Only good work

A year ago when my tango school started taking it off I realised that in creative endeavors what matters the most is the quality of the work.

I know. It’s so obvious. But bear with me…

In performing arts, you really need to hustle to get a project off the ground.

So up until then, in my 5-year career a lot of the focus had been on Bums On Seats: Filling up the spaces. The quality of the work was taken for granted.

So many of my discussions with friends revolved around using Instagram, Facebook, Kickstarter…

Of course, we thought, the work is great. But the ‘anxiety’ was always around marketing. After all, even Gemma Arterton famously said actors are asked to post more pictures of ‘outfit of the day’ or lunch meals to get more jobs

Until recently.

When we went to perform at Brighton Fringe, most of our seat tickets had been sold.

I’m guessing it was because we had had great reviews for the show. For the first time ever, there was little marketing involved on our part.

No extensive flyering before, just a few interviews.

It meant that we could come to the venue, warm-up and get grounded, give our best during the performance… and hug and thank the audience at the end.

Not that you can’t when you’re working hard to sell yourself, but it’s easier when your energy is not depleted…

We could take the time to truly connect with them, share our art with generosity and show appreciation for their support.

So it got me thinking.

Of course, marketing is key for any business, even one that’s art-based.

But if all you need to get to connect with the joy of making arts is a few series of stars lined up on media sites, I know where my efforts are going towards: out with Instagram, in with better, bolder work…

Did you say immigration? How a thirst for adventure turned into a star-rated play

I’ve always wanted to travel the world.

Throughout high school and my first 3 years at uni in a small French town, I was impatiently waiting for the moment I could step on a plane and discover the world.

And once I started, I never looked back.

But not as a traveler, no. I had no interest in being a tourist. I wanted to be A Local.

To know the roads, discover the culture, understand the jokes, speak the language, decipher the local politics. I wanted to soak in the culture from the inside. To gorge on it.

I longed to feast on the thrill of exploration.

I’d look up from the memoirs of some extraordinary adventurer, gazing out the window into the grey, low sky of Parisians suburbs and imagine the excitement of a life under the Indian Sun, of speaking Mandarin or exploring the Baleares Islands.

How I longed for it… Dreaming of absorbing cultures to add spices, salt, pepper to my bland daily life.

How do you move to a new country when you have no contact, no experience, know only basic English, and can only bring to the table a burning desire to keep moving?

Any excuse would do.

I became an international student, then a clerk, an NGO-worker, even a banker. Mexico, Madrid, Kolkatta, Manila, Hong-Kong, I could never stop. 3 months, 6 months, a year… every time a bit longer, but just enough for me not to get bored, and be ready to fly again.

You see, I wanted to have the thrill of discovery, but without the blandness of familiarity.

I was a fish. The girl with a thousand stamps on her passport, which I exhibited proudly at customs, and wherever I landed next.

Until one train ride I’ll remember forever.

The closest country. France’s frenemy. A 2-hour train ride. But no return ticket.

It was time to ‘grow up’, and settle down.

Live in one place.

Re-create daily life. In a new country, true, but the same life my parents had created for us and that I’d been running away from all that time.

A life where the flavors are familiar, where you know the streets like the back of your hands, where the local barista knows your coffee order.

Where you don’t get the thrill of being A Foreigner.

How I dreaded that life.

And yet, how I needed that life.

Years of travels and constant uprooting had left me penniless. I was more connected than ever, with friends across all the continents and an exciting facebook feed. Pictures of NY, HK, sunny beaches in Thailand and match games in Sweden… Yet I had never been more lonely.

The friends I’d grown up with joked about my latest travels, but didn’t invite me to birthday parties and baby showers anymore. Why would they, if I never could make it? They were lucky, if I showed up for weddings at all.

And, especially, my mind was going round in cycles.

The thousand flavors of constant travel had left me mentally exhausted. I didn’t know what I liked anymore. And I couldn’t sit in silence in a room for one evening. Like a junkie, I always needed more. More excitement, more new names, more new roads. To the point where I didn’t know who I was.

