Type – Lets do the Time Warp Again!

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Time Warping

I wonder when Tim Curry took on the role of Dr Fank N Furter, he was worrying about type?  As you probably know, they are doing a remake of this iconic film – ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with Laverne Cox.

If you don’t, here’s the trailer:

Type – yikes?!

This is something I don’t like – type.

Today, I’m going to talk about how I don’t fit my type. Next time, I’ll talk about how I do fit my type.

Improvisation

I do a lot of improvisation in my work. Especially events work and improv is known to sneak into even my Shakespeare.

Biggest comment I get is how do I do it and make it look so easy?  Well, the main thing about that is, I don’t think about it.  I just do it and see what happens.  I figure, I picked a lot of that up when I was working at a comedy club, but more about that later…

When there is a director involved, I trust that they will tell me if it’s too much.

Audience Participation

When I mention audience participation people want to run out of the room. Yet, when I do it, it’s amazing how willing they are?!

Also, I’m nicest to that person, so they really are safest when they go with me. As opposed to their buddies who may have put them up to it.

I totally understand how terrifying and uncomfortable this can be for people.  So they always come out good in the end.

I have to say while some of what I do I know I will do. A lot of it isn’t. This is where the improvisation and willingness to just go with whatever comes is vital. This confidence I gained a lot through my training with the Impulse Company.

I have to say, some of the best stuff comes from these moments.

Story

An example, was when I was singing a very engaging piece at an event in Australia. I was changing the words for the person in front of me. But this time, I had Dick in front of me. Didn’t think this name was in circulation any more! It was a golden moment for me and the audience, but mostly Dick, he loved it!

I’ll leave it to your imaginations….

Comedy

Yes, I do comedy, it seems a lot of people think opera singer – serious.

So NOT! Oh ya, I’m an opera singer as well as an actor – go figure!

Yes, I have a degree. No, I do not take it all too seriously. Seems this is a rarity, which I feel is a valuable asset.

I bring comedy into all the work I do, even in the most serious pieces. I’ve always tried to not be too serious when in the rehearsing and breaks. Why would I want to do plays, if I don’t get to play?

Also, it’s amazing how much comedy can be found for a character in the depths of despair. How often have we laughed and cried in life?  It’s not that odd for a character to find something funny at a moment that you’d think they might cry. I let the character/words lead me when I am working in this way.

Also, I grew up in a family who love to laugh. Quite often, they are the people I can laugh the most with.

Plus, I worked at the Komedia (comedy venue), as front of house, many years ago. It’s amazing how much You can pick up from just watching. That experience, how to deal and play with an audience, even the most obnoxious or high on substance, has been invaluable.

Story

My favourite story while doing that job was when I needed to get some rival football hooligans out of a play about the local football team.  It was quite something, as the actors were terrified.  One of these actors was huge and over six feet tall, but was asking me to remove them – I’m 5’7″ – anyway. It’s amazing what you can do when you just ask. I asked the group if I could just have a quick chat with them before the audience left during the interval, they followed me out and my bigger guys on door managed to encourage them to leave – amazing the power of woman!

Variety

I struggle with the definition of what variety is, but I have to say I fit to it like a glove, as, to me, it’s about those of us who don’t tick the boxes, but we make an audience love us anyway!

I’ve done truck loads of cabarets, sung on the Underground, Prince Charles’ front garden, people’s living rooms, sung with a country band, Hamlet in a cave, been part of a male striptease act, etc. Where else would I live other than in the variety world?

You name it and I’ve probably worked with it or done it myself – still have yet to work with a magician, so still need to tick that box!  Any magicians reading this? Need a crazy type like me?

Edinburgh Festival Fringe/Brighton Fringe Festival

I love doing fringe and part of that is, often, as a participant. I’ve had the great chance to see a lot of work for less – we get reduced rates, plus I’ve got my finger on the pulse of people who really know what is worth seeing or not.

Also, the vibe with a big fringe is so exciting.  Living in Brighton, I have to say May is my favourite month as the city comes alive I wish it did this more often, it’s just such a boost to the creative system.  I’ve tried to be in every fringe that I could, but one, where the show was cancelled!

Rounding Off…

Just a final note about Tim Curry, even today, he knows how to deal with an audience, in this case the press.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with him:

When a reporter asked how it felt to have the transvestite Dr. Furter be his most enduring character, the British actor deadpanned: “There’s not a lot I can do about it, really,” prompting laughter from the audience.

So, how do you keep yourself out of the box?

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