Leaving the Bouncers on the barrels


Phew!- what a busy day we had yesterday. It was time to put the bouncers characters to one side for the day and concentrate on the 'lads' and the 'girls'. Although this meant a rehearsal full of hard work and concentration, it also meant that we had lots of fun. The drunken antics, the tears and, oh how could I forget......the dancing!


There was lots of material for us to cover but the dedication and effort from the cast, as ever, shone through and we got through it. Joan had the stressful task of making sure the tech went smoothly too, after my springing the tech script on her only this week, but what a perfect job done- thanks Joan!


We soon got into a rhythm of line running each scene before working on it and, after a couple of weeks of either precariously sitting on or avoiding sitting on the barrels altogether (the nozzle providing a shocking obstacle to the bouncers' 'tackle'), it was a relief to see them all drawn to the, now well padded out, set items for this.

The Bouncers

In fact they are now sometimes fondly referred to as the 'line barrels' and it was even suggested that they could double up as the 'naughty barrels'- should I ever need the use of them in this capacity.

So, it would seem that the multi-role playing has spread even to our set and it's great to finally welcome the barrels into the Bouncers family.

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman/man...

This week my kitchen has been the scene for two extra rehearsals. First, Beth popped round and made me work hard on my lines. We also had a bit of red wine. Which helped. Then, Haylie came over the following night and we tried to wade through scenes without consulting our scripts. We also discussed how men and women differ... and no, we didn't focus on body parts... too much.

But it's not enough to know your lines. There's more to the art of acting than that. There's research. On youtube. I've watched countless clips of people representing their Yorkshire accents. Most have been entirely useless. The influences behind my male characters, however, are crystal clear to me. My Ken's based on a couple of different characters from Fast Show. And my Mervyn will most likely resemble Julian and Sandy... Have a look and a listen at a couple of examples.

Julian and Sandy

Fast Show's Bob Fleming

Walk Like an Egyptian

Walk Like an Egyptian Man

For the past couple of weeks, I've been checking out men on metro platforms. Security guards will soon be asking me to move along. For, you see, I am loitering with intent – I need to learn how to walk like a man.

There's a lot of advice to be found on the Internet – mostly bad, and mostly combined with an amusing photo of a cat – but nothing beats studying the male bottom in real life. Purely in the pursuit of practical perambulatory knowledge, you understand.

In Shakers, I play a cocktail waitress, who in turn plays three men: a geezer, an old codger, and a toff.

When it comes to finding and shaping characters, costume is an enormous help. The addition of the right accessory – a cravat, a baseball bat – can transform a plain, dark suit into a dapper 20s gent or a 60s East End gangster.

Many actors want to start wearing their character's shoes as soon as possible, because wearing the shoes makes you walk like the character, and walking like the character makes you feel like the character.

But we don't change costume – I have to slip into my new personas without slipping into a new shirt. I have to play all my men wearing my cocktail waitress outfit.

Oh yes, did I mention that this outfit includes high heels?

Wired for sound

Up to now we've been muddling through rehearsals with only part of the music and sound FX. So....I'm very excited that this weekend's rehearsals will have the complete and edited versions of all the sound. It's great to see the first of the big production elements completed and fully useable. The arrival of a feeling of comfort that everything is coming together is finally here and I have to say it is an extremely welcome state of mind. However, such is the way with theatre that there is always something else to turn to and work on so......excitement surpressed (for now)........now where did I put that list?



Neon shines through smoky eyes tonight

What screams ‘80s’ louder than cheesy neon signs? I know, know, there are plenty of contenders for this dubious crown, yet few could literally outshine the neon sign. (Except, maybe, MC Hammer’s trousers.)

Bouncers and Shakers are set in an 80s night club and cocktail bar respectively, so creating the signage seemed like a natural way to go with the poster.

I enjoyed researching neon sign typography and, er, ‘style’, as well as how to recreate the neon glow effect in Photoshop.

Here’s what we came up with: