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Looking ahead to 2015

It’s been such a long time since we’ve been in touch and we hope you forgive us. Since PROPHESY finished it may seem like we’ve been quiet, but we promise a lot of exciting things have been happening in Baz HQ.

 

With a new year comes a sense of self-reflection and Baz has been no different. As we look towards the future we’ve returned to our values and the mission we set down right at the start. Are they still valid? Are those commitments and promises still relevant? Is the Baz of today the same as that of 2010?

 

We have certainly changed: 2 marriages; a career change; a Baz baby and countless jobs have seen our time grow increasingly more precious, forcing us to focus on how best to protect what we love most about Baz amongst everything else that comes with running a company.

 

Our priority is the development of new and exciting work. To do so requires money. And, oh the irony, our least favourite part is raising the money… Exactly what we need in order to achieve the priority. Fundraising is the hardest and most time consuming part of running an arts company and requires every ounce of energy. It’s a full time job on it’s own requiring a skillset not always compatible with theatre folk. We’ve been incredibly lucky in the level of support, financial and otherwise, that we’ve received over the years from our audiences and friends and we’re determined to honour our promise to pay a living wage to our cast. We’re also determined to do so without pestering those who show an interest in our work and exhausting ourselves. Which is why we’ve been quiet…. We’ve been spending time working out how we can use our skills in order to become financially viable, and consistently so, in order to focus on the best bits of Baz – the work.

 

Excitingly we’ve been working with Teach First; a fascinating charity that trains graduates and supports them through their first years on the job. Alongside their existing program we have developed a series of workshops that we are delivering to their participants. Providing a toolkit of skills, both physical and vocal to improve teacher presence, has been exhilarating and rewarding. Not to mention providing us with a steady income. We intend to build on this side of Baz Ed as well as delivering a pilot scheme for Teach First in both London and Ipswich over the next few months which it is hoped will be rolled out to all new teachers. To help us achieve this we’ve enlisted PJ Crabb as our Education Manager and we’re thrilled to welcome her to the Baz Team. With this now in place we can use our precious time to devote to the next project we’re planning for 2016.

 

The brief was quite simple, and set over a boozy lunch…. It had to be bonkers, European and female. After a lot of reading August Strindberg’s A Dream Play seemed to fit the bill. It ticked the first two boxes straight away and although not written by a woman, it’s sole protagonist is one; a female character that navigates the weird and wonderful dystopian dream-reality. A rare thing in a play written at the very beginning of the 20th Century. We love it. We spent the first half of 2014 exploring it, playing with it and pulling it apart in monthly workshops with the team and a group of invited musicians who have helped open up a whole new world to us. Although workshops are in a hiatus as we concentrate on venues and details and exactly how we want to approach the text, we’re thrilled with the work so far.

 

So I hope that fills you in. We may occasionally forget to blog and post and tweet, but we promise that’s just because we’re so wrapped up in ensuring the future and focusing our time where it’s best placed. We don’t want to be in touch only when we need something. We want a financially stable company with a secure future in order to retain everything we believe is unique and special about Baz.

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“What a nightmare”

Day 2

Date: Sunday 12th May 2013 10am – 5.10pm

Venue: Port of Entry

Workshop Director: Sarah Bedi

Actors: Tasha Broomfield, Leila Crerar, Olivia Greene, Polly Misch, Katherine Newman, Catherine Bailey

We started with 20 minutes of mindfulness again. Awesome. Cathartic. Difficult. Helpful.

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Then we took to walking around the room as before, looking at every detail in the room; a nail in a floor board, the loop on a shoelace, a pattern in the brickwork.

2. Balancing the Space and Freeze

Then we did a version of the balancing space exercise, but Bedi added a twist. Without communicating it verbally, when Bedi said a number between 0-6, that number of people had to stop walking. So if she said “2”, then 2 of us froze whilst the rest kept walking. The identity of the 2 that were still could change at any time, or until Bedi called out another number. The longer we did the exercise, the more tuned in we became to the rest of the group – where everyone was, and whether they were moving or not.

3. Name-concentration-jam

Name tag = Classic. You play a game of tag. If someone is running at you to tag you, call out someone else’s name to save yourself. The name of the person you call automatically becomes “it”. Hysterical. Bedi closed the space down and it got more intense. Such a great warm-up for body and mind.

Then we stood in a circle and went round the circle, saying our names. Then we went around again but you had to say the name of the person two people ahead of you. Then repeat but say the name of the person three people ahead of you, etc.

We were introduced to this name clapping game. You stand in a circle. The person who begins makes eye contact with someone, and says her own name and claps at the same time. The receiver does the exact same thing, and then passes it on in the same way. A clapping rhythm is established. It is really difficult. And a brilliant way of learning names, and getting focused.

4. Meisner-ish

We got into pairs, took a chair each, and sat opposite each other. The task was to make eye contact. That’s all. Minutes pass. Acute embarrassment, a feeling of calm, hysterical laughter, boredom, or none of the above may happen, and did happen, and yet we have to maintain eye contact. At the end of the exercise we talked for ages about how profound such a simple exercise is. Liv noted that it is so rare that you are allowed to ever look at anyone in the eye for prolonged periods, especially in London. There was an observation that there was pressure to be acquiescent, to laugh if the person opposite you laughed for example. Bedi noted that when she saw Polly maintain a serious face when her partner laughed, it wasn’t a rejection or an unkind gesture, just an honest response in a room where there was trust enough for no one to be offended.

We swapped partners and did the exercise again. And again. More observations were thrown up – that you didn’t want to appear weird, or aggressive. Tash pointed out that facial expressions are the first things we learn to read as babies, and that there is something so fundamentally sensitive about looking into someone else’s face for a prolonged time.

The next layer of the exercise was for one person to speak a sentence to her partner, based on her appearance. The more neutral and less interpretive the better – i.e.

“You’ve got a black top”

The partner then repeats it, verbatim, back at her. Repeat. For AGES. So much happens! The words become nonsense. The room becomes nonsense. You laugh you cry you suddenly feel very clear about the whole thing. Or maybe you just feel bored… it’s all right.

5. Goldilocks

We sat in a circle on the floor and the six of us told the story of Goldilocks, sharing episodes with the “talking stick” (water bottle again). Again, we were anxious about story details – “is it the one with the porridge?” “Is there a wolf in this one too?” but as usual, this all came out in the wash as yet another unique version of a classic fairytale emerged. We did the same portion of the story, but in 10 words. Then again, in 5. Then again, in 1 – to really get to the crux of the episode. Bedi called them flagpoles in the story.

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Bedi then asked us to chose a colour for our episode, then a smell, and then a sensation or feeling in the body. The sensation one was surprisingly difficult to pin down. This was particularly pertinent as over coffee upstairs in El Paso we were talking about the difference in people’s learning styles (visual, auditory and tactile) and how their choice of language is a giveaway. For example, if you are a visual-based learner, you might use phrases like “Do you see what I mean?” if you are auditory you might say “Does that sound like a plan?” and if your style is tactile you might say “Let’s get to grips with this”… perhaps the six of us doing the exercise today were all visual or auditory learners…?

6. Dream talk

We took advantage of Port of Entry’s sofas and sat down to discuss dreams.

This was an epic discussion. As we shared quite a lot of personal stuff, I have decided to show the discussion, as I remember it, as a word cloud:

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 21.57.19Bedi is interested in how we explain the sensations that haunt us after dreaming – whether they are positive or negative. It is often why hearing details about someone else’s dream can be a bit dull – because it is so hard to convey the intense level of feeling that the dream evoked. We talked about how good David Lynch and Kubrick were at making dream-like films. But then we wondered whether our dreams were informed by film makers, and whether cultures who hadn’t experienced cinema dreamt differently…

It all got too much.

Lunch.

