On the 16th and 17th of March we took over Theatre in the district with a theatre experiment called Crowsong. Here’s who I’d like to thank for making it possible.
Caffeine: Jason Potgieter frightens me. He’s a force of nature that sweeps up medium sized trees and Korean cars and rearranges furniture. So when Jason says you have spare time to put on a show, you have spare time. Or you make it. Because otherwise you’ll have missed out on something that’ll change the way you think.
So we met and bounced ideas and sat in bars with inappropriately large sheets of paper and koki pens. We doodled and shmoodled and made a script with stick figures and arrows. I was the builder of devices and Jason was the dynamo – arriving at the theatre in the district after a full day at Handspring but bringing the sound and fury with a dash a of significance.
The story started out as ideas about mad puppeteer-alchemists. Jason gave me a stack of photocopies of kabbala mysticism, medieval mythology and astrological charts. I gave him China Miéville’s Kraken. Together we scavenged lamps and clamps and cables and tables and all kinds of goodies to make magic with. We came up with the story an ordinary man who loses his lover. And tries to bring her back. So he seeks out the services of specialists.
So we needed an actor to join us.
Gumtree: James MacGregor has been around the block too often for one so young. So he must be talented, surely? Doesn’t really matter, we told ourselves, the part is easy.
Turns out we were wrong. The part is difficult. And James isn’t talented. Talented is what your five year old nephew is when he builds a sand castle higher than him. What do you call him when he installs working elevators and a suspension bridge? What ever word you decide on, that’s Jimmy. He hurled himself at this for no money. The lights? He did ’em. The music? He did… Well, he found and edited it while Jason and I were quibbling over pleats.
I have seldom been so impressed with an actor on so many levels. He’s committed, passionate, funny, talented (or whatever) and he manages it despite being forced to live life as a ginger and looking a bit like Matt Damon. If you have the right light.
Happy Crate: The Theatre in the District is cool in that way that only not caring about being cool is cool. Do you follow? It cares about art and community. Brian and Trish Notcutt have made an amazing space to work. With almost no money we were able to rehearse and perform and transform a real theatre into our mad lab. We hung brown paper all over it and strung up cardboard crows.
Bosnia and Ethiopia: Sanjin rocks. Nothing surprises him. He comes home to find wheels being fitted on to the coffee table and doesn’t even blink. The flat is covered with torn paper, sawdust and offcuts of plastic. The painful shriek of a file on wood destroys his quiet enjoyment of the world cup. But he bats not an eyelash. He leant us the camera and projector gratis despite the danger of oil, ink and noodles. And lets not for get who first thought up live drawing…
He also filmed the show. Here’s a clip he posted on Youtube and the CT Live blog:
Genetics: To furnish the space with crates and rope and stools and bits and pieces required more theft than expected. Fortunately our parents rarely press charges. But that’s a minor part of why I have to thank the folks. I would not be able to make my own theatre without them, without their support. And I know how rare that support is for people. Thank you.
Corner Store: Dillon and Beren, they came in, ate some chicken and drank some coke and called it even for lifting, rigging, pushing buttons, taking donations, getting people seated and striking the set. Well, we’re not even. I owe you guys some grunt work. You know where to find me.
The final thank you is for everyone who came to watch or sent support to 3 crazy theatremakers. Especially to all those who spread the love on facebook, their blogs and face to face. And a super big one to Jesse Kramer for bringing along her magic camera. I’ll sign off with one of her shots. You can get a hold of her on her website.