Taking a full-time position in London meant settling down.

Meeting people. Meeting them again, one year, two years from now. Properly discovering them. And letting them see who I was.

Letting go of the exciting new-girl-in-town-identity and becoming a woman who can give directions to tourists, visits counties twice, has a network and a career and has never properly set foot in the British Museum. Becoming a true local.

With all the blandness and the familiarity it implies.

And God knows that wasn’t easy. Past the excitement of the first few months, you discover that your life is your life, the same life, wherever you are.

I learned to enjoy the contrast between a fast-paced week, and the slowness of a Sunday spent in a pub. My co-workers let their guards down and became friends. I found my favorite city escape (Brighton), and started going there every couple of months. I discovered I could predict when it would rain, and finally, a few years in, bought practical shoes.

I truly was A Local.

But, especially, I discovered that life on the slower side has one advantage: it allowed me to create deeper connections than I’d ever had.

With people who’ve seen me change and grow. Who’ve seen me at my best but also at my worst. Who’ve forgiven me for stuff, like I’ve forgiven them. Close friends who’ve consoled me on the dark winter nights or neighbors who smile at me when they see me on the street.

I’ve exchanged the anonymity of the traveler’s life for one of tighter bonds and deeper connections.

Recently I went to France to renew my passport.

My heart tightened a bit when I handed over the old fully-stamped one.

But I received a new one instead. Whose serene blank pages are inviting me to keep traveling. But by going deeper instead of going wider. 

And so to share my experience I’ve co-written Behind Our Skin, a fast-paced and visceral play where two stories of immigration merge and diverge. Our show opened in August last year to great reviews in Edinburgh.

If you are at Brighton Fringe on the first weekend of May join us for a fast-moving drama. You won’t regret it. And in true British fashion, we do drinks after 😉

A spiritual writing process

I am starting to believe in God

Or at least in some sort of spiritual Helper.

Because recently I’ve found that by putting my writing into the hands of a spiritual guide, it’s flowing.

I used to have to push through the words and sit through hours of blocks. As Elizabeth Gilbert says: be the plow mule.

Long, painful, boring creative work, which is now unblocked*

The Hand of God has touched my blank pages.

Or, rather, a special little book called The McGyver Secret.

Written by McGyver creator Lee Zlotoff to help artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to create anything come up with ideas.

His concept is simple: we all have an inner McGyver inside of us, which will readily provide answers to any question (creative, top notch, high quality answers), should we bother to ask.

It took me years of searching for a process that worked for me, and this one does. I’m writing my next play and in just 15 days had three fully fleshed-out scripts to choose from.

So I’m sharing it here hoping it gives you some tools, and helps.

It’s not McGyver only, though. I’m combining it with Self-Love Gold from Julia Cameron and a sprinkle of Magic Fairy Dust from Marie Forleo.

Step 1: “Produce before you consume”

This is a mantra from life coach Marie Forleo who reminds us that our daily bucket of willpower is limited. So better tackle the big creative tasks first thing in the morning, before it gets trickled down by us consuming what others have created.

It also has the added benefit that you’re not starting to write with your head filled with the amazing stuff people who are ahead of you in the creative journey have produced. 

Which means that your book, your songs, your play… need your attention before your social media feed.

This one’s a bit tough for me so what I do now as soon as I wake up is make coffee, sit at my desk, and start working. 

Step 2: Weed out the judging and the whining

Ok, I whine a lot… and judge my words a lot… which doesn’t help when you want to get your creative juices flowing.

How to avoid that? Julia Cameron’s Morning pages.

If you don’t know what these are, know that they have almost cult status among creatives. I’ve joined the ranks and do them religiously every morning.

