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Introducing – Lee Joseph

Lee is the writer of our upcoming production Old Ground

Old Ground (square without title)

Attempting to bring the story of one of Manchester’s darkest legacies to the stage was not an easy decision, and one I have carefully considered for a number of years. It jars so vehemently with everything else that is normally celebrated and associated with our city (arts, music, football etc) and the culture of its’ people; many of whom still feel understandably raw and emotional about its’ uncomfortable ramifications or simply ashamed (or disinterested) about the possibilities of looking beyond what they already know; facts and clarifications often just giving-way to ignorant aversions or, worse, careless embellishments of forgotten truths. Inflammatory fictions only crudely distort the already unthinkable realities, and they should have no place in any assessments or examinations of such cautionary circumstances.

I believe there to be no such thing as ‘morbid fascination’. Rather, more an interested in the highly unlikely – a curiosity in the unexplainable, the baffling and the absolute bizarre – and should never be deemed ‘unhealthy’, or ‘shameful’. Fact is often stranger than fiction and many millions of people have contributed to internet viewing-figures; some of the highest being footage of human atrocities such as 9/11 or the holocaust for example, not to mention documentations of true crimes. It is how and why we approach such historical matters that determine what we might take from it intellectually, or emotionally, afterwards and the reasons remain entirely within the individual. The human ‘condition’ consists of many complications, and to look into the unimaginable is, sometimes, only an attempt to understand them better; though satisfactory conclusions may never be fully achieved.

To remember only the names and faces of the two perpetrators in this story is to only pick at the old, septic wounds and is, ultimately, to allow their crimes to be committed over and over again. In short, unacceptable and irresponsible.

The plight of the two mothers in this particular period of the story I have chosen to convey is my true fascination, for they prove that hope, above all else, can (and should) never be diminished – no matter how despairing and catastrophic out circumstances might be. Equally, their children deserve to be remembered by name; their tragedies should not become their significance – and their lives, though short, should be acknowledge – and with respect.

Bringing OLD GROUND to the stage depended on one thing : finding the appropriate professionals to treat, understand and execute it with great sensitivity and care, on all levels.

I found them.

I have complete faith in all members of production involved and, most importantly, I respected everybody’s individual concerns, questions and doubts before saying ‘yes’ to shouldering the responsibilities required in attempting to lift this idea off the page. Less of a ‘cast and crew’, more of a ‘fellowship’, and one in which I feel fully supported when anticipating any uncertain appeal and reactions to the story we will be presenting to our audiences.

To be on stage in not necessarily to entertain – it is to learn, connect and educate.

 

To see more information on Old Ground and book tickets for the show, visit our website –http://www.organisedchaosproductions.co.uk

Introducing Kirsty Nicol – Set Designer – Bottled Wasps

Kirsty is the Set Designer for Bottled Wasps – she has already worked with us on our production of All Because Of Molly.

She was asked to write something about why she wanted to get involved with us and our production of Bottled Wasps and her experience so far.

I was over the moon when Organised Chaos asked me to work with them again on their new play ‘Bottled Wasps.’ I like nothing better than getting in to a new script, working out how the set should look, and then how to get that set into the space where the performance will be held.

At this moment in time, I am visiting my family in Scotland, where, would you believe it, the sun is shining and since I got here less than a week ago I have yet to see rain!!!! However today (30/03/12) I am not out enjoying the dry weather, but looking at relevant images and doing my own drawings, which will help me explain the costumes to the cast next week. I think I really hit the nail on the head with the costumes for this performance and hope that they will help better relate the characters to the audience………….so guess I best get back to work.

Introducing Louisa-Mai Parker – Grace – Bottled Wasps

Louisa-Mai plays Grace in Bottled Wasps – she joined us after answering an open casting call.

She was asked to write something about why she wanted to get involved with us and our production of Bottled Wasps and her experience so far.

‘Organised Chaos have been on my radar for a few years now. I auditioned for Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, but was unsuccessful and Manchester being the close community that it is, I’ve had friends in various productions. I’d only ever heard good things so was very excited to be cast in ‘Bottled Wasps’.

 It’s now 8.30pm on Wednesday 28 March and I’m sat in my creative hovel dissecting my script and discovering verbs. What does she want? What does this line mean?! Why does she point a gun at her lover?!! Questions, questions, questions. We’re three weeks away from opening night and my mind is a constant whirl. She’s starting to come to life and I’m starting to close that gap between myself and her. The rehearsal period is exciting for me. I’ve always been incredibly passionate about discovering the answers and investigating the conundrums that are plays and people.

My character Grace is no exception. What can I say about her? I think women will love her and men will loathe her! But to me, she’s everywoman. Every woman who’s been in a wrong relationship. Holding her boyfriend at gun point may not be the best solution to her problems but I’m not here to judge, I’m here to find reason!’

 

Introducing Cliff Heaton – Walter – Bottled Wasps

Cliff plays Walter in Bottled Wasps – he joined us after answering an open casting call.

He was asked to write something about why he wanted to get involved with us and our production of Bottled Wasps and his experience so far.

Exactly 3 weeks to go  until our first performance.  This is my first production with Organised Chaos.  I have auditioned for two of their previous productions,  but there are some very talented actors in the North west, so not getting a part is  always part of an upward learning curve. I feel that I am now half way up that curve with regard to Walter, my character in Bottled Wasps. To say he is a complex character is only part of it. He is a soul of immense contradiction who is struggling at this point in his life to cope with past deeds, present crises and barely suppressed hatreds….. But Hey! it’s not doom and gloom. The play has a more than a thread of dark humour and plenty of laughs from start to the explosive finish. I am working with a super creative team and  two great actors, Louisa-Mai  and Marlon and the three of us will certainly present a strange menage a trois. I’m sure that we will all be at the top of the curve for first night ….Be there or Be square!

Kettles boiled… a coffee and back to learning lines for tonight’s rehearsal.

Introducing Alison Flevill – Jaime – All Because Of Molly

Alison plays Jaime in All Because Of Molly – she joined us after answering an open casting call.

She was asked to write something about why she wanted to get involved with us and our production of All Because Of Molly and her experience so far.

“So here we are then… one more day of full rehearsals left and we will be standing on stage in front of our first main audience. The nerves and excitement are starting to set in. 

In All Because Of Molly, I play the character of ‘Jaime’ and have thoroughly loved giving her life. All Because of Molly has been a great challenge as I have had to play Jaime throughout 20 years of her life; from schoolgirl to teen to adult. We had our first run in front of a small audience last Friday and the feedback was well received. Now we have the difficult task of tying up all loose ends and really perfecting our performances. I have had a great experience working with the cast and crew, from getting to know each other to rehearsing with a wonderful and talented group of actors. I am completely proud of what we have all achieved (actors/director/crew) and cannot wait to be taking to the Lowry stage.”

Introducing Laura Lindsay – Casey – All Because Of Molly

Laura plays Casey in All Because Of Molly – she joined us after answering an open casting call.

She was asked to write something about why she wanted to get involved with us and our production of All Because Of Molly and her experience so far.

“I was really keen to be part of an Organised Chaos production as I heard from friends in the industry in Manchester that they specialised in new writing and had a reputation for selecting quality scripts. I loved All Because of Molly from the first reading and have really enjoyed working on it in rehearsal. James (the director) has encouraged a really collaborative way of working, so as a cast we have all enjoyed being part of the creative process. The play has only 4 cast members, but there are 25 characters which span 20 years of narrative, in locations as varied as a school playground, nightclub and a field, so it has been a real challenge to create a clear narrative with seamless transitions – but it is a challenge that we have all relished. The focus has very much been on clarity and truthfulness of acting and just simply telling the story – this is the sort of theatre I love.

 I love the part of Casey and I really relate to her sense of humour and frequent use of sarcasm. I’ve loved getting under her skin and understanding her complex backstory which gives the play real resonance. The centre of the story is a simple theme – the bounds of friendship – but it is one that is sympathetically told and  to which we can all connect.”

Introducing Christabel Brown – Juror One – All Because Of Molly

Christabel plays Molly, Stevie, Sarah, Mr Taylor, Manny, Bridget, Fran, Bar Girl, