18 April 2011

Leave your guns behind in the Mild Wild West!

Howdy partners! Saddle up the old bronco and bring all of your little cowpokes down to Circa during these here school holidays for a bit of fun with the Improvisors! Greg “DeadWood” Ellis, one of them outlaw Improvisors, tells drama on the waterfront how they rustled up the latest school holiday kids show, The Mild Wild West.

DOTW: What can you tell us about The Mild Wild West? What is the general story?

DE: It’s a story about a wannabe Western hero who wants to make a name for himself but doesn’t like guns. It’s set in a part of the West that wasn’t as wild and lawless as the rest – more polite and mild.

DOTW: This is your fourth kids show at Circa Theatre; how have they progressed over the last year? What do you know now that you wish you knew going into the first one, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

DE: That most parents are quite OK with their kids wandering onto the stage and beetling about up there oblivious to us for 40 odd minutes. We thought they’d be concerned – but it turns out the parents of every tot to do that have been just fine with it. So now we don’t try and get them to go back to the family we just roll with it and work them in.

DOTW: What is your favourite thing about putting on a show for kids VS one for adults?

DE: Kids just love to get involved and they say the most unpredictable things. Once you’ve established the convention that they can be involved in the show they often call you on inconsistencies in the plot.

DOTW: Where did the idea for The Mild Wild West come from?

DE: I liked the title but I also wanted to do a Western without guns. There’s a bit of uneasiness out there now about gunplay for younger kids and I just thought the challenge of doing a genre without something that is such a key part would be fun and ridiculous.

DOTW: How do you prepare/’rehearse’ for an improvised show?

DE: We work out a skeleton to improvise around. One of the things we’ve found is that the kids like to have a basic idea of where things are going so they know how to get involved. We also play around with characters, ways to get the audience involved and just the conventions of the type of show we’re doing – like Western sayings, locations, characters and situations.

DOTW: Finally, what do audiences need to know about The Mild Wild West?

DE: Come along in cowboy clobber if you like – we’ll be in it. But leave your guns behind. Also be ready to take part but don’t be afraid of being embarrassed. And adults can expect there’ll be a layer of humour just for them as well!

The Mild Wild West runs 18 - 30 April, with performances at 11 am and 1 pm Monday to Friday and 11 am on Saturday. [Please note, there will be no performances on Good Friday, 22 April, or Easter Monday, 24 April.] To book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.

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