A matter of consent

Playwright and long time Whoop ‘n’ Wail collaborator, Dan Horrigan, tells us about his play, Face the Camera and Smile, which features in this month’s 50/50 at the Arts Theatre, London as part of the Women In The West End Festival.

The 50/50 Festival caught my attention because it’s a welcome and required concept – present work where the balance of genders is equal, what you see on the stage is a parity. In it’s way it is contributing to a sea change taking place right now in British Theatre – to do with representation.

I am currently redrafting my play Face The Camera And Smile, a scene from which is part of the 50/50 Festival. It was previously shortlisted for The Kings Cross Award for New Writing in 2009. It was also treated very kindly by Writers Avenue with readings of the first 20 minutes at The Rosemary Branch, The Pleasance, and Soho Theatre.

At the time, there was a lot of pressure to redraft the play for its various readings at each venue. I held off the deep redrafts, providing only a few tweaks and a bit of polish. I have always been fascinated by how things change over time, and at the time the question was ‘how do you end conflict responsibly?’ – we were coming out of Afghanistan and the question seemed pertinent. I wasn’t ready to end the play, because there was no end in sight.

A repeated comment on my play was it may no longer be of interest because the war in Iraq was old news. I knew these comments were hopelessly limited. Sometimes a play has a deeper question than that posed by the buzz of the zeitgeist. Writers are often put under pressure to comment in the present tense.

Coming back to the play I now see that the actual drive for the play was consent.  The fact is we went to war without a mandate, and the dodgy dossier was a pack of lies. The Government did not have our consent to go to war. The people of Iraq did not invite us to destroy their lives.

I hope Face the Camera and Smile will be a salient reminder that when the simple things are not given their due recognition the consequences affect us all. Going to war without a mandate or proper justification is part of a long line of transgression by continuous governments in the UK that led to unmitigated disasters and untold humanitarian suffering.

Working on the 50/50 Festival is an opportunity for me to re-ignite the powder trail that leads to the play’s themes – themes which are played out through consent on a micro and macro level and are gendered. In doing so we hope to inspire our audience to ask questions about what is done in our name, or not, and where it is taking us.

The changes to the script are the result of waiting. As such I feel a deeper commitment to the story and what I am trying to put out there for your consideration.

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Dan Horrigan (@DBHorrigan) is a writer and director working in film and theatre. His play Three Women and a Music Box recieved a five star review when it was performed at Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…The Launch in 2014 and then in 2015 Dan returned to Whoop ‘n’ Wail for Represents…Desire in 2015 but this time, as a director. His work on 3AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich was also reviewed with five stars.

Face the Camera and Smile by Dan Horrigan, directed by Zachary James, will be performed by Ali Kemp (Sarah) and Fergal Phillips (Danny) on Wednesday 30th March at 3pm & 7.30pm at The Arts Theatre, London. Click here for tickets and for more information about Women In The West End, head to the Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company website.

 

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What’s in it for me?

Guest blogger, actress and award winning writer Dani Moseley says  if put yourself out there, you’ll find out.

Dani

Last year summer my best friend had started acting in short, one off theatre showcases and going on about how great they were and how I should get involved. I turned my nose up at the idea, thinking: ‘I don’t need to do work like that anymore’. I know, right, who did I think I was? Lol. But, work was getting quiet and I, wanting a change from just doing youth theatre tours, trusted her so, when director Alice Bonifacio, offered me the opportunity to take part in Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents….The Launch, I slightly reluctantly took it.

Music Box 3

Dani taking notes from director Alice Bonifacio with actress Lizzie Bourne in Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan

I was cast in an all female three-hander, Dan Horrigan‘s Three Women in a Music Box. The experience was great. I got to work with talented, hard working actresses – Lizzie Bourne and Thea Beyleveld – an inspiring up and coming director and Whoop ‘n’ Wail were really accommodating and approachable with anything we needed to help support the piece. It was great having a tech/dress rehearsal beforehand and having two nights to perform was so nice to learn from. Excitingly, I also received my very first review, which got 5 stars, and that was crazy for me, as I’d never been reviewed in any of the other stuff I’d done.

I hadn’t really thought about inviting anyone to see the show as it was my first time, but amazingly, a director from one of the other plays in Represents… scouted me for The Story Project at the Arcola in Dalston. I performed in The Bird Woman of Lewisham by Chino Odimba, directed by Emily Bush. And from the Arcola, one thing lead to another: I got scouted by a director there for a sight-specific piece in Leicester Square, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, directed by Eva Sampson. It was awesome and all from Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…, the very thing I had turned my nose up at originally.

