Archives For Plays

Offbeat Plays in the pipeline and out

A pic from the original  Perilous Tales to get us going visually.

A pic from the original Perilous Tales to get us going visually.

Perilous Tales was a strange, twisted, funny and rather dark series of ‘cautionary’ tales that I created for the Youth Theatre years ago. We had a lot of fun with it, as we did with just about every show we produced. So, I thought … how about revisiting Perilous Tales, creating a full length show (not just the long one act it was before) and using an adult cast to delve into deeper, darker places with loads more crazy humour? Why not indeed. So, that’s the Offbeat show I’m planning for the winter. Some ideas have started to float about in my mind. I’m trying to hang on to a few and start writing them down! There are two tales I’m keeping – but they will be slightly re-worked. Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost is a MUST (the only one in rhyme – thank goodness) and the tale of Cedric and Sybil (or Sybil and Cedric – can never remember), in a strange 2-D (ish) sort of world.

Things they said (in the review) last time:

“a mad, silly and inventive peek into a world of twisted fairytales”
That’s true
“..the weirdly macabre ensemble twisted and played with our expectations”
Not arguing with how macabre the ensemble were – or twisted for that matter
“An unsettling and macabre show populated with quite stunning decadent weirdness throughout”
Uh -huh. That ‘M’ word again – oh, and the ‘W’ word (I like it)
“A truly wonderful and engaging performance”
Awwwwww. (Yes, I do know the completely impartial reviewer)

I think I’m going to aim for ‘wonderful, macabre, stunning, decadent, twisted weirdness’ this time.

The cast is looking pretty awesome, so it shouldn’t be a problem (grins nervously for no reason at all). The usual suspects and maybe a new face – or two? Keep watching and I’ll update as I can.
Right, well, I’m off to, errrr … do something creative. Yep, that’s it. Being creative … or watching a film .. ummmm … one of those.

FAB poster for the Rugby School production

FAB poster for the Rugby School production

Can’t wait to see this. That’s all really. For the first time EVER I’m not directing the first performance of a show I’ve written/adapted. I’ll be reporting back after the event on Monday 29th June.

Dreams, Darkness and Death

Barbara —  June 15, 2015 — 2 Comments


Darkness and death. Possibly dreams as well.

We LOVE it all. But we’re not morbid – just curious and imaginative (I like to think). I’ve been updating various bits of info on Offbeat plays and it strikes me as at least one of these ‘Ds’ is a key element is just about everything we write or produce. And we do ‘funny death’ as well – not just ‘death death’. Darkness? Well, darkness is just dark isn’t it. Neither good nor bad, just dark. I wrote The Ghost Hunters as a tale of gothic Victorian ghost-hunting – but it turned into something quite different. It worked its way into other realms, danced around with memory (or lack of), floated around with the idea of dreams and desires and then dipped its big toe into the murky waters of ‘what happens when we die’ (no answers, just questions). It sparked debate. This is good! Not giving answers on a plate (even if I had them), is good. An audience in the bar afterwards discussing what they’ve just seen, trying to make sense of it, adding their own ideas and thoughts. All this is good.

So … I was just thinking that the next show would be Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Dreams at least), when I had the most curious experience. I experienced a thought that completely thwarted my plans. Damn that thought! I was going to have a bit of a sabbatical – and now it seems, I’m not. The thought that arrived and rooted itself firmly was something like ‘why not do a slightly different version of the twisted, dark and humourous PERILOUS TALES (Dreams, darkness AND Death – all in one) to lighten up those dark winter evenings (I am planning ahead – it’s not imminent). So, I am. Casting is underway and so far I am including the tale of Cedric and Sybil (a rather clingy, fearful pair) and Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost. You see – ghosts again. I can’t seem to help it. If you saw the original you’ll recall it was a series of ‘cautionary tales’ – of a sort. Expect the usual Offbeat lavish costumes and absurd plot (there’s a plot?)

Here’s one of my favourite pics from the original Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost. Guess which is which ….
One of my favourite ghosts from 'Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost'. You can probably tell which one is the ghost (if you can'y my costume design has failed)

Guess What’s Next ..

Barbara —  February 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

Can't wait for the tea party bit ..

Can’t wait for the tea party bit ..

Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (to steal Lewis Carroll’s original title for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland).
Really can’t wait for this to get going, but Offbeat performances not until 2016.
The adaptation is by Barbara (me) with music (yes – it’s a musical!) by Greg Swinford. Snippets and things coming up as soon as we’re ready. The premiere will be at Rugby School (where Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, went to school from 1846 – 1849) at the end of June. Dates will appear as soon as we have confirmation. This will, of course, be a Rugby School production, not an Offbeat one. Luckily, the Musical Director will be composer Greg Swinford!
Needless to say, I’ve started designing – the Offbeat production will be staged promenade style with about 6 different locations, indoor and outside. Heaps to do to make this really magical and I’ll be enlisting the help of many creative and wonderful people before we even start to rehearse.
Interested? Local to Bromyard? Do let me know!

Ghost Hunters .. The Final Week

Barbara —  December 15, 2014 — 2 Comments

Mr Quill .. and a friend

Mr Quill .. and a friend

The final week is upon us and I can honestly say, I’m a tiny bit worn out. What with the demands of life (extra ones at present, but that’s by the way), and everything that a show demands if you really want to go the extra mile, it takes its toll. Not that I’m complaining, I love the extra mile. In fact, I don’t consider it extra at all, which means that there’s another one after the one I don’t count as extra. There really is no stopping. If you want to get the best result you can possibly get you just keep going until the first night. And then a bit more …. Anyway, Jim Rolt popped along and took some pics of Act I yesterday. We had only just got to a point where the ‘venue’ (which is a lovely old school) had emptied itself of children so we could get on with the important set building tasks. One of my favourite moments. The pics here are some of the best. Above is a seriously creepy moment where Mr Quill (played by Mark Cox) appears completely unaware he is being watched ….

