The big day is finally here – Red Velvet opens tonight! To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek of what the production is going to look like:
The big day is finally here – Red Velvet opens tonight! To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek of what the production is going to look like:
Rehearsals for Red Velvet are in full swing with just two weeks until the first night – and things seem to be going swimmingly, with the cast and creatives giving big grins all round!
Rachel Finnegan (Halina / Betty / Margaret)
Choreographer Imogen Knight and writer Lolita Chakrabarti
arti” width=”550″ height=”400″ />
Foreground: Director Indhu Rubasingham and writer Lolita Chakrabarti
Background: Natasha Gordon (Connie), Adrian Lester (Ira Aldridge) and Ryan Kiggell (Charles)
Foreground: Adrian Lester (Ira Aldridge) and Ferdinand Kingsley (Casmir / Henry)
Background: Simon Chandler (Bernard / Terence) and Charlotte Lucas (Ellen)
Adrian Lester (Ira Aldridge)
=”13″ /> ‘We emerge enlightened, uplifted and deeply moved’
Mark Thomas returns to the Tricycle Theatre with his brilliant and moving new show Bravo Figaro! which runs until 6 Oct.
Hear Mark speak about the show in the video, or click here to book.
Anticipating the WORLD PREMIERE of his new string quartet at the Tricycle Theatre on Sunday 16 September, the acclaimed local composer Joseph Phibbs writes:
‘I’m thrilled to have been commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre to write this short string quartet for the Honeymead Ensemble. I’ve tried to make the work reflect the unique space in which it will be first performed, and in this regard it could be seen to reveal ‘dramatic’ qualities- sudden changes in mood and pace, and the four players conceived at time as characters in a drama. My biggest heroes of string quartet writing would have to be Schubert, Beethoven (who revolutionised the genre) and Britten- with Bartok and Carter also somewhere in the mix. It’s therefore a particular privilege to have my new work presented alongside two of these giants- the second quartet of Britten’s being one of my very favourite works.’
Listen to an extract from Phibbs’ 2005 work The Canticle of the Rose for string quartet and solo soprano, which was shortlisted for the RPS Chamber Music Prize.
Mark Thomas’s new show, Bravo Figaro, is going down a storm at the Edinburgh Fringe (Traverse Theatre till 26th August), and has just earned Mark a well-deserved Fringe First Award. We can’t wait till it opens here on 10th September. Bravo Figaro tells the story of Mark’s experience when his father develops a degenerative disease. We could tell you more, or you could read an interview with Mark in the Evening Standard, or this article in The Guardian, or you could even listen to him talking about it on Radio 4′s Front Row.
… This is one you really don’t want to miss.
Trinidad and Tobago are bringing a dose of tropical sunshine to The Tricycle.
Check out these photos of their cultural village.
For more details, click here.
As part of the Irish Film Festival, The Tricycle will be showing Death of a Superhero at 8.30pm on Friday 29 June. For more information, click here.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s acclaimed director, Ian FitzGibbon.
What attracted you to the story?
It was the boy really, this 15-year-old kid who is prepared to face and take on what the adults around him can’t even bear to contemplate. I thought there was something quite heroic and admirable about that.
Noticing your own children were among the “Teenage Crowd” extras in the credits, was that something that spurred your curiosity about a character that age?
That’s right. My daughter and my son are in there. When I sat down and rewrote the screenplay with my friend Mark Doherty — initially, it was set in New Zealand — and one of the things I said was we should set this story within six square miles of my house. As you say, I have two teenage kids who are 17 and 19 and they go to school every day on that dart train and that was a world that Mark and I really knew and we were able to describe authentically.
And it was great to be able to have my children as a barometer for my script — I came home and I said to them, “Oh, I wrote a scene today about them going on a date,” and [my daughter] went, “What? Kids don’t go on a date, Dad. Nobody uses that word of our generation.” So it was nice to be able to pinpoint inaccuracies in that teenage world. [laughs]
It had to be difficult finding the right tone for this since it’s a coming-of-age story and yet it’s upfront with the fact that there’s not much life ahead for Donald.
One of the rules I had was nobody’s allowed to cry. There was a cut where that literally was the case and then somebody felt it could do with a little bit more. In one particular scene where [Donald’s] mother is crying when they’ve been given the bad news by the doctor, I think I had a take in there where she didn’t cry and I relented. But that’s the only place really where I let that kind of emotion come out.
Even though the film is more intimate than the title implies, did you familiarize yourself with comic books and comic book movies to create some of the stylish touches for the film, particularly the way Donald’s creations, The Glove and the Nurse, come to life?