They consist in a stream of consciousness writing – a minimum of 3 pages, every morning. You can’t stop until you’ve reached the bottom of your third page, even if the only thing you’re writing is “I don’t know what to write, this is so boring…”

It weeds out all the petty thoughts that play in repeat in your brain: once they’re on the page, they’re out of your sytem and you can connect to the Inner You that actually has something interesting to say.

They’re gold.

Step 3: Let Mac take over

Then comes the time for actual work, and I basically let ‘my innerMac’ take over.

The day before, I’ve written down a question, such as “Why is my character angry at her partner?”, or “Can you help me write the introduction scene?”, and I let the writing flow. A bit like the morning pages, except that this time it is not me writing, it is… someone else…

The answers come, and usually they’re amazing. And I’m not doing anything.

Weird.

Kind of spiritual.

Super efficient.

 

Step 4: Ask the next question

Once my writing is finished – roughly after 30 minutes to one hour – I write the next question I want Mac to answer: ‘“ok, so you said her partner cheated on her, but with whom?” Stuff like that.

Then I close the shop and call it a day.

Usually, it is 8.30-9.00am, and I’ve done my most important work of the day.

 

That’s it.

Simple, but relaxing because it allows me to move forward with my writing without stressing out about it.

And I have some pretty cool ideas for my next show, so if you’re at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, come and say Hi!

I hope this helps.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What is your process? Do you too have a spiritual approach to creativity, or do you take a more rational approach?

Please share it in the comments below.

Much love,

Anne

PS: if you are at the Brighton Fringe this weekend, I am performing Behind Our Skin.. come say hi?

rekindling that relationship

This time last year I decided I was going to write a play and put it up at the Edinburgh festival.

I had a vague idea of what I’d like it to be about, wrote a 4-line paragraph about it, sent it to a venue and got accepted.

Yes, it was that easy.

Up until then.

Because then came the properly challenging part.

Writing it.

I’m so glad I actually got the play set up before because otherwise, I’d never have finished it. Ever.

It was probably the toughest 4 months of my life. I spent the days in a limbo, oscillating between numbing my brain to avoid thinking about it and letting sheer panic take over my body.

Fast forward through a painful daily writing routine, night sweats, and the big production rush…

and the play actually went quite well (just kidding, it was an effing triumph)

So, note for self, external pressure involving tight deadlines and huge sums of money work…

Afterward, though, I was glad to put it all away, focus on my dancing and let go of that show.

The script got cleaned up a bit, we sent out thanks, divided the money and I pressed close on my computer file with a sigh of relief. No lingering feelings of nostalgia. The script and the memories spent winter tightly shut in the dark, gathering dust and slowly fading away.

But with early 2018 came two invitations to perform, and Brighton and Sheffield. And we always say Yes to the stage.

Have you ever revisited past work?

You open your notes with a sense of trepidation, and then it always seems so… outdated. So insignificant. And even if you can still spot one or two areas of brilliance (“that was a good line…”), I’ve found there’s usually a ‘meh’ feel to the whole thing.

The words you thought were so perfectly aligned, so brilliantly brought together have lost their shine and feel awkward and clumsy.

Still, last weekend, we opened the script and reconnected with the old words.

Is it that it was one of the most gorgeous weekends Paris has seen this year?

The sun was shining beautifully, flowers were in bloom and the crowds filled up parks and terraces, generally high on life.

Or it might simply be that learning lines comfortably spread out under a cherry tree beats the rush of a stressful run.

I don’t know what it was, but we fell in love with our play all over again.

Like seeing an ex-partner and remembering fondly how much you’ve experienced together, and how they’ll always be a part of your heart.

6 months of ‘being on a break’ do that to a relationship: all the words came back easily but suddenly we can tweak things up, play more.

We’ve performed it so many times, it is now so deep into our skin that we now have the freedom that comes with familiarity and time.

As if by opening the dusty scripts wide and letting the sun warm up the faded words we’ve given them a second life. 

One that’s more cheerful, more daring, more loving, freer.

It was a love story in the end.

#rejoice

There’s gold everywhere.

Luxurious red curtains.

