So, what happened recently?

Well, April went by as some sort of manic blur, but I’m finally back!

Things have happened. These are:

1) The Performing Science conference at Lincoln, organised and hosted by Andy Jordan, ran from the 23rd to the 25th April with amazing keynote speakers Carl Djerassi and Michael Frayn. I gave a talk on the differences and benefits of Science Theatre and SF Theatre and had my monologue, The Russian Doll Case, performed. It was a great array of speakers – academics, practitioners, producers, scientists et al. So many perspectives and angles! Thoroughly enjoyed it. I also managed to see Bloodlines before I dashed for the train – an intricate performance presenting the idea of blood tranfusion through physical theatre.

Then it was time to get ready for:

2) Stage the Future at RHUL, on the 26th and 27th April! It was great to see the passion and commitment everyone had in the room – simply buzzing with ideas, performances and ways to bridge communities together. From the past, present to future, I think everyone found out about at least one production they’d never heard about, a new angle to take, a new theoretical bridge to cross. I presented a paper on worldbuilding, using Terra Firma as an example. There were performances and papers from academics, practitioners, directors, producers, actors etc. We wanted to have this balance between academia and performance – because, well, that’s what the theatre is really about and SF Theatre needs more recognition in both of these areas. Of course, this is only the beginning – there are many plans waiting in the woodwork that I will announce when I can!

The next day:

3) My short play, The Reality Test, was staged amongst a series of performances on the theme of CAGED at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, produced by the wonderful Writers Bloc. This piece depicted two performers going through an infinite loop – but trying to hide these patterns of behaviour from the other. Which one are real or are both simply a fabrication? The actors Alice Havillyn and Jack Heath did tremendously well – I was only able to have two rehearsals with them before I went to Lincoln – and they did a sterling job, I have to say!

The next day:

4) I had Terra Firma read by KDC Theatre (and recently had Fishbowl read last night) and they’ve given me much food for thought and ways to add and cut a few lines here and there. It’s been very beneficial!

So now, what are my plans?

I’m doing another collaboration for Written and Composed with Lucy Harrison, which is a mixture of soundscape, installation and live performance. It’s based on one of the monologues from my book, Notes from Other Worlds. I’m so excited for this! It’s on the 22nd May (not long now!) at Toynbee Studios. Link here.

I’m also preparing for my annual review in June – sorting out which creative things to submit!

Things are underway for Terra Firma – the full production! I’ve been sorting out press and all that jazz and it’d be great if you could come and see the finished version (whether you’ve seen the rehearsed reading or not!). More details will be available soon!

I’ve also started the new theatre company that I’ve thought about for so long – Stars or Mars Theatre is finally up! This is to create a network to collaborate and create original works of SF Theatre in London. I have 3 ideas so far for potential collaborations, but they’ll be put up on the site in due course. You can find the link here.

I’m also planning a new play – I’m just waiting for all the ideas to hit a vantage point from which to write from. Rather tedious, but hey!

Susan

 

Advertisements

Updates/Appearances (?)

It seems a little strange that I’d write posts about appearances – but my updates are about me being at places, so it does make sense I guess!

I mentioned some of these before (some are old, some new, but just more details for some points)

So, here goes:

From Far Future to Near Future:

1) Terra Firma is coming to the Camden Fringe from August 18th – August 20th, 2014!

For those who don’t know, we staged my full length play Terra Firma as a rehearsed reading at the Etcetera Theatre on the 25th and 26th Feb this year. We got great feedback and it’s given me food for thought on how to improve and develop the play. I will give you more details as they come.

Closer to now:

2) I have started up (ish) a new site for an SF Theatre company – Stars or Mars Theatre, which will be a company dedicated to – you guessed it – Science Fiction! I want this primarily to encourage new writing in the genre and to explore different styles, forms and disciplines! Check it out – developments will be coming soon!

Even closer to now:

3) I’m presenting a paper at Lincoln on the 24th April at their Performing Science Conference, explaining and contrasting the differences between SF Theatre and Science Theatre.

