“Acting is the reality of doing”

This month, Sienna Miller revealed that she turned down a Broadway play, a two-hander, because she was being offered less than half the pay of her male co-star. Turning down an opportunity like this is a brave move career-wise, and revealing the fact braver still.

As we well know there are far fewer roles for women in theatre, film and TV – and as a result, actresses can ill-afford to be turning any roles down, even if you are a Hollywood star. Emma Thompson acknowledged that, at the age of 56, she took the role of a 77 year old woman in the film The Legend of Barney Thomson – even though it would have been nice for a 77 year old actress to play it – because it was ‘a wildly comic role and I couldn’t resist’. And having been told by a producer that, at 37, Maggie Gyllenhaal was too old to play a romantic counterpart to a 55 year old man, she apparently felt sad, then angry and then laughed.

Well, perhaps if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. How should we respond to this?

Legendary American acting coach Sandford Meisner said “Acting is the reality of doing”. He was talking about an actor’s approach to their craft – living truthfully in the imaginary circumstances of the play. Should not a play then live truthfully within the world in which it inhabits, in order to reflect and engage with the audience, no matter what the imaginary circumstances? So, if it’s all about the ‘reality of doing’, let’s do it!

As Viola Davis accepted her ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama’ Emmy, the first African-American to ever receive the accolade, she made a point of thanking the writers of How to Get Away with Murder for being the people who “redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black”. On the same night, Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba became the first actress to win both a drama and comedy Emmy for the same role. She expressed her gratitude to show creator Jenji Kohan, thanking her for “making this show, for creating this space, for creating a platform”.

At Whoop ‘n’ Wail HQ, we are very proud of all the writers who have risen to the Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents… challenge since it’s launch in 2014 – because it is that very reality of doing, and of having a space and platform, that will make real change in the future.

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Ali & Debs feature in Female Arts Magazine

Ali Kemp and Deborah Klayman: Whooping and Wailing on the Road to Gender Equality

Read our feature in Female Arts here.

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / www.waterlooeast.co.uk

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

A music box, a nice jumper and the shipping forecast.

Guest blogger, actress and playwright Lizzie Bourne is looking forward to seeing how the truth will out.

Alice Bonifacio directed me in ‘Amadeus’ at the University of Edinburgh – a brilliant experience from start to finish. So when she asked if I’d be interested in being directed by her again, in ‘Three Women in a Music Box’ for Represents…The Launch, it was a no brainer.

When Alice brought Thea Beyleveld, Dani Moseley and I into that rehearsal room it was, as they say, love at first sight. We bantered as easily as the characters in Dan Horrigan’s fun, playful and poignant script, which builds up to a young girl’s first date, and relished sharing memories of our own teenage years. We had three or four meetings under Alice’s considerate direction before the performances, and enjoyed playing onstage in the safe, supportive atmosphere Debs and Ali champion for all casts.

Lizzie with Thea Beyleveld and Dani Moseley in Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan

Lizzie with Thea Beyleveld and Dani Moseley in rehearsal for Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan

For Represents…Desire, Alice, Dani and I were happily joined by Anyebe Godwin, this time to tell a story which on its face seemed darker than ‘Three Women’, called ‘Nice Jumper’. However, the humour Daniel Page had written into it shone through, and within the creative character and intention work which is a characteristic part of Alice’s directing, each of us found a great story arc. The performance nights were even better this time: perhaps we were more consciously anticipating seeing the other plays, looking forward to being in the space with the Whoop ‘n’ Wail team again…thinking of Ali’s baked goods. Whatever it was, the night was fun and full of fresh work – but I have to admit, what we loved most was getting to wear those awesome jumpers.

Nice Jumper 1

Lizzie with Dani Moseley in Nice Jumper by Daniel Page

Although I have a Creative Writing MSc, since graduating from the Oxford School of Drama acting and the pursuit of acting work has dominated (funny that). But I’d made decent money from my last Radio 4 job, so had generously and indulgently promised myself a few weeks off work to write – and low and behold, at the start of that period, the call went out for Represents…Mayday. How could I not?

Whoop ‘n’ Wail’s deal is that if your play is shortlisted and a director, unknown to you, chooses it, they will cast it and prep it – within this system Ali and Debs, in their organisational wisdom and immense capacity to involve and facilitate, allow as many people as possible to be as creative as possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how ‘The Shipping Forecast’ is interpreted by the cast in performance – it’s how I’ll hear and learn from the holes in the script, but also how I’ll be given truth I didn’t know was there.

Let’s cross our fingers, for the director and cast’s sake at least, for fewer holes and more truth. Come along on 27/28th April to Waterloo East Theatre and see.

