Archive | March, 2011

Play Reading

28 Mar

Reading playscripts is often a requirement in my line of work. I have to read scripts from students, from other playwrights. There’s an art to reading scripts. You need to be able to visualise, vividly, all the spaces in between. Creating a script is not just telling a story, this is why we are playWRIGHTS and not playWRITES – we are crafting and manufacturing an experience.

The script is the seed. The script needs to contain everything else. As a playwright, reading scripts should be mandatory – learning how to interpret meaning, seeing how the masters succeed. If you are not a playwright, reading scripts should be mandatory: they allow your mind to soar.

Every now and again, I get to read a script for pure pleasure. One such script was Complicite‘s “A Disappearing Number”. I reviewed that script, and sadly the review couldn’t run – and so I place it here:

“Reading a playscript is an art in itself. You become part of the text, creating the landscapes and action in your mind, clocking the entrances and exits, at once player and audience.  Complicite’s “A Disappearing Number” is a breathtaking work. It’s about mathematics. And dying. And living. The infinite, and the end.  This playscript will show you glimpses of the universe, will take you to India, and will also make you take a look at your own life. Every now and again a text comes along which breathes new life into us: this is that text. Become a part of it.”


Why I’m not that WTF about the LOL and OMG issue

26 Mar

So, this week, OED added LOL and OMG to its list of “real words”. I can’t really recall when people started saying “LOL” out loud. I have a bit of an aversion to Lol, there are very few people who I feel use it well, both on and offline.

But I’m glad that they are in OED, because what it means is that we are reflecting the evolution of language. As with all else, language is not a static concept. It is a living thing, it lives in the mouths of those who speak it.

This is Chaos Theory in action – any living thing must exist on the edge of Chaos. You move too quickly, you fall over the edge and you die. Move too slowly, you stagnate, and you die.

LOL and OMG may indeed be the VERY edge of chaos, but it’s a good place for our language to be going. When Belieber hits the OED, that’s when I’ll scream armageddon and hit the emergency chocolate stores.

Apostrophe in sixty seconds

24 Mar

I officially lost my YouTube upload virginity today when I posted my lessonpod for PANSA’s CTLive1.0 Festival. Using a little powerpoint, the ever awesome Audacity, my trick up the sleeve CamStudio, and good ‘ol Windows MovieMaker, I managed to make sixty seconds of grammatically correct silliness. FAR too much fun – the grammar ninja may strike again soon!

(For some reason the text looks a little fuzzy if I embed it here – I’m sure it’s me doing something silly, will try and work it out!)

Taking ownership

22 Mar

It seems fitting that in the week of the ctlive1.0 festival, news should come from one of my all time favourite blogs, Technology and the Arts, that ticketing has come to Facebook.

Take a moment to think about that. That is a game changer. The technology enables you to sell tickets to your event, from within facebook. People never leave. Just when Facebook events were becoming the biggest joke on the internet, with a lower recorded success rate than cold calling, they have been saved from oblivion. Being able to sell tickets is relevant, meaningful. And it puts the power directly in the hands of the arts organisations.

It allows you to capitalise, right there and then, on that relationship you’ve been building. That’s big. That’s like monetising your blog. Here we go everybody: it’s time to make a business.






Here are some things you can do right now

16 Mar

So, I’m knackered, but since a lot of people responded to me via email yesterday, I thought I’d continue to ride this wave by offering you some suggestions of what you could do, and pointing you  to the awesome wonder of what Imogen Heap is doing right now.

Playwrights. Where are you looking for opportunities? Or even before that: what are you writing? One of my favourite stories is of the writer who asked Pieter Dirk Uys for money to write a play. Dirk Uys sent them a pen and a pad, and told them to be in touch again once they’d written it. Where are you submitting your plays? Are you listed? Do you have monologues out there?

Musicians – oh holy wow, have you seen how Imogen Heap is crowdsourcing her new song? Here’s the link again, because it’s so awesome – heapsong1. So many ways for all sorts of creatives to engage, so much creativity and imagination, and, as she points out, crowdsourcing puts a deadline on a project and gives you the impetus to work. Also, have you put mp3s out there in the universe?  One of my favourite new musicians, Sam McCarthy is on soundcloud – simple. Beautiful.

As for the theatremakers, the dancers, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about YouTube. YOUTube. But just in case, here are some examples of what performing artists can do on this medium to expose themselves to the world:

At the top of the scale, with the budget to back them up, are National Theatre and their stunning NTLive initiative – you can check out their trailer.

Or there’s the eyebending shadow puppets of Pilobilus.

And closer to home, South African dance company Ikapa fly across your screen.

I’m going to keep on at you guys: DO SOMETHING.

Why every artist in Cape Town, South Africa, and the World should be online. Now.

15 Mar

We crossed the rubicon a long time ago, folks.  It’s too late to be asking IF we should be engaging online, about the only question left to us now is HOW.

You can facebook, tweet, blog, post you tube clips, put mp3s in sound cloud, list your plays on Doollee, or livestream. You can do this all for free. So WHY, my good people, WHY are you not doing this? Why are you still throwing your money after beeyootifully designed posters no one will ever see?

Let me tell you something I learned when auditioning actors. Most of you don’t know how to audition. You know how to act, oh hell yes. But you walk in the room, and you launch into your monologue. Most of you don’t give me a cv, headshots, make small talk. You haven’t researched me, or the play you’re auditioning for. And by researched, I mean “hit Google and spent five minutes looking at the results”.

So now think of the industry as one big audition. You probably are a little savvy. You know you need to be seen at opening nights. And workshops. You comment on the work of people you admire, so that they register your existence.

Well, hello. Let me introduce you to web2.0, the opening night to which you’ve all been invited.  The doors have been opened wide, and so many people are standing outside having that last cig, and gazing at the rest of us in bewilderment. The industry, the bigshots, the theatres, the festivals, they’re out there. They’re ready and willing to engage. Now, more than ever before, you can see and be seen, from the comfort of your own couch. For free. And yet people are chosing not to come to this party. People are, when being offered this chance, deciding, meh, sod it, I don’t want in after all.

Now, I realise the irony of blogging this. Because most of you who bother to read blogs, you’ve already got a foot in the door. BUT. Our recent artist survey found that most people who are online, don’t have any examples of their work online.  So you’re getting yourself in the door, but then you haven’t prepared your monologue. A while ago, I submitted some monologues to a site called notmyshoes. A fabulous and amazing woman runs it, and looks after it, and promotes it, and she is a hero. Through that site, I started getting queries.  A few. Then more. Now about two or three a day.  The internet is working for me. And last year I got a call from a theatre, because an actor had auditioned using a monologue from my play, and they wanted to see the script, and now I have a production deal. I didn’t know, when I emailed that monologue to Kellie late one night, that two years later it would lead to a production. But I got my foot in the door AND I had something to show for it.

This is the big picture, people. I’ve been travelling a lot recently. I am reminded, no, I am struck full force in the face time and time again, with how talented our artists are. You ARE. You could hold your head up on any stage, anywhere.

This has not all been a punt for the CTLive Festival. But I was reminded of this all during the blogging workshop Luca Vincenzo ran for us this morning. He urged us to be personal in our blogs. This is ME. And, luckily, I am passionate about the project I am working on.

And so now, with PANSA‘s ctlive1.0 festival, under the stewardship of the awesome Sanjin Muftic, we’re running 100 stages and you. YOU. These stages are there, ready and waiting. Your audience is there, ready and waiting.


Blood Pressure vs Grammar Errors

9 Mar

I found this on Morning Glory‘s blog, and it SPOKE to me, in a grammatically correct and thus pleasing fashion.