Category: General
Posted by: uncle
This blog has been set up to provide an information hub for US(&f)'s tour of Gilgamesh to the UK, China and the Sydney Opera House. We'll be updating daily and you can hear from all members of the company. Shortly you'll be able to register to get email updates too.
Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
When I first rounded Circular Quay walking towards the Sydney Opera House for our first rehearsal, I recalled one of my first memories of Australia – as it must be to many people. That memory was from a holiday here when I lived in New Zealand, but the image still represents the country to me in a lot of ways. So it was a pretty special feeling to be going to work here for our performances in the Studio.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
In Shanghai the air was cleaner and our accommodation considerably more comfortable, but by this time China had taken its toll…

Richard was diagnosed with bronchitis and Kath was also badly ill. Janine, Christian and myself were all showing various digestive or flu-like symptoms (Phil had to wait for Sydney for his bout). As a result, of the four performances scheduled, only one went ahead as a full performance.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
We were playing in the Chao Yang district of Beijing, the major financial district, at the Chao Yang Cultural Centre. It was fantastic that our hotel was literally 100 metres from the theatre. Unfortunately, in other ways the hotel was somewhat lacking in life’s little luxuries, and this combined with the food/pollution/culture change took it’s toll on our little band; one by one we started to get sick.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
After London we headed up to Newbury to do our shows at the New Greenham Arts Centre just outside the city. This was definitely the smallest centre to host us and we were very curious to see how they operated. We found a bunch of warm locals and an audience that seem both slightly baffled at times but also intensely interested.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
29/11/07

Well, the realities of life on tour rolled on and I haven’t made any more blog entries while on tour. I did, however, take part in a couple of video interviews with Christian. Christian is going to edit together some of the interviews into a video commentary - a sort of “making of” Gilgamesh. Anyway, in the mean time here are my thoughts on the remainder of the tour, composed from the comfort of Melbourne.

The London run ended well with close to capacity houses for many of the nights. What a change from my last show in Melbourne, a piece at the Abbotsford Gallery called “In Other Words”. During IOW, we received a very positive review in The Age, yet that same night our audience was a grand total of 6 people. Theatre is about communication with the audience, and it can not exist without an audience – one of the main difference between it and film. I love intimate theatre, but I don’t appreciate struggling to pull people to a show I think deserves better! It’s hard not to make unfavourable comparisons between England and Australia about appreciation of the arts…
Category: General
Posted by: uncle
The company has just finished the leg at the New Greenham Arts Centre just outside Newbury. Newbury is best known for being the international home of Vodafone, and we're told is a traditionally wealthy area.

The New Greenham Arts Centre is best known as a former US military base. Up until the 80s the base was one of those classic offshore pieces of the US that have bowling alleys and use US dollars, and is in every way they can manage just like home for all the soldiers that live there. It used to have the longest airstrip in the UK, for all those B52 bombers, and a series of massive bunkers that were the launching pads for Cruise Missiles; apparently the nuclear kind. So, for Gilgamesh to play at this site seemed to us to be extraordinarily appropriate.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
Performing at the Barbican had been in all of our minds for so long it was hardly to believe we were actually about to do it. And writing this during the first week of the run, it has just been a magical experience. The administrative and technical staff are a wonderful combination of charming and down to earth. It is a big theatre, but it really has the feel of a small team, much like the Malthouse back in Melbourne.

We have all been so chuffed with our accommodation, just a short walk from the theatre, and I feel so lucky to be going to work in the creative hub that is the Barbican centre.

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
We did three nights at the Guild Theatre. It wasn’t marketed widely and so we had a small audience each night. The audience was enthusiastic and supportive – with many of our friends in the Melbourne theatre community and long time supporters turning up. I remember wondering what it would be like in London without the whooping and cheering audience, where at least some of the joy is in seeing something (or someone) familiar.

Shortly before performance time Rich had a little problem with his shoulder and we made small changes to the show to ensure there would be no further problems with injuries. It brought home to me what a physically demanding show it was, with both me and Stephen Phillips (who first created Enkidu) having had some form of shoulder problems during the rehearsal period. Christian and Phil take these concerns very seriously and I think some professional directors could learn a lot from the importance they place on actors’ health, though I think they might have learnt this from experience!

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Category: Mark T
Posted by: uncle
As the beginning of rehearsals commenced my main concern was my physical fitness. I know that it’s a very demanding show, and in particular I’ve had a few niggles from a neck/shoulder injury that have troubled me during previous runs of the show.

So I stepped up my regular running and made sure I got back to a couple of yoga sessions a week – whether it be classes at the Dance of Life (the school I’ve attended for years) or private sessions at home. By the time rehearsals came around I felt in good physical shape.

What I forgot was just how different the movements I perform in the show are to anything I do in the rest of my life! Specifically, quite a lot of crouching on the ground and moving around on all fours. For the whole first week I was aching all over, and my friends got an earful of complaints. One of them said that she thought it was all a bit much until she saw the show for the first time.

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