Bernard – Govind Hodgson
This is Govind’s sixth amateur production in the UK and his third with KDC Theatre. Previous roles have included Jack in My Boy Jack and Stiva in Anna Karenena, as well as appearing in KDC Theatre’s 70th anniversary show, The Long Run. Govind has also performed for KDC at the Edinburgh Festival with Ups and Downs. For this play, Govind has had to shave his beloved beard.
Salter – Bernard O’Sullivan
This is Bernard’s first production with KDC theatre. He has trained with The Actors Company from 2005-2006. Since then he has appeared in a number of short films and plays, most recently as Doctor Wickert in Abby Msann’s Judgment At Nuremberg.
Assistant Director – Ciara Robley
Producer – Sian Wright
Frank/Simon – Michael Johnston
Michael was born in Northern Ireland, at a young age he started taking part in amateur dramatics and by the time he reached university he had created a backlog of amateur and semi professional experience. At university he studied drama and graduated with honours, after this he started working professionally as an actor and work shop facilitator. Two years later and Michael decided he needed a bigger challenge and moved to London where he became involved with KDC theatre, and the rest is yet to be written.
Nadia – Lisa Moore
Lisa spent years wishing she was involved in acting but only plucked up the courage last year, when she completing some courses with City Academy and got her first role with KDC, as cross-dressing Charlotte in She Ventures and He Wins. She’s since been in another production, Nailing Jelly to a Tree; a series of playlettes devised by the cast, where she played a number of characters ranging from a Scouse wag to a gay man. She’s really happy to have got the part of Nadia and has since been trying to explain to friends and family that F**kArt is not what it sounds like!
Eric – Nick Dastoor
Nick is quite the veteran of KDC productions now, having acted in not just one, but two productions before this: the restoration comedy She Ventures And He Wins and the portmanteau comedy-drama Summers Gone. After psychoanalytic sex comedy, he feels the time is right for a move into heavy, tragic work influenced by Ingmar Bergman … No, he is happy playing the fool.
Electra – Aruna Buchanan Brown
Ever the Drama Queen it’s no surprise that Aruna ran away to join the theatre! Highlights include Oscar Wilde’s Salome (Rock Opera) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and of course, A Clockwork Orange and Anna Karenina for KDC. Production credits include Buddy, Jailhouse Rock and Blair on Broadway in the West End. Aruna is excited for another foray into the KDC world – you know what they say “3rd time’s a prostitute!” or something like that…
Director – Juliet Colbert
‘F**kArt’ is Juliet’s directorial debut. She has worked on two previous KDC productions; as costume assistant on ‘Talking Heads’ and as assistant director on ‘Measure for Measure’ last season. Though she developed an interest in theatre back in her school days, Juliet hadn’t been directly involved in any theatre work for over 10 years before a friend introduced her to KDC last summer. Having worked as an English and Drama teacher, working on plays with many teenagers over the previous 4 years, directing was inevitably going to be the end goal and it didn’t take long to gain the experience and confidence to get there. Working with actors is not that dissimilar from working with teenagers after all, right?!
Assistant Director – Carrie Johnson
Carrie is a familiar face with KDC but has taken a break from acting this season to AD. Previous roles with KDC include; Hermia in Mid Summer Night’s Dream, Dowdy in She Ventures and He Wins, Ursula in Ups and Downs and Fran in Stags and Hens. She is also currently rehearsing for the Olympics Opening Ceremony where she will be dancing under Danny Boyle’s direction (and hopefully getting some directing tips)
Carrie’s only hope for ADing is that she doesn’t treat the cast like 5 year olds as she’s far more used to directing children’s theatre; then again…
Bernard Salter has learned a disturbing truth. He is not alone. A number of copies of him exist in the world and his own presence among them gives him pause. The only person he feels he can turn to is his father, but does he want comfort or answers. And what happens when another Bernard appears on the scene?
To put it bluntly, this is a play about cloning.
To put another spin on it, this is a play about identity.
With yet another spin, this play is about father/child dynamics.
The play itself, like the subject matter, is able to take on so many different identities.
The play debuted at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 23 September 2002 and starred Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig.
Sex sells and no one knows this better than Simon, cousin and silent partner in the business that is ‘Frank the artist’. Though Simon and Eric, Frank’s brother, may not approve of Frank’s questionable approach to production, Simon knows that “people like filth” and that the art world and the general public are always ready to buy into that.
F**kArt is a provocative, dark satire on the state of the art world. The play explores the relationship between art and sex and in doing so, questions the morality of the society we live in.
Arthur Zacharias as Anatole, Beril Kaya as Justine and Tracie Laurinaitis as Summer in a scene from Last Order, the Studio Piece in Spring 2010
Guest blog – Trina Hasthorpe Assistant Director
Hi, I’m Trina. I’m the Assistant Director of the devised piece: the newly-announced Pub Quiz Champion.