And food. Treat food. Gluten-free spiced chocolate. Himalayan herbal tea. Organic orange juice pressed and served in individual glasses.

And among all this, He sits, beatifically smiling. Big, majestuous, his palm turned upwards, golden from head to toe.

Budha.

Since I’ve arrived in Paris, I have missed my beloved London Buddhist Center… until I found the Kadampa meditation center just 10 minutes away from my Paris flat.

I barely know that different schools of Buddhism, but love how both feel so serene… and the contrast between the understated mood and the gold exuberance of the altars.

The colors, the smells, the kindness of people in both places. Love it.

So I go whenever I can, not to learn, more to soak in the quietness.

Until last week, when I ended up in a teaching class. We’d started with an opening meditation, and it had been bringing my mind to the brink of madness. As if I was going to explode.

With my limbs taking turns to drive me crazy, one by one getting hot, tense and itchy…

When the teacher monk finally invited us to open our eyes and started teaching I was so relieved. But also so high from my meditation efforts that I barely registered what he had to say.

He looked so happy, so relaxed, so generous, though, that he was a Teaching in himself.

I do remember that he gave us the 4 keys to happiness. Bam. Just like that, on a silver tray, the 4 things that will make us happy in this life if we practice them.

So let’s see…

First, you need to practice patience. 

Then, love.

Also, consideration.

And, finally, the ability to rejoice at any moment.

Stuck in the tube with your neighbour’s smelly armpit up your nose?

Easy.

Be patient, the ride won’t last forever. Find a way to love him with all your heart. Be considerate with those around you. And, finally, rejoice at… something… the proximity of human touch if you’ve been contact-deprived, the humming of the train, the fact that you have great podcasts on your phone… Anything.

Do this, he said, and you’ll be happy.

Does it work?

Well, he looked like one hell of a happy monk, so I’ll have whatever he’s having.

The mediums in my life

I’ve always been curious about mediums.

It always seemed so cool, this idea that you could speak with some spiritual guide and see the future. Like a real life super power.

Also, how convenient.

Not sure where to take your next play?

Not clear on what you should do next?

Not sure if spending all of your money in registering for that festival is the right thing for you?

Ask your guides.

With my paralysing fear of decisions-making, getting some straight answers from heaven would have helped me sort out my messy life.

No more tossing and turning at night over whether or not I was making the right decision: some omnisicent invisible witch would be guiding me step by step towards success, money and love. Magical….

And then there’s the fierce mistrust of charlatans, which in France is deeply rooted in our pride of separating the spiritual and the secular.

With a medium jokingly referred to a “Madame Irma”, an ageless, tootheless gypsie waiting for you on the steps of their trailers with a crystal ball, while she presses you with questions and tells you what you want to hear. For the delicious sum of EUR500.

And as I spoke to people around me about it, it doesn’t seem to be a French thing only.

And that’s where I was on the subject.

Until life sent me a medium.

No, 2 mediums.

Over the course of 2 days.

No crystal ball, no chiffon, no heavy make up, no tarot card.

Just a straightforward woman on a skype call with plain language and a little buddha statue behind her. She’s been studying mediumship for years, even has degrees (who knew psychic-mediumship training existed?)

She starts straight away.

She asks if I have question and when I say no, she replies “Ok, I’ll just tell you what I see then”.

And off she goes.

Bam.

A deep, profound discussion about my life. My job. My relationships. The next three months. My family. No question unanswered, no stone left unturned, some uneasy responses….

I hang up the phone with a feeling that I’ve had a deep, much-needed discussion with one of my best friends.

Except that my best friends have known me for years, and that this woman, despite everything she’s said about my life and that felt so right, barely knows me.

And yes, maybe she’s so receptive that she simply told me what I wanted to hear, but that doesn’t matter.

The greatest gift from that call was how calm I felt afterwards.

Maybe it was indeed the perfect message from an omniscient force who knows what’s best for me.

