“MR WOW” – or – How to fit creating an unexpected new show into an already busy life.

The process of creating a new show while still juggling a very busy life!

                                                  “MR WOW” 

When I left the Australian season in May 2012 I had no expectation of a new show for the coming UK season.

I was focused on pushing forward my newest show : Jeremy Farquar the twisted butler in “The Fool the cow and the art of corruption”. www.passion4laughter.com

Any time left was focused on time with my boys and wife.

Soon after returning to the UK I got in touch with a festival organiser I had worked for the year before, and suddenly I had a booking for the end of the season (October) with the request for something new.

Blimey!  A busy season ahead of me. Two young kids. A support role in my wife’s business. And now a new show to be created!

Gotta make hay while the sun shines, so I said yes to the gig.

My challenge was that I knew I had no big block of time free for rehearsal. How to fit in creating something new?

 

Here is the solution that worked for me…

A quick brainstorm outline of a structure – done in June while the kids were asleep.

A further brainstorm on each section of the initial brainstorm to a gig- squeezed in on a train.

Buying props in charity shops everywhere we went – ongoing.

Flesh out each section with a basic run through – these were sometimes very rough indeed. But they were a start. One was fitted in in a carpark while on tour! Make some quick notes afterwards about successes and targets of each section.

Source and order various props online. Much of this was done on the move.

Spend a few sessions on Itunes, or another music sharing site, to create a first draft soundtrack.

Return to each section and run it through as many times as the section of time you have will allow – sometimes this was once, sometimes three or four.

Choose a soundtrack order and run all the sections. Just keep going even if it is more like a stagger through than a run through. Make notes of successes and targets for improvement.

I got to run it twice before the gig.

 

What I had by the time of the gig was just enough. I am lucky to have been trained at L’ecole de Theatre Physique Jacques Lecoq in Paris. There we used the process of autocours… the creation and performance of a piece of theatre every week. Through this process the performer becomes used to walking on stage with sometimes little more than one improvisation as a form of rehearsal.

On to the stage, a piece of muddy field in the UK autumn, I walked.

The first show hung together. I missed a trick or two but the audience did not know that. They laughed and had a good time.

I was fortunate that the booker saw it and loved it.

 

From there it was onward and upward. 10 days of two shows per day.

By the end I had “Mr WOW and the amazing bubble show!”

Its a lot of fun. Audiences said it made their sides ache with laughter, and that they want to come back to see it again!

 

Within the whole process of creation I think I had a total of 5 hrs active rehearsal and run through. Clearly Lecoq was right all along. We do not necessarily need weeks in a rehearsal space.

From my original feelings of trepidation and mild panic I have ended up with another pure fun piece of clown theatre.

 

As my Australian cousins say…Awesome!