Tag Archives: Illuminated Theatre Company

Early Notes from ‘They Came From Woking’

In ages past, I was in a play. Here are some old notes about it.


This is a page for recording ideas about Kristen McGorry’s script for a comedy play based around HG Wells’s book ‘The War of the Worlds’ and the Jeff Wayne 1978 rock opera album based upon it.

  • Have a character called Nathaniel so someone can shout out, “NATHANIEL!”
  • Set in Woking / Byfleet etc
  • Use the phrase, “The chances of anything….. are a million to one”
  • Use flare sound from first track, where Burton is describing the flares coming from Mars
  • Ominous unscrewing sound – someone opening a jar? Possibly a burglar? Tense scene.
  • Smoking the Red Weed?

Opening scene:

  1. Darkness
  2. Voiceover – hero quoting first lines from album, “Noone would have ever believed ….” through to “…they drew their plans against us”
  3. Music starts as in album
  4. lights up simultaneously, revealing character on stage in tin foil outfit on roof watching the skies
  5. possible dance routine, like ‘Thriller’?
  6. interrupted by Mum?

A Day In The Life Of The MC

From the archives, here is a short piece I wrote to be my biography in the program for an old improvisation show that I compere’d in Wimbledon a few years ago. See if you can spot the subtle references.

~~~

I live in Tooting, on Renmuir Street, on the 1st floor.
My name is Matthew Petty.
I’m 30ahem years old.

Despite appearances, I believe in taking care of myself, in a balanced diet, in a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an icepack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the icepack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water-activated gel cleanser. Then a honey-almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply a herb mint facial masque, which I leave on for ten minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. While the kettle boils for my Co-op Red Label Tea, I feed my West Highland Terrier and talk to him. His name is Shuggie and I love him, although his opinions on Intelligent Design are a little worrying.

I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm, followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

I enjoy the music of The Human League. Interestingly, I enjoy their early avant-garde work as an electronic 3-piece (The Black Hit Of Space, Dreams Of Leaving) just as much as the later, more chic, cinematic cocktail disco of Don’t You Want Me and Open Your Heart. I also like The Who, Talking Heads and Dollar, and there is no shame in that.

There is an idea of a Matthew Petty – some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable –

I simply am not there.

comperebadge

Sweaty Greeks

Thursday. Audience = 20.

This is one those liveblogging things where I’m typing backstage, while Tiresias applies her Amy Winehouse eye makeup, and on stage Oedipus and Jocasta discuss the stories that will soon intertwine to reveal their terrible fate. Not exactly liveblogging, because this won’t hit the web until later, but kinda.

My first two scenes were hot: both in the sweltering-under-the-lights hot and pretty-damn-good hot. Of course, I’ve jinxed myself by saying that, but we’ll see. The energy is up, but I am involved with stuff as usual, so I need to concentrate. It has become my duty later on to mop up after Jocasta, because she enters covered in blood, so I mop up after her to prevent the dressing room and the cast getting smeared. I feel like Norman Bates: “Mother?! Blood! Blood!!”

We’re Surrounded!

Saturday 3 May. Audience: 20 / 20ish.

A matinee performance where the audience outnumbered the cast? Unthinkable. But there we were, with people… looking at us… on all sides. Despite this unforeseen hiccup, the first performance was good with lots of energy. I think I saw the fabled Man of Wimbledon, with his harrumphing and stretching, but he’s always there. Didn’t see his flask of tea, but one can assume it was there. I was in a much better mood because of stuff anyway, so that helped lift it, even if it didn’t help the concentration.

After the first run, I joined Susie, Kylie and Ryan at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen for too much food. The back to the theatre for some tips and tweaks to the chorus parts, and how they interact with the principals. Some good new bits that you ungrateful wretches that come and see it will never appreciate.

The evening run suffered a little from lack of energy, on my part at least, due to the hundredweight of beef in my stomach. But it was a good’un, and the audience was even bigger, as was I.

Social Oedipus

Friday 2 May

Audience – 4 + 6

Good one tonight. Bit more pace. I was more confident. Small audience, but at least there was someone there. I was a bit distracted, what with the same old stuff. So it was nice to go to the pub afterwards.

But before that I went out and watched ‘Antigone’ in the audience, with Georgina (hence
the +2 above). It was good to finally see the second part of the show I’m in. I’ve never
managed it in rehearsal – too busy learning lines in the kitchen.

‘Antigone’ is a pretty dismal story, but it was done with sharpness, depth and sensitivity. It’s a bit weird to watch Julian playing an older version of my character. Strictly speaking, I’m playing a younger version of his character – and only for the last two weeks. Because of this, I found myself thinking how I can make my portrayal more in tune with his. My final act is to stand in a spotlight and consider my future and those of Oedipus’ children, so I can now try to visibly become the man in the second act.

