Morphic Graffiti, Part 21 and the journey forwards

So we finished and, unfortunately, the huge amount of work involved in finishing the run and clearing everything out of the Union meant that I did not get to write a blog update before Saturday night!! As I write, 80% of the show has gone where it needs to go. Only half a costume set and the odd prop adorn my lounge and a few spare lights await delivery in Tooting. It has been a massive task but one that has run surprisingly smoothly.

The last Saturday night show (which I’ll come on to later) finished and within minutes Cat, Danielle, Katherine, Stewart, Luke (eventually!!), Kingsley and Gareth descended on the Union like a hawk. With a large van outside ready to load up and a plan of action, we stripped, unscrewed, folded, swept, stacked, packaged, and generally cleared the venue. The set was first in as sections are being used for a production of West Side Story in Swindon, followed swiftly by everything else. Costumes that are being kept were stored and have since been washed and vacuum packed for storage. It’s such a glamorous job this producing business!!

With everything (and we mean Everything!!) in the van, the last job was to paint the floor back to black and bid the Union farewell. All by 3am! Not bad going at all considering the enormity of the task.

But don’t worry that we missed the after-show party! After the final Thursday night show we had drinks and nibbles at Dr.Ink in Southwark. A chance to let the booze flow and celebrate!!

So now that the mechanics of the show have been sorted, Stewart and I have taken five minutes to stop and take stock of the last six months of our lives! It feels like years but actually it was the middle of January when we signed for the rights to do the show. Watching the final Saturday night and seeing the audience rise to their feet made us both feel incredibly proud. The show grew and developed over the month of the run in ways we never thought possible, with so many incredible layers of detail and characterisation that I strongly feel defined the piece.

But, if Morphic Graffiti is going to expand and grow, we must keep momentum moving forwards. We met up with Dean yesterday to debrief from the show and start the process of heading towards the next project. Ideas are flowing and venues and scripts are actively being explored. Thanks for the ideas that have come forwards but no I’m afraid we can’t do Chitty Chitty Bang Bang just yet!!!

It felt very strange and very exciting being back at the Royal Festival Hall chatting about the next piece, when this was the place we first met up to discuss forming a theatre company. It must be the positive vibes coming from the building that made us jump into this with both feet!

As well as planning, Morphic Graffiti are involved with some upcoming theatre workshops which we will keep you posted about. 

 

 

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Morphic Graffiti, Part 20 and the bottle of new blood!!!

So Luke and Stewart are sitting in the theatre bar at the Union and through the wall the sound of our Lord Savage having his throat ripped out! Lovely! A gentle wednesday night in the world of Jekyll and Hyde.

It is surprising how immune you become to the gory nature of the show! Even the ending that used to make me wince now makes me smile as I imagine the technicalities of making it just that bit more realistic! We should also mention, that last weekend we got new blood! All very exciting as this stuff glistens and is even more real than the last bottle! It also washes out of costumes a whole lot easier which keeps Stewart and the washing machine happy!!

After tonight we have just four shows left. TIme to start thinking about the “get out” and how we are going to take the set down. At the end of Saturday night’s show it is all hands on deck to deconstruct the set, gather up the costumes, de-rig the lights and clear the theatre of everything ready for the next production to start their process on Sunday morning! I think it’s going to be a late night!!

Not that we want to be thinking about the show ending :0( We have completely sold out all our tickets with returns lists every night and the venue and show are buzzing. We have had many wonderful audiences, a few famous faces (last night the wonderful Jim Broadbent came in and spoke to the cast after) and even one of the musical’s authors has been in! Wow! In the words of our own Dr Jekyll (Tim) everyone is working their ‘hydes’ off and loving every second.

So what next? We still are not sure but can guarantee that there will be another Morphic Graffiti production. But what to do? Any suggestions – let us know!!! We have ideas and are looking into venues and pieces. It seems very bizarre, as the last time we had these conversations we were complete novices as producers, but we are so glad we took the chance and jumped into it all head first. That is not to say we have not learnt from mistakes and have a better idea of the surprises that will jump out and scare us! Like, for example, that moment when you realise there is a Queen’s Jubilee happening at the same time as your production!!!

So here is to four more fantastic shows and a future filled with a little bit more Morphic Graffiti than before! This blog will continue to be written and lead us onwards into the next project and beyond so keep posted. I hope to write one more entry while Jekyll and Hyde is still at the Union. It may be through teary eyes as this section of the journey is completed, but what an incredible journey. Thanks for being part of it.

 

Luke x

 

 

Morphic Graffiti, Part 19 and the arrival of a Legend!

Week four of Jekyll and Hyde performances! After another sell out show last night, and a lovely audience response, it got me thinking about the journey of the last 6 months that has got us here. The sleepless nights, the worrying, the initial panic signing the agreement for the rights to actually do the show! But more importantly the many more positive aspects that are making this whole experience so incredibly worthwhile!

Where do we start with the positives?! There are so many! The cast, crew and band have all been fantastic and have thrown themselves head first into the project and continue to deliver the goods night after night. The feedback on lighting and projections has been glowing and just the other night a moment of complete genius happened when the sheer genius and subtlety of Cat Webb’s lighting design came to the forefront when yours truly (having watched the show more times than most!) realised that not only was the lighting brilliant but in one moment, it even managed to echo the two faces of the production show image! That moment was spine tingling!!

As with any show, things develop and grow. Wednesday is notes night when notes are taken to keep everyone focussed and iron out any problems. We have had a few bits of restaging due to a poorly back and a tweak or two about where and when some lines are delivered, but the integrity and quality of the show has exceed any expectation that Morphic Graffiti could have dared to dream of.

Which may be why the resounding question from those that have seen it is always “What are you doing next?”!!! We laughed at first, fearful of tempting fate and the show flopping, but it would seem that the hands of fate have allowed us the chance to try a second project! Woo hoo. Dean, Luke and Stewart have already been chatting about the way forwards so do not fret! Something will happen. We have ideas so watch this space! Our focus is wholly on Jekyll and Hyde and we will not take our eye off the ball until the very end!

As always, a massive thank you for the support. Twitter has been going mad with Jekyll comments and tweets. Those who have seen it, thank you. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have had making it and continue to have in presenting it. Our audiences have been incredible and generous.

Two, very special, audience members who came on Friday must be mentioned just before we go. Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll and Hyde lyricist and musical theatre legend) and his wife Evie came to see the show, unbeknownst to the cast. We met him afterwards and were blown away by his kind words for the production and the time they took talking to everyone involved. It is not often you meet someone that wrote some of the very works that got you into theatre, so we were all in total awe. Leslie kindly signed posters and even took one of ours home to keep.

To the tweeter that suggested the posters would end up on eBay, we hate to disappoint but mine is going up in a frame on my wall. I would not sell it for all the tea in China!:

Mr Bricusse at the Union Theatre