I’ve got a little over a week to play around with the text of The Natural History of Trolls – a little under two weeks of space work. I’m about to decide how large a space I’m going to work with – probably about 6 foot square. That is a nice size for one man to bustle in and will fit in most fringe theatre spaces. It can always be enlarged but that will be the minimum size.
The physicality of the text has been brought to my attention this last weekend. For the first time in years I did the full Teaching Gods set – Fantasy Terrorist League, TG and the Alternative Seagull. FTL is a static piece. I am rooted to the spot, totally immobile from the waist down. It focuses the mind and the viewer on the minutiae of performing. Tiny details, movements, gestures are made huge by the static nature of the blocking. TG is completely different. Though a thoroughly controlled piece, blocked to within a gesture of its life, it is expansive, vast, performed for the joy of the audience. Laughter is encouraged, connection employed – it’s a sit back and watch the fireworks kind of piece.
And that is the template for The Natural History of Trolls. I want the piece to be fun, for the fun to be infectious – I want it to be a joy for me to entertain you. This will contrast well with the prologue and interlude stories (performed by the new members of the company, see below) which are more FTL in nature. Contained, unmoving from the waist down, focusing in upon the face, the gestures, the shoulders up acting - a much harder task to pull off.
Hence the online audition approach for the show in July. We were supposed to close the auditions this weekend and we had some lovely auditionees. (I must say I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t get any spoof / obscene video submissions – but we can’t have it all). Sadly however we just didn’t get enough auditionees – some of my notices in the actorly press didn’t go to the right places apparently, so a lot of people didn’t know. So, we’re trying again over the next couple of weeks – want to give it a go? Details in the Auditions blog - or just send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
In fact, since I wrote the above in draft mode this second round of auditions has been much more successful in bringing in applications. The first set was steady, but quiet. This time I'm drowning in CV's - and that tends to make me uncomfortable. Let me not really explain why in anecdote form.
Once Upon A Time I was living with random people in a slightly grubby house in Southgate. The random people decided to go out and rent a couple of videos (that dates things) for the evening. They went out to buy something light and fun. They returned with Cannibal Holocaust and Audition. Not a pair of movies to watch while eating dinner - especially over a cheese board. And in Audition, the audition panel don't come out of the film well. I'd like to keep my feet.
But seriously, what I hate about auditioning is the photos. I hate photos. They make you judge people. Even when you request not to get any you still do, and then my brain starts judging people, even when I tell it not to. Photos never really look like the people who come through the door, they don't tell you anything useful that cannot be gleaned from the CV and they don't walk, talk or take direction. Photos often lie. Hate them.
Especially as, with storytelling, it doesn't matter what you look like, you just need to be a brilliant performer. So that's what I'm looking for - really brilliant people. Everything else is propaganda.