For the afternoon session we talked dreams again, but more specifically. We went round the circle and told a dream each in detail. The listeners were allowed to chip in and ask questions, helping the speaker to hone in on details and specifics of the dream, which were often remembered from years previously. Almost every one was a memory of a traumatic dream, with chasing, attack, and hiding being common motifs. Also, strangely windows were a feature in a few of our dreams. Most bizarrely of all, someone who hadn’t been in to the previous session where we told the Little Red story with the wolf spoke without moving his lips, described dreaming about something very similar. We were freaked out. So much shared, and Bedi noted so much…

Bedi thanked everyone for their work over the weekend and mentioned that the next session might include some text work from Strindberg’s The Dream Play. Overall this had been a fantastic re-acquaintance with BAZ-styles of playing and working. The alertness, bravery and mischief in the room made for a lot of discoveries and was a great starting point for our next project. Thank you to all, including the actors for giving their time and energy, to Paul Biver for taking photos, and to Port of Entry for having us! The next session details will be announced soon.

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Telling Tales – Day 1

Date: Saturday 11th May 10am – 3.45pm

Venue: Port of Entry

Workshop director: Sarah Bedi

Actors: Tash Broomfield, Leila Crerar, Kath Newman, Claire Timmins, Sam Swan, Mark Weinman, Catherine Bailey

This was the first session BAZ had held since our run of Prophesy in March. We are still deciding which project to do next, and so this was a weekend of exploration. We were thrilled to be working at Port of Entry, an artistic hub for creative people from all disciplines, right in the centre of Hoxton. Port of Entry’s tag line is that it is a Petri dish for creativity, and so BAZ were true to this metaphor, allowing ideas and thoughts to germinate in this very supportive environment.

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BAZ lands at Port of Entry

Bedi explained that we would be exploring story telling this weekend, maybe with some discussion of dreams thrown in. We didn’t use any text during the weekend, but plenty of BAZ-style playing and performance thrived in the many improvisations the actors leapt into over the two days. We began the whole thing with a mind warm-up…

1. Mindfulness

Tash led the group in a 20-minute session of meditation. Before we started she mentioned that it is practising meditating that we will be doing, not meditating itself… (brain explodes). Tash explained how to do it:

You sit upright, not slouched or resting against the back of the chair. Your knees should be directly over your ankles at right angles. Engage lightly with your core muscles, and with your hands relaxed on your legs, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. The idea then is to breathe in, and breathe out, and in your head count ‘1’. Then breathe in, breathe out, and count ‘2’. Then breathe in and breathe out, and count ‘3’… all the way up to ‘10’. Repeat this until the chime goes, which will indicate five minutes has gone by.

Then you do the second stage, which is to wait for the breath to come naturally, and just before it does, count ‘1’ in your head. Then wait for the next breath, and just before breathing in count ‘2’… all the way up to 10. Repeat until the chime goes, which means another five minutes has elapsed.

The third stage is just to breathe in and breathe out, without counting. That’s all.

Then after five minutes, breathe in and breathe out, but with a focus on where the air enters your body, so around the nose or mouth. Then when the chime goes, that will be the end of the final five minutes, meaning you have practised meditating for 20 minutes.

A couple of us had done this before, and one or two still did it regularly. Personally I found it a relaxing experience ultimately, but during the exercise I was struck by how difficult it was to just focus on the breathing and gaps between the breaths. My mind wanted to wander and thoughts buzzed in and out, sometimes without me noticing I had lost focus on the breath. Tash had suggested that it might be helpful to imagine the thoughts as bubbles that you can lightly brush away or gently pop. This was really useful in getting me back to thinking about the breath. Sudden lapses in resistance were really noticeable, as I felt relaxed and yet alert. Mark said he finds practising mindfulness a great starting point – especially when there is a show to do.

2. Balancing the Space exercise

We put the chairs to the side of the room and walked around the space, balancing it so that if someone took a snapshot at any one time, we were evenly spread out and not all bunched in one corner.

3. Naming Objects, getting acquainted with the room

As we continued to walk around the space, we were asked to notice everything in it. We were lucky to be in a room full of interesting things, and the next stage was to point and name the thing you are looking at; ie “Chair” “Lightbulb” “metally pipe thing” etc.

4. Telling a story

Then as we walked in the space, one person was given an object and until they passed it on to someone else, they had to tell a story without stopping. The stories were pretty wild as the speaker had to concentrate on balancing the space with the group at the same time. The task was then intensified as another person was charged with telling a story at the same time. Moving in the space and listening to two stories in case it suddenly became your turn to speak was pretty much impossible but the struggle was joyous and the attempts to keep it all going as a group were useful, and hilarious.

