A Proper experience
When was the last time you went to the theatre? Ok. Now when was the last time you got paid to go to the theatre? Not often i bet. The Theatre isn’t somewhere I go, I like the idea of it, but I don’t have excess money, and when I do I use it to treat myself on DVDs CDs or going to see a live band or watch a film. Theatres, plays and musicals are an extra luxury – or possibly an extra-extra luxury.
Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work on behalf of MediaSnackers with the Everyman theatre group up in Liverpool, that were putting on a production of Proper Clever. And it is here that I got my first chance to experience a play since I was 12yrs old, playing ‘winky’ in rather majestic performance of ‘wee willy winky’ at school. I held the lamp btw, and I’m certain I was selected for the part due to my cute factor (no really) … I was small for my age, blond, cute, confident and had to sing a song – I dreaded doing it, and it possibly scarred me for life, but hey doesn’t everything?
Soo, the play in question felt rather odd to start with, the only similarities I had in my mind was going to ‘The Brand New Heavies’ (youtube link) in Colston Hall, Bristol 15yrs ago, when I went upstairs to the seats for a good view and gradually edged open my jacket to reveal my homemade BNH t-shirt (yes I was that much of a fanboy – and still am, minus the t-shirts). The playhouse theatre took me right back to those days, expecting a band to come on and be mesmerised by people standing still, moving only their fingers. Proper Clever basically performed a full frontal lobotomy on me within the first 10secs with impressive visuals and captivated my attention throughout with almost flawless young actors and a constant stream of remarkable dialogue from writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce (imdb link) that must have researched his target audience with the same precision of David Attenborough poking his fingers for several months into a pack of lions.
The play was dripping in digital references and had visuals that left me wondering how it was all created – things have clearly moved on in the theatre going world, since my stage debut. By the end of the experience, I was definitely wow’d, my eyes had been opened up to something missing from my experience for over 20yrs. Luckily the subject matter was bang on my mentality and I could identify with most of the references made and in jokes played.
Regarding my involvement, I had been lucky enough to spend some time training and assisting young people ages 14 – 19 to develop their media skills to become Digital Journalists. Throwing young people in at the deep end to try things they have never done before, is always a risk, as the whole project could backfire if the ole teenage rebellion kicks in, but I honestly have to say that kids came up trumps… everyone achieved beyond our expectations and stepped up to the challenge with great results. Don’t take my word for it, stop by their blog and watch the action unfold each night as the performance runs.
In a nutshell the Everyman crew hired MediaSnackers to spice up their project and introduce some new ideas technologies and platforms for connecting with their audience. That we did, in bucket loads. But that’s not what this post is about – working with people that want to learn and develop their skills into positive future for themselves, is what makes me get up in the morning… and the more work I can do like that, the better.
out – Mark