Welcome to the first blog on the new Cloud Nine web site. The site has been lovingly assembled by jiva, though somewhat like a world cup stadium two days before the tournament opens, the odd finishing touch is still to be applied. Our old site had grown dull and neglected. We paid it little attention, so small wonder not many others did either.
For any theatre company, the quality of plays produced is by far the most important issue, but if a lively web site can help encourage people to forsake the soaps for one evening in favour of the living theatre experience, so much the better. Plus which those same people can always watch the soaps later on Catch Up.
With live theatre, when it’s gone, it’s gone. I like that. Stage actors try harder because unlike film or TV there’s no going back and reshooting if they cock-up. Audiences tend to try harder as well, because rather than just flick a switch, they’ve made an effort to be there, they’ve left their nice warm homes to journey on buses or trains or in cars specifically to see the production. It is a commitment rather than a casual whim.
Analysed logically, theatre makes no sense; why would people journey to watch people they don’t know pretending to be other people they don’t know? Isn’t it all just pretence?
It is and yet via this pretence can emerge real truths, the kind of truths neither the humdrum mundanity of our everyday lives nor the manipulative distortions of our leaders is able to reveal.
Small-scale theatre has its obvious limitations; full length epics with mega-size casts, extravagant sets and wardrobes full of costume are unlikely. Nor does the budget run to famous names. Again I like this; all you know of that actor on stage is the character he or she is playing. Your mind is uncluttered by celebrity gossip or tittle-tattle, chat show ephemera, PR nonsense, or vacuous articles in Hello highlighting his or her bathroom décor. Nor is your mind likely to be distracted by that same actor’s recent starring role in a telly toothpaste advertisement.
Also, small-scale means you can take risks. Though all theatre companies operate under financial restraint, the bank manager is not the first person we think of when choosing or nurturing a play. It’s the excitement of bringing something creative and original into the light, however posterity eventually judges it. All our plays are world-premieres, many are the author’s debut piece. Some may never be heard of again, the odd one may go on to a world tour. Who knows? That’s not the point.
In small venues, there’s a great intimacy, a bonding between cast and audience that creates a unique sense of occasion. Either side can sabotage that feeling, yet there is a strong undercurrent of goodwill for it to succeed. We are, to borrow a much maligned phrase, all in it together, directly opposite to the way many of our modern hi-tec pursuits isolate us and seal us off from all but technology.
Do get along to our latest two-play production, The Battles of the Sexes which is performed at three separate venues throughout the week beginning Monday Jan 19th.
The plays will, I hope, make you both think and smile and you can find specific details elsewhere on the web site.