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BACKSTAGE

Tony Diggle writes:

Some AWLies will recall that in 2016 I produced a play I had written in honour of the four hundredth anniversary of the Bard’s death entitled A Kingdom for a Stage at the Chelsea Theatre, and subsequently, a radio version of the play was made. Richard Ward played George Bernard Shaw in both versions.

One of the wellsprings for the play was the idea of William Shakespeare coming back to London today and finding that not much had really changed. In one respect the play seems to have been a little more prescient than I intended with the “outbreak of plague” that happened regularly in Shakespeare’s day. Also, at the end of the play, Shakespeare recalls his horror at how things went after his death, looks ahead to the great plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666, and challenges the audience to do better with their future. We might read in a pandemic worse than Covid-19 and climate change for these events if we don’t get our act together.

At any rate, I am pleased to let you know that it is going to be broadcast again on the free spoken word 24/7 radio station (link below). Act I will be broadcast on Friday, 27th November at 12noon, 8pm and 4am the following day, and Act 2 will be broadcast on Saturday, 28th November at the same times.

All you need to do to listen to go the website and click on Listen Now. I hope that some of you will.

Click for website

Peter Saracen has been cast as Abraham in The Golden Fleece, an independent feature from Obscuriscopic Films, shooting this December and January

Tom Pauk’s short Xmas radio play It could be us! will be broadcast on BBC Radio Suffolk at lunchtime on Saturday 5th December during the Georgie Jamieson show, followed by an interview. Listen on via the BBC Radio Suffolk website or on BBC Sounds (link to follow).

Click for website

Henry Dawe has had his first book published, a six-part series of extended comedy sketches called Play on Words. Some AWL members will have seen excerpts of two of these pieces at Henry’s shows at the CAA in 2018 and 2019. If anyone in the group is interested in purchasing the book for consideration for a reading or stage production, or just to read for pleasure, please click the link below. Henry hopes that the book may lift some spirits in lockdown.

Click for website

Are you lonely or bereft without AWL meetings? Then join Liz Felton’s on-line meetings, hosted by Liz Felton every Monday.

Strictly AWL members only. Contact Liz for details: liz@astralactors.com

Here’s an extraordinary all-AWL lockdown project. It’s Les Amuse Bouche, “a Morsel of Molière” from The Social Climber, Paddy Gormley’s adaptation of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.

Director Anthony Shrubsall and film editor Brian O’Connell worked together to set high technical standards for lock-down video. Brian ensured that the actors, Peter Saracen, Hélène Le Bohec, Simon Brandon & Mary Drake, understood and applied new self-filming techniques that would pave the way for a coherent edit, while using their own equipment such as mobile phones. Anthony directed the scene as if preparing for a full production, taking the actors off book in the process. And Brian pulled it all together, with further input from Anthony’s musician friend Stefan Potiuk.

The Social Climber was first read at AWL in 2011, and subsequently premiered by Logos Theatre Company in a four-week run Upstairs at the Gatehouse. The 2011 reading and production were directed by Kenneth Michaels. Then as now, the role of Jourdain, the eponymous social climber, was played by Peter Saracen.

Les Amuse Bouche includes a monologue specially written for Jourdain in the original production.

Watch the video on scenesaver.co.uk. You have to register to see it, but registration is free.

Click for website

Brian Abbott writes:

I have been “distance working/writing/researching” on a theatre project for Newham, North East London, which had to be changed to an audio project because of the current situation.

It’s now a set of four ten minute monologues/dialogues, covering the history of the people of Newham from the 15th century, but mainly 1916 through to 2021 (post-Covid, hopefully).

Our fellow AWL member Joan Blackham has done a fantastic performance of the opening one.

Click for website

A monologue by Dermot Murphy performed by Laura Fitzpatrick, for cornerHOUSE, cH-online.

Life is tough under lockdown. A mother tells her best friend about her concerns for her ten-year old son, and how she feels let down by his school. Is there anything she can do about the situation?

Click for website

A monologue by Dermot Murphy performed by Adil Hassan, for cornerHOUSE, cH-online.

Malik wants to earn some pocket money, but it’s not that easy, especially with those two around. Is there any way to keep what he gets?

Click for website

Simon Brandon writes:

I am currently creating a short light-hearted comedy film called: Last Fish Finger In The World, which I hope will bring a few smiles and chuckles. The film is being filmed during lockdown and stars AWL members: Carolyn Pertwee, Edmund Dehn, Gregory Cox, Robin Miller, Simon Fisher-Becker, Hilary Field, Susan Casanove, Alexander Jonas and Simon Brandon. More details on a social media release date soon.

An archive recording of Carolyn Pertwee’s play The Beautiful Couple, as broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2002, is now availble as a free download.

The cast is Ronald Pickup, Julia McKenzie, Claudie Blakley & Ajay Chhabra. It was Gillian ReynoldsChoice, and it was Play of the Day in The Independent, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Radio Times.

Click for website

Further Events in the Month Ahead

Short Memory by Richard Roques, which was due to play at the Waterloo East Theatre in October, has now been postponed indefinitely.

Rare Fortune Productions production of Life Changes by Carolyn Pertwee has been postponed until Spring 2021.

Services

Viv Lake has done quite a bit of research into theatrical and family history and accumulated a lot of information which might prove useful to other AWL members who have been looking into family or theatrical history.

She has lists of information such as stage names and aliases, biogs, obituaries, where they are buried, census returns which mention performers, old theatrical companies and theatres, actor-managers, and photocopies or pdfs of very old playbills, as well as text from theatrical journals and newspapers, most of which are from the Georgian and Victorian eras, and earlier, in Great Britain and America.

If you’re interested in Viv doing just a basic search for free through her files, please speak to her at an AWL meeting, or email her via her AWL page.

John Melainey has coached audition technique for the last 20 years. It is one of the areas that many actors push to one side and yet it is a vital skill. A good audition technique is the secret to many a successfull acting career. If you feel like you go into an audition and it never seems to go the way you planned or if you leave feeling like you just didn’t do enough, or didn’t have long enough to work on the script, then the chances are that it is your audition process, that is letting you down.

Click for further information.

Stephanie Connell is an award winning web designer who has been creating websites for the past seven years. Each website is handmade and specific to the client’s requirements and is therefore unique. She will guide you through the process and provide design and practical suggestions where necessary. She offers aftercare service which she feels is just as important as the creative process. A discount to AWL Members only.

AWL Members who have had their websites created recently: Carolyn Pertwee, David Hampshire, Julia Haythorn and Hedley England

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