Fela’s Queens rewrite

July 30, 2009

Final Draft 8 arrived, installed and registered. Have to deliver draft 2 of Fela’s queens (formerley known as The Wives (many) of Fela Anikulapo Kuti) on 28th of August. Re-read it last night for the second time since the first draft was delivered on 1st August 2008.
A lot of good things but some drastic changes required. Need to make the five wives more distinct, to drive the plot much better. I’ve had a week off since finishing Boat Gypsies so looking forward to writing again.
(p.s I’ve got 7 but wanted 8.)

carcass-script reader feedback

July 26, 2009

Just received my feedback from the Script Connection as part of my failed Film Council first feature film fund application (10.30 on a sunday night? Is the script connection one person working all day and night?).
Very detailed feedback that slowly dissected the script leaving it’s skin exposed on the examination table. An apt metaphor I feel.
Lots of good points to work on for the next draft. The visual and the story/setting element got the most positive comments which is good just need to sort out the plot, characters, subplots, secondary characters, props, logic, emotion, grammar, typos…….
Might get a chance to look at it november/december, if not then then next year 2010.
Report gives me lots of concrete things to cogitate. Excellent.

writers lab09 showcase event

July 24, 2009

the event went well yesterday. all the pieces were strong. A comment from the floor during the q & a afterwards remarked on the ‘strong sense of place’ for each of the diverse pieces and I agree with that comment. The actors were uniformly well cast and delivered strong performances, the Directors staged the pieces well and the writing was strong so all in all a good event.

This was the first time the pieces have been performed and after only one day of rehearsals it was amazing to see how immediately strong they all were.

There is a spot in decibel09 to showcase some of the pieces and then again in October during the momentum festival organised by twp.

Hopefully some/all will get commissions from this process. Not necessarily with the writers lab 09 piece but through developing relationships that might be formed with the producers, companies who attend the showcase events. We had audience members from afar yesterday so lets hope these can be developed.

Special thanks to Ben, Imogen, Andre and Ivan for all their hard work on Boat Gypsies over the two days. Reflecting on the proces for me before thinking about the next stage of this project.

Boat Gypsies -rehearsed readings

July 22, 2009

Rehearsing Boat Gypsies today. Directd by Ivan Cutting we have Andre Squire as Mac Robinson, Imogen O’Sullivan as Fleur See and Ben Norris as Harris See. It a script in hand performance tomorrow at Lakeside Theatre Nottingham to an audience of rural touring bookers and companies. It was good watching everybody work. Today was the first time the script has been read by actors so that was good. Everybody was very perceptive and we rocked along satisfactorily. The nature of the showcase means we’ve made lots of cuts and jiggled and joggled around. Looking forward to tomorrow. The actors will be good for having had a night to synthesize stuff so tomorrow’s run through should be hot stuff.

boat gypsies-readings

July 21, 2009

In rehearsal tomorrow for the reading of Boat Gypsies Thursday at Lakeside Theatre. Five projects have been developed as part of writers lab09. The writers are “The Cliffs” by Leah Chillery, “The Honey Man” by Tyrone Huggins, “Palm Wine and Stout” by Segun Lee French, “Today’s Lesssons” by Richard Rai O’Neill and “Boat Gypsies” by myself.

Two of the five are in rehearsal today, the rest tomorrow and thursday am. Then run through thursday morning and then showcase to rural touring producers artistic directors and the like 2pm thursday afternoon.

I’ll have to do some rewriting no doubt which is to be expected as this wil be the first time the script is on its feet and not simply on a page so looking forward to that. Ivan Cutting is directing my piece.

Looking forward to seeing the other pieces. The three that i’ve heard discussed during the development over the course of the year all sounded really interesting and the writers had a sense of where they would go so looking forward to that.

Fela’s Queens

July 15, 2009

Reading ‘Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and calling it research. Biog of Abraham Lincoln and how he managed to get a cabinet of disparate rivals, personalities working together through the Civil War back in the 19teens. I have fived colleagues in my play who become putative rivals. I bought the book over two years ago and hadn’t yet started to read it, well now I can okay because it’s research and that’s important right okay? Right?


July 13, 2009

I attended the culmination of NAIDOC week. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee. I had agreed to film the festival for a doctoral student I met randomly (that’s another story about black people abroad) whilst at a communications conference held at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Basically capturing a series of interviews and some colour of the event as part of the research project.
I agreed to film basically because I figured it’ll be an experience and I was going anyway so why not right?
I was reminded during the filming of why I haven’t gone into technical roles as it was incredibly difficult to balance all the conditions out and I had a nightmare time of it. Too hot, busy, sweaty, sunny, noisy. Much too much like hard work. The positive was that I got to speak to lots of people as a result of having the camera, heard lots of good stories and felt connected to the celebration day.
The results are the results but not the entirety or real summation of the experience.
Really enjoyed the hot sweaty day all told.

oodgeroo:bloodline to country

July 11, 2009

Whilst attending the anzca09 academic conference in Brisbane I got a tip to go and see oodgeroo:bloodline to country a play on at the local theatre. Oodgeroo is a play by Sam Watson and was put on as part of Brisbane’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The play is about aboriginal writer, poet, activist Kath Walker, oodgeroo. One of her sons Denis co-founded the Brisbane black panther party along with playwright Sam Watson back in the 1970’s. So sam is in this piece, contrasting how one family deal with their anger at the treatment of indigenous people by government and other non-indigenous settlers.
There was a q&a aftewards where I asked sam a question designed to get him to reflect on his journey as he is I figured in some ways writing about himself when he writes about denis. The importance of being ‘the teller’ of story in the indigenous community and not the author or owner of the story meant that sam felt no need to disconnect ‘self’ from ‘story’ when writing he replied.
A few days after seeing the play I am left with ideas of being one own country and each others, about connecting in the present, immediate and also beyond the present immediate through time and space in ways we might not be able to imagine. The piece produced by La Boite theatre company really connected with the Brisbane audience.
And in an example of the power of theatre 2 anecdotes:
Anecdote 1- sam never made it through uni as in his own words he was ‘busy getting arrested’ all the time (incidentally sam said his daughter who did make it through and the character Pearl in the piece who becomes a lawyer are kind of like surrogates for him). A guy in the audience spoke to say he was at the same uni as sam at the same time and had admired him and what he had to face daily as the only aboriginal in a uni of 25,000 but never had the courage to speak to him and tell him how much he admired him. He had follwoed sam’s career from afar over the intervening years and now he was so pleased to be able to now be able to tell him of his admiration.

Anecdote 2- in the early 1970’s kath walker, oodgeroo was on a plane that was hijacked. This event played a big part in the play. The nature of power, struggle, oppression. The actor playing black panther denis walker also played the arab hijacker. After the show he noticed a woman who seemed really affected so went to give her a hug. She it turned out was on this same plane 35 years ago. She was watching parts of her life played back a few feet in front of her.
The power of theatre.

Decibel09 Pitch

July 3, 2009

Two days of pitch training are being organised by the Arts Council Decibel project. Although I am very comfortable presenting and have a clear idea of what I want to do in my 57 Images of My Father project pitch I am attending these sessions. It’ll be an opportunity to discuss my ideas and get some feedback.  Training is early August for pitch on 15th September.

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