Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Who's famous in Islington?

The problem with Islington is there
is no really iconic picture that
represents the borough
. . . is the question that has been nagging me for the last few days. The question arises because we want to invite a few celebrities to the first or press night of Californian Lives, which is on at the King's Head in the heart of Islingtonia. Well-known faces generate excitement and interest and, assuming the production is good (and it will be, very good...) they will also, we hope, talk / blog / write / tweet and otherwise mention it in the days that follow.

So why limit the search to Islington? Because few popular people will drag themselves halfway  across town to see a play by a writer they have probably never heard of, with a cast they don't know (with the possible exception of Carolyn Gaunt) and directed by someone whose fame does not yet match her talent.

The problem is, that people who are famous, quite reasonably, hide behind fences of agents and lawyers and anonymous addresses, so that a Google search for Islington celebrities comes up with little more than the names of people either born or buried in the borough - which doesn't help in identifying the living. So, if you know of famous personalities who would welcome a couple of free tickets to a well-known small theatre, living in or very near N1, let me know. There will be a reward for any contribution that actually leads to attendance by someone the wider world has heard of . . .

P S: Many thanks to Paul Wingrove of Carshalton who responded so quickly to our appeal for donations for this production - if you can't come to see us, you can follow his example for as little as £2.50, by clicking the link on the right.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Unwanted money

There are several ways of disposing of unwanted money. Using twenty-pound notes to light your cigar with is uncommon now that smoking is out of fashion. You can always shred it and throw it out the window in a fifty knot gale. You could shred it and use it for cat litter. You could buy a lottery ticket or otherwise gamble it away. Or you can become a theatre producer, as I have done.

Barry Clarke, Carolyn Lyster
and Robin Holden in
Californian Lives
The cost of putting on the six-week run of Californian Lives at the King's Head is somewhere around £11,000. Two-thirds of that goes straight to the theatre. The rest of it goes to the PR agent, the printer, the photographer and so on. A laughably small amount goes to the actors and director. Yes, they are being guaranteed a minimum, but that sum probably works out at about £1 an hour, by the time you include rehearsal and standing-around time.

If the theatre sells out, I will get back my £11,000 plus make a profit, some of which will be shared with the cast and director. But given that we are an unknown quantity in the theatre world, the likelihood of that happening is currently small. Which means that we have to find income from other sources.

Step forward, Supporters! Even if you don't come to the play, you can support the production and increase the likelihood that the actors will be well-rewarded by donating small - or large - amounts of money. £2.50 gets your name on the Californian Lives website. Twice that gets your name on the theatre programme. Larger amounts of money get a you a copy of the book from which the plays were taken - and so on and so on. So, don't be shy. Give money today. Visit californianlives.co.uk/support.htm or click the donate button in the column on the right.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Foucault's Nightmare

Next Wednesday I'll be reading from my short story Foucault's Nightmare at Housman's Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road (near King's Cross), which is included in the Paradise Press anthology Eros at Large. It's a first person piece, reprinted from my collection First and Fiftieth, narrated by a bubbly young female office worker. Luckily, since I will be voicing her, the story is a comedy. For the literate among you, she lives in a world where Michel - French philosopher and sexual commentator - Foucault's nightmare comes true. And if you don't know what Foucault's nightmare was, you'll have to buy the book and read the story to find out. And you can do that by joining us at 7pm on 27th Feb. Details here. Alternately, order either Eros at Large from the publisher Paradise Press or First and Fiftieth directly from me: martin@martinforeman.com.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Back to Work

The problem with holidays, particularly if you are self-employed, is that when you get back you have to catch up with all the work that didn't get done while you were away. Which is what I have been doing since Sunday, in addition to buying an old car so that the Other Half can finally learn to drive. Which means that not much has been happening - in particular the production of Californian Lives, which opens at the King's Head theatre two months from today, still does not appear on their website. Curses! But at least here's a preview picture with starring cast Barry Clarke, Robin Holden and Carolyn Lyster. And more info, as ever, is available on the website in the column on the right.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

We interrupt this holiday . . .

. . . to make a short announcement. Clouds of Grey will be presented for one night only at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London, on 25th April. Steve Marks lives!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Taking a bow and a break . . .

Last night was the last night of Clouds of Grey. It went well, by all accounts, and we all parted company as good companions in good mood. This is the opportunity for me to say thank you to directors Seth Jones and James Tobias, fellow actors (particularly Katherine Beresford, Andy James Duayne Boachie and Barry Brosnan, with whom I shared some memorable scenes) and other members of the crew. There was even a rumour that the production has been selected for a larger venue - which would be praise indeed for all concerned if it goes ahead.

On Friday the Other Half and I are going to Italy for a 9-day holiday, so I'm taking a break from this blog. When I come back, my attention will be focused on two upcoming events: production of my one-man plays Californian Lives at the King's Head in April - May and my A Sense of Loss at the Lord Stanley in July when, in the voice of Christopher Peacock, Tadzio speaks . . .

Monday, 4 February 2013

Sixty Percent

The Other Half came to see me in Clouds of Grey last night. It wasn't how he would have wanted to spend the evening - after getting up at 6.30 and working all day, he would rather sprawl in front of the television than trudge his way via two buses into an unknown part of London. But he made it and at the end of the show gave me a genuine hug and smile. "Did you enjoy it?" I asked, expecting a grimace because he usually prefers beauty to blood. To my surprise, he was positive about the production. It was fun, he said; different and interesting.

And my performance, I wondered. What did he think? Sixty percent, he said; the best you've done so far. From him, that was praise indeed. Perhaps I should continue with this acting lark.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Silver Screen

You're probably expecting my thoughts on Clouds of Grey. Well, I have many, but I'm saving them for posts later in the month. Suffice it say at present that the run appears to be going well. Performances have either been sell-outs or well-attended and, apart from one evening when the co-directors bawled out the whole cast (yes, you guessed it; it was the dreaded second night), I have been congratulated on my performance by directors, friends and strangers alike. So, I'm pleased that my effort is paying off, but I have deeper, darker thoughts that I have yet to express.

There are only three nights left - again I remind you, if you are reading this before 5th February 2013, you can book tickets by clicking the picture in the column on the right.

But the rest of this post will be to alert my fans (all four of you) that the first short film I made - The Players receives its premiere in the short film category at the St Albans Film Festival on Saturday 9th March. The fates have decreed that I won't be there, but if you're in that part of the world, why not drop in and take a look. (Click the logo for details.) It's very short film with a nice twist on a poker game. If you see it, let me know what you think.