Staring at the web of multi-coloured scrawl on reams of A3 that are the fruits of our labour from the first devising session, I had my doubts. Reading through the character descriptions, setting notes, questions, answers, demands, and trying to follow the arrows that snake between them had me thinking – How could these disparate ideas generated by 7 strangers possibly evolve in a few short weeks to be a script – let alone a staged show?
At the halfway point now, with first draft in hand and a full run scheduled for our evening rehearsal, I am absolved of all doubt. In fact, my doubt dissipated weeks ago as I watched the actors, guided by Richard, bounce confidently and skilfully between a multitude of diverse and largely off-the-wall scenarios: bourgeois households to alien territories to lands of talking animals to the behind-the-scenes of a comedy club. I’ve seen reluctant farmers feed guerrilla armies, innocent husbands poisoned by spurned lovers, backroom witches tempt lonely priests and the elusive Danny Jones break more hearts than you can poke a stick at, but finally our story has found its home – in the more conventional yet highly entertaining setting of a local pub quiz.
The devising process that Richard has developed can be frustrating: having to let go of particular ideas about stories and characters is difficult at times, but the process relies on relinquishing control of the direction of the plot and dialogue decisions in order to give the actors free reign. And it pays dividends – the resulting script is funny without being affected, heartfelt without being cliché and honest without being boring. What was once scrawl is now a play – and a bloody good one at that.
KDC announces the summer devised piece After weeks of devising, KDC are proud to announce the title of the new Studio Piece for this summer season. Two performances only on Sunday 15th and Sunday 22nd at 6:30pm at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden. See it for less if you’re watching another KDC show this season (details below).
Pub Quiz Champion
Nothing much happens in the quiet town of Ansoforth. The height of excitement is the weekly pub quiz, billed as a good-natured, relaxed affair where taking part is more important than the win.
That’s what it should be. But that’s exactly what it isn’t.
As the answers go in, the knives come out. Dirty tricks, swiping team members, nobbling the barman, it’s all fair game as the quizzers’ game-lives and private-lives collide in the quest for the title of Pub Quiz Champion.
Directed by Richard Williams
Assistant Director Trina Hasthorpe
Tickets £12 (£8 conc.) (Etcetera Theatre Club members £10.50/£6.50)
Two performances only, 6:30pm Sunday 15th July and Sunday 22nd July
265 Camden High Street
London NW1 7BU
Important Booking information Booking is open now on the Etcetera Theatre website listed as ‘Studio Piece’
Book online for 6:30pm, 15th July or 22nd July through Ticket Web
Or book for either performance over the phone on 020 7482 4857
If you’re coming to see another show in the KDC summer season _before_ Pub Quiz Champion then you can get the Etcetera theatre member price (which is £1.50 less than regular ticket prices). When you come to see your first KDC show this summer season (or any Etcetera show in the last year) make sure you pick up your Etcetera Theatre Club membership card (the cost of the membership is included in a regular ticket price). Take that card along to the box office when you come to see Pub Quiz Champion and buy your ticket at club member rates.
1) Buy a regular ticket for your first KDC show of the season
2) Get your Etcetera Theatre Club membership card when you come and see it
3) Book your ticket for your second KDC show over the phone
4) Pay the Etcetera Theatre Club membership ticket rates in cash at the box office.
If you want to use the Etcetera Theatre membership discount, you must book over the phone rather than TicketWeb. The Box Office are not able to refund or reduce a TicketWeb ticket.
Thank you to all those who auditioned and congratulations to the cast. Next KDC auditions will be after the summer for the to-be-announced winter season.
Dracula Cast and Crew
Director – Duncan Moore
Producer – Sally Wilks
Assistant Director – Steph Urquhart
Mina Westerman – Anna Marx
Lucy Westerman – Catherine Kolubayev
Florrie Hathersage – Kate Moore
Nurce Nisbett/Grice – Su Vigus
Jonathan Harker – Jimi Odell
Doctor Arthur Seward – William Baltyn
Count Vlad Dracula – Alan Maddrell
Van Helsing – Chris Stooke
Renfield – Marcus Mollan
Drinkwater – Mark Ewins
Natasha Wisdom as Sister Lucy and Matthew Slight as John in Ups & Downs, the Studio Piece in Summer 2009
The First Week
Or part one of the ‘creative splurge’ as I described it so poetically in the first entry. As unattractive as it sounds, it’s a fair representation of what it’s like. Every rehearsal is different, the actors pour out new characters and storylines and then, as quickly as they’re established, they’re put aside and we move onto the next one.
Each cast member suggested a basic setting at the beginning of the week and every rehearsal since we’ve taken one of those one-line settings, developed it within the group, created characters, plot details and locations, thrown them out onto the stage and stood back to see what would happen.
