Unlikely Productions Present
NGYT are delighted to be supporting the work of Unlikely Productions ahead of their much anticipated theatrical arrival in Luton.
Take a read of our interviews with Hugo Chiarella and Gabrielle Scawthorn talking all things 'The Apologists' and find out what we can expect to see on February 27th at The Hat Factory in Luton.
I moved to the UK from Australia two years ago and started developing an idea for a one woman show based on three very different public apologies. I didn't want to write the pieces myself, as I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with local London writers (so I could meet people really). So we (me and my producer) put out a brief and found three amazing writers to work with. We then had several workshops to develop the pieces for me to perform. So I created the concept for the show, developed the three monologues with the writers and I perform the show.
Well there's the obvious technicalities of playing three characters; costume changes, vocal and mannerism change for all three so the audience can buy into the idea of meeting three different characters. But the thing I found quite difficult is my pre-show routine. I usually spend a little time in my warm up for any show I do, dropping into my (usually singular) character. I don't really have the luxury of that. Otherwise my warm-up will take half of my day. So I have had to develop short cuts on how to drop into that character within the thirty second transition.
I think with monologues and solo work, it's very important to create the world the audience can't see. Know where you are, who you are talking to and why you are talking to them and then let that inform everything you do.
I think the writers have created three utterly engrossing monologues. When I was learning the script, I would learn a few pages at a time, and I would run lines with a friend at a job I was doing. When I stopped and said "thats all I know so far". They replied "Hurry up and learn the rest of it. I NEED to know what happens".
A very fitting mention too as Chalkline Theatre (one of our associate companies) are making their Vaults debut this year.
Q1. So Hugo tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement with The Apologists
My name is Hugo Chiarella. My background is as a writer, producer and performer. I am one half of Unlikely Productions, the producer of The Apologists . I am also the outgoing development producer at Fuel and the incoming resident director of the UK tour of Les Miserable.
Unlikely Productions is company that performer, Gabrielle Scawthorn, and I began together to create and produce work independently. We are both from Australia originally and had predominantly been making work there previously. We were keen to develop some work of our own in the UK and so we conceived of The Apologists. Gab and I had both been really interested in public apologies. We felt like we were seeing them all the time and they were being deconstructed by public in the way one might deconstruct a piece of theatre. It felt like a really fitting subject for a series of monologues. The public apology is an act of solo performance in and of itself. There are so many questions around the act of apology that felt really ripe for drama. Who is the beneficiary of an apology? What does it change? What makes an apology successful?
We decided to commission three writers, Iskandar Sharazuddin, Cordelia O'Neill and Lucinda Burnett to each write a 20 minute monologue tackling this theme from a different perspective. Gabrielle worked with the writers as well as with directors Kate Budgen and Jane Moriarty to workshop and develop each of the pieces. I first produced the show for the 2019 VAULT Festival, directed by Jane Moriarty and performed by Gabrielle. We've now been fortunate enough to receive Arts Council England Funding to bring the show to The Hat Factory Arts Centre in Luton followed by a short season at The Omnibus Theatre in London.
Q2. So in short what is the show about and who is it most likely to appeal to in our town?
Q3. We have heard incredible things about the lead actress. What can Lutons young acting talent expect to see and learn from this performance?
Gabrielle gives a powerhouse performance in this show. It's a very demanding hour for her. Not only does she have to inhabit three very different characters for each of the monologues, but she is also often bringing to life the other characters that they come into contact with. We had a lot of acting students come to the show when it was at The VAULT Festival. I think it is a really valuable demonstration of the power of specificity and attention to detail in a performance. But more than that, it is a real balancing between emotional access and technical control, and I think that is something that's really quite rare to see.