When I became attached to the film, [animators] had done quite a bit of work on the animation already, so that was very evolved. It was stunning, kind of 3D [and] photorealistic, very detailed and the movement in the animation was very sophisticated and frame accurate. I just had a big problem with connecting that to a 15-year-old and I wanted the drawings to be a lot rougher, less accomplished, but to have a kind of an urgency and a visceral quality. [They needed] to feel more like the feverish imagination of a teenage boy in terms of his sexual fantasies, his fears of death and his obsession with pain, so I had to go to the people who had done all that conceptual work and say, “I think this needs to be revisited.”
That may have been what you were referring to in another interview I read, but you said the animation served a different purpose than you initially thought it would. How so?
Initially, they came up with this construct of the animation serving as an illustration or a metaphor for the boy’s emotional growth —in the screenplay that I initially read, not the book, which I thought was really good, but the screenplay I wasn’t so keen on, it was about the shrink becoming almost an art teacher, teaching [Donald] to draw, particularly women. Through the medium of drawing, [Donald] was trying to express his emotional maturity and coming to see women as something other than sexual fantasies. But that didn’t really interest me. I was much more interested in the idea of the animation expressing something far more intimate and something that the audience would not otherwise be privy to because he’s quite inscrutable.
Speaking of things you might not otherwise see, were there touchstones in your neighborhood you wanted to show off because they haven’t been seen before? [Vague comments about the ending ahead]
I think the aspect of Dublin that is really unusual is the proximity of the sea. That kind of coastline is fairly unusual and beautiful in its mix of it’s a little bit industrial, but it also seems quite picturesque. I love that combination because I don’t know if you noticed this, but when the kids get together on that rock at the end, there are two massive cargo ships on the sea. Somebody came in to me and said, “I can take those out and give you a perfect shot.” No, I really like the fact that it makes you feel that they’re just trying to find shelter from somewhere in the world, but the world still goes on. I like that imperfection. It hopefully rescues the film from feeling kitsch in any way.
It was interesting because I had spoke to Neil Jordan a while back for “Ondine,” and he too had a strong desire to show off a side of Ireland that few had seen before.
“Ondine” is set in a really beautiful part of [Ireland], I think it’s West Cork, that you never see in films. It’s really stunning down there. But I think Ireland has a lot of places like that that we take for granted and when my German [cinematographer Tom Fährmann] saw these places, he was jumping up and down. He said, “Do you have any idea of how special this place is? How unusual it is?” He couldn’t get over the texture of the skies. He says, “We never get these skies in Germany. Never.” He just couldn’t get over how quickly they changed and the layers of cloud and different kinds of light. You’re blind to these things because you see them every day. You just don’t question it. Things that I thought were utterly familiar and exhausted, he just made me feel…he made me look at them in a slightly different way.
You actually voiced The Glove, which is a small part, but still notable. How did that come about?
Yeah, do you know how that happened? I improvised a lot of it and I sat down with the animators and I tended to act out the scenes and I had done it so much that by the end, the producers just said, “Why don’t you just do it?” I thought maybe I should because I just wanted to be sure that all the beats that I could find were going to be there and I felt very close to the material, so before I knew it, I was standing behind a microphone looking at pictures of the glove and saying those lines. I was an actor for about 10 years, so I felt comfortable doing that. Either that or my ego knows no boundaries. I don’t know.
What was it that drew you from in front of the camera to behind it?
I’ll tell you what it is. I think I got a little bit bored [as an actor]. I did plenty of TV and I was always the weird brother or the sad cousin or the incompetent policeman. I felt very comfortable. I never felt stretched and the thought of directing always appealed to me, but I was always a bit frightened of it. And I still am a bit frightened of it. I still turn up on set a lot of the time going, “What the hell am I doing?” But it’s a very powerful feeling to take that on in some way and get through the day. It offers me a lot more satisfaction having done it. So I think what draws me to it is the fact that I always feel like it’s slightly out of my reach in some way. It’s a very frustrating thing, directing, It’s always about compromise, the compromise in your imagination. But I just love doing it. I can’t really explain it.
Recently, you’ve been busy directing a comedy series for British TV, which seems like quite a departure for you. Has the line blurred for you between film and television?
This movie was a very personal film for me and it took 18 months of my life and it was a brilliant process, an exhausting process, a very emotional process. To be honest, to turn to TV where you have a very limited schedule and you’ve got to get through your stuff, I found that very refreshing in a way. It’s very useful, certainly for me, to keep turning over. The more I turn over, the more likely I am to become a better director because I have to keep doing it. It’s like a muscle and it’s a muscle I have to keep flexing because it’s quite demanding. It becomes easier to express yourself as a director once you are experienced enough not to worry about the technical aspects of it and the crew aspect of it. At the beginning, they were quite daunting to me, but they aren’t anymore and the more I do it, the more I feel it’s actually very simple — just point the camera at the story.
