Week 8 at Steppenwolf completed. Workload is hectic but it's what we're here for. Currently up to my eyeballs in lines and scriptwork for scenes from Pocatello by Samuel D. Hunter (Max); Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman (Pastor Jay Lawrence) and Belleville by Amy Herzog (Zack). 'Willing discombobulation' is how I would describe my current condition. Pocatello & Luna Gale scenes will be performed at our showing at the Steppenwolf Garage in 10 days.
Seen lots since arriving, due to my good lady's many friends and her ability to arrange comps for us! Saw 'The Herd' by Rory Kinnear on the Steppenwolf main stage - it's a belter of a space. 'Doubt: A Parable' is a tightly written piece performed up in a church in Glencoe and put on by Writer's Theatre. Cheers Mitch for that one.
'Store front' is the sort of intimate, black box theatre that Chicago is well-known for. My favourites so far: 'Goldfish' (Route 66) - cracking central performances by Fran Guinan and Tyler Meredith; and 'Abraham Lincoln Was a F*gg*t' (AboutFace), a charming and playful wee show with the music of Michael Jackson underscoring it all. The Edinburgh Festival would eat it up - I sincerely hope they take it there....
Ten days in. Blown away. I fully expected our ensemble to be a bunch of seriously talented people, and they are. I also hoped that everyone would be nice. Well, they're just lovely. Everyone is genuinely lovely. But what has struck me the most is the honesty and openness of the group. That, plus teaching of the top drawer, is making my time at Steppenwolf compelling and incredible.
It’s a real pleasure to study Meisner technique. Maybe pleasure is not the right word. Well, it is the right word, but pleasure isn't what you feel in class. It's making me a better and more fully aware actor, very quickly. And we don’t really get exposed to that Meisner in the UK so it's just such a great opportunity for me. And Chicago is the home of improv! The improv classes are a riot! Very much loo...
Before my blog updates become all things Chicago, it's nice to be able to confirm a little something for the autumn. Blood of the Young are doing a show at The Tron in November. Details are still to be ironed-out (and revealed) but it's going to be musical and it's going to be enjoyable. I'll be working with Isobel McArthur and Sarah Swire, alongside some special guests. Here's a promo snap we just did for it...
It is with much pride and excitement that I can say: I've been accepted onto the 10wk intensive course at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre this summer! The company is immensely well-thought of (and seriously cool) - the show I saw when I was over in March was an absolute belter.
Yes indeed. The talent that is associated this company is stellar, so I am very, very happy to be getting to study there for ten weeks.
Chi-town: I will see you in June. Promise you'll be warmer than you were in March?
Two weeks, three shows over. That was a hectic fortnight.
I could not realistically have expected things to have gone better. All three shows did what we wanted, I got to work with some very close friends and make some great new ones, too. Thank you so much to the Wonder Fools boys and Paul Brotherston and the rest of Blood of The Young for acommodating me and being so patient/tolerant as I spread myself between the two projects. I was busy, but it was good busy.
No more confirmed projects for me at the moment, but a couple of things are in their genus!
We finished our week long 'Tron Labs' residency at the Tron Theatre with a showing of the second incarnation of 'Daphne Oram's Wonderful World of Sound'. Again, feedback seems to have been overwhelmingly postive, and our hopes persist (nay, they grow!) that we will be able to mount a full-scale production of Daphne at some point.
Working with Paul & Izzy and Anneke and Dylan and Robin and Mr Matthew Stanley Seager is just great. It's been a good month for The Blood of The Young! And doing it in the creative confines of The Tron made such a difference - thanks to Michael John and everyone there for your help.
What a buzz that was! 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War went really well and we've had lots of very positive feedback about the project. The pan was always that this one-off show would foster interest in the show and give it a life beyond The Old Hairdresser's. It certainly went as well as we could have expected, so here's hoping.
I absolutely loved working with Jack, Robbie & Hector at Wonder Fools, and performing with Jamie and Euan (and Robbie - doubly talented!). Sincerely hope i get to do it again!
As ever, Mr Paul Brotherston paints a stunning picture; as often, Ms Mihaela Bodlovic captures it beautifully.
Working with some old friends and making some new ones was part of the enjoyment, as was playing a character so departed from anything I've ever done before. Thanks also to The Arches for their support, and Deb Jones, for letting us play with her text.
This was also the first performancer of Mr Brotherston's newly formed theatre company 'The Blood of The Young', with whom I am proud to be associated.
Not long back from Chicago: what a town. I could easily live there. Cracking theatre scene and cracking craft beer scene. I was lucky enough to see Dunsinane as it opened at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, completely different space from when I saw it in Glasgow. Looked luscious, and David Greig's writing travels marvellously. I also saw Shattered Globe's version of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo. It was great to see theatre at that (100 seat) level in a theatre town as big as Chicago. Five-week runs, every Thu/Fri/Sat - totally different from how we do things here. And all without funding. We are so lucky in this country.
I also caught This Is Modern Art on the main stage at Steppenwolf (now there's a space). All about when some graffiti artists painted the outside of the Chicago Inst...