Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Stand Up Tragedy: The Opening Night

Our site is currently being attacked by malware. We are currently sorting this out. In the meantime I thought I'd post about the first night on my occasional blog:

The first night of tragedy is now over, and we got off to a great start. After a swift introduction where I tragically failed to say the word trajectory, we started with a pop! As in, an alternative pop song from The Reactionaries, who reframed the parable of the boy who cried wolf as a story about a character who dies because of his tragic flaw, and implicated the audience in his suicide.

Then Casual Violence disturbed and enchanted the audience with some sketch tragedy, two scenes from their Portable Residency show which you can see in full on 27th February in Camden’s Etcetera Theatre. Why is this man telling us about the feelings he has for a pillow? Will the little boy in the supermarket ever find his mum? We laughed in all the sad places.

Emily Lewsen then told the true story of a tour taken in Israel: a couple ostracised by their politics. The tour guide takes a fall when her tragic flaws get the group lost. We ponder whether things are dilemmas or facts, and empathy and Prosecco wash away tears by the Sea of Galilee. This is Emily telling a different tale at true story night Spark London:

Then The Reactionaries sang a song about the spirit leaving the body of a dead person. It had a very catchy dance for the choruses; it may well prove to be the next big dance craze to sweep the nation.

Next we had Jacqueline Downs’ The Great Big O performed by Libby Edwards, a tragic story about domestic violence, motherhood, and a sad, mad moment. Moving. Painful. And beautiful. Have a read of it here. This story was sourced from Liars’ League where writers write, actors act and everyone wins. Libby finished telling us the story. The audience clapped.

But where was the next act? A man appeared, asking some people in the front row about the strange lighting on the front of the stage, the line of light bulbs on fake grass, with daffodils scattered between them. This awkward moment began What do you think of it so far? performed by Drunken Chorus, a tragic attempt by a man to perform a double act. The night ended with a dying comedian bleeding to death on the stage lit by a mirror ball.

But then the tragedy was over as The Reactionaries came back on stage and attempted to lead the audience in a sing along. This sing along will end all the nights.

The first night was full of tragedy but it wasn’t one itself. It was, I’m pleased to say, a success.

We’d love to be able to pay the performers who participated. The Stand Up Tragedy team are doing this for a love of tragedy and I’m covering costs out of my day job salary. We hope the show will break even. If audiences keep coming like they did on our opening night, we will. To help us pay the artists we have set up an IndieGoGo campaign. No contribution is too small to be helpful.

We will be releasing extracts from the night as a free weekly podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud and the Stitcher Smart Radio app, so you’ll be able to hear some of the brilliant tragedy I’ve been talking about. The first one will go up on Friday 10th February 2012.

And now, like the song says, it’s time to go.

Dave Pickering

Host of Stand Up Tragedy

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