Last week we presented to the world the rejuvenated new and improved formula of Playground which feels and runs in a suspiciously similar way to the old and unimproved formula. We’re creatures of habit, really. But we still braved up to the challenge by taking the amazing opportunity to move Playground to the Loft at the Old Fire Station and by changing our monthly slot to the 2nd Tuesday! Thank you all so much for coming, showing your work, and generally fully supporting it through your presence, playfulness and love for all things art.
Being at the Loft on the 9th April was absolutely fantastic! It’s a beautiful space on the top floor of the building, with a very classy (and handy for prevention of injuries) wooden floor throughout, clear white walls screaming to have moving things projected on them and an unusually tiny little cupboard that you can pretend to make an entrance out of.
Many familiar and unfamiliar faces came to play and watch and chat last week and they were really in for a treat from the very beginning. Russell had this amazing idea for a game to start the evening with. Ok, it goes like that: everyone splits into groups, each group imagines that they have a block of invisible clay, and everyone in the group makes something out of the clay while their team mates try to guess what it is. The best ones were then presented to the whole room causing a lot of obvious puzzlement and loud laughter simultaneously.
For the first act we had the honour of watching the first round of “Slightly Burnt” from the inventor of the category himself. Ray took us to a journey of humorous and disastrous events that took place while he was putting together one of his past works titled “Theremin Lesson” and how it all went horribly wrong the day before the show. And when we say wrong, we mean smoke-and-explosions level of wrong. The silver lining of the story was that the piece had to go through necessary changes (because of the smoke and explosions we mentioned in the last sentence) and these changes became the inspiration for Ray to create his next piece called “Siren” which ended up being super ultra successful with transatlantic touring and more 5 star reviews than you can shake a stick at.
The second round was the extremely popular “Uncooked”. Do you remember Rob creating a colourful mayhem of sounds, voices, performance and intense laughter in February’s Playground? Rob can’t get enough of performing at Playground and the lucky thing is we can’t get enough of him either. On a slightly more serious note this time, he brought all his old-timey analogue gear, including and old telephone, a dictaphone and handmade effects unit built inside an altoids tin and gradually filled the room with a collection of distorted sounds and other-worldly voices looped and overlayed to create a unique and strange soundscape.
After a short and joyful break we came back into the room to experience what Playmaster Russell really means when he decides to Share his Toys. Russell did a brilliantly funny and intensive 15 minute demonstration on a technique he uses to devise work for theatre in a way that focuses more on the physicality of a theatrical action or event instead of relying on/ working towards a script. As every showman who respects himself, Russell, too, needed a volunteer. Justin happily and readily raised his hand and joined Russell on the “stage”. The exersice that Justin was helping Russell with consisted of a chain of repetition and exaggeration on the themes of sadness, despair and hope. With the two men basically trying to out-do eachother on overexaggeration of the expression of those three themes, what you got was an insanely energetic and hilariously funny physical theatre demonstration which also managed to unexpectedly carry a narrative that actually made sense!
Next Playground will be on Tuesday 14 May and we have already planned some real gems for that day. Come along, bring your Instant Noodles, your ideas and your enthusiasm, or just relax, have a drink and enjoy an evening full of the unexpected.
See you in a few weeks time. Until then, browse the site for more info and get in touch through the contact form imaginatively placed under “Contact”. We’ll probably respond and we’ll be possibly nice. Feeling lucky?