So, when I heard Whoop ‘n’ Wail were doing another one, Represents…Desire, I was intrigued and then when the same director, Alice, sent through the Nice Jumper script by Daniel Page, I was on board, no hesitation!

Nice Jumper 2

Dani and Lizzie Bourne in Nice Jumper by Daniel Page

The process and experience was even more enjoyable and joining the team was actor Anyebe Godwin. Again we got to see the other plays in the showcase, which is always nice for actors. Again the performances got reviewed and again our play got 5 stars – I even got a double personal mention for my performance!!!

So, for any actors, directors and writers sitting there reading this, thinking that small scale new writing showcases would be of no benefit to them, THINK AGAIN!

Opportunities come from any and everywhere as a creative in the entertainment industry and the fact that you get good writers, directors, actors, reviewers and the chance to invite people to come and see you, what really is of no benefit here?!

So, get off high horse or out of your comfort zone and get involved with Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents... It all adds up to you putting yourself out there and it’s all experience on the ladder to success.

Dani Moseley is an actress and writer, winning an award for the screenplay of The Forty Elephants. She’s appeared in various TV shows such as ITV’s The Bill; BBC’s Eastenders; Sky1’s The Runaway; and London Live/web series Brothers With No Game. She has appeared on stage at the Arcola, The Cochrane, Leicester Square Theatre and The Catford Broadway. Dani’s showreel can be viewed here.
To see the 5 star reviews Dani refers to, please click here: Three Women in a Music Box and Nice Jumper

 

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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

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COMING SOON: The writers’ submission brief for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…

Here at Whoop ‘n’ Wail HQ we are taking one last look back at Represents…Desire with a very big thank you to all the fabulously creative people who came together to make it all happen.

“A celebration of feminist theatre that explodes any notions that it’s predictable or restrictive.”

James Waygood, Grumpy Gay Critic

We would like to give particular thanks to the writers, and not just those whose work was included, but all those who took the time to create and submit their work for consideration. With submissions from across the globe and three US writers included in the lineup, it has truly been an international adventure and look forward to seeing the relationships that have been forged flourish into the future.

Here are some pictorial reminders of the pieces, courtesy of George Riddell to whom we are very grateful – the quotes are taken from the review written by James Waygood and published on grumpygaycritic.co.uk.


 

Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman, directed by Emily Bush

“Kemp and Klayman do a wonderful job of using game rounds to establish the main characters backgrounds and intentions…the twist is quite a surprising one and is worth the pay off.”

Heart's Desire

(L-R) Caroline Loncq, Georgina Panton, Isobel Wolff, Jonathan Akingba


The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso, directed by Norman Murray

“An absolutely blistering and affecting piece, and possibly my favourite for the evening.”

Hidden Room 2

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariadne Barnes


Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, directed by Dan Horrigan

“Acted superbly by Klayman and Charlotte Couture as the two women on the edge, it’s a snappy little piece of bite and humour.”

ThreeAM

Deborah Klayman & Charlotte Couture


Nice Jumper by Daniel Page, directed by Alice Bonifacio

“Page’s characters have a wonderful little repartee going on throughout, and a slow reveal that has you wondering what on earth is going on right up to the last minute.”

Nice Jumper 2

(L-R) Anyebe Godwin, Dani Moseley & Lizzie Bourne


Would You Let Me Finish by Leon Kaye, directed by Sarah Davies

“Kaye’s lambaste of the TV psychic circuit is bang on form and incredibly witty.”

WYLMF 3

Nichola Rivers & Laura Garnier


The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen, directed by Tom Neill

“certainly the boldest and most experimental piece of the evening,which it pulls off marvellously well.”

WLB

(L-R) Emily Stride, Lee White & Rachel Dobell


COMING SOON:

The writers’ submission brief for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…

The denouement of Desire.

Represents…Desire couldn’t have gone better. What a fantastic team of writers, directors, actors and technicians we had. And of course, all coming together at Waterloo East Theatre with the wonderful support of Gerald Armin. And then there were the audiences – the place was packed on both nights with friends and family; WET regulars and people who just wanted to know what Represents…Desire was all about.

