Poe-filled fun goodtimes

My big improv project this year, the most “me” show I’ve done in a while, have been devising and directing a Edgar Allan Poe-themed narrative improv show in the 2020 Fringe Festival.  I was finally brave enough to put my own actual hand-drawn art on a poster, and even made some show merch using the image.

Poe’d has now been performed in a proper theatre with fancy lights and everything over four nights – mostly we’re a group that performs in casual bar spaces.  The show was a single story told from the perspective of a narrator and unrolled over an hour.  It starts with poetry from each of the performers, all inspired by words from the audience.  This in turn was the inspiration for the night’s story, which twisted into all the darkest and silliest of drama.  After training together for a week of Sundays, we finally got to dress up and take it to the stage.  So much fun, and terrifying at the same time.

I was helped by a whole crew of my favourite improvisors from The Wellington Improvisation Troupe, who cheerfully mucked in with everything from making costumes through lights and music and of course so so much Dramatic Acting.  To a non-improvisor it might look as if the narrator-character was in charge and directing the story, while in reality this sort of show is a delightful back and forth between all the performers, building something from nothing.

The reviewers were kind, Theatreview thought it wasMACABRE MADE MISCHIEVOUS”  While Artmurmurs’ reviewer saidI had a lovely time which warmed every cockle of my withered ol’ heart.

My husband and I (I say that in a queenly voice, ‘natch) did a short two-person version of the show as a warmup (at monthly improv show Late Night Knife Fight), billing ourselves as The Ravening.  Poe’d feels like something that might work well as an improv festival show (training it and casting it from the workshop), if we decide to do another grande tour some day.

Poe show badges Two hooded figures holding a prop raven

Cast of Poe'd

Photo by Ben Zolno

Thrills & Swoon

romance novel posterDesigning posters and flyers and sandwich boards for Thrills & Swoon was a fun assignment.  Billed as ‘Improvised Romance’, this May 2013 Comedy Festival show makes affectionate use of pulp novels for inspiration.

My own secret thrill for the next few weeks will be seeing the posters on derelict buildings, alleyway walls and other such poster-posting places around the town, along with small stacks of flyers competing for attention with other flyers on coffee shop counter tops.   In the category of “details no one will ever consciously notice”, the background here includes a swimming unicorn, a hand drawn rainbow and a sunset from a trip down the Nile I took a few years back.  The central couple were part of an Eclipse Photographic shoot five or six years ago, for a completely different WIT show – but some looks never go out of style.   The satin in the foreground is a Photoshop tinted picture of my old red petticoat.  Sometimes commercial stock pictures just don’t have the elements you need.

Currently working on . . .

Current project, a poster for a “darkly comic” improvised theatre group, with a brief from the producer of “go a bit creepy”.  Created using a mix of Illustrator and Photoshop, with the portraits done separately using my handy new digital tablet.  Nearly there.  The Erroneous Forest