4) I’m presenting a paper at… Stage the Future (26th and 27th April) , which I’m co-organising with Christos Callow Jr. with amazing speakers and presentations. I will also be playing a clip from the first scene of Terra Firma there, which will be nice as part of my documentation! Details can be found here.

5) I’m staging a short play of mine called The Reality Test, where two characters try to make sense of the world they have built around them. Is someone else responsible for time repeating? Is it one of them or are they on a loop? It’s on at the Red Lion Theatre as part of Writers Bloc on the 28th April!

Hit me up for details and hope you’ve all been well!

Susan

 

 

 

Updates!

Firstly, apologies for leaving it so long to update!

1) The Terra Firma reading was a great success – we got great feedback and response from the audience and I’m so grateful for stellar direction and acting from a great cast in such little time. I do have some good news to share about this, which I will do in time!

event image

 

2) I will be giving a paper in Lincoln for the Performing Science Conference (April 24th – 25th) on the topic of Science Theatre and SF Theatre, the differences between them and how attention should be paid to both forms.

3) Stage the Future is well under way!  Very excited for it, the programme is simply amazing! Check it out here:

EventBrite for Stage the Future

Stage The Future Poster

4) Also, watch this space for the monologue book!

It’s Showtime!

Showtime!Today is the opening show of the Writers Bloc Triple Special, putting on 10 minute plays and extracts from tonight (29th August) to the Saturday 31st. How exciting!

I have been directing my extract from Cuckoos and Chrysalids, which will be on two nights – Thursday and Friday. The cast has been superb and I’m really looking forward to getting the show on the road!

If you’re around Angel, why not come down to the Old Red Lion Theatre? It starts at 7:30pm. Excited! I might even get you a drink afterwards 🙂

I’ll be doing a write up of the process and everything after the weekend, along with rehearsal pictures. Also, as part of my blogging position at Amazing Stories, I will also be writing a series on my experiences of writing SF Theatre.

Fiction Friday!

Last week, I started writing commentaries on my plays and so forth, which you can see here. It’s very hard to show plays in the same way you would novel chapters or short story samples, but I will endeavour to do my best!

Last week was Cuckoos and Chrysalids, and this week is A Christmas Gift (that was staged last year in December). I will be doing a piece each week (ish).

In other news, I also did a video proposal for Object, Meet Subject which is also a short play that I hope to be taking up to Manchester. Those of you who are on Twitter may have seen this – I will link it here. It’s a one person show that will be cheap and cheerful to run and I hope people will enjoy it.

I’m also doing a collaboration with Lucy Harrison, a composer who is also studying for her PhD at Royal Holloway. I will give you news on that later – music and writing projects are always something that excite me! The performance should be at the end of September in London – I’m really looking forward to it!

Plays wise – Cuckoos and Chrysalids has been postponed for a later date (I will let you know of all the details). I’m also waiting on quite a few more. NewsHound has also been selected for a future show from one of the companies at the Camden Fringe this year, so very excited about that!

I also may have some exciting news about October and November, but I can’t yet say!

More details will materialise over the month. Here’s hoping!

Confidence at Cons – from a different angle

I’ve seen some of these posts crop up about cons and being confident during them – I’m rather new to them myself so don’t know extensively about dates and lists and so forth. I’m the sort of person who goes – ah! There’s something on today – and if I can make it, I’ll just go for it. Yes, an impulsive and mostly foolish person!

As previous articles have been extremely helpful for people about what to do, I thought I would approach this blog post from a different angle. I will post parallel, running my freight train of foolish alongside and give a wave.

OK, here goes:

1. Best advice I was given at primary school (apart from how to avoid being beaten up, which didn’t work) was: Even the Queen takes a dump. Quel Horreur!

Yes, they are writers, fans, con leader extra-ordinaire or compere, but they are essentially people.  They may be people who wear many hats, but there’s still a head underneath it. We have the best thing in common already, and that’s even before you go to a conference in something you like. Win win!

