Saturday, 16 March 2013

Blacking up

This is the Council Chamber of the Battersea Art Centre, where "Ring" takes place. The picture was taken Monday afternoon. Those aren't lights being rigged I now realise, they're whatever the opposite of lights are: black velvet gaffered to the holes in the ceiling. As part of a less specific refit the chamber walls have also undergone a rushed, artificial school-play ageing. Even in this light you can make out the phoney splurts of grey around the detail in the roof. 

It's a lost space dolled up as a found one. Tea candles burn everywhere, sheet metal mirrors have been screwed into the ceiling and lightbulbs hang like bunting, unfitted. I've no idea how much of this is temporary: there's a lot of building work going on (and the dressing room I'm sharing with Daniel Kitson has a few sheets of plastic where a wall might later go). I hope they keep the carpeted dining booths they've erected on the central staircase, those are dreamlike. And I hope they lose the "Arbeit Macht Frei" buzzguff beneath:

Apart from one "scratch" night, eight years ago, of the never continued Self Portrait As Frida Kahlo, this is perhaps surprisingly my first time performing at the BAC. I used to come here as a child and print badges, but I don't think I ever saw a show here, not back in those days - That's not true I've just remembered! When I was ten I saw my Dad's friend Ted tell a story about two crows nattering to each other while feasting on a dead soldier's eyes! Eeee, that must have been in the Council Chamber, and thirty odd years later here I am, in the dark.

We finally had someone leave tonight. Total darkness is strangely claustrophobic. That's not the right word. Claustrophrightening. Everything seems taken care of though, The staff are incredible, most of them I'm assuming are volunteers. It's all a bit out of my hands anyway. I'm keeping the headphones on now. 

It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none.

The buzz has been good. It's selling out around me. I think it's all going according to plan. You should come, we should see. In the meantime there's an excellent, spoiler-free interview with David Rosenberg here. And you can hear him have more binaural fun in his podcast "The Ear" here. And you can get tickets hereAnd here are some reviews - spoiler-free summary: Like, and even the people who don't like are coming again:

One Stop Arts
Whats On Stage
A Younger Theatre
The Upcoming
Evening Standard
The Guardian
Time Out
Everything Theatre
London Magazine 
What's Peen Seen

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Man Who Would Be King Of Popes


It was the press night of Ring tonight, so, and yikes - there's people moving in that dark - take your headphones off (don't take your headphones off!) and you'll be astounded at the amount of slithering people produce... in that dark. Anyway, regardless, today was also New Old Pope Day, so thanks to Alan Cox for drawing my attention to this beautiful thing from Second City Television *. Also thank you Canada, for realising Victor Spinetti is a thing. The winner of this sketch has to be Dave Thomas whose "Richard Hariss" is good enough to raise the question of why Richard Harris impressions are not now more prevalent. All it should take is for someone to get it right - see Christopher Walken impressions post Kevin Spacey doing it at the Oscars, or Blair post Bremner... (We're still waiting for a decent impression of any of the current cabinet by the way. What happened?)

* SCTV's alumnibunch include Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, John Candy and Martin Short. I first encountered them on network awesome where their eight-minute-long sketch pitting Vikings against Beekeepers alerted me to their esoteric fabness.

P.S. It's only after posting this I realised the new Pope's called Francis. Which if you come and see Ring... you'll... well, you'll see. Rosenberg just keeps nailing that zeitgeist.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Break a Leg.

Do you trust these two men? I do. But it might be more fun if you don't.

David Rosenberg & Glen Neath in conversation about RING

Tonight the show formerly titled "Ring Piece" opens at the Battersea Arts Centre. I'm just about to head in and rehearse it now - typing this surrounded by boxes, but not as many boxes as I need. I've been very much in Limbo over this past fortnight: between homes, between jobs, between drafts, and hanging around Lanna house-sitting Schrodinger's cat in a beautiful flat in Mudchute that overlooks the Thames and little else. This handsomely-paid, two-and-a-half-week run of Ring has been the one fixed point in all of that. And now it's here, whatever it is.

Perhaps it's best described as a social experiment. That at least avoids spoilers. David and Glen seem happy with how it's gone so far, at least. Here's the former making some of it in a sandpit in Victoria Park which we broke into a few evenings back, lit by his own device. David's turf. He told me the only way in was down a slide. This turned out to be a lie. The slide seemed massive. You can just make it out on the left. 
Anyway I'd better go. I think I know my lines. I'll write more soon. I'm excited.
See you there?

RING by David Rosenberg & Glen Neath from Susanne Dietz on Vimeo.