Wednesday, September 23 2015

Sleeping in the theatre

Artistic Director's Notes, Gecko News Archive, General
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My most recent experience of someone falling asleep in the theatre happened last year as I was making a speech about a dream.

O, I have pass’d a miserable night,
So full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams

I was playing Clarence, in Richard III at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, a cosy space where three banks of audience wrap around a tiny stage. I had just begun what is essentially an incredibly long speech to my prison-guard about a guilt-wracked nightmare, when a man in the right-hand seating bank of the audience began snoring at full volume. In the silence after his first gargling breath, my first thought was not that this was an elderly gentleman with sleep apnoea, full of cabernet sauvignon from the theatre bar. No, no, my keen actor’s paranoia assured me with complete certainty that this was an incredibly well-versed heckler: a critic, acutely aware of the length of this speech and its subject matter and armed with a quickly-formed but strong opinion about my limitations as a performer. This patron was snoring pointedly as a warning to the rest of the crowd about the nightmare that was to come – for them. The moment stretched out, full of anticipation, dread and possibility. And then his wife intervened. A sharp elbow to the ribs and he woke with an embarrassed grunt. I realised that he was just a man in a dark room, nodding off after a big day. We all returned to Clarence’s nightmare in the tower of London.

My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.

Today, a year later, I would like nothing more than to make you fall asleep in the theatre. But deliberately this time. And en masse.

Yes, today Barking Gecko is announcing our brand new, action packed, super-fun inaugural Sleepover! This will be the first ever sleepover at the State Theatre Centre of WA. On the night of Saturday 24 October we will be putting people to sleep on the main Heath Ledger stage.

A hundred people will come with us on a revealing backstage tour of the theatre while the rest of the city sleeps. There will be theatrical makeup, games involving lighting and sound, hot chocolate, stories and music. And every participant will get to perform in a “famous bit” from a great play on Perth’s premiere stage, under lights.

We want this to be a unique and memorable experience to share with your whole family, a way to experience the theatre from a completely different perspective so that you never see the stage in the same way again. It’s one way for us to reach across the footlights and involve you in what we do.

BYO sleeping bag, earplugs and sense of adventure!

I can’t wait to see you there!

Find out all about Sleepover here.

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