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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

An Historic Day

Another project over - another show down.  Historic Crimes went live last night as an audio play, performed in front of a live studio audience.  Which is a slightly odd way of recording it, as the show wasn't a comedy (there were a few jokes but mostly it's serious) so a live recording with an audience would perhaps be a bit pointless.  Well, not so, because I needed an audience to pay for the recording / live streaming / cast - so they were all part of the same package.
We all met up in the late morning and, after a brief hiatus printing the final script, got down to work.  My fantastic cast were Pamela Flanagan and Philippa Tathan - who I have occasionally worked with before.  A read through, some general exposition about the play and the characters and then a break.  After the break our tame photographer John Bethell arrived and took some completely unfaked shots of us rehearsing.

Philippa Tatham, Robert Crighton and Pamela Flanagan
Then a slow run through of the play, stopping and starting - adjusting timings and generally tightening up reactions to specific lines.  I tried to compress a lot of info for the cast quickly - there's a lot going on in a play of about 45/50 minutes, so we had to turn some sharp corners in terms of emotion and argument.
I suppose I should elucidate to you what the play is.  If you want a one line pitch, I'd say it's the script I'd write if I were writing for Black Mirror - albeit for a radio version of the series.  (In fact, while we're here, come on Charlie Brooker - I could write you a treatment for it if you're interested?  Oh, you've got that covered?  Well, worth a shot.)  The play is as much about technology and the implications of it as it is about Shakespeare and the cultural capital we have tied up in him - so perhaps you could call it science fiction.  It's filled with references to sci-fi, but then I usually hide a few in jokes into my plays.
Anyway, back to Monday.  Evening approached, so we set up the space and Peter Morris, our sound engineer, set up the mics.  We then recorded a dry run of about two-thirds of the play, before running out of time as the audience were arriving (pesky audiences, arriving on time).
And they were a lovely audience, they listened - and that includes the online people, one of whom listened twice.  Some audience comments: "Historic Crimes, a very enjoyable event." "Most enjoyable evening. Glad it was only conjecture!! Well done to you all." "Excellent presentation, keep the shows going, thoroughly enjoyable."
Eventually I will tidy up the recording and make it available as a digital download - but for the next month (until 13th November) the live stream will be available to listen for free here. [No longer available - but should have it available for download asap. Rob]
I'll be publishing the script of the play shortly, as well as a combined edition of the complete Shakespeare Trilogy.  I have to say that of all the projects this year, most of which have been a success, this trilogy of plays have made the biggest impact and I am quite proud of them.  I hope I might be able to stage them all together next year, probably not on one night (it would be a looong evening) but maybe a mixed bill in rep.  But we'll see, the Seldom Plan might strike again.  It usually does.

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