5. Little Red Riding Hood

We sat in a circle on the floor and were asked to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, as a group. There were no rules, other than the storyteller had to hold the “talking stick” (in this case a bottle of water) whenever they were speaking. When they felt they had reached the end of their chapter, they simply passed it to the next person. There was some anxiety at the fact that not everyone could remember the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and what variations we might encounter, but we soon realised that making it up if you didn’t know it was a good option. In fact, the joy of storytelling was so exacerbated by the outrageous liberties we found we could take with the story, i.e. moving it into a contemporary setting with i-phones etc, having the wolf represented by “Wolf” from the ITV programme “Gladiators”. There was some acute listening as the story grew and speakers reincorporated previous offers from fellow storytellers, no matter how off-piste they may have gone. Even though each teller had their own style, the story moved forward, with eye contact and “not-thinking-before-you-speak” activity making the whole experience very alive. Bedi pointed out that we had spoken in the present tense for a lot of it, so “She’s running down a path” and “The wolf is looking at her” made it all very present indeed.

Then we were asked to describe the bit of the story we had told, but in a sentence of 10 words. For example: “She arrives at Granny’s house, something is not Right Hmm.” Then we had to distil it down to 5 words: “At Granny’s something is wrong.” Then one word – which could be inspired by anything, including any feelings, emotions or associations, i.e: “Hospital”. Then we had to describe it as a colour, and then as a smell – some people spoke of freshly cut grass, or stale breath.

Then we were asked to tell our episode of the story to the “audience”, tagging in and out as it became our turn to tell it. Being out of the circle and in a traditional “proscenium arch” configuration made the storytelling less intimate, but it seemed like we had to work harder to connect with our audience.

Lunch break

Bedi got us to sit in a sort of square fortress of chairs and sofas in the corner of the room. We kept to our episodes and were asked to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood again but this time we could interrupt the teller by asking specific questions about what they were saying. Claire was the first speaker, and so set the scene of Little Red Riding Hood’s life, and prompted by a barrage of questions from the group, Claire embroidered the story with more and more detail, including the time of day she set off for Granma’s house, the exact venue of Little Red’s house in Kent, her real name (Elizabeth, she thinks), her mum’s job as a school teacher in the village etc… Claire took each question and reacted with a “yes and” attitude, and in the same vein the story moved from storyteller to storyteller, via a chemical spill which took Red off her usual path through the forest, a wolf that spoke to a rapt Red without moving its lips, and a grandma with dementia and a penchant for German composers. During the story telling, Bedi noted that each speaker said “I” instead of “her” or “him” at least once. Also, as earlier, the story often happened in the present tense.

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Claire explains that Little Red’s homemade cookies she had baked for her Gran’s 97th birthday were too big to fit into Tupperware, so she had to use her mum’s sewing kit tin instead.Image

Claire is asked exactly where in Kent Little Red lives

An hour and 10 minutes since the sprawling group-made story had begun, after Red had met the wolf and secretly dialled an emergency number on her iphone and then left it on the side whilst loudly saying “gosh grandma, what big teeth you have” in the hope that the emergency services will pick up her position via GPS, the story concluded with the revelation that the shy woodcutter was actually a hero, and that despite being eaten and having her skull crushed, Little Red was fine, and the wolf was in fact Grandma’s dog, called Dementia. There was something very Ken Campbell about all this…

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A captive audience

Bedi observed that there were lovely moments when the speaker was surprised by her own story. She also appreciated the changing styles of telling – some were like comic strips, some were like a David Lynch film etc… but this didn’t get in the way of the narrative, and there was some charm in the way all these genres stitched together.

Shattered, enervated and all-laughed out, we decided to call it a day!

Starting Point

Another classic story, told again. An out-of-copyright, back-of-your consciousness, Hard-wired-into-your-soul story, with a twist, or not, being put on by theatre companies young and old, all over the place (unless they’ve had their funding cut).

