A huge thank you to everyone – artists and audience alike – who made it to the Thanksgiving Day PILOT on thursday. I’m still cold turkeying from it. The evening embraced everything that makes Pilot such a stimulating event; from the outrageously fun to the downright terrifying. I’d like to encourage anyone who was there at mac to contribute to the Pilotnights Blog, in which reactions to the pieces – however small, can be shared and forwarded to the artists. Pilot is all about giving artists the opportunity to test new work and get feedback. With the evening ending later than anticipated (cutting down on valuable bar-room chat-time) your blog comments are still much appreciated. Click here to get to the Blog
Bernadette, Craig and I made our appointment at AM774, we were on air talking about the show, Stan’s Cafe and British Theatre for an hour, book-ended by Coldplay. It was good fun. I really hope they still had some listeners by the time we’d finished.
Fortunately we escaped without reprisals from the People’s Liberation Army who were in conspicuous attendance at various key points around the building standing on their small boxes. When outside they all appear to be wearing coats many sizes too large for them, but presumably as it gets colder they add more and more layers on underneath until, come late January, everything fits snugly.
From the radio station we walked to Tian’anmen Square where we were able to confirm conspiracy theorist claims that Birmingham’s Forward Statue was not burned down by ‘louts’ but nicked by the Chinese; though, given they seem to have two, maybe we nicked one of theirs originally and they were merely nicking it back to reunite the pair.
Finally, a highlight of the day, Bernadette’s skirt got eaten by a bike during rehearsals.
PS: The show was much better tonight – tomorrow I expect it to be top rankin’.
Here’s a sneak preview of Day 1:
The team did well on a tough day which started with more plugging and tinkering with the machinery. The bikes are stiff and ergonomically quite tough, they are quiet, which is good, but can only viably run one light at a time. Similarly the local flywheel runs smoothly but generates little power. As a result various scenes had to be replotted for lighting.
As this work finished Charlie turned up to run through the surtitle translations. We did a run for him and discovered three small sections were missing. He was an impressive chap. He knew the meaning of ‘perv’ and ‘mummy’ (in the Egyptian sense), but had to be advised that ‘bits’ can be a colloquial for genitals, that ’seminal vesical’ is a medical term and that ‘Villa forever’ refers to a football team (he was ’sick as a parrot’ for not spotting this (Barclay Card)).
The press turned up to take photographs and I did a TV interview. Then it was the show. There was a big audience sitting on three sides but the performers took this in their stride. The show is demanding to perform and with jet-lag, fatigue, new bikes, new auditorium and new audience there were inevitably some small glitches but they did remarkably well and were very well received. We conduced a quick Q&A session after the show before shooting off to get some food.
They eat early in Beijing but we got our foot in the door of a restaurant just before it closed and stayed for a long long time.
PILOT, the West Midlands’ playground for experimental theatre, returns this Thursday with a fresh crop of artists providing Thanksgiving Day treats. Though take note: This will be a turkey-free zone!
November’s PILOT presents a wealth of ideas and theatrical talent from six companies from the West Midlands and beyond. Variously reflective, comic and spectacular, these extracts promise to entertain, surprise and inspire.
Thursday’s exciting line-up includes Kings of England’s poignant and reflective In Elldersfield: Chapter 1, Elegy for Paul Dirac, Blossom Theatre’s Tell Me About Your Ex, which invites audience members to share stories about their former partners and 101 Music-Theatre’s intense musical narrative between ex-lovers Interview A: Interview B. Coventry’s New Macho plan the perfect party with Fearless Enjoyment, Peter Fletcher opens up his family albums in Three Times Hotter than Bournemouth, while funny-mongers The Dog-Eared Collective present their anarchic and darkly surreal brand of interactive comedy in The Dog-Eared Collective & You!
As if this wasn’t enough, providing live music for the evening will be our ‘house-band’, Sam Halmarack & The Miserablites, ambassadors of interactive stadium pop. Get ready for hand-clapping anthems and electro music made to move and inspire. Join in the Feeling!
PILOT is a regular programme of ‘scratch’ nights organised jointly by Sam Fox and Jess Mackinnon of Kindle Theatre, Paul Warwick of China Plate Theatre and guest curators. This edition is co-Piloted by me, Graeme Rose, a founder of theatre companies Stan’s Cafe and The Resurrectionists and a member of The Modified Toy Orchestra.
Tickets £5(£4), available from mac box office (0121) 446-3232
(online at www.macarts.co.uk.) or on the door, which opens at 7pm.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.