Friday, 30 March 2012

NTS announce Reveal 2012

In May, NTS return with Reveal - a season of promising new work including a full production, along with rehearsed readings, works-in-progress and a Scratch night.

The London Riots, performed by puppets;
a story spun by a Spider; a Gaelic divorce;
post-apocalyptical drama and
Mexican Reality TV are all part of Reveal 2012.

Roman Bridge (90mins)
2-12 May
Full production of a new play by Martin Travers, directed by Amanda Gaughan.
[Ed. Yes, our very own Martin from Citizens Learning!]

Feral (30mins)
1-3 May
A work-in-progress by Ross MacKay.

The Red Hourglass (1hr)
2-3 May
A rehearsed reading of a play by Alan Bissett.

Scratch Performances (1hr)
4 & 10 May
A platform for emerging artists to test excerpts or ideas.

Gaelic for Beginners (45mins)
4-5 May
A rehearsed reading of a play by Catriona Lexy Campbell.

Kasimir and Karoline (2hrs)
5 May
A rehearsed reading of a play translated and directed by Alan McKendrick.

The Great Disappointment of Santa Muerta (1hr)
10-12 May
A work-in-progress by Pony Pie, performed by Amanda Monfrooe.

Colour Me Read (90mins)
11-12 May
A rehearsed reading of a play by Stef Smith.

Prices vary for Roman Bridge (concessions available) and all of the rehearsed readings or works-in-progress cost just £2.50; so there's plenty of scope to come and see great new work from some of our most exciting new theatre-makers.

Amanda Gaughan, Alan Bissett, Amanda Monfrooe, Ross MacKay and Stef Smith were all participants in the Bank of Scotland’s Emerge Programme.

Lady Susan Rice, Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland said:
"As an organisation we are committed to supporting emerging talent and the National Theatre of Scotland provides us with a number of platforms to engage and assist the next generation of theatrical practitioners. We very much look forward to seeing what the future holds for these bright young stars and are glad we can be part of that journey."

If you came to Reveal last year, you might be interested to know that Love Letters to the Public Transport System and Count Me In, which premiered at last year’s Reveal, will be touring Scotland this year. We'll let you know more info, when we get it.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Another week in the big Betrayal house

Well, dear reader, another week has past in the Big Betrayal house, and I would like to start by apologising for not checking in sooner - most remiss of me! The last week seems to have disappeared before my very eyes, and here we are in the final week of the run-BOO!

Barrie working his magic
Last week got off to a great start, as we gathered before the first show of the week to gird our loins with a spot of the old Keepie Uppie-and smashed our previous record with an extraordinary 430-yep, 430!!!!! We took this as a good omen for the week, which was borne out, as we had another run of shows with big audiences and lovely responses. This culminated in our first, and only, 2 show day of the run, which was a busy way to end the week. We celebrated the weekend by a couple of post show refreshments in Sharkey’s, which was choc-a-bloc due to it being St Patrick’s Day. We escaped the mayhem and repaired north of the river for some quieter quarters - Boteco Brazilian Bar - more mayhem ensued!

Hywel and Neve contemplate life without Barrie, post Betrayal

As we venture through our final week together, I personally am saddened by my potential lack of socialising with the rest of the team, as I started rehearsals in Perth [Ed. For A Play, A Pie and a Pint's Cold Turkey at Nanas] on Monday, so need to be up and at ‘em in the morning, thus curtailing my post show activities - at least that’s the plan. I shall keep you abreast of developments on that, and other fronts, before signing off from the Blogosphere at the end of the week…..miss you already……*sniff, sob*…….

A drink to 430!!

Ed. We just added some new photos by Richard Campbell in the Betrayal set on Flickr.

King Lear and Pickled Eggs

Last week rehearsals began for King Lear, the epic tale of a father, his daughters and his Kingdom. It's really fantastic to work on such a large scale production at the Citz and from the first day the building has been buzzing with palpable excitement and the chatter of around thirty new people! The Citz production of King Lear will feature not just a main cast of twelve actors but they'll be supported by a terrific ensemble of a further fourteen!
Inspiration wall
The early days of any rehearsal are all about getting to know the script, the characters and the production that we are all creating together. For this production of King Lear, Tom (the designer) started by introducing us all to the world of the play and it's feel, we have now up on one side of the rehearsal room an entire wall of images that helped inspire Dominic and Tom when they began discussing what the set design and world of the play would be. Dominic then talked us through what was also in his mind, and we then settled into the first read through with the whole cast. Our first chance to really hear the cast together and get a feeling of the stirring spectacle to come.
The first read through
Over the weeks before rehearsals the stage management team have been gathering bits and bobs that Dominic wanted for rehearsals, including mattresses, shopping trollys, take out boxes and vodka bottles. From around the second day of rehearsals the cast began to get very curious over the jars of pickled eggs on the props table, creating much debate over what would be happening with them and more importantly to whom. We found out very quickly, and several actors will be getting a lot of extra protein over the rehearsals.
The first experiments for the pickled egg scene
Late into the first week we started to bring the ensemble into scenes, which immediately make a lot of the early work with the main characters even more exciting and alive. Filling the world of Lear with riotous Knights and devious servants. Can't wait to see how it develops further and further...