Lizzie Bourne is a graduate of The Oxford School of Drama. Skills include cello, singing and puppetry, as well as playwriting. http://www.spotlight.com/LizzieBourne. Her play ‘The Shipping Forecast’, directed by James Callas Ball, will be performed as one of six short plays in Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday at Waterloo East Theatre.

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / www.waterlooeast.co.uk

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Tickets are now on sale for Represents…MAYDAY!

Tickets for Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday are now on sale!

Don’t forget that there is a £2 discount on tickets booked in advance via our friends at Waterloo East Theatre: www.waterlooeast.co.uk.

Mayday - New Poster

We have a line up of fantastic new plays and fabulous directors which will all be announced shortly, so remember to watch this space!

 

Mayday! Call for submissions – one week till the deadline

Calling all playwrights: you have just one more week to get your creative juices around ‘Mayday’.

A very big thank you to all those who have already submitted your 15 minute plays for consideration for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…

We are very excited to be putting the spotlight on up and coming play writing talent from the UK and with International Women’s Day on the 8th March, now is the time now is the time to write for Represents… and put fair gender representation centre stage.

Each play must pass the Bechdel Test – that is, it must include at least two female characters, who at some stage talk to each other about something other than a man. As a jumping off point, Mayday is the theme.

For more information, read our Writers’ Submission Brief.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm Wednesday 11th March 2015.

If you need further persuading, check out the 4 star review of Represents…Desire by the Grumpy Gay Critic.

Happy writing and good luck!

OOs

   innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…The Writers

Whoop ‘n’ Wail are delighted to announce the six successful playwrights for their February showcase:

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Desire.

We have been absolutely delighted with the response to our open submission brief, with almost seventy brand new plays from all over the world winging their way to the Whoop ‘n’ Wail submissions inbox.

Our reading team received scripts from Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and the USA, and were overwhelmed by the innovation and talent shown by the writers as they generously shared their work.

After a lot of hard work, thought and soul-searching – as well as a few heated debates – the final six are:

Nice Jumper by Dan Page (UK)

The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso (USA)

The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen (UK)

Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich (USA)

Would You Let Me Finish? by Leon Kaye (USA)

Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman (UK)

Congratulations to our successful writers

The directors’ announcement will be coming soon – so watch this space. The six writers will already been notified by Whoop ‘n’ Wail and will shortly be connected with their director.

In the meantime, tickets are already on sale from the Waterloo East Theatre’s website: www.waterlooeast.co.uk. There is a discount for advance purchase – to avoid disappointment please book in early as our last showcase sold out! 

innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Represents… tickets now ON SALE

Whoop ‘n’ Wail are getting ready to announce the successful playwrights, selected from responses to our open submission brief.

Our reading team has received almost seventy scripts from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond: brand new plays from Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and the USA. Currently they are still  locked in debate over which of our ten shortlisted submissions should make the final cut, but tomorrow at 17:00 is the absolute deadline and we will announce here soon after, so watch this space.

In the meantime, tickets are already on sale from the Waterloo East Theatre’s website: www.waterlooeast.co.uk. There is a discount for advance purchase – to avoid disappointment please book in early as our last showcase sold out

OOs

innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents..The Launch

Way back in July 2012 as Olympic fever was getting under way, here at Whoop ‘n’ Wail we were getting rather excited about the work of Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency blog and in particular, her post on the Smurfette Principle – that there is a common tendency for, in this case screen writers, to only include one female character in their principle cast – http://www.feministfrequency.com/2011/04/tropes-vs-women-3-the-smurfette-principle/

As you’ll remember from our post back then (http://wp.me/p2JuqT-n) Ali & Debs were inspired to write My Bloody Laundrette, which was later selected for the 17percent ‘She Writes’ showcase.

And now, in our latest project, Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents.., we are asking playwrights to go beyond the singular Smurfette by including at least two named female characters, who affect the plot by talking with each other about something other than a man. Inspired by Alison Bechdel’s now famous 1987 comic strip, The Rules, the Bechdel Test has become the benchmark for gauging fair representation on stage and screen.

For Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…The Launch, Ali & Debs have invited six wonderful playwrights, some established and some emerging, to kick off this inaugural event by each writing a 15 minute play, on any theme, that passes the Bechdel Test. Six wonderful directors, have been matched to each piece and having cast the roles are, as we speak, busy in rehearsal for the main event.

We are so excited to be returning to Waterloo East Theatre, London and we look forward to seeing you there too.

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents..The Launch

Waterloo East Theatre, Brad Street, London, SE1 8TN

Monday 17th & 24th November, 7.30pm

Tickets: £ 8 (£6 concessions)

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents.. is produced in association with 17percent