Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A new show

LIGHTYEAR: one of my favourite ska punk bands.  
The onstage nudity is pretty typical.

Over the past few weeks, Hannah and I have been working on a new show, rehearsing once or twice a week, with help from Camden People’s Theatre’s Starting Blocks scheme.  

The show is about a relationship I had when I was fifteen. It was the first time I’d fallen in love and it was wildly exiting and often euphoric.  But I spent a lot of time struggling with the fact that this girl  (who we’re calling ‘Kate’) was both anorexic and bulimic. 

In lots of respects, it’s been a pleasure to revisit my teenage years because, generally, I was pretty happy.  We’ve been digging out the records I listened to – mainly raucous ska punk – and they still sound great.  We’re trying to use some of it in the show, although it can be hard to keep up with the riotous shouting and thrash drumming! 

I’ve been reading my teenage diary, which is horrific. It seems amazing that I didn’t know at the time how much I sounded like Adrian Mole.  This morning, I found ‘poems’ scrawled in the back pages.  (‘Over-written’ doesn’t really being to cover it.)  What’s remarkable is the sheer intensity of emotion.  Two out of three sentences end in an exclamation mark.  I use the word ‘WOW’ excessively.  The pages are a riot of capital letters and emphatic underlinings, veering in an instant from euphoria to rage to utter banality.  This resonates with my memories of that relationship.  Joy.  Worry.  Fury.  Frustration.  Repentance.  Love.  Joy again.  Often, all before 8.45am, when school started. 

We’re lost in the middle of all that right now, with a ska punk soundtrack of power chords and trumpets in the background.  We are looking for the right form to express that feeling.  That time when, according to my diary, all I did all day was FEEL.  We haven’t found it yet because we’re still lost.  But lost is often the most exhilarating part of the process.

As tends to be the case with our work, we don’t have a fixed deadline for opening the show.  But we’ll be sharing some of the new material at CPT’s SPRINT Festival, along with the other fantastic Starting Blocks artists, on March 29.  Tickets are available here.


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