Updates!

I’m delighted to announce some autumnal updates!

1) Notes from Other Worlds – Reading at Creative Centre for Collaborative Collaboration

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I’m having a reading to celebrate my first published book, Notes from Other Worlds (you can see my fingers oddly coiled in the polished sheen of the cover) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross on 29th September, 7:30-9:00pm. It’s free, there’s wine and books. What could be better?

The Link for more info on the book can be found here.

2) Sum – Bread and Roses Theatre 

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Sum, a new play of mine, is being staged at the Bread and Roses Theatre from the 27th-29th November and the 4th-6th December – focusing on new societies created from the pilot of a hivemind technology. Odd fact – the image is actually a painting of mine 🙂

I’m actually whipping up a separate site for this, along with notes and ideas, so you can have a peek if you want!

Tickets are already on sale! Have a look here.

3) Interview with Female Arts

If you’d like to know a little more about both of these projects plus a little more, check out my interview with Female Arts where I discussed them in a little more detail. They are a great initiative that promote female involvement in the arts (they also reviewed Terra Firma for us!).

The link is here.

Thanks!

Saturday… Salon du livre?

Yes, I have been a little delayed on Fiction Friday this week – things have been getting busier than usual!

News the first – Cuckoos and Chrysalides is being staged on the 29th and the 30th of August at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel. It’s being produced amongst others in a great Triple Special! Come on, come all!

I am also a new blogger of Amazing Stories – you can find my profile here. I’m so excited and ready to promote SF theatre to the masses!

I’m waiting to hear back from my play proposal Object meets Subject, which should be soon!

I’m also hearing back from 3 other projects, and very excited about those!

I also have some news that I am with-holding at the moment,  but I will get back to you all soon! It’s something that I’m really looking forward to!

I’m going to be reviewing some more of my plays – next up, Terra Firma!

Susan

Constellations Review

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Constellations – image courtesy of Official Theatre London

Finally, I get round to reviewing this stellar (sorry) production, originally staged at the Royal Court and now playing at the Duke of York Theatre – I wanted to see it when it was the former, but missed the cut. You know, it’s the classic procrastination period until finally all the tickets have been snapped up. You can buy tickets on the internet and it’s a case of – ah, I’ll do it when I’m not feeling so broke. Usually for me, in the world of cash, I’m perpetually sliding down so it’s usually best to buy early – in this case, maybe not – I got them at a reasonable price in a place where I don’t have to strain my neck so much! Result!

Anyway, onto the actual show.

What strikes me the most is the beautiful yet minimal staging – a flotilla of balloons and the gumball-esque constructs upstage. You might think it’s the beginning of a party, when the balloons will be savagely cut down to allow another frieze frame of a scenario – but it’s recurrent throughout the play. Of course, theatre is adept at creating a particular angle or snapshot of a scenario and parade it for all to see, and this is no exception. However, although the cast is small — a two hander – it inevitably spans a multi-verse of different routes and paths the two characters take in their relationship. It’s often a critique of theatre that it cannot create mega texts in the same way as Science Fiction can in the same way as say film or the novel, but this spans alternate timelines in such a poignant, yet stripped down way (the poignant part will be too spoiler-ish, but it is very touching – and another way theatre can create the idea of disconnect and miscommunication much more directly than most media).

An apiarist (a bee-keeper to you and I) Roland (Rafe Spall) and a cosmologist Marianne (Sally Hawkins) are presented in many different scenarios – where they make it down the aisle to where they don’t even make it past the first conversation. You’d think it would  be hard to communicate this, but Nick Payne’s great, simplistic yet powerful writing drives the message within the first few minutes. It opens with a cheerful icebreaker as  Sally Hawkins attempts to get Rafe Spall to lick his elbow – saying that this will promote immortality – a rather chilling aspect in hindsight.  His reactions differ from him being disinterested, to being otherwise engaged  (him and her), to actually continuing the conversation. The acting in this is superb, and Rafe Spall being known for his role in the dry comedy Jeff vs. Life actually helps I think, in the way that his life is being portrayed as branching off in different directions as a result of different and slight permutations. How the characters stop, start, chop and change from one reality to the next, with the emotional ability to switch chameleon-like to the context was really engaging to watch. I did get very emotional at several points, as even though Nick Payne gets to voice the concept of quantum entanglement and the alternative universes through the cosmologist, there is a strong human quality to it that we can all empathise with. What if I did this differently? What if I wasn’t there to meet him/her? Was I meant to marry them from the beginning and can I change my fate? The idea of alternate realities can absolve us of some responsibility – what we may have done in one branch we may have done differently, or does it increase our sense of having to do things exactly in our minds in order to create the rather ubiquitous term of “utopia”? What is out of our control? It’s an amazing piece, that only an hour long and spanning several realities of just two people, can satisfy mentally and emotionally for a long time after viewing.

I do believe that this is a great example of Science Fiction in theatre – taking a concept and staging it through metaphor, emphasising human reaction and emotional connect like links on a chain. A must see. Nick Payne is one of the great emerging talents in the playwriting scene – I’ve read comparisons to him with Tom Stoppard, but I feel this play in particular is more Churchill-esque, with that simplistic yet raw dialogue – and how he creates potent images with minimalist settings. Michael Longhurst has done a great job in directing this, too.

My Writing Projects at the moment!

Well, since my PhD starts in just over 2 months (yup, haven’t started yet!), it may seem that the blog is more filler and more based on speculation and other stuff. Whilst that is essentially true until the time I start, it doesn’t mean I’m not writing – oh siree no! My main PhD project (in rough, I must emphasise) is of staging science fiction – and through this is a handle on the genre and the different themes of dramaturgy in shaping the suspension of disbelief with a rather limited but heavily potent arsenal. I’m definitely looking forward to it!

In the mean time, I am editing and writing some projects, as well as planning the structure to my thesis, which I imagine will warp and expand several times. I’ve finished writing 2 plays, both of which have been read and I’ve been given fabulous notes on (thank you guys, appreciate it so much!). I’m editing Pandora’s Box, which I wrote as a futuristic response to Pygmalion, as well as Fishbowl, through my love of Youtube, seeing a future where everything is compartmentalised and through this new system breeds a new spotless generation. I don’t want to spoil too much but you might see a bit more birthing than you expected!

I am also writing another play, which is a sort of cross between District 9 and The Earth Abides, featuring the themes of segregation, belonging and renewal. Let’s see how they go! I’m also writing some short stories and assorted poems, so will hopefully go back to the realm of spoken word at some point!

Oh yes, and I’m also collecting submissions for Enigma Magazine as well as editing a community anthology. Go to http://www.enigmacw.co.uk if you’d like to submit anything. The theme is Going for Gold and the finish line is in view!