Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Head And Brick Wall

I was away for 10 days, which explains some of the silence on this blog. The usual family matters. I get some work done while I'm there, but my focus is much more on my immediate surroundings than on the virtual world of the internet.

The other reason for my lack of posting is a combination of lack of news and the time it takes me to collate that lack.

Let me explain. I am back in London spending several hours a day working on Tadzio Speaks . . .  Part of that time is with Christopher Peacock, the actor whose task is to stand alone on a stage for 45 minutes and make the character I have written and the words he utters come alive and grab the audience's attention. That's the easy part. We can see which parts of the play work and which don't and work on the them. I can see the impact of my work immediately.

The difficult part is the time I spend promoting the play. I've long lost count of the number of emails I have sent, tweets I have twitted and Facebook entries I have posted. In addition to basic information to get the play listed, I've sent out press releases to news organisations and websites, I've contacted reviewers asking them to attend, and I'm just about to pester friends reminding them that opening date is Saturday 6th July.

I've got some feedback. The number of FB friends and Twitter followers has risen to double figures (!). Tadzio Speaks . . . is now listed on several websites. Posters are going up in Camden (ok, that's Chris's doing, but I take credit for the design and getting them printed). But trying to get people interested in the play is rather like hitting my head against a brick wall. There is an impact, but it's more on my head than the wall.

Ah well, the classic response to "why are you doing it?" has always been "because it feels so good when I stop". And that wonderful day, when the run comes to an end, is less than a month away. In the meantime, if you want to make me feel better, why not book a ticket on  our website? You don't have to come, but the £8 a head you will pay will make my head feel a lot better . . .

Thursday, 13 June 2013

What was he thinking?

In Death in Venice - both the original 1912 novella by Thomas Mann and the 1971 film by Luchino Visconti - writer Gustav von Aschenbach becomes obsessed with a beautiful Polish youth who is staying at the same hotel. Although the two never speak, the boy Tadzio is clearly aware of the older man's attention and a silent relationship grows between them that lasts until the writer's final day on the Lido beach.

Both book and film focus on Aschenbach while Tadzio remains a cypher. For some he is the abstract symbol of beauty, for others the focus of sexual desire; for many he is a combination of the two. Each of us creates his own Tadzio, projecting our own thoughts and desires on to the youth we want or the youth we want to be.

Yet if Aschenbach is real to us, then so must Tadzio be. A teenager on the verge of manhood, a boy surrounded by women (sisters, mother and governess), a wealthy youth with the world at his fingertips. What went through his mind that summer when he realised a man old enough to be his father was watching him? Did he welcome or fear Aschenbach's gaze?

Decades later, Tadzio opens his heart in a powerful and emotional monologue that reveals the impact of that fateful summer in Venice.

Featuring former TV presenter, turned actor, Christopher Peacock, written by award-winning playwright Martin Foreman, Tadzio Speaks premieres at the Lord Stanley Theatre in Camden, London, as part of the annual Solo Festival in July 2013. Book tickets here.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Picture this, ticket this

Tadzio Speaks . . . moves closer to its debut. Christopher Peacock - who is taking on the sterling task of learning a 45 minute one-man play - and I directing my first play (we'll draw a veil over what happened in Edinburgh those many years ago) came to the end of the text today. We finished the blocking (directing where actors move and what they do when they get there) today and we now have a five day rest until we return to the fray. I'm pleased - both with my own ability to write and direct, and with Christopher's ability to breathe life into an individual who until now has always been a cypher. I'm also aware that we both have a long way to go before we can present this drama to an audience.

Another step forward was the arrival of the poster. It's looking good. Purists will wonder why the t is a capital on the website and small on the poster. I can only kick myself in response and beg forgiveness from the twin gods of Punctuation and Design. At least the image conveys the right message - an older man looking back on his younger self and remembering that fateful summer. And yes, it is Christopher himself at fifteen who stares out at us from the hazy image of Venice, a most handsome youth who would have inevitably drawn von Aschenbach's eye.

Finally, the ticket system is now operating and you can book your seat for a mere £8 - and no, there is no hidden booking fee. So, if you enjoyed Californian Lives, make sure you see Tadzio Speaks . . . And if you missed C L, you have no excuse whatsoever not to make your way to Camden in July. Click the link in the right column to take you to the website. Unless of course you live in Eastbourne or Entebbe or further afield; if you do, I'll devote a later post to information as to how you too can experience some of the drama even thousands of miles away.