Hello, my name is Jason Webb and I, together with Mark Curtis, set up a theatre company called Small Nose Productions. This blog is to tell you about the start, of what I’m hoping will be an exciting new project for Small Nose; and it’s thanks to the funding that we received from the Creative Peterborough Fund.
First a little bit of background on the company.
We set up Small Nose in 2010. Mark and I have both worked as professional actors and within that work we have both trained with a gentleman called Philippe Gaulier. He teaches clown which is, in a nutshell, how to have fun, be funny and make interesting theatre. Most recently we have made a show called Aesop’s Fable’s. We performed at the Key Theatre Studio last year and we will be doing it again this year (see the Key Theatre brochure) go and see it, its very, very funny. That’s enough info, I think.
What are you doing with the funding that you received, I hear you shout. We are doing a series of research and development workshops on Richard III, by Mr. W.Shakespeare. This is what happened in:
Date: 16th December 2012.
Place: Key Theatre Studio.
People: Artists based in Peterborough, or with a connection to Peterborough.
This workshop was lead by John Wright. John set up Trestle Theatre Company and Told By an Idiot. He has written a book called ‘Why is that so funny’ (it’s a great book for anyone who has ever run a performing arts based workshop) and is a very well known director and theatre practitioner. I picked John up from the station and we arrived at the Key to get going for 10am.
We went through a fun warm up. This was not about working up a sweat, but just moving around in a slightly peculiar way. Still we were all doing it and John made sure he pointed out anyone that was too good, and told them not to show off.
We then did a series of exercises working in groups making stuff up on the spot, but trying to look like we knew what we were doing. See attached photos.
Then it was into pairs where we were given titles of scenes to perform. This time a small audience started to let us know if we were being a bit boring, by slowly raising their hands. This was in preparation to doing the same game in front of an audience. So far everything we had been doing was fun and virtually impossible to do right; and that is the point, trying to learn to enjoy what John and Gaulier call ‘the flop’.
We then made use of the seats in the studio. We called this game ‘finding the best seat’.
Now clearly to someone reading this, that might sound very dull. But as you can see from the photos – it was very funny. If you are asking yourself why, come and see a Small Nose show, and hopefully we might answer that question for you.
Yes you are right; we haven’t mentioned Richard III, Shakespeare or any great intellectual process. We just gathered a group of people who had never worked together and did a lot of laughing.
We have this quote from John’s book on the front page of our web site:
“If the work is playful it becomes pleasurable and when you’re enjoying yourself you get bolder and take risks. Choices proliferate. Problems become more manageable because our perspectives change once the work becomes a pleasure.” – (John Wright: 2010)
Next up Lisa: 10th Feb 2013, WORKSHOP Two.