Creature of the Nightfill

So in my semi-regular style, you won’t have seen much of me recently. Mystery man, has has been living in a castle and selling contraband gin? Nay. I’ve been neck deep in my new play ‘Creature of the Nightfill’.

close up

Creature of the Nightfill is part of the Tamarama Rock Surfers 2013 Independent Season, and it’s on at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre 27-30 March. WHICH IS NEXT WEEK. You can find out more details and also buy tickets here.

To put it bluntly, I’m spazzing the shit out. I’m really proud of this show, the cast we have is absolutely stellar and it’s just a really silly and worthwhile play, with robot suits made of milk cartons and bear murders. And it’s a really big theatre, so I’ve been working really hard trying to get the word out to fill it. I’ve probably been pissing people off with my constant promo posts on Facebook and Twitter, but I just really want people to see it.

And  I promise when this is over, I’ll write some more biz for this blorg. All the biz. All the blorg.

Small Talk

Moving in the cut-throat world of independent theatre as I do, I’ve become an absolute master of the crucial skill known as foyer small talk.
THE STARS:
Here’s a list of things you absolutely must do:
Be Personable and Fun –
No-one likes a fuddy-duddy bowing from the waist and calling you sirrah from atop his theatre horse. Instead, mix it up and show that you are ‘down’ with the youth element that convert warehouse spaces into raves and confronting galleries. If there’s one thing the theatre world wants apart from money, recognition and purpose in life, it’s to feel culturally relevant. Acceptable opening lines when confronting your thespian buds, are phrases like ‘How goes it, my demonlords?’ Or ‘Smashtastic, personally I think there are TOO many women writers’ while slapping yourself about the head.
Forget Everybody’s Name –
It’s really bad form to greet people by their names. All this shows is that the person you are greeting is more important than you are. In fact, one of the best ways to get by when people say hello, is simply to just drool furiously for a few seconds.
It’s been a pleasure.

Drink to Excess –
That way, your opinion of whatever travesty you just saw in the theatre, effectively becomes nullified. If you liked it, you’ll back it up with all the enthusiasm of a thousand house reds. And if you didn’t like it, people will just assume you’re drunk. Because you are.
LACK OF STARS:
Here’s a list of things you absolutely must not do:
Talk About Theatre –
We get it. You’re in a theatre. It means you must be involved in theatre in some way. Therefore you have logically seen other theatre. Boring! Mix it up a little bit. Talk about that time you threw a ferret at someone. Emphasise your point by throwing a ferret at someone.
Ask Polite Questions –
This is a sign of weakness in the turgid swamp of foyer small talk. If you must seek out information, do this in the manner of a Nazi inquisitor or perhaps a drill sergeant. Keep your victim off guard by slamming your fist on the table repeatedly. Consider water torture.
HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON ANYTHING NEW, MOTHERFUCKER?
WELL, HAVE YOU?
Ride in on a Motorbike wearing a Whoopi Goldberg Mask While Reciting Aussie Hip-Hop Lyrics in a Dull Monotone –
You can do better than that, man.
THE SCORE:
1/5 stars.
Spontaneighers, if you are part of either the Facebook or Twitter cults, every month I do a call out for what YOU want to see reviewed. You can find me at @patricklenton for Twitter. Or join the fanpage on Facebook! There are no noticeable rewards for either, except more access to my ranting and constant updates of my day to day activities.

Theatre

Shakespeare thrusting his bony thespian fingers back through time and teaching us important lessons about fratricide.
THE STARS:
Allow me to get momentarily real at you. Right now my fingers are like emotion tubes directly into my heart/insecurity centre. I’m going to dredge up some of the crunk lining my aorta and feed it directly into this blog. So, if you can’t deal with the reality, you might want to step back and open LOLcats. I’ve been questioning my life again, my purpose. Why I sacrifice a bunch of stuff (read: all my freaking money, all of it) for my writing. Am I writing the right thing? Should I be trying to get a job on Neighbours? Should I get a pet Emu?
Longtime readers of this blog might remember that I write theatre. Do you want to know the question I’m most commonly asked about being a playwright? Is it:
a) You must be really creatively fulfilled?
b) How soon can I give you money?
c) Why don’t you write for film or television?
If you guessed A, you and me are probably going to be great friends. We’ll probably get each other, and spend beautiful summer nights sharing some bottles of wine under the stars, talking about art and commitment and dissing on Derrida. If you guessed B then I’d like to request you take me on a helicopter ride.
I’m so rich, my helicopter doesn’t make spacial sense. Mwahahaha.