Interview by Stephen Saito, taken from Tribeca Film Festival website.
Francesca Martinez will be performing What The **** Is Normal?! at the Tricycle Theatre from Wednesday 6 – Saturday 9 June, and will be joined by a very special guest each night. Click Here for more information.
To say that Francesca Martinez is up-and-coming would be a serious oversight – in actual fact, she’s been active since 1994. Beginning her career as an actor in Grange Hill, representing the series’ first main disabled character, then moving in to the comedy world (even balancing the two with her role in an episode of Extras) and coming to add motivational speaking to her already impressive CV, she’s no newbie to the circuit.
“It’s a very personal show; growing up being labelled “abnormal” from a very young age has meant that I’ve had this intense relationship with the word “normal” and this show is kind of based on that premise of, you know, what do you do when you’re labelled “abnormal” in a world obsessed with normality and fitting in? The show’s kind of my answer to that question. I think whatever you’ve got is normal to you, so I have this funny contradiction whereby the world labelled me “abnormal”, but I felt totally normal, and totally capable, and I think part of that was that I was lucky enough to grow up in a family who never defined me as disabled, they always just said ‘you’re Francesca.’
“It’s quite a rollercoaster journey – I went from a really happy kid, very loved, very confident, to you know, high school teenage hell where all that confidence was stripped away and I began to judge myself on these standards by which other people saw me, and that just made me into a shadow of myself. And then [in the show] I talk about the journey I went on getting Grange Hill, and how that really had an impact on me and restored some of my confidence, but fundamentally I was still wishing I was normal, whatever that was, and then I speak about really intense romantic encounters that totally changed my perception of what normal was and I guess the show is very much about questioning these labels, asking why they exist, who do they benefit, and ultimately the liberation of ripping them up and creating your own.
“It’s a universal show in the sense that it’s not about disability, but it’s about what it is to be human, to find self acceptance, and ultimately try and define yourself by your own values and liberate yourself from these pressures that exist within society to conform on many levels. I feel it’s quite a political question, because I think the concept of normal is used to control people and to disempower, so I’m really passionate about communicating the power you can reclaim yourself if you stick two fingers up to that idea and go, you know what, I’m going to define myself by my own means and take back control over my thoughts.”
The concept of definition is one that Martinez comes up against quite frequently in the media, being labelled as a ‘female comedian’ – a label that has slipped into common usage in the comedy world which is still, at least in terms of mainstream representation, fairly male-dominated – as well as a disabled comic.
“I find labels like that really misleading. Number one, I hate the word disabled, because it focuses on what I can’t do. It kind of perpetuates this myth that there’s a group of people who can’t do stuff and everyone else is perfect, but that’s actually really inaccurate.
“I also think it’s really disempowering to grow up having this label slapped on you and I talk about in my show how much I hate the word “cerebral palsy”, how it makes people so nervous. One of the things I say is that I’ve re-christened myself wobbly, because wobbly is a word I like, wobbly is cool, wobbly is not scary or off-putting. And it may sound really trivial – they’re words, they’re sounds – and in one way, I agree, but in another way, words really betray what we think of whatever they’re labelling, and it’s quite a big section in my show, I talk about the awful words given to disability, whereas there are other truly awful things that have quite nice names, like friendly fire. Why? Because those in power want them to sound acceptable.
“I think the way we label things is a very political area, and being a baby and having terrible sounding names slapped on you, it’s quite hard to struggle free of them and feel like you’re not a faulty piece of equipment. It’s something I struggled with for years and it’s ironic that I’m still labelled a disabled comic because from the first show I ever did I was questioning how we label each other, and in my experience the only normality there is, is difference. So these labels that try and separate people I find divisive, and in the end it just makes us all feel that there’s a secret club that we’re all trying very hard to fit into, when actually that club doesn’t exist, and a real revelatory moment was when I realised that I’d never met a normal person before. That was a really powerful moment because I thought, wow, they don’t exist. All that exists are people, and that was so nice for me, because I just felt, you know what, I’m not more different than anyone else, I’m just part of the human race.
“Where I’ve found issues [in the comedy world] is venturing into television. I think by definition TV is a more image-obsessed medium, and panel shows seem very scared of booking me – possibly because comedy and disability are not seen as natural partners. Jimmy Carr fought for months to get me onto 8 out of 10 Cats, but his producers wouldn’t have it in the end, and I think maybe it’s because [panel shows are] perceived as quite light hearted post-pub entertainment, and I think they just see me as a lump of disability that’s going to come on the show and bring the mood down.
“I think it’s quite bizarre because for the last 12 years of my career, I’ve been making those very same audiences laugh, no one’s run out of my shows screaming. I kind of understand it because I’m the first wobbly comic in the country, so naturally the doors aren’t open yet. In the same way though I do think, come on guys, what’s the worst that can happen? In live comedy there’s no grey area, people either laugh or they don’t, so I’m tested all the time. I’m only human and I do get a bit frustrated that they don’t feel like they can take the chance on me, but I also think it’s a matter of time, hopefully the more I show in my live work that I don’t induce pant-wetting fear the more likely they are to say, okay, let’s give it a go.”
Quite the opposite of inducing pant-wetting fear, Martinez says she’s been able to connect with audiences across the board.
“I do get disabled audiences, and I do perform at events for disabled people. I think it’s really refreshing for them to see someone on stage like me, because there are so few people in the media representing difference. One of the big problems is that the media could really do so much in terms of making difference seem normal, but it doesn’t.
“Funnily enough, I get written to and approached by loads of able-bodied people saying they found my show really challenging or it changed the way they thought about themselves, so it’s a real equal balance of feedback, because my show’s very much about trying to focus on the aspects of human life that we all share, and I kind of hope that my comedy would connect with and inspire anyone because I feel fundamentally we’re all dealing with the same challenges.
“I think comedy is a unique art form in that it allows you to cut through the chit chat and to just address topics, but in a really lighthearted way. One of the things when I started that I was aware of, is that you hardly ever hear from anyone different making jokes and talking about their life as a person. It’s always quite serious, or quite sad, so I was really happy that I could stand up there and humanise a scary label. It’s interesting, because some critics when I started said, oh she’s funny, but her material needs to broaden out from that issue, and I’ve always felt, it’s not an issue, I do exactly what every other comedian does, I talk about my life. Full stop.”
“I’ve always felt very passionate that while difference isn’t really covered in the mainstream, I’m going to do my best to be honest about it and share my life. I think comedy is such a perfect way to do that, because it does dispel nerves and fears very quickly. I do feel [that disability] is still the last taboo because if you look at the representation in the media, it’s next to zero, and when it is covered it’s often a very narrow depiction of people in wheelchairs. I also think maybe it’s because [the subject of disability] conjures up feelings of pity, it makes people confront questions of mortality. I understand there are complex reactions but I also feel the very solution to those feelings is exposure and relationships with all kinds of ability, because ultimately we are all people and that often gets lost if your contact is limited.
“I can understand why it’s been a difficult area for humanity to come to terms with, but I also feel like we need to deal with it. The funny thing is, disability is normal, because it’s always existed; there’s no point trying to cover it up or ignore it, it’s always going to be there. Another thing I touch upon in my show is the benefit of being different, and what it teaches you, and what it makes you confront, and I’m very grateful to my CP for teaching me certain things that made me happier. You never hear that anywhere, you just hear ‘disability’s awful’. And obviously we’ve just seen really recently, sadly with Amy Winehouse, how you can have externally everything – wealth, beauty, talent – and it doesn’t mean you’re happy or confident or together, but society tells us that is what you need to be happy. My show is very much about questioning that and proving otherwise.”
This feature was written by Caitlin Field, and originally published by The Skinny.
Francesca Martinez will be performing What The **** Is Normal?! at the Tricycle Theatre from Wednesday 6 – Sunday 9 June. Click Here for more information.
Week two in charge, and our new Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham is already winning awards!
Earlier this week Indhu attended the prestigious Asian Women of Achievement Awards, an inspiring evening celebrating Britain’s pioneering Asian women.
The awards, hosted by Real Business, Pinky Lilani OBE and Caspian Media, brought together an incredible list of talented, ambitious nominees from ground-breaking entrepreneurs, passionate philanthropists to City professionals.
With 11 categories and 52 nominees, competition was tough, but there could only be 10 winners…
A huge congratulations to our new Artistic Director!
The Arts & Culture Award
Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director, The Tricycle Theatre, for her “astounding achievements” in theatre, having also directed at the National Theatre, The Royal Court and The Almeida.
“Tonight’s winners have all shown courage, intelligence and determination to succeed in their chosen fields and will certainly help to inspire the next generation of ambitious women keen to make their mark in the professional, business or cultural sectors,” commented Chris Sullivan of RBS, the Asian Women of Achievement Awards’ main supporter.
The Awards’ founder Pinky Lilani said: “We’re now in our 13th year of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and the wealth and variety of the talent we unearth year-on-year never ceases to amaze me. These women are remarkably talented and are true trailblazers in their individual sectors and specialities, but they all share one common goal: to make a positive difference for young Asian women.”