Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Glasgay!

It's that time of year again, when Glasgay! hits the Citz. This year we have two shows from the festival that celebrates queer culture.


SPAIN
You can't run away from your problems...but you can take them to nicer places.
Spain tells the story of an ex-pat Scot, thrown into an existentialist crisis, after 20 years living it up in Gran Canaria. He finds a small memento that commences a long journey home.
More info



CH CH CHANGES

Just gonna have to be a different man...
Herald Angel Award Winner 2010 Grant Smeaton transmutes into a spectrum of multi coloured sexuality as seen through the eyes of five characters in mid-life in this intimate, compelling and provocative new one man show.
More info



Both shows previewed last night, open tonight and run until 12 November!

FEEDBACK FROM TWITTER

"So Spain at @citizenstheatre was fantastic! Mark Kydd gives a brilliant performance. So funny and so moving!" @jonnyley

"Ch Ch Changes was outstanding tonight. A must see." @lorrainecleaver

"Saw Spain last night. Fab! Lookin fwd 2 Ch ch changes. So much good stuff. Go Citz!" @scotsguy_61

If you see the shows, let us know what you think on FB, Twitter or by leaving your rating/comment on our website.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Your reactions to Joe Egg previews

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Five sessions to go...but don't forget the cats!

Rehearsals are hard but techs are art. It's the moment that a director and the creative team really get to play. It's the time when a script actually becomes a play, a piece of theatre. It's also one of the most chaotic and stressful times there can be for any show. Lights getting rigged, focused and the refocused. The set getting painted and tweaked on every break. A constant demand for excellence, quality and professionalism up against the most stressful of time pressures. The opening night [Ed. Fri 21 Oct].

The "New" Prompt Box, off stage left
It's a marvel to watch a tech, it's like a film set without cameras. The director scrutinising every detail, technicians under pressure to change everything they've been working on because it's no longer right with only five minutes to change it or we'll be behind. And once you get behind it means less time for the actors to perfect their performance on the actual stage. A tech is a constant negotiation between time and quality. With a small army of theatre professionals all working to get a show ready for a demanding public. It's fantastic!

Front door of the house from off stage left
The A Day in the Death of Joe Egg tech is just the same as every other one. Hard work! With tireless professionals all working together to get this gorgeous play ready. On Saturday (15/10) after the final rehearsal in the morning the technical and creative teams work on to start the lighting prep for the tech. The tech is the last stage of all the technical work, the technical teams having been working in the theatre ever since the last show closed over a week ago. There is a lot of prep that must happen before the actors and rehearsal team get onstage. The set is constructed in sections onstage after moving from the workshop. Lights are rigged per the lighting designers exact specifications and the show's needs. Once lights are up, work on the stage can get properly under way. After the basic set is ready then the painters and set dressers can get under way. The painters having to work overnight to get the set ready for the next day, and because it's the only time it's clear to let the paint dry! Meanwhile the costumes and props are being prepped and checked to see if it's what the designer needs. Each of these pieces having to be in place for the tech. When the director (Phillip Breen), designer (Max Jones) and lighting designer (Tina MacHugh) get to play with them and bring them all together. And that's when the stress sets in.

Stage right
Top of the stairs on the set
Having to get this all right, quickly, is a difficult skill. A tech is simply working through the play scene-by-scene making sure that all the lighting, sound and all the technical moments are right. And it can be an incredibly frustrating time. Spending hours on one scene because it's just not working right whilst flying through others because everything just fits into place. Every time something happens onstage it's been thought about, scrutinised, argued over to get it ready. That's what can be very exciting about theatre, it's real and right in-front if you. Every time something happens a person has either pulled a lever or pressed a button.

Pre-Tech prep onstage
There are a massive amount of people having to work together to get this show ready, this blog post does focus on the creative team. When you come to see A Day in the Death of Joe Egg have a look at the names away from the actors and the creatives. There are an awful lot of them and they are fantastic! I've only been at the Citz for a short time and this is my first show here but I have been constantly impressed by the skill and joy with which the team here do their jobs and make the Citz a home.

Stage left
We've just finished the tech now and we're hurtling towards the dress! Can't wait!

If you're wondering what the cats are in the title mean, come and see the show

Richard
Assistant Director

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Origins of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

We delved into the Citizens archive and the treasure trove that is the Scottish Theatre Archive to find out more about A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, which was considered by many to be ground-breaking at the time. Original cast member Joe Melia described the production:

"like playing West End Comedy and Ibsen at the same time"



The Times in 1967 said:

"This is one of the rare occasions on which audiences can feel the earth moving under their feet...treating an intensely painful taboo subject with absolute truthfulness and yet without alienating the public...Peter Nichols and a dazzling cast have significantly shifted our boundaries of taste."



You can flick through our compendium of 'Joe Egg' facts on Issuu, which features letters between Nichols and Blakemore, 1967 press cuttings, company info and behind-the-scenes insights on the Joe Egg 'controversy'.



OPENING NIGHT - POST SHOW EXCLUSIVE
We open this week and are delighted to have Peter Nichols and the original director Michael Blakemore with us for the grand opening on Friday night. They will take part in a fascinating (free) post show discussion. You can still get tickets here.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Singing for our Supper

We're deep into the last week of rehearsals for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and it's all coming together now, with all the little details and touches slotting into place. We've had a fantastic time on this hilarious play, having such good times in rehearsals that it'll be sad when we finally open. Though we're getting to that stage when the excitement and nerves really set in, having only 4 full days of rehearsals left before the tech begins. Nerve wrecking to think that!


Wednesday was an unusual day, as after a long hunt with several departments of the Citz scouring Glasgow. Today a small crack team of Citz Sound Commandos (working title for an upcoming mini-series, CSC) headed to a local school to record some gorgeous angelic singing. This was for a particular key and lovely moment in the play that needed the singing talents of a young choir to get it right. And luckily the Hyndland Secondary 3rd Year Chamber Choir were kind enough to volunteer their time and talent to our cause.

So I went along with Laura and Paul on a grey and windy day from the Citz to Hyndland Secondary and were guided through the labyrinthine corridors until we arrived at one of the drama rooms and awaited the choir. A really talented group of singers who sung fantastic versions of Once in Royal David's City and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. So good were they that we got them in two takes each. The first takes only stopping for a mysterious hammering sound coming from the heart of the school.

With a few great recordings under our belt we quick footed it back to the Citz for more rehearsals and a cuppa tea. You can hear the efforts of the Hyndland Secondary 3rd Year Chamber Choir deep in the second act, worth coming along just for that! That and the fantastic acting!

Hope you enjoy the show.

Richard
Assistant Director

[Ed. I'm liking the sound of "Citz Sound Commandos" I think we should approach Channel 4!]

In case you hadn't spotted it, we have a brand new trailer: "Conversations with the Cast of 'Joe Egg'". We preview from 19 October and opening fully from Fri 21 October. Book tickets at citz.co.uk.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes

This morning we received a message from Equity (the Actors' Union) about Human Rights issues in Iran. We thought you might find this of interest.

"A campaigning has been launched for the freedom of Marzieh Vafamehr, an Iranian actress who has been sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail for her role in My Tehran for Sale, an Australian film about an actress whose theatre work is banned in Iran.

Actors’ Equity of Australia has set up an online petition calling for her release and Equity UK is encouraging all members to sign up to it.


Vafamehr, wife of the acclaimed film-maker Nasser Taghvai, was arrested in July after starring in the film, which touches on many of the taboo issues of modern life in Iran. Iranian human rights activists have reacted with outrage to her conviction and in particular the fact that she faces 90 lashes. It comes only two days after a student activist, Peyman Aref, was lashed 74 times in Tehran's Evin prison for insulting the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The film, directed by Granaz Moussavi, features Vafamehr as an actress who flees to Australia as an illegal immigrant after being persecuted in Iran. She appears with a shaved head and without a hijab in some scenes. In the film, an underground party where men and women dance and drink is disrupted by a group of moral police who arrest some of the partygoers. My Tehran for Sale premiered at the Adelaide film festival in 2009 but remains banned in Iran.

Other members of Iran's film industry have also been arrested in recent years. Pegah Ahangarani, a popular actor was released from jail in July. Director Jafar Panahi received a six-year prison term and 20-year ban from film-making last year. Mohammad Rasoulof was also sentenced to six years in jail. Ramin Parchami, an actor who voiced support for the opposition, still remains in jail.

Go to Equity's website for more information or sign the online petition.
Thank you for supporting this campaign"


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Backbeat reborn

Last night a posse from the Citz travelled to London for a whirlwind visit with one purpose - to catch the opening night of Backbeat at the Duke of York's Theatre.


The show which premiered at the Citz in early 2010, has been tweaked for the West End by new Director David Leveaux and opened to a great response last night. Reviews have started to come in:

"nuanced and compelling…the most interesting pop show since Jersey Boys. It likewise not only captures the pulse of what drives its protagonists to make music, it is also even more interestingly about their personalities."
The Stage

"Backbeat about the "lost" Beatle at Duke of York's is a cut above the normal bio musical. Intelligent & a liitle heart-breaking too."
Lyn Gardner (The Guardian) via Twitter

"an exhilarating account of the Beatles – then known as The Quarrymen – in Hamburg in the early 1960s…the hardest, meanest rock ‘n’ roll I’ve ever heard on a West End stage…It’s a beautifully wrought and darkly cynical evocation of an era…For once, you really do feel like dancing in the aisles at the end."
WhatsOnStage.com★★★

"The transition to the stage works slickly…Director David Leveaux captures the fizzing energy of this brink-of-change era…Backbeat is a back-story to cherish."
Evening Standard

We know our audience loved this show in Glasgow. Tickets for the London version are currently on sale until March 2012. We'd highly recommend squeezing it in if you're heading to the big smoke, or even creating a wee trip around it.

BACKBEAT
Duke of York's Theatre
24 Sep 2011 - 24 Mar 2012


At the show itself and the glamorous after party, the Citz crew did their best to act cool amongst a rather starry line-up of guests which included David Tennant, Gary Lineker, Hayley Mills, Harry Enfield, Steven Van Zandt, Dave Clark and Dominic Cooper amongst many others. Some of them were even kind enough to allow some photos (...like they had any choice!?).

Cat and Mel with Dominic Cooper
Lesley gets a picture with Dr Who for her son. Apparently that's what they all say!
You can see the rest of our snaps on Facebook or check out some great press shots on wooller.com.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Behind the scenes with Joe Egg

What a great way to start the week. Along with Toad's Caravan, we set up a make-shift film studio in a rehearsal room and got up close and personal with the Director (Phillip Breen) and 3 cast members from A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

First up, Phillip set the bar exceedingly high with his matching scarf and sock ensemble!

He let us into the secret that he'd been thinking how perfect 'Joe Egg' would be for our auditorium, when he directed here for The Caretaker (in 2008). Little did he realise at the time that this was in fact the stage where it first premiered in 1967.

His natural love of Peter Nichol's play shone through in the interview. From his perspective, the cast are all working extremely well and things are shaping up nicely.
Miles Jupp (of Balamory and The Thick of It fame) told us of the somewhat interesting non-human characters in the show - you'll have to book a ticket to find out what - and told us how Miriam is cracking him up at lunchtimes (Ed. we're jealous!). Sarah Tansey gave us an impassioned insight into her character Sheila's determination and got us all properly psyched to see the production.


Finally Miriam Margolyes revealed her family connection to Glasgow, in fact to the Gorbals. She also talked of seeing the original 'Joe Egg' production that transferred from Glasgow to London's West End back in the late 60s and how it had her roaring with laughter.

All of our interviewees are having a great time with the comedic aspects of the play, descriptions of which range from stand-up and farce to situational and black comedy.

Our short interview trailer should be live early next week!

A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG
19 October - 12 November 2011
More info