Maybe, I guided the conversation towards what I really wanted.

Maybe, just by telling me that her guides recommend I take a specific path, she’s helped me imagine a future life where it is already happening, where the decision is made, where there’s no drama about it.

But it looks like I wasn’t convinced enough.

Because 2 days later, on the small and dark terrace of a crowded Parisian cafe a man comes to me and says “You like to sing, don’t you?”.

Turns out he’s a medium too.

And again, we are off. As the evening advances, surrounded with smoke and the laughter of drunk couples around us slowly moving closer to each other, he speaks to me. My childhood, my parents, my loves, my dreams, the person who’s protected me…

Do mediums flirt?

Is it their easiest way to pick up naive and lonely girls?

He assured me it’s not – and that the life of a medium is not easy, between those who see you as freak show, and those who mistrust you.

So if we follow the reasoning to the end, despite never being in contact with the medium world before, in the course of 2 days I had 2 people coming to me with messages from beyond.

Apparently there was a very pressing message that I needed to hear.

I guess the best way to close that adventure would to find my own way to communicate with myself. To find answers from within, and not delegate my decision making powers to someone else.

Maybe that will come later on.

I feel calmer though. It was nice, the feeling of being deeply loved and understood by those 2 people.

So if you’re an artist faced with the dark purgatory of indecision, why not ask for guidance from someone whose job it is to connect you with your higher self.

Then you can decide what you leave and what you keep.

The Jump

Something strange has been happening.

Pablo and I went skydiving on Sunday.

The goal for me was to face one of my biggest fears. I didn’t do it for the fun, like most thrill seekers. I didn’t even know it was supposed to Be fun.

My main motivation, and the reason why I thought most people jumped, was to Feel the Fear and Jump Anyway. And, that way expand my comfort zone.

And Pablo who is a sweetheart followed me in this adventure, even though it had never been on his bucket list ever.

As it turns out, skydiving is incredibly fun. 

And it’s true, past the moment of jumping, even during the free fall, the fear goes away.

I won’t say it was pure fun but rather an incredible experience with new unexplored sensations.

As we were falling my mind was incredibly focused, conscious; thinking “uh this is not too bad” and “I could even enjoy this” and “this is lasting much longer than I thought…”

And then your instructor opens the parachute and the contrast is wonderful. After the intensity and pressure of the free fall (200 km per hour), suddenly you’re floating in the air.

It’s beautiful, soft, easy, gentle… 

Then you land, and you realise how elated you are.

The high is incredible 

On the way back we couldn’t stop chatting, and comparing, and exclaiming at how much of a rollercoaster- (no, 100 rollercoasters-) experience it had been.

Us, who speak about tango all the time, suddenly couldn’t shut up about freefalling, and jumping, and the position, and how scary, and how intense, and how unique etc…

It lasts for about 10 minutes but there’s the adrenaline rush and the pressure on the body.

So by the time we got home on Sunday night, we were absolutely knackered.

Like marathon-knackered (I’ve never run a marathon but I’ve run a 10k race once, so I’m guessing…:)).

I expected to sleep like a baby that night. 

And that’s when the strange thing happened.

Instead of the night of deep sleep; my mind kept waking me up. 

In fact, it was replaying the moment when we jumped off the plane.

You are lying on your instructor. Your body is hanging out in the air, while the instructor is getting into position, still holding himself or herself to the door of the plane… When he or she jumps your bodies rotate to get to the horizontal freefall position.

Once you’re in freefall the feelings are amazing.

But That Moment. Those 2 seconds of your body leaving the plane and rotating towards the earth…

That Moment feels Very wrong.

Like Death Wrong.

Like “This Is Not Okay-I Never Okayed This-I Have To Be Not Here-Where’s Ctrl-V”-Wrong.

It’s not the same as stepping on stage the first time, opening a new show, moving to the other side of the world, or speaking in front of a group, etc…

In these situations, even if you’re petrified and the world has stopped around you, unconsciously you know that however awful it goes you’re going step off that stage alive. Maybe not emotionally but at least physically.

