BEHIND THE SCENES: The Puppets Arrive!

DSC_0720So yesterday, we got a visit from some very fury and spongy friends: the SHOW PUPPETS! After a very long day in the van collecting them, (including a bit of a breakdown before we left the collection!), the cast got to meet their puppet counterparts for the first time. There were a few tears shed at just how brilliant they are! Designed and produced by QPuppets and Paul Jomain, the West End designer for Avenue Q, they are quite frankly the most accurate and best puppets for Q! Over the next few days, we’ll be bringing you a bigger look at the puppets including a video trailer, more photos and more! For now though, below are a few photos from rehearsals yesterday!

 

BEHIND THE SCENES: Princeton Ponders!

Hello all!! Buxton Here! Sorry I haven’t posted before on here, It wouldn’t come as a massive shock if you knew me however. Because not only am I an absolute newbie to the voguish and convenient brain salad that is the blog, me and my fellow cast members have been working our little sock puppets off (see what I did there) on Streetlight Theatre’s inaugural production “Avenue Q”

Now I could sit here (lie actually, but who’s checking) and run through the big Andrew Buxton modus operandi of acting. Which, extensive as it is, just wont cut the proverbial mustard for this sort of show. Not in the sense that acting isn’t important, it most certainly is, its just eight of the cast members are puppets! I have acted in many different kinds of productions but for this venture you have to channel your humanity, thoughts and feelings through the strategically placed mound of foam and fabric on your arm and Imbue it with qualities shown by non-inanimate beings!

“Easy” I Hear you say….. Well I don’t, as you are reading this after I have written it, it would be ridiculous that I would hear it, unless im stood behind you now………………..

Im not.

In addition to all of the puppetry and acting we also have to be mindful not to over animate ourselves or the audiences eyes will be drawn from the puppet to our gorgeous features. Yes, you read that right, in Avenue Q the puppeteers are in plain sight. No hiding behind desks or in bins for us!    Well, not during the show. This free movement of the actors and therefore puppets is a rather interesting quirk to the show, it gives puppet characters an element of freedom that they are not usually accustomed to. In turn this makes them more lifelike!

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Puppets, puppets, puppets look at me going on, its not all about them is it, I suppose it is however, in addition to the large puppet cast we also have three non puppet (also known as human) characters. Gary Coleman (Yes, That Gary Coleman), Christmas Eve (Go With It) and Brian. Acting these parts are just as tricky as they cannot touch, acknowledge or address anyone but themselves and the puppets. Natural instinct is to address the human so its harder than it sounds, trust me! There has been many a time a human character has slapped me instead of the puppet. Never at rehearsal though….. Weird.

I have enjoyed the challenge of a show such as this and relished the opportunity to learn a new skill. We received the rehearsal puppets just the other week and its been a real blast. Arm hurts a little though, its not as easy as it sounds hoisting a person on your arm for an hour at a time!

All in all it is an fun show to be a part of, I hope everyone who comes to the Avenue will have as much of a good time as Streetlight has had of performing it!

Signing off ,   For Now!!

Your very own Princeton

Buxton

Site Updates!

Hey there! We're the Bad Idea Bears! Why not buy some tickets? GO ON! BUY SOME TICKETS! Or we'll cry!
“Hey there! We’re the Bad Idea Bears! Why not buy some tickets? GO ON! BUY SOME TICKETS! Or we’ll cry!”

After a slight delay in updates, here’s what’s new on Streetlight!

  • Cast: Read about the fabulous Cast of Q!
  • Behind the Scenes: The first of our Behind the Scenes posts from director, Matt Powell!
  • New Look: Explore our slightly fancy new theme! It’s very fancy!
  • General Page Updates: Every page is now brimming with new content and information. Why not take a look?

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Behind the Scenes of Avenue Q- Being a Director

Fotor1113124622Well! It has been a while since I’ve updated this site. Sorry- we have been working very hard to put together a fantastic show. And now, as we enter the final countdown, I thought I’d bring you a Behind the Scenes look at rehearsals. From videos to posts from the cast and crew, we’re taking you behind the scenes of Streetlight’s first production! Today, I (Matt Powell- Director,) talk about…

Being a Director

I remember the day we got the rights to Avenue Q well. I’d been out all day in Nottingham with family and returned home to an email from Josef Weinberger saying “Congratulations- you’re directing a musical” (or something along those lines…) The team were all thrilled- little did we know the challenges that lay ahead!

One day I’ll talk about the complex pre-production process we had, (including sorting funding,) but today I want to focus on being a director. I’m guessing that, considering you’re here, you have an interest in Amatuer Dramatics and have worked, therefore, with Directors. This was my first directing job: my experience in amateur dramatics had only been on stage performing so this was a completely new game to play. The best advice I can give anyone is be organised. One of the major things this has given me, (over creative understanding,) is my organisation. Being a director can involve a whole manner of things from financing to liaising with companies before even setting and creating a show! Therefore- organisation is key. Do everything you can, when you can. I only had one other member on my production team, my musical director, so perhaps I have been doing things that someone with a bigger team would do. If you are about to set out on a directing endeavour, go through the time you have: make a rehearsal schedule, start communicating dates with the cast, set deadlines for when you want things completed, think about the entire picture. Whilst it is easy to simply focus in on just one element, (e.g. the creative deadlines- getting things set and so on,) you need to take into account promotional opportunities such as concerts. At Christmas, we scheduled a last minute appearance at a concert which led us to not only gain some money for the show but also promoted us heavily. If you can perform at either a festival, a concert or something, it really helps! The amount of interest we gained from doing that concert aided both our public profile and ticket sales. Factoring events in like this into your rehearsal time and your general time plan really helps. In short: be prepared.

Whilst you do all the preparation, be prepared for any eventuality. My rehearsal schedule is constantly changing due to approved absences for whatever reason so you need to be able to think on the spot. Also- communicate to your cast. Ask what they want to go through and allow them the time to work together after something’s set.  We’re going into the final weeks of rehearsals where we will predominantly be running the show but then fixing elements that aren’t quite there. Furthermore, make sure every cast member feels part of the team. Allow them to perhaps suggest things that you might not have thought of first time. Some amazing elements of Q have been down to a collaboration of both mine and the cast’s ideas. I’ve led a very honest approach to my work: if I don’t like something, I’ll say. I say to my cast that I expect the same from them as well and this has really helped. I am so grateful for the cast I have for Avenue Q: they’re just amazing. All of them are such good friends who are hard working and also very open to trying new ideas and can put forward elements they want to put through their performances as well.

I’ve only really skimmed the iceberg of what I have to say about directing. I’d carry on but I feel like I’m rambling at the moment! We’ll come back to my creative process and pre-production shortly. I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog- keep following for updates from cast and myself over the next few weeks! And whilst you’re here, book your tickets today!