I love that stories are recycled and re-shown to us over the years, their relevance going in and out of focus as media trends and fads shift in the background. Shakespeare is a flagship for this treatment: An all-female production of Julius Caesar, a South-African Othello, a shape-shifting Macbeth in a crypt, all of these ‘radical re-inventions’ line up over the years, contrasted with the odd authentic original practices production, such the original pronunciation version of Romeo & Juliet at the Globe a few years back. It seems another taboo is about to be broken via a Shakespeare play, with a forthcoming Much Ado at the Old Vic, which will feature leading actors Vanessa Redgrave (75) and James Earl Jones (81) taking on the roles Beatrice and Benedick.

The stories stand up. They can take it. Testing how robust a story is can be joyful, and is many the starting point of a BAZ exploration. We see that crossing boundaries of genres and media whilst using classic stories works. A musical rises out of a novel to become a film (Les Miserables), or a play emerges from a film based on a painting (Girl with a Pearl Earring). I even saw a ballet take the mick out of its own genre to make another ballet which was originally taken from a Russian folk tale…

Matthew Bourne and his company Adventures in Motion Pictures have had my captive attention since I saw their Swan Lake last century at Sadler’s Wells. I was about 15, and it is safe to say I went mental about it. I have loved Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes since school, and found the collaboration of set design, dance, music and storytelling a fascinating one. Seeing Bourne totally mess with ballet conventions to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s music was thrilling, especially with his recasting of the swan from delicate to dangerous.

But what about applying all these “re-dos” to something that isn’t a classic, or a work by Shakespeare or Homer, or an old folk tale? What if the inspiration for re-invention comes from recent times, from popular culture? Should it be regarded differently, as a work of little value or a timely gimmick? What makes a reinvention worthy?

I was lucky enough to see another Bourne production called Play Without Words, a retelling of a film adaptation by Harold Pinter called The Servant. At the time of watching the play/ballet, I had not seen the film, but I adored the brassy choreography and 1960s aesthetic (before the world had gone entirely loopy about “vintage”) and was fascinated that the starting point had been a film, and before a film, a novel. So not so much lost in translation, but found in transposition.

So can you make high-art out of pop-culture? The pop-art movement says “yes” in a big Lichtenstein speech bubble. But in the theatre, how would that work? I guess an example where ‘pop’ was put on a proscenium arch stage was in the early 1990s with Rambert’s Rooster– a ballet inspired by the music of the Rolling Stones… watch out pop-pickers… is this eclectic postmodernism?

http://youtu.be/0bTW8tPL6qY

Aside from these balletic examples, we also happen to be at jukebox-musical-saturation point. Audiences still flock to see a live show based on the music of their favourite bands, from Abba to The Beatles. And it would seem that television isn’t safe either, with stage versions of TV classics such as Yes Prime Minister and Acorn Antiques both making high profile appearances in the west end, along with a version of Rising Damp which tours the UK this summer.

Until last week I had never witnessed a TV-to-stage-transplant, and I admit I was a bit skeptical about it. Maybe it is because I have a deep down impression of theatre as being sacred, somewhere where you go to see some high art and dress up a bit. (I try to resist this by the way, with pretty much everything BAZ chooses to do – but that’s another blog for another time.) So why was I reticent about seeing TV transferred to stage? Maybe it feels like too recent a genre, not far enough in the dusty past, or lofty like a book, or epic like a film. Then I got the opportunity to see a piece of theatre by Kneehigh based on a 1960s sitcom called Steptoe and Son.

I had heard of Steptoe and Son, but that’s about it. It was before my time but still in my consciousness. I knew that Harry H Corbett, who played the son, in real life spoke in an RP accent and was charmingly nonchalant (from the excerpt of an interview I saw him give), but mainly I was aware of the series because it was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. They had written the preferred sitcom of my childhood, Hancock’s Half Hour. My husband was forced to watch it as a youngster and is still repulsed by it because he found it depressing, but I was transfixed by East Cheam’s hapless resident, and his dysfunctional relationships with Miss Pugh, Sid, and Bill. The show had exceptional comic acting and brilliant writing. Galton and Simpson nailed it with Hancock’s Half Hour but when their collaboration with Tony Hancock ended, they proved that they weren’t a one-hit wonder. At the height of its powers Steptoe and Son had 28 million viewers on BBC1. To put that in perspective, the peak viewing figures for The X factor in 2010 only pulled in 19.7 million.