I’ve gone through many of those moments in the past years because my focus had been on expanding my comfort zone.

And I am learning now that there was a kind of tacit agreement between the monkey in my mind and I.

That no matter how hell she made my life at those times (“nooo I’m scared”, “I’m not good enough”, “who do you think you are”, “you don’t deserve this”…) we’d always celebrate together afterward:  Yaaaay, we made it! It wasn’t so scary in the end! Who’s the boss!?! etc…

But this is not that kind of situation.

This was the first time Apo (yes the monkey had a name) was actually faced with something that was truly threatening her.

Because as Pablo put it, in that jump is a bit like Dying to be Reborn again. 

And Apo didn’t like the joke.

She’s angry, very angry.

Since then, she has been replaying that moment in my (our) mind.

Those incredible 2 seconds that were a true Life or Death situation.

She’s been profoundly shattered.

I’ve played a dirty trick on her and she’s not forgiving me for that.

So there you go.

Now I have a sulking monkey in my mind refusing to engage in anything else than images of my body rotating in the air.

Finally understanding what it means to take real risks and truly put everything at stakes. 

Because you know, Apo, I’ve been doing that all the time in the past 4 years and you and your negative chatter haven’t helped.

So get a grip, will you?

6 hard-hitting theatre shows created by women… that you can see at Brighton Fringe

Women have been writing plays forever, haven’t we? 

So we can’t help but feel frustrated that even though we buy, by far, the largest majority of theatre tickets out there, we are still largely underrepresented in the other side of the curtains.

Here are some ‘sobering stats’ from Purple Seven’s Gender In Theatre 2015 Survey:

  • Female customers account for 65% of ticket revenue…
  • but only 39% of actors, 36% of directors and 28% of writers of plays performed are women
  • Male playwrights write 37% of parts for women….
  • …while female playwrights write for 60% female casts
  • Male Directors and Writers command bigger stages and higher ticket prices

The good news, though?

The gender gap seems to be (slowly) closing, at least for Female directors:

  • According to the same study, female directorship is becoming more established, directing 39% of plays in 2015 so far compared to just 34% in 2012

Wouldn’t be great if we could arrive at 50/50… and for female playwriting and casting as well?

Let’s imagine a world where telling stories for and about women is not a politically-charged act.

Where female lead characters do not need to be defined as ‘strong women’.

Where what we see and love on stage is true to real-life and shows us how we are.

And where, by allowing women to be strong, cynical, dirty, aggressive, ugly, flawed or simply themselves, we also allow men to be scared, weak, hesitant, caring…

The easiest way to do so is to support ‘theatre by women’   

The plays listed below are all written and performed by women.

Some are quite established, but most are still in the early stages of their journey. They are all great work, all getting great audience or press reviews.

And especially, they strive to be honest, interesting, inspiring representations of women on stage.

How about supporting them?

They will all be at Brighton Fringe this May 2018.

As women, they have less help to get their shows produced, less access to funding, often less confidence, and yet here we are, creating great theatre  … let’s choose them?

 

Also, if you’re coming to Brighton Fringe this year and want to see great shows, click here to download or ’10 Must See Shows at Brighton Fringe Guide’.

 

 

BEING JULIE ANDREWS

By Fishhouse Theatre

Synopsis

Growing up in the West Midlands’ equivalent of the Von Trapps, the musicals of Julie Andrews were a touchstone for Lesley in times of joy and sorrow. She wanted to be Julie Andrews. However, Lesley qualified as a solicitor after her dad said she had to have a proper job. We follow Lesley through her journey, from conception to motherhood and she tells us all, using props and songs from the shows. “Lesley shares her story with unflinching candour and earns immediate respect.” **** (Fringe Guru) “Astonishing performance” (Buxton Fringe Review) “So emotional!” (Audience member, Buxton Fringe)

Reviews

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/being-julie-andrews-124512/

DOLLYWOULD

By Sh!t Theatre and Show And Tell

Synopsis

Oh look, Sh!t Theatre are back. Known for their multi award-winning, politically-conscious, sell-out shows: ‘What is it this time?’, ‘Oh, is it Unemployment?’, ‘Is there a crisis?’, ‘Did the Government do Something Wrong Again?’ Now, it’s a show about Dolly Parton “we f*cking love her”. Sh!t Theatre present their bold new show about country legend Dolly Parton, cloning, branding, immortality and death. “An icon is unpacked, satirised and worshipped all at once – gleefully scrappy and frequently silly.” **** (The Stage) **** (Sunday Times)

Reviews

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/dollywould-124392/

MARIE

By House of Mirth

Synopsis

‘There’s two rules: first, the person you choose must be dead. And second, you have to be dressed up to get in.’ It’s Thursday night in the Prince Arthur and their latest theme night is in full swing. Landlady Liz is run off her feet, whilst husband Barry struggles to get into his new costume. Elsewhere in London, a young woman from Edinburgh steps off a train, determined to make her dreams a reality. Fast-paced and irreverent, ‘Marie’ is a darkly comic new play inspired by the life of Mary Queen of Scots, but given a distinctly modern twist.

Winner: Scottish Arts Club Bright Spark Award 2017

Reviews:

https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/93847-marie/

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/marie-124775/

 

A ROBOT IN HUMAN SKIN

By Nicole Henriksen

Synopsis

Award-nominated writer and performer, Nicole Henriksen, presents the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed theatre debut. Henriksen is known for tackling difficult subjects with grace and wit, and ‘A Robot In Human Skin’ is no exception. It’s a fresh, truthful and heartfelt look at mental health and the ways we treat and understand it. Come take a look into The Robot’s mind and see how you like the ride. “Perfectly pitched” ***** (The Scotsman) “Beyond superb” ***** (Theatre Reviews)

Review:

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/a-robot-in-human-skin-119191/

RUNNY FOR MONEY

By Angela Yeoh

Synopsis

Like money? You’ll love this show. Self-­professed business guru Manyi visits from China to share top insights for a prosperous and powerful life. Come laugh, play, ponder and power up!

Review

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/runny-for-money-124281/

BEHIND OUR SKIN

By Yosis

Synopsis

When Camille transfers to London, she finds herself following a well-travelled road. She left her country to grow, yet her reality slowly narrows. When complications with her baby arise, she needs to engage with the society that has welcomed her. Naysam arrives in France at 17, with her heart filled with dreams – thinking she will finally live the stories of her favourite fictional characters. But the reality of economic and social survival quickly takes over. “A well-written and hard-hitting piece of international theatre” **** (The List)

“New writing at its best” (LovesTheatre)

Review:

Watch it at the Brighton Fringe: Click to Book:

https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/behind-our-skin-125293/

 

Going to Brighton Fringe 2018?

Want to make the of the Brighton Fringe this May, but confused about all the shows on offer? Download our free ’10 Must-See Shows at Brighton Fringe Guide’ , save time and plan a relaxing and exciting fringe with the best-reviewed productions hitting town this year!

10 Must See Shows of Brighton Fringe 2018 Guide

How to be repulsive to save your life

Recently I went to an improv workshop organised by Marine Galland and Nathan Obadia about Daring.

The concept was great – using improv theatre exercises to help women test their limits and practice Daring more. And that fact that it was a women-only workshop made it a bit simpler for all of us to take risks.

Marine is an improv coach, and Nathan funded Self-Method, a self-defense training that helps women live serenely in any situation.

And though most of the workshop was led by her, and was brilliant, at some point he took over and gave some Self-Defense ‘pointers’.

And the most important piece of advice was definitely not what I had anticipated.

I was expecting tips on how to fight efficiently without wasting energy, or positions to avoid – such as turning your back to your opponent during a fight… Stuff like that.

