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20 Jul 2011

Performing in the Ulster Hall with Accidental Theatre

Tonight I'll be appearing in the Ulster Hall (Group Room) as a cast member of Robots in Disguise, the first of the Biscuit Tin Readings. Rehearsals have been ongoing since Saturday, with a great cast of Ed Boyd, Emma Little, Kim Moylan and Chris McCurry, and Emily DeDakis reading stage directions, with Gayle Dennison directing. It's always great fun working with Accidental, as they have that unneutered enthusiasm of a young company that generates such great energy and creativity.

The play, by Mike Coleman, is about the toxic effect of top down government interference on people's every day live. I play Howard Chubb, the slimy weasel tasked with auditing the Smith famliy.

The entry is free, and will be a great opening to the program, which will go right through summer, finishing with my own Sitting Up For Michael, in November.

15 Jun 2011

Pick N Mix festival - The Generous Bank with Red Lemon

I am currently deep in rehearsals for this weekend's Pick N Mix festival, part of the MACtivities aimed at raising funds for the construction of the MAC. It is a festival of theatre performances from all the major companies in Belfast all taking place in the Brian Friel Theatre. This is a great opportunity to see all the creativity going on in the city, all in one space, and the performances are only £5.

I am in Red Lemon's newwrite production, The Generous Bank, by Patrick O''Reilly. It is a chaotic mix of Bouffon theatre, circus acrobatics, musical numbers, biting satire and gay farmers. Rehearsals have been going on for the last few weeks in the newly opened Lyric Theatre. The building in beautiful and the rehearsal space has an inspiring view over the Lagan.

The ensemble features a multitalented group chosen from a series of workshops in April. John Shayegh is hilarious as the conniving bank manager, with David Stratton, Andrew Stanford and Jolene O'Hara playing his amoral staff. Rosie McClelland is frantic as the Money Making Machine, Granny Bags. Caroline Curran and Louise Mathews play the hard up victims of social mobility and Cathal J Ferris plays the manipulative robber Mark opposite my niave Tommy.

This is shaping up to be a great show, and the whole festival is sure to be one of the highlights of Belfast's packed summer calendar, so book your tickets and come enjoy the fun!

19 Feb 2011

Recording radio ad, critical feedback for Sitting up for Michael and Incident at Vichy rehearsals to restart

This week I recorded a radio commercial for the ad agency Navigator Blue, in the Picture House Studios. It was a hugely enjoyable experience, with a highly professional setup in the Studio. I had to record several short lines in a variety of rural Ulster accents, which portrayed the scope of the client's market.

The ad will run on several stations in the mid Ulster region, and, if I can, I will put a copy on the website when it is completed.

Also this week, I met up with Emily DeDakis, the dramaturg for Accidental Theatre to discuss Sitting Up for Michael, the play I wrote. It was a hugely productive meeting, as she had reams of notes, both of positivity, and of things I could improve on. We discussed the possibility of having a rehearsed reading for the play, so that would be exciting. I am also waiting for feedback from Tinderbox, so when I get that, I shall return to the writing.

Finally, tomorrow we are starting rehearsals back for Incident at Vichy, which of course is being revived on 13th and 14th March in the Belfast Synagogue. It'll be great to get back into the play, and I can't wait to start back with the cast.

12 Oct 2010

Incident at Vichy promotional photos

Rehearsals have been ongoing for Incident at Vichy, and we are really tearing into fifth gear now as the countdown to the 4th November intensifies.

Recently we had a professional photographer in to take promotional shots of us in character, and here are some of the results.

[caption id="attachment_351" align="alignleft" width="267" caption="Michael Burkes (dark coat), Matt Faris (front), Brian Kennedy (grey coat)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_349" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Partial cast of Incident at Vichy"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_350" align="alignleft" width="199" caption="Myself, as the cowardly artist, Lebeau"][/caption]

21 Aug 2010

Preparing to Leave for the Edinburgh Festival

I am currently gearing up to leave for Edinburgh. It's an early flight in the morning, and a hectic day tomorrow, checking in to my new apartment and leafletting like my life depended on it.
In case your in Edinburgh next week, the show is in the GRV (37 Guthrie Street) from Monday to Sunday at 3pm.

Also on our bill is Twelfth Night by Two, which is two young American actresses playing Shakespeare's comedy all by themselves, which I'm reliably informed is truly enthralling, that's the late show in the same venue.

Not forgetting my other performances coming up soon. On the 11th September (no longer the 8th), is The 39 Steps, which is coming along swimmingly, with the commercials now being rehearsed. This will be a unique experience for the audience - they will be transferred back in time to the 30s, and will watch Orson Welles in all his glory directing this thrilling radio play. Come along to it in the Custom House Square as part of the Open House Festival/Chillifest.

Also on the horizon is Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy. Rehearsals have been going strong for a while now, and getting all the cast together really portrays the scale of the production - 18 characters, all male.

There are also plans afoot to take all of these performances for further performances in different venues than they are currently scheduled for, which I will let you know about as they come to pass.

I intend to post again from Edinburgh at least once to give an account of how things are going over there, not least to recount my experiences at my first Edinburgh Festival. This is an exciting few weeks coming up for me, and I intend to make the most of them.

25 Jul 2010

Rehearsals in full swing for Incident at Vichy and Lunch

Currently rehearsals for my current shows, Incident at Vichy and Lunch, are motoring ahead at full pelt, with two rehearsals of each a week keeping me on my toes.
This period of gestation is one of the most exciting parts of being in a play, when the project really starts to take shape, and you are really getting to grips with the characters and interacting for the first time with your fellow cast members.
With ...Vichy today we set down a very solid opening ten minutes, with Vincent Tsang, Sam Mahadeo, Brian Kennedy, Tom Dart, Jack Geary, Glenn Hamill, Denis McAlinden and Andy Grey all putting in great performances in front of director Adrian Cooke, who seemed suitably impressed.
In our rehearsals for Lunch, myself and Caroline Brennan are biting our way into a very dense piece of drama, under the direction of Richard Sloane, with admirable results.
It's difficult juggling two pieces of drama, but I am confident I will be able to keep it under control, and it's certainly better than having nothing to be preparing for.

30 May 2010

Rehearsal of Some Kind of Stranger

On Wednesday I attended a private reading of Some Kind of Stranger, a new play written by William Patterson. It is part of Accidental Theatre's VI series.

The play is set in 1980s Belfast, and is about young people's experience of liing away from home for the first time, and how they learn more about themselves, and each other under the spectre of class and sectarianism.

It is the second time I am taking part in this series, and I am looking forward to it, as the company is attracting the attention of influential people.

12 May 2010

Rehearsed Reading with Accidental

All this week, I have been rehearsing with Accidental Theatre for their rehearsed reading of Leopoldville, by Jaki McCarrick, as part of their 'VI' season. It's a punishing drama set in 1990, about a real life incident of murder of a bar owner by a group of young men.


This is my first rehearsed reading, and I have to admit I felt out of place after the first rehearsal, but after four days of intensre rehearsals has given me a lot of confidence, going into tomorrow night's performance.

It is also notable as my first lead role, so I am excited to be going in front of an audience in this position.

I shall write again after the performance.