As Debs was performing in Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich’s Three a.m., I took on the stage management duties. During Friday’s technical rehearsal, amongst welcoming a succession of directors with their casts; keeping a sharp eye on timings, making sure that everyone kept to schedule; running for teas and coffees; setting up the props table; and of course, feeding everyone Caramac cookies, I had a moment.

I suddenly became acutely aware of myself, where I was and what I was doing. Sitting in the auditorium, the tech for The Hidden Room by Californian based writer Patricia Reynoso was underway. I looked back to see director Norman Murray discussing lighting states with Paul Kevin-Taylor and Tom Neill – three men, who I originally know from completely different places. Looking to the stage, I saw two actors, Radhika Aggarwal and Ariane Barnes, who I had never met before, both were friendly and professional and as it turns out, sensitive and powerful performers.

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariane Barnes in The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariane Barnes in The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso

And as I was sitting there in the auditorium, I felt such an enormous sense of pride. Little old me and Debs (actually it’s me that’s old, not so much Debs) had done this. We had brought all this creative energy into one room and everyone was so focused on the same aim  – a right good show, which it was.

But there is no time for all this self indulgent reflection. Represents…Desire has come to an end, today is Sunday and I for one can safely say I’m still in my pyjamas.

Tomorrow, however, is a new week and preparations will begin for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents….

WATCH THIS SPACE

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What a dazzling display of dashingly desirable directors!

We are very proud to be able to announce our wonderful team of delightfully desirable directors:

Alice Bonifacio is directing Nice Jumper by Dan Page
Norman Murray will direct The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso
Tom Neill directs The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen
Dan Horrigan will direct Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Sarah Davies is working on Would You Let Me Finish? by Leon Kaye and
Emily Bush has taken the helm on Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman.

Having introduced our directors to the writers, it transpired that (director) Tom and (writer) Tom are almost neighbours, which we hadn’t realised and is quite incredible really given the international nature of this showcase.

All are working hard together, casting is close to complete and rehearsals are underway. It is now time to reflect on what it’s like doing this a second time around.

What we realise as we work towards Represents…Desire is the importance of a thorough debrief.

Bringing together …The Launch in November was very much a learning process for us – with six plays, six directors and six casts – so after the event, we sat down and discussed every element of the production, from securing our venue to curtain up, and figured out what worked and what didn’t work. We looked at how certain things could have been done differently and acknowledged what really went well.

From these discussions we were able to start planning for …Desire and, so far, so good – a much more relaxed experience. However there is still much to do, so it’s time to go and get on with it.

Don’t forget, get your ticket in advance for only £10. …The Launch was a sell-out so don’t delay! Tickets are on sale here .

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Desire
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Friday 6th & Saturday 7th February 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / http://www.waterlooeast.co.uk

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Let’s do it all again!

Waterloo east

It’s not easy producing a show that consists of 6 plays by 6 different writers, 6 directors and 6 casts but last Monday’s Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents..The Launch was testimony to the talent and professionalism of those involved in this project. The technical rehearsal, led by the wonderful Tom Neill went seamlessly and even ran ahead of schedule at one point – for those of you in the business, you’ll know that this is almost unheard of – and the show itself, to a lovely audience, was a great success. We are looking forward to seeing the cast and crew again tomorrow (24th Nov) to do it all over again. It will be great to see you there too! Join:

the cast of The Final Frontier by Sam Hall, Victoria Denard, Gavin Dobson, Tatjana Sendzimir, Debbie Christie and director John Mitton; the cast of Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan, Lizzie Bourne, Thea Beyleveld and Dani Moseley and director Alice Bonifacio; and the cast of Cause for Alarm by Deborah Klayman, Michael Walsh, Anto Cossu, Ali Kemp and director Emily Bush.

not to mention

the cast of On the Horizon by Adam Hughes, Amanda Croft, Amy Flight and director Sarah Davies; the cast of Dust by Sarah Davies, Suzie Preece, Beth-Louise Priestley and director Norman Murray; and the cast of My Bloody Laundrette by Ali Kemp and Deborah Klayman, Gerri Farrell, Georgina Periam, Deborah Klayman and director Paul Kevin-Taylor.

It’s going to be another great show and come for a drink afterwards, just around the corner, in the Kings Arms. http://thekingsarmslondon.co.uk/

Get your tickets here: http://www.waterlooeast.co.uk/

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents..The Launch

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

Monday 24th November 7.30pm

Playwrights in Represents