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The Curio

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Thu, September 19, 2013 07:52AM
Have you seen this interview with us in The Curio? (Jo Willis takes a pretty bad-ass picture.)

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A Guest Post From Shani

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Fri, July 26, 2013 03:53PM

Today we have a guest post from our wonderful performer / co-devisor, Shani Erez (below is a picture illustrating just how beautiful Margate seaside is):

‘I see the sea!’ is the shout that Nick has to endure from me whenever his car makes the turn into Margate’s beautiful seaside. ‘I see the sea!’ is the yelp in the morning when we wake up for a new day of rehearsals or when we break for lunch and change the scenery from the Tom Thumb Theatre to the sea. It never gets old, that sight of Margate’s sea. Though I’m pretty sure the declaration does if you are Nick.

Which surprisingly is not the reason we spent most of our last stint of rehearsals indoors. You see, every set of rehearsals we dedicate to a different element of the show, and this time we were focusing on filming the footage that will be used in Eoin’s magnificent video projections. You can only imagine how hard it was for all involved when we shot by the sea, whenever I looked around.

Following our outdoors shoot we moved back inside the theatre to create a video clip for one of the songs we are playing in the show. This basically meant that under the kind guidance of photographer Mark the song was playing on loop and we dragged in and out of frame many musical instruments and pumped up the haze machine.

Nick and Jess, as our loving couple in the play, were recreating all the instrumental and vocal parts of the song - with the highlight being Jess giving the White Stripes a run for their money in drumming coolness.

On the way back from Margate I gracefully chang

ed my tune from ‘I can see the sea!’ to humming the song we’d just been listening to for 8 hours straight. Not sure Nick was appreciative.

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Turning Back To Nothing Turned

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Tue, May 21, 2013 04:48PM
We are ridiculously excited to announce that the Arts Council England and Kent County Council have both awarded us grants to continue developing And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. (In fact I am getting butterflies just writing this post.)

We'll be re-assembling last summer's team, to build on the success of our previews. Cutting, extending, re-fining and re-working. If you saw our show in Brighton, we'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

So: quite literally, watch this space. Train sets, disco balls, supernovas and running machines at the ready ... let the rumble-fuelled fun begin.

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Tom Thumb & The Fin Bar

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Mon, March 18, 2013 01:43PM
As many of you know, Eoin and I are now delighted to be programming and managing the day to day running of the Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate. We have an incredibly exciting season of work coming up including theatre, music, comedy and spoken word. Have a gander here:

This week we host the first preview of a 50 minute solo performance created by Louise Mari (SHUNT founder member) and Nigel Barrett (SHUNT associate artist). Tim Crouch describes them as "compelling artists at the centre of an important movement that dismisses divisions between visual art, live art and theatre. Their practice is restless and probing, with a wit, intelligence and imagination that makes it sustain". We strongly agree. Below is a few photos of the lovely little theatre, alongside The Fin Bar (the cocktail bar we built above it), taken for The Curio:

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DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Tue, January 29, 2013 08:31PM
On Sunday night Eo and I travelled to Canterbury, to perform at Pot Luck #6. The event is a itinerent scratch night, run by the lovely Accidental Collective, where works are presented Rare, Medium or Well Done.

"Ephemeroptera" was the first (bloody) scratch of a new project based on Wilde's, "The Nightingale And The Rose". We continued to explore our potential to fail in a typically shambolic nature; with Eoin (seemingly) directing the work from the tech box whilst I (seemingly) attempted to do as I was told.

We'll be posting a video soon - so I won't say too much - but it featured a bird head, distortion, Mario Land and our trusty haze machine. We were delighted with the response we recieved and have been invited to perform the 10 minute piece at a couple of different events as a result. It will be intresting testing the idea in entirely different contexts, including a club night.

Other than the invaluable audience feedback, scratch nights are brilliant in that they force you to actually just make something. Deadlines seem to be becoming increasingly important to us, forcing us out of procrastination.

We also very much enjoyed watching the work of our fellow scratchers, including our good friends Scandalmongers (storytelling at its finest). We were particularly blown away by Daniel Somerville (within 30 secs of it starting, Eo turned to me and mouthed "this is BRILLIANT!"); witty, unapologetically theatrical and striking ... Butoh via Matthew Barney.

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DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Mon, December 10, 2012 07:53PM
We are absolutely delighted to announce that we will be working on a very (very, very) special performance of the Vagina Monologues at the Tom Thumb early next year. The project is being directed by the hugely talented Jan Dunn (Gypo, Ruby Blue) and will be performed as part of V-Day, playwright Eve Ensler's international campaign to end violence against women and girls. Specifically, we will be raising funds for Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, a Thanet charity working with victims of domestic violence.

So who features in the very exciting hush-hush Vagina Monologues cast list? *cough* Rita Tushingham, Amy Lame, Nancy Del'Olio, Pauline McLynn *cough* (shhhh).

We look forward to sharing more with you soon.

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The Train Though Appledore

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Sun, November 11, 2012 04:09PM

I was planning for this blog to be about our recent adventures at the Tom Thumb. Specifically the events we curated for Margate Horror Feast in collaboration with the Dreamland Trust: “Ghoulish Ghost Stories” (a wonderful afternoon, completely full, featuring a dressing up competition – with around 30 children dressed as pumpkins, witches and vampires parading across the stage to “Monster Mash” – and terrifying tales from .dash, Frankie Jordan and Emrys Plant) and “Club Hydropathe: Halloween Special” (where we screened the chilling “Eyes Without A Face” – chosen by a very knowledgeable local horror film-buff – and listened to a lot of Nick Cave). However the fantastic woman I met on the train last week was just too brilliant not to write about.