When it came to staging Steptoe and Son, Kneehigh’s production artfully avoided crass comparison with the original TV actors’ performances and relocated the characters from Shepherd’s Bush to the west country, so that phrases like “You dirty old man” could have their own space. The performances were alive and enticing – I felt invited in via the eye contact between the actors and us in the audience, and the dance sequences added a music-hall flavour, which in the environs of Frank Matcham’s ornate Victorian theatre in Hammersmith felt apt. The original cast of two men was expanded to include a woman, who embodied everything from Old Steptoe’s deceased wife, to a prospective date, to “1960s womanhood” to “The Future”.  I loved it. It was charming and hilarious and magical and profoundly sad, and much as I love television, I don’t think it can inspire goosebumps in the same way. Theatre can never be TV, and vice versa, right? If you hadn’t seen the sitcom it didn’t matter, here was a story being told. If you were a die-hard Steptoe and Son fan then maybe the love for the original was so indelibly printed that you couldn’t get over it – but enjoying a work in its own right is what its all about, isn’t it? Who cares where the story comes from, as long as you tell it with courage and skill?

The night I saw Steptoe and Son the actor playing old Steptoe made a curtain speech which included a plea for schools to put Galton and Simpson on the syllabus. The audience chuckled but I think it’s a great idea. To present recent social history via the tragedy and comedy of these talented and well-loved writers shouldn’t be sniffed at, just as we shouldn’t disregard the creation of a ballet inspired by a pop song.

So if we are in an age where artists are like magpies, looking at the past and picking out the shiny bits with the present as a backdrop, then what’s wrong with taking inspiration from absolutely anywhere? As an extreme example, can a recent story embedded in popular culture make it to the elevated heights of our most established theatrical institutions? I guess so…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE8UxXaxLj8

Time Flying Past…..

We are delighted with how our Pop-Up Production of PROPHESY has been received. We’re now in our 3rd week and time has flown by. Presenting a new piece is hard work, unable to hide behind a familiar and well loved story, but we are proud of what we’ve created in Shoreditch.  We close on March 2nd and thought we’d share with you some of our recent reviews, linked below. We were thrilled to receive a nomination for Best Ensemble at the Off West End Awards and highlighted as Editors Choice at One Stop Arts.

Thank you to those who have joined us already. If you’ve not had a chance, we’d be delighted to reserve tickets for you before the end of the run. Please do let us know if you’d like us to put some aside.

****  One Stop Arts

****   Views From The Gods

****   Everything Theatre

***     Exeunt Magazine

***      Whats on Stage 

When Theseus arrives in Sparta, Helen finds herself amused by his attention – a welcome distraction from the lonely world she inhabits with her younger sister Cly and cousin Penelope. As his interest grows, Helen must fight to regain control of her world before it is turned upside down by a warning from the Oracle.

Paris has returned to Troy after his banishment as a baby. Struggling to adapt and determined not to conform to the control he sees around him, Paris must learn the rules of this new world surrounded by a family he has nothing in common with. Angry and desperate to define himself, Paris’ unwanted prophecy proves self-fulfilling.

Set in the two contrasting worlds of ‘Troy’ and ‘Sparta’, PROPHESY explores the moment Paris and Helen receive the unexpected prophecies that will determine their future and bring about the complete destruction of their world. Can knowledge of our future prove self-fulfilling, and in a battle of fate and freewill, is it ever truly possible to change?

Radically re-imagining characters from the Greek Myths in settings not unlike modern Britain, PROPHESY investigates the notion of self-identity: the roles we take on, the expectations we have and the choices we make. Set in Troy and Sparta, 5 actors take on the 10 characters spread across 2 worlds not too dissimilar to ours as they explore the characters of Greek myth in the moments when their futures are revealed to them.

We look forward to seeing you soon and many thanks as always for your support.

