middle class of India.

We visited the buzzing 200 seat Prithvi Theatre in Juhu the next day. Kunal Kapoor has recently taken over sole running of this family business where they stage shows in both Hindi and English (as well as other languages on occasion). With a programme of new writing, contemporary theatre, music and other cultural activities and a gorgeous outside area, the theatre has a festival vibe and lots of potential for a Tamasha visit. We could see our forthcoming show My Name Is… written by Sudha, working really well there. After this, we went to the South Indian seafood restaurant ‘Mahesh Lunch Home‘ (stretchy ‘apham’ pancakes best thing ever!) to meet Quasar Padamsee, theatre director and producer. Quasar is extremely prolific, recently worked as AD with Tim Supple on the international tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and has a number of exciting projects on the go. He mentioned the huge growth in English language theatre in India and typified the type of boundless energy and commitment we had already witnessed. Strolling amongst the groups and couples along the beach after lunch, Sudha was amazed at how clean it was compared to her last visit. Quasar agreed that this area had been cleaned up and pointed out that it was the only place that Bombayites could come and stare straight ahead without another person in sight. A seaface haven in a hectic metropolis.

Lovers on the seaface

Lovers on the seaface

That night we were taken for dinner by the magnificent Ila Arun who played the title role in our 2010 production The House of Bilquis Bibi and writer/producer K.K Raina. Ila looked absolutely stunning and I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo.  Many a potential creative collaboration -from Indian remounts of certain popular Tamasha shows to new ideas – were discussed. We went for a drive around the bandstand area where lots of Bollywood stars have their homes after the meal and were struck by the US style Christian Chapels in contrast to where we were staying in, Khar West which has mostly intricate Hindu temples.

Following a trip on the boat from the gateway of India to Elephanta Island, a spin round cottage industries and a drink in the world famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (had to be done!) we met Deepa Ghalot at the NCPA (National Centre for Performing Arts) where Tamasha had performed 20 years ago. NCPA do a number of exciting international collaborations and Deepa’s reception to a number of our ideas was very warm. We discovered that because the Mumbai traffic is so thick productions often tour to both Prithvi and NCPA, as they are at opposite ends of the city.

The Gateway of India and Taj Hotel

The Gateway of India and Taj Hotel

Our next meeting was with Shernaz Patel of the wonderful new writing theatre Rage Theatre. During a meaty discussion (Tamasha and Rage share many aims and passions) we talked of creative exchanges for artists of British Asian origin to India, ways that Rage can contribute to and involve their writers in our Scratch Nights and a lot about verbatim theatre (Rage are looking to explore verbatim further and would love a Tamasha workshop… if only budgets would allow!) Shernaz also helped us obtain a local mobile phone which was prooving an issue up until then. Thank you Shernaz.

BANGALORE
We embarked on a whirlwind trip to ‘Software City’, Bangalore on the 26th, arriving at night packing in two meetings in different parts of town the next day and flying out to Delhi the following morning. I am in love with the Kannada language script daubed on walls around the city the chunky architecture and different kind of greenery here.

We met Jagdish and Arundati Raja as well as their son and colleagues at Jagriti Theatre. A beautiful 200-seat auditorium built around a full-thrust stage with a vision is to professionalise English Language theatre in India, this space is the recent realisation of a dream, 30 years in the making.  Jagriti supports its performers and has a strong training and education arm. Again it’s hard not to see a Tamasha show making perfect sense here.

On to another part of town to meet with Suri (Mr SurendraNath) at Rangashankara Theatre, a lovely 320 seat 8 year old theatre who do a lot of Shakespeare, international collaborations and Hindi/English work as well as hosting an annual children’s theatre festival. Suri is very open and having done a lot of German and Australian creative exchanges is keen to to get involved with one with the UK.

The UB Tower, Bangalore

The UB Tower, Bangalore

DELHI
In Delhi we were welcomed by Sudha’s amazing family Jyotsna and Dalip Laroiya. We arrived late afternoon and by supper we had had a manicure, pedicure, coconut oil head massage plus an amazing lunch, bought saris, been shopping and generally had a lovely time. That should give an idea of Jo’s energy, capabilities and connections!

The next day we met with Shaguna Gahilote from the British Council who supported our trip through their recent ‘Connections through Culture’ scheme. They are currently focussing on programmes and touring work and are open to our multiple proposals so fingers crossed! After this we went on over to meet Abhilash Pillai at the NSD (National School of Drama), Tamasha’s birthplace where Kristine first directed Untouchable in 1989. They were keen for collaboration on a number of levels and especially interested in Tamasha’s intracultural approach. I was struck by the fact that they offer a stage management course where apparently students from the West often come to unlearn what they know about stage management!

Outside the NSD, Tamasha's birthplace

Outside the NSD, Tamasha’s birthplace

It was difficult to tell which city had the worst traffic but in Delhi we coined the term ‘doing the Delhi dodge’ for those people expertly leaping and weaving through traffic on foot, calm as anything. The elegant parks, cooler March climate and wide roads were refreshing in Delhi and I found it impossible to work out which city I prefer…

The next day we met with Renu Oberoi of the Habitat Centre an ingenious centre, home to a number of environmentally conscious organisations, an indoor amphitheatre and small out door performance space.

That night we went to Twelfth Night in Hindi and English by upcoming writer/director Neel Chowdary at pop-up outdoor venue ‘Zorba the Budha’. The show was stunning and we met with the director briefly after who was clearly destined for great things.

The Kamani Auditorium

The Kamani Auditorium

On our last night in Delhi we visited the Kamani Auditorium to see Gasha a new play about Kashmir directed by Abhishek Majumdar who has recently been commissioned by the Royal Court. I could tell that it was well acted interestingly staged and balanced humor and sadness but I couldn’t understand a word (it was in Hindi/Kashmiri/Urdu) so you would have to ask Sudha about it in detail!

And so we returned to London. Adventures had, insights gained and some amazing people met. And mercifully we both avoided ‘Delhi Belly’, even in Delhi.


In conversation with Shaun Tan, creator of illustrated novel The Arrival

We were thrilled to catch up with Oscar winner Shaun Tan whose cult illustrated novel The Arrival our forthcoming  theatre circus production is based on.

What inspired you to create The Arrival? Does your family have a migration story?
Yes, my own family history was definitely a key factor in my being attracted to immigrant tales in the first place. I guess I grew up in a mixed-race family without thinking much of it, having an Australian mum and Chinese dad was just normal. Sometimes I wonder if that has given me a certain perspective that’s been useful later on as an artist and writer, a sense that there’s no absolute ‘normal’, that reality is adjustable. Anyway, Dad has many interesting anecdotes about migrating from Malaysia to Western Australia in the 1960s, which I only appreciated myself once I started travelling internationally as an adult. I also realised that a lot of the things I’m trying to do as an artist, looking at my native environment from a certain objective distance, is something that immigrants are routinely doing anyway. In other words, a way of seeing between artists, writers and immigrants is very similar, an acute awareness of everyday strangeness, a necessary attentiveness to primary experience.

You work in a medium which transcends language – do words or written stories ever inspire your work?
Yes, very much so. In spite of it’s ‘silence’, The Arrival began life as a long set of written notes based on researched immigrant stories. I was looking for further anecdotes and trying to find points of intersection, those feelings and situations that seemed universal to all immigrants, like homesickness or bureaucratic troubles, confronting food and difficulty with language or customs. I then tried to extrapolate those universal points of internal and external drama into pictures that might equally relate back to every specific anecdote, and removing words, context and even realism was one way of doing that. I’m actually a very wordy person and originally wanted to be a writer rather than an illustrator as a teenager. It just so happens that I’m often now attracted to stories that are best told visually, and I find these come more naturally to me as well.

 Your illustrated novels are enjoyed all over the world. Why do you think they resonate so universally?
I’ve noticed the older I get, the more interested I am in a minimal approach to telling stories, whether that means stripping back the details or just making them very short. That in turn appears to engender broader appeal. What I think is happening is that I’m intuitively making more allowances for the reader to invest their own imagination into the work, rather than trying to tell them what to imagine (as a younger artist, I mistakenly believed that this was the purpose of art-making, having a ‘message’). I think story-telling is not about communication or even resolution of an idea, it’s rather about simply inspiring others to consider universal things and feelings in their own way.

How does it feel having your work adapted and interpreted in different mediums as with this piece?
It makes me feel that the work is successful, that it has its own changing life, it grows. You know a story is a good one when it has a certain autonomy to it, as if you are just borrowing ideas to carry for a while, before passing them on to someone else. You don’t own or control the material, but instead hope it will evolve, even in unpredictable ways. It’s particularly rewarding when that interpretation happens across media, reinventing its form, attracting new ideas, and hopefully reaching a new audience too. There’s also a slight concern if you are doing graphic novels that you are working in a certain ghetto of interest, and it’s nice to see those boundaries dissolve.

What’s next for you? Any forthcoming projects you can tell us about?
I’m working with the producer of our Oscar-winning short film The Lost Thing on a feature-length project based on The Arrival, although it’s still in a very early and speculative phase. This would be yet another interpretation of story concepts that is likely to significantly depart from the original book, simply because the medium is so different, so quite a challenge. Currently I’m finishing work on a new picture book (which does have words, but not many) called Rules of Summer. I wasn’t so sure what it was about when I started it a couple of years ago, but it seems to deal largely with the paradoxes of many sibling relationships, the odd mix of love and rejection that kids might know particularly well (adults too of course). My wife and I are expecting our first baby in the middle of the year, so that’s really the next big project!

For more information, visit www.shauntan.net
Book tickets for the Tamasha production here


‘The Arrival’ Rehearsals – Week 1

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John Walton – observer

I spent Monday, Thursday and Friday morning sitting in on rehearsals this week. Monday was a huge affair – with all the performers, creative team, production team, admin team, observers and Circus Space staff crammed into the Creation Studio. Adam presented his beautiful set in model-box form, and Kristine said a few words about the decisions and process that had been taken in the many years it had taken to bring the project to full production. Once the throng had dispersed, the performers had been measured up for costumes and final bits of rigging installed, it was just Kristine, the cast and a few others left in the room. The final leg of the journey was about to begin.

Coming back on Thursday, what was remarkable was how much the predominantly circus-trained cast had so fully responded to Kristine’s way of working. In the games that started the morning, they were totally committed to play that was full-bodied and total – yet still retained lightness and grace, fun and trickery. It is rare to see a company of actors having so much fun together. As a similarly impressed member of the production team put it, “actors try to find the intention, these guys just go for it”. This immediacy and open attitude was clearly shifting over into their on-stage work. The improvisations were simple yet full-bodied, the acting clear and elegant. On Friday, when I started to hear some of the voice-overs, I began to see what a unique production this will be, one that challenges convention by fusing movement, text, music, voice-over, projection and circus-skills. It sent shivers down my spine.

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