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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Opening the Doors

Later today I'm going to be doing a bit of recording. The first installment of a new audio series to accompany one of my projects for the year - The Museum of Tat.  We're going to be improvising the text and, though I have some idea where I want to go, it could move in almost any direction.  Most of the material for this project will go on the sister blog - Museum of Tat - but I will talk about how the production side of things happen here.
What is the The Museum of Tat going to be about?  Well, it's about our culture, it's about how we cherish somethings and hate other - by using the word tat, we make a value judgement.  But is what we call tat something really worthless?  Some people love their tat.  They can't get enough of it.
And then there's the question - how do we define tat?  As opposed to, say, kitsch.  Where do the boundaries lie?
And then there's the other question - what is the price of tat?  Because, to give us our tat, resources are spent, workers exploited, people - literally - die to give us it.
And then there's the straightforward fun in wandering round charity shops looking for tat and just wondering - what the hell were they thinking?
So, lots of angles.  We'll see where we go.
More soon...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Just When You Think You're Out of Date...

About ten years ago I wrote a short play called Fantasy Terrorist League about the changes we were making in the law that would damage our democracy.  It seemed topical at the time.  I expected it would have a short life span.  I have officially retired it as a piece of my acting repertory a few times now, primarily because the play was giving me crows feet (the play involves a lot of rictus grinning).  But it just won't bloody die.
I wrote couple of follow up pieces, variations on a theme, if you will, which I had performed with it a few years ago - I called this The Fantasy Terrorist Variations.  I then thought, enough, and put it to bed.
And then Boris Johnson piped up and started the ball rolling again.
In response to the crisis in Iraq and Syria, to the numbers of British citizens travelling abroad to support terrorism, he wrote that: "The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a 'rebuttable presumption' that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose."  Basically, shift the burden of proof - if you return from a terrorist state then you are automatically presumed to be a terrorist and you must prove you aren't.  Which is exactly what my plays have been about - a shift towards a presumption of guilt.  Once again, they are no longer a bit out of date.
The governments response was swift and dismissive (thank goodness) but I wonder whether this was just because they saw it as a genuinely stupid idea, rather than a knee-jerk response to anything Boris says - i.e. that the response was more about domestic politics than good governance.  I hope it was both.
So, what is my response?  Well, we shall see.  I have a project in hand this year.  In fact I have written a new Fantasy Terrorist Variation to add to my collection.  It is called A Swift and Minor Change. And I'm about to record it now.

Additional - I've just posted my response online.  You can listen to it below.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Two new books out...

Well, that's not quite true - one is new, the other is a repackaged book (The Shakespeare Delusion had a couple of typos and an odd error on the cover that irked me).  So, here's the links.  Have a gander.

The Juliet Inquiry 
By Robert Crighton
Based on the play 'Romeo & Juliet' by William Shakespeare 
Specially commissioned to celebrate Shakespeare's 450th Birthday

A complete re-imagining of the play where the story of Romeo and Juliet is 
told as a modern day public inquiry.  In this version the Montagues and the 
Capulets were once close families - until their children fell in love. 
This is the story of how love can tear apart, as well as heal, and how that 
love can seem when put under the public gaze.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

The Shakespeare Delusion
By Robert Crighton
Professor Ashborn invites you to share in his latest discoveries and lead you through the terrible secrets behind the man people call Shakespeare.  Did he really write the plays?  Was he really bald?  Did he like cheese?  Using recently uncovered documentation Professor Ashborn can finally tell the true and completely true, truly true, utterly true, true story of the Shakespeare delusion!
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Two down, one to go...

At last, I have posted the final episode of Lost Tribe of the Trolls - which means I'm two thirds of the way through my trilogy.  The final story is The Paper Moon Trolls - which thanks to upgrades on audioboo, can now be released in longer episodes, will be in six to eight parts, released every couple of weeks or so across the year - the final episode on Wednesday 31st December to mark the end of my artist residency at the Quay Theatre.  So, if you've missed out on the story so far then have a listen on the players below.

