Follow by Email

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Encore Thoughts

I went to see Medea today - an encore performance of the National Theatre production at my local cinema.  I've watched a lot of theatre this way now.  I rather like it, as I've posted before.  But...
I seem to drift.  My thoughts are almost always pulled elsewhere.
Now, this was a very good production, mostly great performances (wasn't convinced by some of the smaller roles) and I did enjoy it.  I don't think, if I'd been in the room, that I'd have drifted.  But I noticed, often, that instead of fully engaging with the work, I was thinking about something else.  I stopped listening to the words and would snap back with a jolt.
I think this isn't because of the show, I think it's the format.  I had the same thing with Macbeth last year and many operas.  I didn't have this with The Audience or Skylight.  But they had a lot more humour and it's harder to drift if you're laughing.
That isn't to say my drifting ruined the event for me.  I drifted to a purpose, as I basically planned out a complete production of Oedipus the King in my head.  I had no intention of doing so before I went, I just started thinking and reacting to the play (which I last saw over ten years ago but have never staged) by thinking about a play that I have staged many times.  In part or in whole three times.  I used to stage a lot of Greek tragedy, or at least, a simplified sort.
I've never fully staged a production with a proper chorus.  It's always been chorus light.  This has largely been for practical reasons - not having enough people - but also because I didn't really know how to do it.  I liked to get to the bare bones of the drama, rewriting the plays so that the chorus was a singular figure.  But watching Medea I started again, in my head.  Not that I wanted to copy the dance work or the idea of chorus used in this production.  I had an image of something quite different in my mind, something from a dance piece elsewhere, that hit me.  And then I was designing the set, looking at a rehearsal structure, thinking back to the texts I've used in the past.
And yet I was still watching Medea, still enjoying (if that's the right word) the event, still engaged - if fitfully.
Then I remembered that this is how I write sometimes.  I'll get a DVD of a Shakespeare or other classic text and half watch / listen to it, while notebook in hand I dance shapes of dialogue about a page.  Sometimes I'll watch, sometimes I'll work, sometimes I'll get myself a cup of coffee.  There is a term for this kind of viewing.  Selective inattention.  And it's just how my cookie rolls.
So, you might be in for a bit of Greek tragedy from me again.  It's been quite a few years since the last one and I think it's time to go back.
But, for the moment, I need to finish writing Historic Crimes for next month.  It's nearly at a first draft stage.  I've been pulling all the threads of my notes together and am very nearly there.

But till then - here's a new episode of a comedy thing I've been working on.  The Museum of Tat.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Milk Bottle Autumn Newsletter 2014

It's a busy couple of months for Milk Bottle - with several projects happening at once.  Robert is down to his last three projects of Project 10/52, with two being ticked off by October - the new audio comedy series, The Museum of Tat and a new play Historic Crimes which will be live streamed online as part of the first performance.  There's also a revival of a favourite project from earlier in the year The Juliet Inquiry which was hugely successful.  Book now, listen now, get involved.

Milk Bottle Audio Presents...
The Museum of Tat
Devised by Robert Crighton with Michael Fouldes
The Museum of Tat is the repository of all things tat. New tat, old tat, the useless, the cheap and the ugly. The first episode of this six part audio comedy is available to listen now. Just click here!You can even get involved as photo submissions to the museum are welcome. Post them on our twitter feed @MuseumofTat or facebook page The Museum of Tat. Guidelines for submission can be found here.

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

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