 

The Baz Team  xxx 

These are the children, old before their time,

who eyeball prophecy and smirk at fame;

ahead are crowns and ships and bloody war,

but now they scratch in sticky-fingered game.

 

‘A truly engaging revision of classic characters by a great up-and-coming company.’ 

‘With very little exception, Prophesy is an excellently executed show, with a very charming venue to boot, and I look forward to seeing more work from everyone involved.’

‘What the group have devised is a thoughtful, reflective and frequently funny work that will delight seasoned theatregoers’

‘With equal measures of humour and despair, and the promise of a different performance every night, Prophesy is a captivating story, well worth a watch.’

‘I think it is safe to say that we can expect big things from the BAZ Productions trio. This wonderfully thought-out exploration into the realms of classical mythology is a piece which I thoroughly enjoyed and that I would sincerely recommend.’

The Epilogue

PROPHESY explores the time before Paris and Helen met, before their characters were defined by the Trojan War their love ignited. Both received prophecies that revealed a future filled with conflict and death they couldn’t escape.

This is their epilogue….

Theseus abducted Helen from Sparta not long after our story ends before her family succeeded in rescuing her and returning her to Sparta. The power over men she had begun to display continued, with countless suitors vying for her hand before Tyndareus chose Menelaus, King of Sparta, as her husband.

When Paris visited Sparta his prize promised by the goddesses was finally revealed. The couple fell in love, secretly escaping to Troy as prophesied. Furious, Menelaus gathered an enormous army and set sail for Troy to bring his wife back. His brother Agamemnon who had since married Clytemnestra, sacrificed his own daughter Iphigenia to ensure a safe voyage for the soldiers.

Troy was protected by an impenetrable high dense wall and a stalemate soon arose. Though Hector did not approve of war he was renowned for being the greatest warrior in Troy, a leader of people and admired by all. Hector was killed by Achilles and dragged round the wall for twelve days by his heels before his body was returned to the family, his death prompting a 12 day truce in the Trojan War. Paris later fatally shot Achilles in his heel.

After nine long years and many deaths the Greeks were on the brink of collapse when wise Odysseus, husband of Penelope, came up with a plan. They made a giant hollow wooden horse. Opening the gates, the Trojans brought the horse inside the city and celebrated. As so often before, no one listened to Cassandra, who warned against keeping the horse. At midnight, Greek soldiers emerged from inside the horse and massacred the Trojans in their sleep.

Blood ran in torrents, drenched was all the earth,

As Trojans and their alien helpers died.

Here were men lying quelled by bitter death

All up and down the city in their blood.

Paris died during the war defending Troy. Helen soon remarried before Menelaus reclaimed her as his own. Despite his threats to kill her, Helen used her power ensure her survival, returning to Sparta where it had all begun.

The Story

online flyer

Tickets are now on sale via ticketweb here, but as a small way of showing our gratitude for your support, we’d like to offer you the chance to book your tickets direct with us and avoid booking fees. Please contact emma on emma@bazproductions.co.uk and we’d be delighted to arrange that for you.

PROPHESY, a devised project supported by the Arts Council:

Helen, aged 12, meets a strange man
Paris, aged 10, is a stranger in his own family
Neither is prepared for the future that is coming

When Theseus arrives in Sparta, Helen finds herself amused by his attention – a welcome distraction from the lonely world she inhabits with her younger sister Cly and cousin Penelope. As his interest grows, Helen must fight to regain control of her world.

Paris has returned to Troy after his banishment as a baby. Struggling to adapt and determined not to conform to the control he sees around him, Paris must learn the rules of this new world surrounded by a family he has nothing in common with.

Set in the two contrasting worlds of ‘Troy’ and ‘Sparta’, PROPHESY explores the moments in Paris and Helen’s childhood they receive the unexpected prophesies that will determine their future and bring about the complete destruction of their world. Can a knowledge of our future prove self-fulfilling, and in a battle of fate and freewill, is it ever truly possible to change?

Taking characters from the classic Greek Myths in settings not unlike modern Britain, PROPHESY investigates the notion of self-identity in children: the roles they take on, the expectations they have and the choices they make.

