Rehearsals for our latest show NO EXIT (Huis Clos) are in full swing!
Rehearsals are running full speed for our upcoming summer show, The Taming of the Shrew, which opens in just over two weeks and will be performed at various beautiful locations in Liverpool. Time to get your tickets! You can book online via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/thetamingoftheshrew.
Please check the poster above (or the ticket link) for full details about the Where and When.
Below is a snap from a successful first outdoor rehearsal – we hope to see you at one of the shows, and if you come to one of the outdoor shows, why not bring a picnic (and a whole bunch of friends)!
Network’s spring play, JB Priestley’s “I Have Been Here Before” is almost upon us! The show will be performed Friday 5th May (7.30pm) and Saturday 6th May (2pm & 7.30pm) at the Unitarian Church on Ullet Road and we’re all looking forward to what’s in store for us here.
“Liverpool Network Theatre Group presents J B Priestley’s exploration of deja vu. When six characters find themselves thrown together to stay in a country inn on the Yorkshire moors for Whitsuntide it seems to be pure chance. But their interconnectedness soon becomes apparent as they are inexorably drawn to some irksome, illusive conclusion.”
Tickets are available at the following link, be sure to get yours soon: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/liverpoolnetworktheatre
You can also see all details and RSVP to the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1869781279971681/
Also, if you’re around town on Light Night (Friday 19th May), why not pop into Blackburne House, where LNTG will be performing a preview of this year’s summer show, The Taming of the Shrew, along with some of Shakespeare’s sonnets?
Info on the flyer below:
See you all soon! x
Tickets are now on sale for Liverpool Network Theatre’s Peter Shaffer double bill in February.
“White Liars” & “Black Comedy” are two one-act plays by the acclaimed author of Amadeus and Equus.
Fri 3rd Feb, 7.30pm
Sat 4th Feb, 2pm & 7.30pm
(doors open 7pm / 1.30pm)
To be performed at the Gregson Memorial Institute, 55 Garmoyle Road, Liverpool L15 3HN
Tickets available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/blackandwhite
See below for more details!
White Liars: Sophie, Baroness Lemberg, is a disillusioned fortune teller in an out-of-season resort. She is visited by Tom, the lead singer in a rock band, and his business manager, Frank. It soon becomes clear that Frank has an ulterior motive in the visit, but as Sophie looks into her crystal ball we find that life really is stranger than fiction…
Black Comedy: This hilarious farce plays on light and dark. Brindsley Miller is an unsuccessful artist whose big chance has finally come, with a visit from eccentric millionaire art collector, Georg Bamberger. There are just a few problems to overcome: being engaged to Carol without having properly ended things with previous girlfriend Clea, the first meeting with Carol’s terrifying military father and having ‘borrowed’ his possessive neighbour Harold’s furniture to spruce up his flat. And then the lights go out…
Liverpool Network Theatre Group are delighted to present ‘Humble Boy’, the award-winning play (2001 Critics Theatre Award for New Play) by Charlotte Jones.
Take a stammering astrophysicist, add his waspish mother, her boorish beau and his free-spirited daughter, sprinkle with a nervous family friend and garnish with a wise gardener. Place all in the warmth of an idyllic British summer and watch the desperately cultivated veneer of civility disintegrate deliciously. Humble Boy is a gorgeous celebration of language and the madness of life, like the bees that buzz in Felix’s head even though they have been banished from the beehive. It is thematically rich and boldly theatrical whilst remaining uncompromisingly and intimately human with plenty to think about once the sun has finally set on the Humbles’ garden.
Humble Boy runs from the 16th to 18th November, 2016 at Blackburne House, starting at 1900 and running for approximately two hours, including an intermission. Tickets are £8/6 available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/humbleboy
Blackburne House’s cafe/bistro and bar will be open throughout the evening and offer a pre-theatre menu which can be booked either on 0151 708 3929 or via www.blackburnehouse.co.uk. In addition, there is a 10% discount on all food purchased directly at the counter.
Humble Boy is Liverpool Network Theatre’s upcoming autumn production, and will take place from 17 – 19 November at the Black-E.
We are intending to hold auditions on Wednesday 24th August – (update:) upstairs at the Pilgrim pub on Pilgrim Street from 6.30pm onwards.
Lack of experience is no handicap – if you’re interested, bring your enthusiasm and you’ll have a great time 🙂
– Felix Humble – A mid-30s theoretical astrophysicist from Cambridge. He is the play’s main character and most noticeable is his stutter caused by his nervousness.
– Flora Humble – Beautiful and self-centered, Flora is the mother of Felix
– George Pye – Confident, well-built, modern, and big band music savvy. George is the complete opposite of James Humble, the deceased father of Felix.
– Rosie Pye – Daughter of George and former girlfriend of Felix. She is a nurse and also has a 7 year old daughter
– Jim – The gardener of the estate, he is an old man in his 60s.
