Steps Around London

Craig and I zoomed to London today in order to size up how Revolutionary Steps might work at The National Theatre. In truth when agreeing to this gig I had my head turned a bit by the pull of The National. The show relies entirely on adhering vinyl to smooth hard interior surfaces and the inside of The National is almost entirely composed of carpet and textured concrete.

Initially it also looked as if I had walked us into another heap of bother by suggesting we give Bruchner’s Danton’s Death the vinyl adaptation treatment. Howard Brenton’s adaptation of the play is about to open in the Olivier Theatre so it made sense for us to do our adaptation in the foyer. I was confident in our abilities and at the time seemed over cautious to actually read the script before making this commitment. As it turns out there are no car chases, not shootings, no monsters and no giant beanstalks. There’s a lot of amazing text, often in hefty monologues, but not a lot of spectacular action.

I’m pleased to report that after a number of hours chiseling away at the problem we made good progress.The next step is splicing together a script. Then Simon and Craig return to the theatre to make precise decisions about the design.

From the South Bank, Craig jumped on a train to Battersea to run the quality control measure over the latest It’s Your Film team, I jumped on the Northen Line for an extended period to visit Arts Depot in North Finchley.

Mention of Finchley still makes me twitch but it seems like a nice enough place and Arts Depot is beautiful. Nick Sweeting has pulled together the amazing achievement of bringing Nalaga’at Theatre to London. This Isreali company comprises deaf, blind and deaf-blind actors. They have bar in the pitch black served by blind bar staff, they have a very restful restaurant run by deaf waiters and Nick has put together the package that brought the whole lot of them over.
The show was sold out but I was sneaked in at the back. Based on the kneading, rising, baking and sharing of bread, the show spends much of its time introducing us to its performers, their stories, dreams, ambitions, abilities and disabilities. Inevitably a portion of the show is spent trying figure out the mechanics of the production and their working process, but it is to the show’s credit that it also transcends these concerns and speaks directly for itself.

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