03 February 2014

my accomplice: HOW TO PUT ON A PLAY IN 11 EASY STEPS

Hi. We’re my accomplice. We are a local theatre company. We like to still consider ourselves young, even though we are four and a half years-old. People are always asking us how we make theatre. Where we get our ideas and resources. What our process is. So here we have assembled the 11 steps we went through while making our most recent show, A Play About Fear (7-16th Feb in Circa Two). We think they are pretty universal and that anyone could easily apply them to make work as successful, or even slightly less successful than ours. Good luck!

1.      While completing your BA in Theatre at Victoria University, perform in the 2009 STAB Commission Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants

Be a relentlessly overachieving 20 year-old woman from Masterton and/or a 21 year-old English dude by way ofWhangarei (looking a bit like Simon Pegg would be ideal) and/or a 22 year-old Wellington native who has beengoing to the theatre religiously since the age of 6. Never admit to yourself how over-committed you are. Don’t get much sleep. Spend every day together. Try not to go insane. Do not be upset when this happens anyway. Be sure to attend the 2009 Chapman Tripp’s where Elephants will win several major awards.

2.      At the start of 2010 form a theatre company.

Call the company my accomplice. Be optimistic and write long manifestos about how you are going to change the theatre. Put on a show in the 2010 FringeFestival at BATS Theatre. Be criminally deprived of a Best New Company nomination at the Fringe Awards. Ensure that this still bothers you a little to this very day.

3.      Make a second show later that year.

Foolishly combine this with your Honours degree in Theatre. Find here-to-fore unknown levels of stress. Bite off way more than you can chew. Ensure to share the space with a famously uncompromising but nationally renowned theatre company. Somehow manage to make quite a good show.

4.      Make more shows together. (Make some shows with other companies as well.

Always challenge yourself as a company. Every show should be harder than the last. Wonder why you do this. Act in, design, or produce other people’s shows. Learn a lot from other people’s shows. Learn a lot from other people’s mistakes. Surprisingly actually earn some money from this industry.

5.      Make a play about love. 

Call it A Play About Love. Charm audiences with your highly emotive but also quite funny, high energy, lo-fi theatrical stylings. Turn the stage in to a giant snow globe at the end, people will remember how charming this is and will forget about the totally unstructured middle third of the show. Watch it do quite well. Foolishly promise that it’s the beginning of a trilogy.

6.      Follow this with a play about space (ships).

Call it A Play About Space. Have space battles with paper planes. Make aliens with just cardboard tubes. Borrow as many lamps as you can from Lighting Direct (thanks guys). Be called “comic genius” (Theatreview) and “very confusing” (The Dominion Post). Tour for the first time. Call it a learning experience. Do first return season.

7.      Fill the rest of 2013 with busy work.

8.      Pitch for a show for  Fringe season in Circa Two

Think it will never happen. Call it APlay About Fear. Against all expectation, get the season. Express your joy in awkward private dancing. Sign up for the Fringe. Apply for funding. Slowly realise that now you actually have to make the show.

9.      Panic.

10.  Make the show.

Talk about scary films you like. Cast cool people. Talk about scary films that they like. Fill Circa Two with blue tarpaulin and a paddling pool. Make some really funny scenes. Make some really weird scenes. Put them together into what you think is your strangest, most fun and definitely best show.

11.  Open next Friday on 7th February at 7.30pm.

Complete the trilogy.

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