But instead, he explained, fighting techniques are only 10% of the training.

The main objective of Self-Defense is to Avoid Fighting.

And apparently, one of the most efficient ways to do just that is to dissuade them from looking at you as an ‘attractive’ prey.

In the typical example of You, a woman being pestered by men (it’s Self Defense for women, hence the clich example), you’re basically trying to make yourself as “unattractive” as possible.

In any way.

he gave the example of a student of his who started getting followed by two men one night. 

She picked up the phone, and pretended to chat with a friend… about her period, and trying to sound as gross as possible.

“I don’t have a tampon. There is blood everywhere between my legs. It doesn’t stop flowing. It’s sticky”

Noone on the phone, no look towards them.

Just words.

They left. 

Damn efficient.

And, what was even more interesting was what happened next.

Nathan invited us to try it out for ourselves and “rehearse” being repulsive, in case we ever got pestered in the tube, the street, etc…

It could be sniffing loudly, hawking up phlegm (again, the louder the better), picking your nose… One woman scratched her groin (pretty efficient…)

They key was to make it as natural as possible so that it looked like something we did naturally and often.

It was all for fun (kind of… and self-protection…)

But was struck me was how the atmosphere in the room changed.

There you had a room full of women who, probably for the first time ever, were told to be as unattractive as possible.

Don’t invite love in. Be repulsive.

Try Not To Try to be liked.

Where there’d been laughter and banter before, suddenly the room filled up with unease and tension… Noone even dared to look up, so as not to expose the un-ladylike behaviour of others.

In my theatre training, I’ve practiced getting away from the image I normally try to project and getting used to being and looking ‘ridiculous’ … but unattractive, rarely.


That was new.

And even though we were practicing for something that could potentially save our lives, we kind of botched the exercise.

The group wanted to move on.

Years of the unspoken ladies’ training in action:

Be likable – or you won’t survive….

How to be an artist – inspiring interview with songwriter Natalie Banna

A few years ago, while I was studying for my masters degree in Physical theatre, a fellow student and I went for drinks in Embankment, London.

She’s a beautiful, fierce Irish woman and I made her choose a glass of red wine with a plate of cheese over a piGuinnessuiness. I’ve never seen her drink wine since…

That evening, we bumped also into an old colleague of mine who seemed fascinated by her.

Maybe it was her confidence. Or the ease with which she sat cross-legged, bare feet on the couch. Or her typical Irish cool-ness.

She looked up, smiled at him and introduced herself by saying “I’m a playwright”. And I thought – “Hang on a minute, you’re not a playwright, you’re a student… what do you mean?”

That was a big lesson for me.

In fact, she’d written four plays back then already. She’d self-produced them, and had been touring them sporadically.

Fast forward to 5 years, and she’s now had her own series for BBC3, on track to writing the next big thing for BBC4.

At the time, I too had written 2 plays and a series of short films, but I still considered myself a student (and would for many years to come).

While in her head she was already the I Am that she’d always wanted to become – even if it didn’t pay all of the bills already – I was still asking for permission.

It is a something that I see a lot of artists do – and that I do myself.

Not daring to claim being an artist, not daring to say to the world that this is what I do.

That’s why I was so happy to share a discussion I had with Natalie Banna.

She is an Australian singer-songwriter based in London.

She has gone through a lot, which you can feel in her writing.

And recently, she decided to own her I Am as a musician: presenting herself to the world as a songwriter instead of hiding.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • How creative freedom comes from structure
  • How picking up a guitar was her best remedy against mental health issues
  • Why we tend to hide, and how giving herself Permission has been a major stepping stone in her development as an artist
  • How songwriting is a teachable skill & her daily practice to write

I feel so strongly about this issue.

Writing, Creating, building a career as an artist can be challenging, but the main challenge, I’ve come to understand, is us judging ourselves not good enough.

We can be our worst enemies at times.

I hope you’re giving yourself some self-love, and proudly claim your craft.

Much love,

Anne