Assistant Director

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pia-pia-piano, piano, piano

We need your help...

We are looking for old pianos that can be dismantled. Musical genius Paddy Cunneen plans to create new instruments with the inner workings of pianos - for use on stage in King Lear. So if you have a beat-up old piano you'd like to donate for a final starring role at the Citz, please email Technical Manager Jamie Hayes or phone him on 0141 418 6245.

Each piano will be assessed and collected if suitable.

We need to know:

a) The piano's condition
b) Access to your property (3rd floor/street level/main door etc?)
c) When it's available for collection

[NB. We can't guarantee that we'll be able to take every piano offered, but hope to be able to use them all!]

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cross-cast pollination

Well, dear reader, it is now Tuesday, and here we are at the start of another glorious week in Betrayal land [Ed. apologies for the later posting...I have made up for it with a few new pics by Richard Campbell]. It’s been a fantastic run so far, and the audiences have been both sizeable and very appreciative. The various critics have also been very generous in their praise, which is lovely for all.

”It is, in both aesthetic and technical terms, truly exquisite.”

The Telegraph 

“as immaculate as it is thought-provoking, and often downright beautiful. ”
The Scotsman 

Fraser has effortlessly and seamlessly slipped in to his ASM role, and is making a splendid job of operating the sliders and all manner of other proppy/furniturey things. Emma took over the calling of the show from prompt corner on Saturday night, and made a similarly splendid job of it too-what a team!

Other than that, there’s not much else to report. We have not as yet managed to better our Keepie Uppie count of 307, but who’s to say what lies ahead-you will be the first to know, rest assured.

The theatre is now bung-full of all types theatrical, as King Lear went into rehearsal yesterday, and we also have the touring production of the Scottish Play (The Steamie) rehearsing here, as are Theatre Crytic and Oran Mor’s Play/Pie/Pint 2 shows in the building too - it’s a veritable factory of art here, let me tell you! 

In fact, talking of King Lear, Neve and I took it upon ourselves to join some of the cast after their first day yesterday for a small sherry or three in the fine establishment that is Sharkey’s Bar out the back. We thought a little inter-cast cross pollination might be the very thing, just to welcome them, you know. We are all heart, generous to a fault……


Friday, 9 March 2012

The Trouble with One Person Plays

I've always struggled with one person plays, every time I've been to one I've felt exposed and uncomfortable. With no other actor onstage the only person an actor can talk to is me. To be fair not just me, but the audience, and I've always felt that this was wrong. I like to sit back and watch a performance, take it in and enjoy it. As soon as I am being talked to very directly by one single actor, I'm no longer watching the show, rather, I'm worried about any number of things, including looking interested so I don't upset the actor, who's only a few feet infront of me! I'm no longer watching the play becomes the problem. Not listening or thinking about what's being said, I'm being distracted.

Lynn in rehearsals
Lynn Kennedy, in rehearsals for LIMBO
Though I'm also completely wrong about one person plays. Working on LIMBO has allowed me work to on this with Lynn, the advantage of a one person play is that it can allow us to create a much more personal connection between you the audience member and the performer. More so than with a larger cast play. When rehearsing the show Lynn and I were very careful in not pushing the audience away but drawing them in. First establishing a connection with the audience and then allowing the character to pull back a bit and try to hide her emotions. Using Pinter (a popular lad in the Citz this month) style characterisation to hide our characters true emotion beneath a mask. Drawing the audience in as we see her struggle against her inner turmoil. I think the result creates a very dynamic and heartfelt performance, that Lynn creates beautifully. The key being not to through to much directly at the audience but giving the character and the audience space to think and feel.

Yesterday evening was the opening night and I hope the production does not keep the audience at a distance, instead, drawing you in as an audience member so you feel connected to the character, as it's only the two of you in that theatre, no-one else.


Circle Studio
8-10 March, 6.30pm

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

And we're off...

So, it’s Wednesday afternoon, the day after Press Night, and I think I can say without fear of contradiction, that it all seemed to go really rather well!  A very positive response from an enthusiastic audience, both in the auditorium and in the bar after the curtain came down, so a few post show sherries were taken by cast, crew, production team and audience too - lovely! A few of us even made it over the river for a final nightcap, just to make sure we slept well…

But the Betrayal team don’t rest on their laurels and take it easy on themselves, oh no. Today at 2pm, we assembled onstage to rehearse Fraser in to the show- he is taking over ASM duties from Emma, who will be taking over DSM duties from Cathy when she goes into King Lear rehearsals on Monday. It’s a non-stop theatrical carousel here at the Citz, I tell you!