I’d stuck around to watch the full show, but also to socialise with the rest of the cast. We went to the awful Wetherspoons (The Chav and Rickets, or something), where hateful
scum go to get blasted on cheap beer, hump each other behnd the bins and conceive the
next generation of rat-faced social liabilities. If this sounds like snobbery, that’s because it is – but no less true.

But it did mean that I could buy a round for everyone in the cast and have enough change
from a fiver for a pie, a woman, and the bus home.

I was on a down anyway because of stuff, and I had a bit of a moan to a very understanding Oedipus – who you’d think would be happy to hear about someone else’s
problems for a change. When I got home at about midnight I despondently checked my email, just in case, and found the thing I’d been waiting for. So then I was up until
3am on Skype with Cassie, and trying to figure out what just happened.

Is There A Shepherd In The House?

Thursday 1 May

Audience – about 8

“Does anyone know the herdsman?”

I have one reasonable-sized speech in the play, explaining why Creon wouldn’t want Oedipus’ position. I (Creon) point out that I could have grabbed the top job when it was empty, but I didn’t want it.

“Where is the herdsman?”

Except that I didn’t last night, because I messed up and missed that bit of the speech. Luckily Creon is a bit bumbly, so he can fumble and mumble his way through it.

“Bring me the herdsman!”

Still very frustrating though. Stuff to do with my future plans that I don’t want to go into yet is bringing me down. I wish I could write more.

“For frak’s sake someone fetch the frakkin’ herdsman!”

I guess the thing to do is to put my head down and do what’s required, at work, at home and at the theatre.

Thebans On Resonance FM

On Sunday, Gareth and Kali, who play Oedipus and Jocasta in my current production The Thebans, were interviewed by Claire Cooke on Resonance FM, and performed a live extract from the play. Listen here.

Second Performance Feat. Tumbleweeds

Wednesday 30th April 

A morale-boosting rumour that the Ambassador’s-owned Studio is making a right mess of selling tickets. Here’s a selection:

  • £30 a ticket! (wrong)
  • The show started tonight (wrong)
  • The show is called The Bans (wrong)

The programme is in place now, at least. I made a typo in my biog, so I apparently played the part of Lucifer in The Marquis De Sade, when in fact I played the part of Lucifer and the part of The Marquis De Sade. These things matter.

It would be funny to leave the cast in the programme as it was in the very beginning, and then do an announcement each night, along with the “turn your phones off, bitches” speech, that said, “Due to circumstances, the part of Creon will tonight be played by Matthew Petty. The part of Oedipus will be played by Gareth…” and on it would go for about half an hour. Hi-bleedin-larious.

While waiting up on the mezzanine above the box office before my entrance early in the first scene, I was privileged to witness the single ticket buyer enter and take his seat. That’s right – one (1 (one)) person in the audience. So we had a quick discussion, and asked the audience, and decided that it would better to do the show, and get another run in.

I’m writing this backstage, after my first two scenes. Spirits, it would seem, are high. The audience is a cast members Dad, so we’re doing our best. He said he would clap extra loud.

The Case Of The Invisible Corpse

Tuesday 29 April 

As first nights go, it wasn’t so bad. Audience was around the 10 mark, but appreciative. The problem with serious stuff is that you get very little feedback during the performance. In comedies, they hopefully laugh. Sometimes they even laugh at the bits you expect them to.

But give them credit, because they didn’t laugh at what appeared to be quite a farcical final scene. I was waiting to go on, listening through the door for my cue. Just as it was supposed to be coming, a taxi driver came marching up the back steps telling the theatre staff that he had a lady in a wheelchair to drop off for the one-night-only Joe Longthorne concert in the main theatre, which had been pounding through the dressing room walls all night (she was late). This meant I couldn’t hear my cue. So an adlib was made up which meant someone came off stage to fetch me. But I was listening at the door. WHAM.

Once on stage, all went well. But I have a tip – if there is a dead body lying in state on the black-painted stage, don’t cover it with a black cloth. This will render it invisible, and increase exponentially the chances of an unwitting cast member tripping over it and thus undermining the solemnity of the occasion.

Onwards and upwards! 1 show down, five hundred million to go. Actually 12.

A Bit Of Theatre Background

For those looking at this site for the first time (Welcome Thebans!), I have a database of the plays and stuff I’ve done over the years. I made it myself, so it’s a bit clunky, but it has entries for each play, each company and each venue. Take a look!

Stuff I’ve done with Kristen in the past

Big stuff I’ve done at the Wimbledon Studio Theatre

I’d like to do an entry for all plays I’ve done at the Wimbledon Studio Theatre, but I haven’t written the database query yet. Plus the results pages are a bit bland, but they do the job (whatever that job might be). Anyway – now you have some background.