Only one of the eight or so settings we’ll be exploring will be taken forwards, making this part of the process tremendously inefficient. But it’s also tremendously necessary and carefree. All we need to get from these two weeks is one idea with a germ of merit within it.
Much devised theatre starts with a concept or a theme or question in the director’s or writer’s head. They use the actors to help explore that notion and through that exploration a piece emerges. In previous years I have done the same – in a limited fashion – suggesting settings that might be interesting and appropriate for the age range or gender mix of the participants. This year, however, we’re starting with nothing that the cast aren’t bringing themselves and it is glorious fun.
In the first week we’ve created a dysfunctional family who’ve fallen from riches to rags due to a generation-old curse; we’ve adventured in a distant, surreal land of rebellion, twisted scenery, swamps, taverns and a movie studio; we’ve explored a story of alien and paranormal incidents that ended up as a cross between the X-Files and ALF; and we’ve convened an activist meeting of the militant Condiment Liberation Front who’ve brainstormed their plans to douse their targets in ketchup, mayonnaise and HP sauce to further their cause.
And there’s more to come in week two…
At the core of any story is character and so I thought I’d spend some time writing about how we go about creating our characters as part of the devised piece.
Inspiration comes from restriction.
There are people out there (I’ve met one of them) to whom you can say “Make up a character” or “Make up a story” and they can stand up and produce – off the cuff – a fresh and fully-formed concept or plot. The vast majority of us would blank, play for time, hem and haw, and either give up or haltingly produce something that, on reflection, we would realise was hopelessly derivative of the last book we read or film we saw.
Given the opportunity to create from ‘anything’, the vastness of the possibilities makes our imagination seize up. We need a focus, a hook, some spur to tell us what our character is (and thereby place restrictions on what it cannot be) to get our imagination working again. We don’t need it to give us the answer; we just need it to provide structure for our minds so we can find the answer for ourselves.
The focus can be almost anything. When I started with the devised piece, I used tarot cards. They fit my purpose quite nicely as their meaning is open to interpretation (there’s no right or wrong) they have a relatively clean visual image, normally with a human focus, and – especially with the Minor Arcana – there are small additional elements on them that the actor can choose to concentrate on or ignore. In our second year we moved onto using general works of art. The actors found some of the more abstract ones difficult at first. How can you create a character from a picture if you don’t understand what the picture is? The point is, though, not to correctly ‘interpret’ the picture, but rather to use whatever you get from the picture to inspire yourself.
Over the course of the last year I ran a series of workshops where one of the topics was the character creation process. The participants created characters using a variety of different methods: through random draw of predefined relationships, through random story fragments, through the inspiration of a picture and finally through the inspiration of a single word. The single word proved the most popular because they felt it gave them the most freedom to create their characters as opposed to trying to flesh out a character that they felt had already been created. We started this iteration of the devised piece using a single adjective as a focus, but found that even a single adjective provided too much of an answer. We found that starting off knowing that a character is ‘devious’ or ‘trusting’ left us trying to build a character around the adjective – so that everything about them was pointed towards that attribute. The adjective became a fixation rather than a focus to kick-start our own imagination, so now we’ve stepped back even further to use non-adjectives.
It may seem difficult at first, but for a deviser in the right mind-set even a mundane noun such as ‘chair’ or ‘carpet’ can trigger a series of creative sparks to allow them to start building a character. The less ‘obvious’ a word is at describing a character, the better it can be as a focus to allow your imagination to run riot.
Inspiration comes from trying to reconcile the irreconcilable.
The ever-present danger in quick creation is, as we reach for the character, we take grip of an archetype. And from that archetype we slip into cliché. When I first tried exploring a fantasy setting I had no less than five actors create a fairy-tale princess character (though it ended up entertaining enough with all five of them competing for the attentions of the lone dashing prince).
In truth, no character will stay cliché after the subsequent weeks of development, but even at an early stage we can move away from the obvious by adding a contrasting focus. When I used tarot cards, each actor drew two – and it was then their challenge to include aspects of both. When using a single word, the other members of the group ask the actor diverse questions about their character to provoke them to explore an aspect they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. The harder it is to reconcile the two sources of inspiration, the greater the imagination churns and the more surprising the result can be.
First round auditions for Dracula will be held on the 12th and 13th of June at the St Brides Foundation (details on our venues page). Please come along on whichever day suits you best and arrive at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. We’ll be finished by 9pm.
Recalls are by invitation only and will be held at the Hoop and Grapes. They’ll start at midday and will end around 4pm. You’ll be called in the week if the director would like to see you at the recalls.
Remember, auditions are free and you don’t need to bring a headshot or prepare anything in advance. Just come along and have fun!