Devised by the ensemble, PROPHESY has been developed through improvisation and physical theatre and will run in the gallery space at Blackall Studios. BAZ Productions has built a reputation for powerful and unique work in non-theatrical spaces, established in their award nominated Macbeth in the Crypt of St. Andrew, Holborn in 2011.

CAST:

2ND WEEK REHEARSAL2

Natasha Broomfield – Natasha trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre credits include: Men Should Weep (Oxford Stage Company); Diamond (King’s Head); Fiddler on the Roof (Sheffield Crucible, West End); Ghosts (Arcola/ATC); Greenland, 13 (National Theatre); Electra (Gate Theatre); Anne and Zef (Company of Angels/Salisbury Playhouse); Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre/West End). Television includes: Stacey Stone; Holby City; The Worst Week of My Life. Radio: To Throw Down God.

Leila Crerar – Theatre credits include: Decade, (Headlong/National Theatre); We Love You City (Belgrade Theatre); The Seagull (Factory, Hampstead Theatre); Othello (Frantic Assembly, Lyric Theatre); Little Brown Backed Book (Arcola Theatre); Hamlet (The Rose Theatre); Measure for Measure (Clwyd Theatr Cymru); Sit and Shiver (Steven Berkoff, Hackney Empire); Rock ‘N’ Roll/Relatively Speaking (Library Theatre Manchester); Emma (Haymarket Theatre); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (New Vic Theatre); Troilus and Cressida (Clwyd Theatr Cymru); Blood Moon (UK Tour); Hippolytus (UK Tour). Film/TV includes: Eastenders; Torchwood; Casualty; Doctors; Belonging series 1,2,3; Two Way Journey (Feature); Tales From Coney Beach (Blast Films)

Geoffrey Lumb – Geoffrey’s theatre credits includes: The Fitzrovia Radio Hour (Tour); Macbeth (Baz Productions); Chekhov In Hell (Soho Theatre/Drum Theatre Plymouth); Romeo and Juliet (AFTLS); Rendezvous With Fear (Fitzrovia Radio Hour); His Dark Materials I and II (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse); Rendition Monologues (Ice and Fire); The Changeling (English Touring Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, King John, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, Shrew, The American Pilot (RSC); Hansel and Gretel (Northampton Theatre Royal); Twelfth Night (English Touring Theatre). TV credits includes: Luther (BBC); Europe’s Secret Armies (Discovery).

Katherine Newman – Katherine’s theatre credits include: Macbeth (Baz Productions); Anabella in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (The Globe Theatre); Rossignol in Mater/Sade (The Gateway); Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (The Byre Theatre). Television & Film includes: Locked Up Abroad; Betrayed in Ecuador; Crossing The Line; Heim; And The Colours Are Like Summer; Once Upon A Time. Katherine is a professional storyteller and regularly works as a voice over artist, recently recording the voice of Harry Potter’s Professor McGonagall for Warner Brothers Kinect.

Mark Weinman – Mark studied Drama at the University of Manchester. Theatre credits include: Serjeant Musgraves Dance (Royal Court, rehearsed reading); Barrow Hill (Finborough); The Hairy Ape (Southwark Playhouse); Captain Amazing (Live Theatre, Newcastle); Some Scary Stories (Royal Exchange Theatre); Step 9 (of 12) (Nominated for Best Actor OffWestEnd); FastBurn (KneeHigh Theatre); Herons (Stephen Joseph/Library Theatre) Amphibians (Bridewell Theatre); Edmond (Theatre Royal Haymarket); The Emperor Jones (National Theatre); Still killing time (Soho Theatre/NYT); Sandy 123 (Roundhouse); Mojo (Winner of Best Male Actor Infringe festival); Selling Clive (Lost Theatre); Eating Ice Cream on Gaza Beach (Soho Theatre/NYT); Nettles (Contact Theatre); Pale Horse (John Thaw Theatre); Europe (Contact Theatre); Scenes from Abroad (Watford Palace Theatre). TV/Film includes : Derren Brown: The Experiments, Shinos Show (James), Waves (Adam), This is Love (Dex)