 But if you chose C, then you are 100% correct.
Theatre is seen as a lesser version of its more popular cousins, television and film. Sometimes people are even enlightened enough to appreciate theatre as some kind of ancient grandfather of these new mediums. Even amongst artistic types, theatre is seen as contesting with performance poetry as the practice which will get you the least money or respect. There even seems to be a feeling at acting schools that performing theatre is a kind of test-run before you get that lucrative audition with Home and Away.
But why am I a playwright? Because I stone-cold love writing theatre. There is a feeling of privilege and morbid delight I get when I hand that script over and see people reading my ridiculous words. There is a artistic kinship that I’ve never experienced in any other form, that is formed by the collaboration between writer, director, actors, designer, musicians etc.
And theatre is a unique artform. It’s not a lo-fi film. It’s not a novel read out loud. It’s not autobiography with friends. It’s a vivid, unique and exciting style of storytelling. The experience of sitting in a theatre and watching people perform live is entirely different to any other medium. It’s so alive. I’m addicted to the feeling of people sitting in a room cacking there goddamn faces off with laugher. Plus, I really enjoy that it’s an artistic form that you traditionally drink alcohol with.
LACK OF STARS:
Holy crap, have you seen any theatre lately? 90% of it is bat shittingly awful. I understand that I’m at a distinct disadvantage – I don’t want to think, feel or have my horizons expanded. If your play is about cancer or Bulgarian hooker ennui, or features nude gents flinging faeces at my face to forcefully enlighten me about capitalism, then I am out of that theatre. I’ll go and look at some ducks and think about how much I appreciate my family or something. Shit, man. Calm the shit down. And don’t even get me started on how goddamn awful most monologues are.
‘It’s just so… raw’.
And unfairly, this is what most people associate with theatre. And this is what I fight against. Historically speaking, this wasn’t even what theatre did for the most part. The Greeks were stupid into comedies. Aristophanes has some plays WHICH STILL MAKE ME LAUGH. I mean, the excessive dildo humour really wears itself out by the fourth act, but maybe dildos were funnier in Ancient Greece. If I had a time machine, I’d deliver that dude a freaking vibrator. He’d lose his shit. And then write a play about it. And the undead king of the stage himself, William H Shakespeare? He wrote a bunch of goddamn comedies. But what do you usually study? Tragedies.
There is a lot of wonderful theatre out there. Some of it classic – I’m a huge Stoppard fanboy. I love Australian theatre – Lally Katz is a personal hero of mine. And some of my peers in Australian theatre at the moment are truly and astoundingly funny and talented. Check out Ali Sebastian Wolf or Alex Cullen when you get the chance. And I’m extraordinarily lucky enough to have gathered a bunch of awesome, talented people to be in a little theatre collective with me, which we call Sexy Tales Comedy Collective.
I don’t know what this says about me. Am I arrogant enough to truly believe my writing is better than 90% of all the other theatre out there? That I can redeem theatre with my unique brand of absurd comedy epics? Not… publicly. I don’t have a shirt which reads ‘My theatre is better than yours’. And not really. Because when it all boils down, I don’t write to change or influence or really achieve any goal. I write because I love it. I would write if there wasn’t anyone reading or watching. I would write into the void. The question is, would the void write back?
I’ve kind of lost my train of thought. What have we learnt? Do what you love. Even if it doesn’t make you money.  
THE STARS:
4/5 stars.

100 Years of Lizards

Q: Where the shit have you been, Patrick? Don’t you love us anymore? What’s that in your hand? Are you really a para-trooper from the 1940s?
A: It’s true, I’ve been sadly absent. But I still love you, like a dog loves its flappy mouth. A water bottle. No.

THE STARS:

Since the beginning of last year, I’ve been working on a play called 100 Years of Lizards. I wrote and produced it! We were at the Underbelly Arts Festival on Cockatoo Island, Crack Theatre Festival in Newcastle and have been fundraising around Sydney. But it’s all been a lead up for the upcoming Adelaide Fringe Festival. Which opens this week.
100 Years of Lizards has been an absolutely epic project, and I’d love it if you could see the results of all the hard work. I’ve been lucky to work with some truly hilarious and gifted people.