– Mercy Lott – Friend (although seemingly a slave) of Flora, she is kind but doesn’t seem to be all there. She has a secret crush on George Pye.
See you at the audition!
We are currently seeking proposals for plays to fill two slots.
Firstly, our spring show, to be staged in late April/early May. Venue is yet to be confirmed, but will be indoors. As usual, we envisage three performances.
Secondly, there is another opportunity for the first week of February (3 performances: Friday evening and Saturday matinee/evening). We are looking for a one-act play (or monologue) to form the first half of a double bill. The piece should be between half an hour and an hour in length. The venue will be the Black-E and we are looking for something light and amusing to fit in with the other play (more news very soon). Set should ideally be fairly simple, but feel free to submit any ideas you like.
The initial deadline for proposals for both February and spring is the end of September. If you are interested in either/both slots, please send your proposals to email@example.com. We need the name of the play, the director and production manager (plus any other team members on board), any staging notes and why you think the production would be suitable for our company. If you need any help, then please feel free to contact us for advice and we will be happy to give you some pointers. Remember that we are always looking for new directors to come along and get involved. All of us started with no experience, so don’t be dissuaded if you feel your dream project may be too ambitious.
Good morrow, Networkers and friends!
You’ll be pleased to know that our summer production is now almost upon us, and with opening night just a week away, it’s high time to plan your visit and get your tickets sorted.
Go to www.ticketsource.co.uk/mov to get yours now, bring a picnic, a friend and some enthusiasm, because this is going to be a good one!
Six performances in gorgeous venues, and below is just a little sneak preview of what colourful madness awaits you there.
Rehearsals and preparations are certainly well underway for Network’s summer production – William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and it promises to be a fun one.
With six dates and five locations (including beautiful parks and gardens) to choose from, you’d be a fool to miss this one! See the poster below for dates, places and times and then head over to https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mov to secure yourself a ticket or two.
If you want to keep up with news, trivia, and the occasional rehearsal snap, you can also follow the MoV Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Merchant-of-Venice-433358806860885/?fref=ts
See you all soon!
With only two weeks to go until curtain up on The Picture of Dorian Gray, the more male and less glamorous member of the Network Comms Team sneaked into a rehearsal to see what all the fuss is about.
Putting on The Picture of Dorian Gray is a huge challenge. For a start, so many of us are familiar with Oscar Wilde’s well-loved novel and will go into any production with our own preconceptions. Then there have been the numerous adaptations, starring such luminaries as Bela Lugosi (in a silent, Hungarian version!), Angela Lansbury (Murder, she painted?), Jeremy Brett (as both Dorian and Basil, 16 years apart), John Gielgud and Colin Firth.
So how can an original version be produced which does not betray such a literary classic? That’s what I am here to find out!
Despite the cold weather and cavernous Duke St rehearsal space, which my inside contact (whose identity it would not take Jeremy Brett to figure out) informs me has been lovingly dubbed ‘the fridge’ by the cast, the atmosphere is enthusiastic and the game of Zip Zap Boing one of the most competitive I have seen in a while. The warm-ups give me just enough time to sneak a cup of tea, although I had to indulge in my own game of ‘pass the sell-by date’ with the multiple milk containers, losing repeatedly.
Finally, it’s time to see some of the action and I am instantly impressed by a monologue from Rory, playing Dorian. He is a compelling presence, even in ‘civvies’, and you can easily see why he got this most sought-after of roles.
Another striking aspect of this production is the almost constant presence of the chorus, with the actors switching from individual characters to a menacing group, who comment and threaten as the action unfolds. It makes for a very unsettling and atmospheric scene and the contrast with the fun and games beforehand could not be more marked.
I have a chance to see two more scenes, providing me with a snapshot of both some of the shallow, snobbish society in which Dorian moves and one of the more sinister scenes from the second half. It is excellently done and the play looks to be in a very good place with a fortnight to go.
Apart from the photos, my main aim is to get an interview or two with some of the key folks involved and luckily enough I managed to grab five minutes with both Rory and director Elaine.
This is Rory’s first production with Network and indeed his first out of university and he is only too happy to discuss playing the lead character in what he describes as “one of the greatest stories ever written”.
I start by asking him how much he knew about the character before starting rehearsals and whether he had read the book.
“I hadn’t actually read the story, but I loved the film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and I thought he was one of the best things in it,” he explains. “I just think he is an amazing character and, let’s be honest, playing the antagonist is always more fun. You get to be the real driving force behind the plot. What is special about The Picture of Dorian Gray is that Dorian is both the antagonist and the main character. That is a very rare and exciting combination. What’s not to like?”
“Why do you think he is such an enduring character?” I ask.