Some people make quite a big deal about trying to communicate

Some people make quite a big deal about trying to communicate

Others prefer to actively court communication with the ‘others’. Miss Divine is played by Ness Thomas and, according to her, she is a ‘sensitive’. Or is she? The problem with ‘Ghost Hunters’ is it isn’t always easy to tell who is doing what, when and how (don’t even think about ‘why’). But we are talking other dimensions here, so I see no reason why it should be. Continue Reading…

Ghost Hunters Trailer is here!

Barbara —  November 23, 2014 — 5 Comments

So excited about this!
A trailer for a stage play? Well, yes.
We love making films and the trailer idea is great fun to create and gives a sneak preview of lots of things that actually aren’t in the play at all….
For instance, all the lines ARE from the play, so are the sound effects and music (and the characters, obviously). But, at present we don’t have a ‘set’ to film on, so we used all kinds of other locations to film. Meaning .. you get the idea of the play without seeing any of the locations or sets. I suppose you could see it as all the things the characters do when they aren’t on stage!
More on the play later…
Please share the video on social media or email if you can.

A rare event - the whole cast present at a rehearsal! YAY!

A rare event – the whole cast present at a rehearsal! YAY!

This week we rehearsed (and it was GOOD) and we filmed the trailer. This is very exciting. Very very exciting. I hope the low level spooky lighting comes out well. I haven’t uploaded anything from the camera yet, so I have no idea what I’ll see. Well, that’s not true, I was there at the time watching Jim film and actually I have a very good idea of what I will see on film. You see! I just can’t tell a lie (for long). Meanwhile Alex (helping with direction & operating lights) took a jolly nice pic of the whole cast rehearsing a scene. Yes, you heard … the WHOLE cast, together in one room on the same night. Crumbs.

Anyway, after last week’s tantalising post revealing key lines from the play, I imagine you’ll be wanting more. I also imagine that I imagine that because I like to imagine things, rather than the fact that you actually do want more. But, I’m doing it anyway because I like to live in a fantasy world….

(These are lines that I recorded the cast speaking this week to go on the trailer – have I mentioned the trailer?)

I like a solo piano. A poignant moment in which to reflect on the loneliness that exists within each one of us.
I just thought you should realise that this is not a comedy … deep eh?
Come on, let us dance …
But there is dancing (sort of)
Why is there only ever one chair?
And some bits are funny – ish (ok, it’s visual) Just realised you had this one last week – it must be important! Contemplate this one …
There is so much that we simply do not understand
You’re telling me! Key phrase for the whole play!
We are not alone

Anyway, on that scary note I shall retreat into the world of film footage and see if I have enough from the half hour available to make a 2 minute trailer.

There really is no hope for me ...

There really is no hope for me …

Last night we had a good rehearsal and I took a few pics with my phone. Trouble is .. well, let’s be honest .. I’m rubbish at taking photos, I was using my phone and the lighting was dim (we were going for ‘creepy’). Result = grainy pics of uninteresting moments. Enter my new app for editing photos. I can’t stop playing. So, this week I discovered the ‘vintage’ button and the graininess suddenly seems irrelevant. Ok, they’re not brilliant photos, but at least you have something to look at.. that should count for something. This pic (above) is of Mark Cox, taken in virtually no light at all (apart from the beam of light on his face). I can’t tell you what he was doing. Mainly because I can’t remember which ‘creepy – looking worried/bothered – surprised’ moment it is. Even if I could, I still wouldn’t tell you. It’s all top secret. But, I can tell you that his character is one of the Ghost Hunters. The question is .. do they actually experience any ghosts? When you hunt, you expect to catch something. Continue Reading…

This is what the set will NOT look like for Act II of Ghost Hunters. Great isn't it?

This is what the set will NOT look like for Act II of Ghost Hunters. Great isn’t it?

Usually when I write a play I have it finished before we start rehearsing (well, ok .. not ALWAYS, but usually). At the very least I know what should be happening. The ending is reasonably clear; so are the characters, the plot, the place etc … I usually know what is going on. Enter The Ghost Hunters. Ummmmmm. We started looking at this in June. Ages ago. We looked at the first three pages, played around with it and discovered what a few of the characters sounded like. We carried on the following week with a few more pages. Enter more characters. Who are they? What are they doing here? Changing characters and lines as things moved forward. What do they all know – who do they know – how do they … etc. Every week we have worked out the plot, the characters and the lines. As soon as we gather for rehearsal my first item is ‘Please throw away pages 12 – 15 – these are the new pages’. Like a TV or film script that is subject to many changes on a daily basis, we’ve allowed our script to evolve … and now (I hope!) it is ready…. Continue Reading…

Ghost Hunters News!

Barbara —  September 1, 2014 — Leave a comment
The flyer for our spooky show in December

The flyer for our spooky show in December

Well, a quick post to introduce the Ghost Hunters Flyer anyway!
You can book this show via the Offbeat site (from Monday September 15th) OR you can pick up a ticket from St Richard’s School, Bredenbury.
Please note: We are using the school as our ‘stage’ but this is an adult show with an adult cast (some more than others …). Kids are welcome though – but not too young please! We are TRYING to be scary…. and deep (at the same time).
More info, pics etc over the next few months.