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Monday, 2 January 2012

The Obligatory New Year Message

Happy New Year - 2012.  I would love to say I did a lot of celebrating on New Years, that I spent the evening doing incredibly exciting things... nah.  Really couldn't be bothered, got far too much to do and this is one of the few decent breaks I get during the run at Barons Court so... a lot of sleep and watching the Vienna New Years concert on television next day is about as exciting as the last 24/48 hours have got.
There's only one week to go, six performances of GhoStoryteller left.  Last weeks four performances were a very mixed bag.  There was a heckler on the first night - he wandered into the show after five minutes and then started saying, very loudly, that ghosts were real and that I wasn't showing them enough respect.  As the opening of the show is all about why we like ghost stories he was missing the point - but then the slurring in his voice suggested his alcohol levels had taken him beyond the limits of nuance.  I asked him to leave and he did so, very slowly, until the audience asked him to go away.  He then started to swear at them, repeatedly, until he finally disappeared.  Oddly enough, this acted as a bonding exercise between the audience and I, we were on the same side for the rest of the show.  Might introduce guest drunks into every show from now on.
The second night was interesting as one of the audience was registered blind.  I often have partially sighted audiences for my storytelling - it is a logical entertainment form in these increasingly visually based theatre work days.  Unfortunately, I realised that my opening, about fear and ghost stories, probably sounded absurd to a blind person.  It was all about the way fear works in the dark and when we cannot see everything.  I realised that I had made some big assumptions and hadn't taken into account how fear works for those who live with darkness or poor vision all the time.  I cannot change this now, but it's a fascinating area to look into in the future.  Perhaps the visually impaired are more disturbed by sounds - or by objects being in unaccustomed places in their homes - or being aware of another person in the room who makes no noise at all.
These are important ideas to play with because I intend to tour with GhoStoryteller later this year.  I'll need to write a new story and expand the opening to fit other ideas and visions of the world.  At present the show is very British in focus, British settings, British type ghosts.  I would also like to visit other ideas of ghosts from around the world, as I'm sure they vary quite a lot.
The third night was uneventful, but the fourth night was great.  It was such a warm audience from the start; listening to them talk as they came in, I knew it was going to be fun.  My ghost stories are quite funny and when I think the audience is up for it I also add audience participation and on Friday they lapped (literally - you'll have to see the show to understand why) it up.  It was only towards the end of the show that I turn the temperature down a bit for something a bit... darker.
That was the first week, cut off by New Year, but the second week might be even more exciting.  It will if you're there.

This week I'm going to be thanking people for all their help in this year long project, but for now HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

P.S. This is a blog by Adam Curtis, a documentary maker who always makes you think, even if you don't agree with the argument he puts forward.  The blog tends to be fragmentary, using archive footage from the BBC to put together a piece relating to modern life, events or just for the hell of it.  His latest blog is all about ghosts on television and that seems appropriate - some lovely snippets.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/12/the_ghosts_in_the_living_room.html

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