Rory doesn’t hesitate: “for me he symbolises a life without ambition. He is basically doing what we all crave doing, namely living life to the full in every way. Of course, some of his terrible deeds are definitely taking things to an unhealthy extreme, but I can see the admirable side of the character. Admirable insofar as he decides to make the most of every opportunity. It’s just he turns into a psychotic druggie! In the end, there is a part of all of us that wants to do what he does. After all, you only get one shot at life.”
I am impressed by how passionate he is about the part. This is the easiest interview I have ever given! I ask about what particular challenges he has faced.
“It may sound funny, but probably posture. You’ve probably noticed I am a sloucher!”
“How did you overcome that?”
“Practice! I have to mention my Uncle Daniel here, who is a huge fan of the book. He described Dorian as ‘coming into the room like a waft of perfume’ and that’s something that really helped me when it comes to the social situations in the first half. The key thing was ensuring I got the transformation right, from an awkward young man into the hedonistic party animal he becomes. In the end, he is a monster, because anyone who does exactly what they want and ends up hurting so many people cannot be considered anything else.”
As this is Rory’s first time with LNTG, I ask him about his experience working with us and with the director, Elaine.
“Well, this is actually my first show out of university,” he explains. “I think the general feeling here is a group of people who all really want to get something done. I could gush about the wonderful experience, but I think the main thing is that we are all motivated and passionate and want to produce something special. Elaine has been great in letting me find my own interpretation of the character. She hasn’t been restrictive in any way and I really feel that the Dorian the audience will see on stage comes from me. This is how direction should be: letting the actors find what is right for them and ensuring we all have scope to be creative. For instance, sometimes I will be off dancing in the corner on my own! But Elaine doesn’t tell me off. It’s all part of me and finding Dorian.”
Trying to get the dancing Dorian quickly out of my head, I ask my final question: “why should a potential audience member come and see the show?”
“Because this is one of Oscar Wilde’s greatest works,” he smiles. “There may be a moral message, but the play is uncompromising and unapologetic throughout. Plus it is such a character-driven piece. I think every kind of theatre has its place, but Dorian Gray will be a powerful, hard-hitting drama. Why would you miss it?”
I am really impressed by how committed he is and a lot of that must come from the director, Elaine Stewart. I managed to grab five minutes with her during the break and the first thing I wanted to ask was what drew her to The Picture of Dorian Gray.
“Well, I love dark, Gothic theatre,” she explains. “I also love Oscar Wilde, of course, and one of the big pluses about this adaptation is how it uses the original text from the novel in the play script. It is as authentic as it can be. Another exciting thing for a director was the use of the chorus. It was clear right from the start that we couldn’t have an actual portrait on stage. I mean, how could we age it, right? It would be totally impractical. So we actually have a blank canvas throughout and it is the chorus who act as Dorian’s conscience. They are always there in his mind. It’s also how they move from being simple commentators at the start to actually closing in on him and driving his thoughts and actions by the end.”
I have to admit, it does sound pretty cool! I wonder whether there have been any particular difficulties involved in this particular production.
“The staging was always going to be tricky, but I actually feel that the intimate space of the Lantern is a plus here.”
“Well I think having the audience closer to the action heightens the feeling of paranoia and discomfort we are trying to create. The closer the better to be honest. Oh, and if I could add something else? One other issue was bringing out the homoerotic undertones. It’s not always easy to get that intimate atmosphere with a bunch of straight guys, but we managed it at our rehearsal last weekend and it was amazing! We had a rehearsal with just the men and it was so charged. I think the audience will really be able to invest in these characters. Character development has been tough, but such a fun and rewarding process.”
I ask her what the best aspects of the rehearsal process have been and she is quick to praise the cast.
“They have been so positive and supportive,” she enthuses. “It’s such a great cast to work with and I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about them. We all saw this as a challenge and have striven to overcome it together.”
Finally, I ask her my favourite question about why people should come and see it. For Elaine, it’s a no-brainer.
“This is something totally different, a really dark piece. The subject matter may be difficult, but this is a unique adaptation that is really not to be missed. There is so much subtext going on that the audience are going to be really drawn in and absorbed by the action. I think the play will be both educational and entertaining and something completely original. You will really want to come and see this!”
I thank Elaine and the cast and slink out, but to be honest nobody really notices. I have taken up enough of their director’s valuable time and they are already engrossed in the next scene. It is great to see everyone so passionate and excited and you cannot help but be swept up by it all. This really looks like an excellent production and one you would be a fool to miss! This little taster has really whetted my appetite and I cannot wait to see the finished article.
Who needs Colin Firth?
The Picture of Dorian Gray is on at 7.30 p.m. from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th April at The Lantern Theatre, 57 Blundell Street, Liverpool, L1 0AJ. Tickets cost £8 (£6 for concessions) and can be purchased at: http://www.lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk/?post_type=events&p=1601
Article by Will O’Neill for Liverpool Network Theatre.