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« Marilyn Gets Up Rehearsal Week: Day One | Main | A Blog by Brigitte »
Wednesday
Oct242012

The Life of ShadyJane: Ladies, Lavs and Literature

Potential title for ShadyJane's autobiography..?

Anyway...

 

This week sees the end of our ShadyJane Summers tour, with Sailing On at Sitelines festival, Reading. If you haven’t caught us out on the road, why not use this opportunity to come and see Sailing On (did we mention it won an award at Edinburgh?) TONIGHT and TOMORROW night. Perhaps we could persuade you with the mention in Lyn Gardner’s theatre tips for this week.

We couldn’t believe how amazing the programme for the Sitelines festival is, so why not check out some of the other shows that are on too. A little birdy at South Street tells us that if you call the box office you can get a 2-4-3 special offer on tickets. Take a look at the Sitelines brochure.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch us on tour this year (and you have a really good excuse not to come and see us in Reading tonight and tomorrow)…fear not! We have just had a magnificent trailer made by the rather wonderful Cass Productions. You can watch it here. And if that just isn’t enough, there is also the BBC News video you can watch here and BBC’s The Space video here.

So, now the end is near…how has our first official ShadyJane tour been?

Well, definitely not conventional given that we have performed in a manner of places from pubs in Yorkshire to toilets in Nottingham, art centres in Salisbury to empty shops in Basingstoke; and not without hiccups having got lost, arrived late and had the occasional (tiny little) hangover. We’ve been well looked after though, and have stayed in some state of the art Travelodges (and discovered there’s no such thing as a state of the art Travelodge), we stepped back in time a few years and spent a week in halls, but Betty’s cottage wins hands down. We’ve had our moment in the limelight on national BBC news (yes, we weren’t looking our best given that we were half-drowned and in the loos, but it all counts), we’ve been featured in newspapers and magazines and had a right old laugh trying to explain site specific theatre to Tony Blackburn on the radio. Not really a dull moment.

What about our audiences?

Well, we’ve made them dress up as 1930s women (even the men), fed them gone off cake, given them far too much sugar in their tea, got them wet, made them cry and stand in a ladies toilets in the dark. That makes it sound awful. I don’t think they thought it was quite that bad though, as here are some of the lovely things they have said:

‘ShadyJane are wonderful, unique, contemporary, quirky, moving, distinctive, fun, smart, and most definitely Left Bank.’

On Sailing On:

‘It was exciting, it was haunting, chilling, at times it was heart-breaking’

‘One of the most original things I have ever seen’

‘It’s magic’

'Caught Sailing On last week while we were in the UK, on holiday. Truly one of the most creative things I've seen in a while. Expecting to see you show up here in NYC one of these days'

''Just saw a fantastic piece of theatre in the toilets. Seriously. ShadyJane 'Sailing On' is lovely, intimate and touching. Go see.'

'A surprisingly fabulous production considering it’s in a ladies' loo, touching and clever'

On A Few Minutes with a Mitford:

‘I think this way of making audience members perform is a brilliant way of exploring people from the past with difficult views…fascinating.’

 ‘Very interesting, and empowering to see young women performing.’

 ‘It really drew me in and was very moving…very inspiring’

 ‘I really loved taking part in this piece – the actress was great and really drew us into the performance.’

 ‘This show was so awesome, my part was cool and I want to be in more shows…super super cool.’ (Maddie, Age 8)

 ‘I really enjoyed it...I think Annie is a woman with delusions of grandeur and I am fascinated!’


We’ll be putting all of the pics from the tour on our Facebook page, so make sure you check them out.

In other news…

Our youth theatres are now in full swing and have a literary theme for their Christmas shows. We have a Dahl double bill with Per4m taking on Matilda, and Stage devising with Revolting Rhymes. ShadyJane’s Studio are paying homage to the great Carol Ann Duffy by creating performance inspired by The World’s Wife. We are in full swing rehearsing and devising for performances on the 10th December. We’ll keep you posted on all the tears and tantrums as they unfold (Deborah loves a cry).

Saturday saw the end of our second project of the year with drama students at The University of Winchester, with performance installations presented at Open Day. We worked with an amazing group of first years to create micro-performances that drew on their recent experience of starting University. The group only had 4 hours to work on their pieces, which had to be visually engaging and able to convey a message to an audience that only had a few minutes to spend with them. The group came up with fantastic ideas using themes from loss of childhood to the journeys they made to Winchester. We were massively impressed at what they came up with, and apart from feeling terribly nostalgic for university life, we had a great time working with them. You can see their work here.

So all that is left to tell you, is a little bit of rather exciting news…

We are just about to embark on the creation of a brand new piece for a studio space (one show in the toilets is enough for any company). So we went in search of a lady’s story to give the ShadyJane treatment. She needed to be famous (we wanted a subject that people really feel they know), feisty (cos all the greatest women are) and female (obviously). And (embarrassingly) it was our long car journeys around the country that gave us an idea for the piece. Well, not so much the journeys themselves, more the CD that was in the stereo and the songs that we were (quite badly) singing along to. The (embarrassing) CD in question is the Smash soundtrack (a TV drama about the making of a musical about…Marilyn Monroe), and we sang along to these Marilyn themed show tunes with so much vigour and joy that we started chatting about how great it would be to make a show about Monroe.  Now fear not, we are not taking a new musical theatre direction, we would love to, but frankly we don’t sing in tune. We’re talking a feminist show, a show that looks at Monroe’s life, her legacy and her image and how we feel about the sex bomb persona. The time seems right…Monroe died 50 years ago this year and women are categorised more and more for their image and sexuality (just as Monroe was), so we wondered…

Are we mad at Marilyn?

I started to try to answer this question whilst on a development week at The Lost Theatre, and the idea for a show about Marilyn really began to take shape. We did a bit more development during a workshop with Bryony Kimmings at The Point. Then we got our heads together and decided we are going to make a piece that will be a blend of historical material, pop culture and personal experience to examine the image of the ‘sex bomb’. We feel like the piece needs a breadth of female experience so we will be enlisting some help from some very special friends in the shape of Peta Lily, Damsel Sophie and Nicky Bellenger. We are so excited to be working with these amazing and amazingly different performers.

Much like our other work, we envisage that it will be a highly visual, dark and comedic exploration and a mish mash of music, projection, video; with vintage equipment such as slide projectors and record players (and the trusty ShadyJane torch) with ‘cheap’ disposable party items such as bubbles, confetti, sparklers and wigs to capture and comment upon the different facets of Monroe’s femininity.

Stay tuned for more info, but in the meantime, check out our pre-trailer trailer here. Cos Marilyn is getting up.

Thanks for reading,

Charlotte

 

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