I was on the train from Margate to Eastbourne (Eoin is teching a tour that included three dates in the beautiful Devonshire Park Theatre, so stopped off to see the show on my way to Brighton for the weekend). The last leg of the journey is the hourly train from Ashford International to Eastbourne. It only has four carriages, is always ridiculously packed, passes through incredibly named stations (“Appledore”, “Hamstreet”) and is invariably coloured by interesting characters. Friday was no exception.

I was sitting a table, laptop out, headphones on; shorthand, I thought, for “not-in-the-mood-for-a-chat”. An older lady, probably in her mid-80s got on. Bright red coat, 50s glasses, tight white perm. There was a seat opposite me on the train, but she did not sit down so I asked her if she would like mine. She replied that she was worried about people accidently kicking her legs under the table as she had ulcers, so I suggested that she sit down in the chair opposite and I would sit sideways in my chair so as not to risk her legs getting hurt. She sat down and I put my headphones back on and began tapping away at my laptop; but my headphones short-hand was obviously not something she adhered to. “Eeee” she exclaimed, pointing at the feet of the (headphoned) chap standing in the gangway “I like his shoes”. Then to me: “do you like his shoes?”. I removed my headphones. “Umm, yes” I replied “they are nice shoes”. She then waved at said chap in gangway and said “we like your shoes! They are lovely shoes”. He sheepishly removed his headphones and nodded a thank-you.

There was something in the “eeee” that reminded me of my grandma, a warm-hearted, hilarious, wonderfully bonkers woman from the North East who died about 10 years ago. I asked her if she was from the North East and she grinned and replied that she was (adding, for the full North East effect, a pointed “pet”). I closed down my computer and asked her how her day had been. I am so glad that I did.

She immediately launched into the most incredible monologue, which took us all the way to Eastbourne. She'd been out "visiting". Her only daughter is a missionary abroad and the rest of her family had passed away so she takes the train to help people less able: washing up, making beds, feeding people (remember, she was well into her 80s and had to be helped on and off the train herself). "That's what you have to do when all your family is gone, go and look after people that can't look after themselves". Happily, I couldn't get a word in edgeways, so sat, nodded, smiled and listened.

We covered the Romans ("eee, they built lovely things, they had an eye!"). Then WW11 ("we used to queue two hours for a sausage! One sausage! One time I queued two hours for a banana and I got to the front of the queue and they'd run out. So the man behind the counter gave me half his banana and I ran home with it, so delighted"). Then wars generally ("there's just no need for them anymore! People should just get round a table and talk!"). She sat clutching her diary ("with all my secrets in"), that was clipped to her bag with a studded belt that she’d bought but “wouldn’t fit round”. Alan Bennett eat your heart out.

She then moved onto homeless people. “Oh pet” she said “if I had money, or if I could just talk to someone with money. Prince William perhaps, he’d help, oooo, his mother taught him well! If I could, I'd tell them to buy all the homeless people all tents, the zip up ones, they could wear them on their backs like crabs! Then they'd have homes. They don't want to be in shelters - they don't - because they don't want to be around people. They've had rotten childhoods, so they can't deal with four walls; they just want to be alone”. Obviously, I was a little confused by her suggestion, and the sweeping generalisations, but her reasoning behind it was so kind I couldn’t help but warm to her: “I knew someone that was homeless then he fell in love and now he's fine. That's the problem, empty hearts. A rotten life drains your heart and leaves it empty; once it's filled again you are stable".

We parted ways at the train station. I wish I'd asked for her address, she'd have been a brilliant pen-pal. I’m pretty sure, however, that a few choice cuts from our conversation will work their way into a show.

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Camera Test: Shoot, Edit And Screening

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Fri, October 12, 2012 03:42PM

As we told you in August, we have been collaborating with Cut Chorus on their "Camera Test" project, directing a short film written by Mark Murphy.

The short, "Flames Of Passion (With Apologies To Noel Coward)", is essentially a straight to camera monologue, with a character loosely based on the leading man from "Brief Encounter". We shot the film at the end of August at Cut Chorus' studio in East London, with production company Art War Entertainment. It was a fantastic shoot, with a knowledgeable crew ... and some rather lovely kit at our disposal. We had decided we wanted to shoot the majority of the film in keeping with the striking aesthetic of "Brief Encounter"; so focused on hard, side lighting, close, evocative shots and a heightened performance from Luke Harrison, our brilliant performer.

Eoin and I opted to edit the film at home in Margate - rather than at the studio in London - and we were therefore sent a hard-drive full of footage at the beginning of September. It was a sharp learning curve for us (who knew a short film could take so long to render?), but very much a rewarding one. Taking inspiration from David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” we experimented with quick cuts and a grainy quality, to introduce an unsettling tension. With a nod to “Brief Encounter” we took the rhythm of a train to push the film – and our leading man – forwards. This was underscored by the sounds of trains mixed with Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, the soundtrack to the original film.

The film was screened last night at Marylebone Gardens, to an enthusiastic invited audience. We will be uploading the film in the next couple of weeks, to share with you. Below are a few photographs taken at the shoot, courtesy of Cut Chorus. Not quite sure why Eoin and I have our elbows so symmetrically raised in the make-up shot … any ideas?!

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