Part One:  The Natural History of Trolls

Part Two:  Lost Tribe of the Trolls

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

March of the Shakespeare Trilogy

I didn't quite intend to spend so much time on Shakespeare this year.  I planned to do a piece or two that touched on him, I planned to perform his narrative poems (one down, one to go) and that was about it.  But for some reason my Shakespeare-ish-based plays won't go away.  In fact, they have morphed into The Shakespeare Trilogy.  First up was The Juliet Inquiry - a straightforward project, a one off.  Except it went so well, we're doing it again.  In October.  Twice.  (Details below.)  It's entirely possible we'll keep doing it.  It was very well received, it was interesting to do, there is still room for improvement.
Then there was a new version of an old play The Shakespeare Delusion which I put into the schedule because it timed well with the LOST One-Act Festival.  It didn't win, but it did then return for the Face to Face festival and is returning to London again.  In October.  This is a play that is definitely not going away as I plan to try a tour it next year and would love to take to the festivals.  
And now there's Historic Crimes.  Which is being staged in... October.  I don't know how well it will go, I haven't finished writing it yet, but it will now cap off a season of work, playing with Shakespeare.  The Juliet Inquiry, though technically a version of Romeo and Juliet, was as much about how the contrast between an old story and the new world.  How they exist in very different worlds.  The Shakespeare Delusion is about the ridiculousness of the so called authorship 'question' - where the question is asked by a madman.  Historic Crimes is about how society changes, how things once considered acceptable change and what would happen to the Shakespeare industry if he fell from grace - basically it's about Bardolotry.  It's a loose trilogy, but there is now part of me thinking it could be presented as a whole.  Three plays, one after the other.  An unit of thought.  I don't know.
Either way, I'm hoping that all three plays, over October, will be available in some format online.  Either live streamed as audio and even possibly video (watch this space).  So, wherever you are, you can catch a bit or all of my accidental Shakespeare Trilogy.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
By Robert Crighton
Based on the story of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare 
Specially commissioned to celebrate Shakespeare's 450th Birthday

A complete re-imagining of the play where the story of Romeo and Juliet is told as a modern day public inquiry.  In this version the Montagues and the Capulets were once close families - until their children fell in love. This is the story of how love can tear apart, as well as heal, and how that love can seem when put under the public gaze.

Performing on Friday 3rd October at 7.30pm at the Lavenham Village Hall 
Performing on Saturday 4th October at 7.30pm at the Offton Village Hall
Tickets Pay-What-You-Want

Milk Bottle Audio Presents...
Historic Crimes
World Premiere By Robert Crighton – the Quay’s Artist in Residence
What would you want to see if you could look back in time and watch famous events in history?  And what would you do if they greatly disappointed you?  Or you discovered a hidden crime?  Would you tell the world if you discovered that Shakespeare no less was guilty of the worst of crimes?  Could you ever read his plays again?  Or allow them to be staged?  World premiere of a modern morality tale about Bardolatry, sex and lies – staged as a live radio broadcast and streaming live online at
Performing on Monday 13th October at 7.30pm at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury
Tickets Pay-What-You-Want - can be reserved via the Quay Theatre Box Office
Telephone: 01787 374745 or online at

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Kraken Turns Off the Snooze Alarm

And I'm back in the room.  It's been a while and I can tell you've missed me.  Well, from Wednesday I will be six and a half projects down out of the ten of the year.  That will see the last episode of Lost Tribe of the Trolls release and the writing of recording of the final story of The Trolls Trilogy for release over the next few months.  That leaves three projects.  But what are they going to be?

Well, here the Seldom Plan hits again (see past posts ad nausem) - there be changes afoot.  I'm still going to be presenting the oft mentioned Historic Crimes in October - this will be a live streamed radio drama, tickets for the recording will be available from the Quay Theatre box office.

Otherwise, the last two projects are going to be more internet based and have no specific timetable.  I have already started one.  It is called The Museum of Tat - and it has a blog all of its very own.
This will be an evolving project, but in the short term it will mostly be made of photography and video pieces - which will be published online.

Then there is another work in progress I'm calling Just Say Yes (no affiliation to a rather dull Snow Patrol song, youth empowerment companies or fascist organisations etc)- which will be created at the Quay Theatre (probably) on the fifteenth of September.  Or not.  It will be a one-to-one piece, but later a video work.  Or not.  More later.

Otherwise, two of my other projects are still alive and well.  The Shakespeare Delusion is performing again in London in October, as will the very popular The Juliet Inquiry, which I might be able to stream live (details to follow.)  So, this is very much the year of my Shakespeare Trilogy - which Historic Crimes will complete - all three pieces performing in close succession.