[Ed. Knowing some of the intricacies of the stage management backstage, we send lots of luck and best wishes to Fraser!]

And now the next stage of the run comes into play, namely performing it nightly and keeping it alive, fresh, vital and true - a task we are all relishing, I’m sure. This will start before every performance with the statutory game of Keepie-Uppie, and of course the vocal warm up, which I will now be leading. Dominic has passed this job on to me, as he will now be spending all his time and efforts getting into King Lear mode. Obviously, I’m rather nervous of this, but Dominic assures me I’m up to the task! Oh, and while I’m on the subject of warm ups, vocal and physical, I’m delighted to report that last night, pre show, we once again smashed our previous Keepie-Uppie record with an extraordinary 307 - GET IN!!!

So dear reader, I will take my leave of you, and take this opportunity between blizzards and hailstorms to go and grab some sustenance, but fear not, I will return soon to the Blogosphere, and share more Betrayal goodness with you….and Keepie Uppie scores too, obviously!


Ed. Review from The Stage:

"Distressing, caustic and superbly realised, this Betrayal is a menacing celebration of The Citizen’s new direction."

Monday, 5 March 2012

Whoops, cheers and keepie-uppie

Well, folks, it is now Monday morning, and much has happened since last I checked in at the Betrayal Blog. We played our first preview performance on Friday evening and……the audience response seemed very positive indeed-good news! Many moments of silent tension were indeed met with “you could hear a pin drop” hush, and other moments were greeted with much laughter, which is a relief to all involved. The audience seemed to be with the play all the way, and the appreciation at the curtain call was a lovely thing to be on the receiving end of.

We met on Saturday afternoon for notes on the previous evening, and worked through a few little adjustments/ideas/thoughts/concerns on the stage, before the 2nd preview performance that evening. However, before that happened, we had to gather at 6.30pm for our pre-rehearsal, and now pre-performance ritual that is “Keepie-Uppie” (physical warm-up!), and vocal warm up round the piano with Dominic. The excitement and concentration in the room was palpable as we smashed our previous Keepie Uppie record of 117 with an extraordinary….wait for it…..*drum roll*……284!!!!!!!!!! Good times.

The 2nd preview was then performed before a lovely, warm and sizeable audience, who showed their appreciation at the end of the evening with whoops and cheers mixed in with their loud applause - a lovely way to end the week, and to go into a well deserved day off for all concerned.

So here we are, at the start of the week, and we shall meet at 3pm for notes, and then another dress run at 4pm to keep the show like a well oiled machine as we work towards Press Night tomorrow. I of course, have succumbed to the pesky cold that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment, so my chief aim is to keep that to myself, as I fear I would be rather unpopular if I passed it on to Cal, Neve and/or Hywel.

So, dear reader, until I next tap out another posting to you, I would ask that you send lovely, warm, positive theatrical vibes in the general direction of the Gorbals, and I would also ask a personal favour-namely that you send me antiseptic, non-coughy/sniffy/sneezy vibes to dressing room 7 - that would be hugely appreciated, and not just by me I’m sure…thanking you in anticipation……


Finally, here's a short video of audience reactions to the show after Saturday's preview. Thanks to everyone who came to speak to us!

2-24 March | 
More info

Photos by Richard Campbell. See more on Flickr

Friday, 2 March 2012

Lights, camera.....

More missives from our man on the inside, Barrie Hunter...
Here’s another quick check-in from dressing room 7! It’s Thursday afternoon and we are currently finessing the technical side of shifting from scene to scene. Since last I blogged, I have the pleasure of announcing that we finished the tech rehearsals for Betrayal well within the scheduled sessions, so we were allowed the luxury of some time away from the theatre and arrived early evening last night to do the first of our dress rehearsals. I’m pleased to report that generally it all went fairly smoothly, and everyone seemed quite positive about the whole experience-good news!

As always though, there are still many elements to improve on, and Dominic and all the other departments are currently implementing these improvements as I type this missive. We are working towards our second dress rehearsal this evening, which I believe will be photographed, so I’d better shave my face and comb my hair for that. The mood in the camp though all seems very positive, which is always a lovely thing at this stage of the proceedings.

I have to go now, as I hear over my little tinny tannoy, that they are approaching a moment that I am involved in, in a scene-shifty stylee! When next I blog, we will be 2 dress rehearsals down, and 1 more to go before we perform the play before a preview audience tomorrow evening….YIKES!!


PS…..I am tremendously pleased to announce that all corkscrews, plates, cutlery, glasses and bottles behaved impeccably, and I only hope that gravity doesn’t interfere further in my onstage prop-based travails……only time will tell, and of course, you will be the first to know……..