2. Push yourself. I was damn shy as a kid – I could out-shy anyone. Come on, let me see how you shy! Seriously though, I pushed myself. It’s a lot of fun once you do, and yes, I’ve had a lot of disasters. I just try to see the funny side of it. You don’t need to hurtle down a cliff – trying taking the stairs first.

3. Train your brain. Humans have this annoying survival trait of looking for the negative. That’s how we’ve been wired, to look out for situations that could take us out at any moment. Look for the positives, take those negative thoughts to one side like naughty children and interrogate them. They’ve been blown up to pure exaggeration most likely, like naughty kids often are. (I dropped my sweets, it’s the end of the world AHHHHHH! I had to take his. I HAD NO CHOICE.)

4. Pure speculation, of course. I’m still a young’un (I think, but who’s counting?) but I’m sure a lot of the whole hardcore award-winning instantly recognisable incredibly amazing people started off like us, thinking “Hmmm, what the heck do I do now?” Some will be able to empathise with us and understand where we’re coming from (and maybe where we’re going to). Some might not. Some might try not to. But hey, all part of the package, right?

Hell, I’ve done things wrong ALL the time. At one of my workplaces, a new guy had a welcome party afterwards. I went to hug him at the end of the night and he said “Isn’t that a bit too early to hug me?” when my arms had ENCIRCLED him. I found it tremendously funny (and still do, I’m smiling as I typed it) as hugging people as a child was one of the hardest things to do. So it goes!

Non Fiction Friday – Stage the Future!

Image

For those who don’t know, I’m doing my PhD on Science Fiction and Theatre. When I mention it, I get one of 2 responses. One is often “Oh… I see. Are you going to write an SF novel?” to “Oh my gosh! Fantastic! I’ve always wanted to see SF in theatres!”. I have received more of the latter (although I am going to write an SF novel, but primarily my interest is on the theatrical side), and so am very privileged to be celebrating the combination of the two with Christos Callow Jr. for our conference Stage the Future.

There has been little written on the subject, it has to be said. We have Science Fiction and the Theatre by Ralph Willingham, although with some good mentions of cognitive estrangement, has an apologetic tone and casts certain stereotypes over SF and subsequently, its staging. We also have Staging the Impossible, which does set out to mention the possibilities of staging SF, but in its wake cataloguing a list of defeats. I will be reviewing the two in earnest, do not worry! However, there is a line in the latter that speaks to me(originally from Julius Kargalitski’s essay The Fantastic in Cinema and Theatre):

Consequently, for Kagarlitski, cinema is “an ideal instrument of the fantastic” (11), for it  “excludes any possibility of interference”–in effect offering viewers the sense that “what has been put on film, has, as it were, already happened” (11).

Kagarlitski implies that it is difficult for a theatrical production to “project” such a sense of historicity and thus validate the content of drama. Given this viewpoint, audiences expect less from a production of science fiction in a theater.(Murphy, 198)

There’s something very misleading in this. He mentions in the article that theatre is a conditional art, generating power from the present moment (p10/11). In our “Information Age”, are we not in fact living this SFnal life now? Donna Harraway described us of being Cyborgs in her Manifesto in 1985. We have our information, our footprint, our history in the cloud as it were, our younger generations have their baby photos as purely digital. We are all connected via a grid that, whilst enabling accessibility, erodes our privacy and interaction with the wholly physical world. We are 3D printing human organs, for crying out loud! Is SF then not about exploring our conditional present? Exactly what was being said to dissuade us from staging it in the first place?

Whether you agree or disagree with me, we would love to hear your takes on the subject. Proposals for papers and performance (we couldn’t do one without the other) are welcome with the deadline being Feb 2014. The conference will be held at RHUL, University of London on the 26th April 2014 with our excellent keynote speakers Jen Gunnels and Nick Lowe. You can see our CFP here.

Our Facebook page

Our Twitter Page

We look forward to seeing you there!