If you live in Sydney, we have two shows THIS WEEKEND at the Old 505 Theatre. Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm. There are an extremely small amount of tickets, only available at the door. Check out the deets here. I will never say ‘deets’ again if you come.

Then we will be at the Adelaide Fringe. Our show will run from March 1st to March the 17th. We will be playing at 8.30pm a The Maid. To gather specificities and book tickets ONLINE (what black witchery is this?) you can click on this glowing word here.

Finally, if you aren’t convinced, hows about you read one of the reviews we have. REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW.

LACK OF STARS:

So, in order for me to not go crazy with stress and fear, I made the harder-than-it-sounds decision to NOT DO ANYTHING unless it was ‘Lizard related. I am sorry about that. Once this crazy fringe process is over, I promise I will Spontaneously Review like it was 2011.

THE SCORE: SPECIAL DEAL:

I am offering a FREE TICKET to 100 Years of Lizards at the Adelaide Fringe only for readers of the Spontaneity Review. If you reply in the comments section of this blog and rate lizards out of 5 stars and explain your reasoning with only one sentence, a ticket to the opening night of our show on March 1st will go to my favourite score. In case that was confusing, here’s a step by step process:
1. comment in the comment box
2. Rate ‘Lizards’ out of 5 stars. eg – ‘2/5 stars’
3. Explain: ‘Lizards live in my colon’
4. I judge them while drunk.
5. Winner gets his ticket
6. THEIR LIFE IS CHANGED FOREVER

I look forward to our new year of spontaneity, and I truly hope I get to meet and drink with ye fine people at these shows. Or elsewhere. But mostly at these shows. Because I’m all invested in them, yo.

– Patrick

People Who Talk In Theatres

 “If you take sexual advantage of her, you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.” Shepherd Book, Firefly.


 THE STARS:


This post is dedicated to the three girls who loomed over us last night at The Tallest Man on Earth concert at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. Why is this in the ‘stars’ section? Because I got to see The Tallest Man on Earth and he was sublime. Utterly, utterly perfect.


LACK OF STARS:


Here’s where we get to the meat of the situation, the ropes of stringy gristle and chewed nubs of intestine and spleen that are hanging bloodily from the gaping zombie torso that is this situation. These girls, standing so very close to our chairs, talked the entire show. I’m not talking about hushed whispers about how awed they were at the superb concert we were seeing. I’m talking about raucous, cackling, shouted conversation like a cheap prostitute arguing with a flock of parrots about cultural differences. I’m talking the volumes and intonations of a Catherine Wheel strapped to six cats and released in a space shuttle. And I’m talking about subject matter that would make an NRL team composed entirely of moss and amoeba feel intellectual superiority. Here’s a quick portrait of how these harpies looked:

BESTIES!



Yeah I know, right!


Why didn’t I simply stand up to them, you ask? With great dignity, explain to them why their behaviour is akin to throwing sharks into a newborn child’s crib? Well, I did manage to ask them to be quiet not once, but twice. And so did a gentleman in front of me. And so did his girlfriend. And did they shut the fucking hell up? No.


And this is why I declare a pogrom against theatre talkers. This is why if all the people who talked in theatres all decided to move to one country and become a distinctly separate race, I would relax my normally stringent distaste of genocide. 


They managed to drive even further down the long roads of theatre talking horror and they put their club-like feet firmly on the stupid accelerator. When two of them went off to have a smoke (and at this point the assembled audience must have been hoping for a newer, more instant type of lung cancer to strike them down), the third one started talking on her phone. Her dedication to ruining our acoustic experience was so devout, that she actually phoned a friend in order to help carry it out. By this point, the last few rows were visibly annoyed. In fact, when the smokers came back, they were probably greeted by something like this:

Holy crap I couldn’t even be bothered finishing this picture. You get the idea.
Blobs with expressions. 



Eventually they just left. Perhaps the deep sense of unwelcome permeating the room began to pierce the thick layer of empty screeching and the fog from their dual-wielding of Red Bull and Carlton Draught. Or perhaps they’d heard of a funeral that they could go and have loud anal sex at. Or maybe they are still wandering the streets of Sydney, smearing themselves in their own faeces, emitting a low grunting noise sporadically and collecting old plastic spoons to insert up their noses. 


THE SCORE:


0/5 stars.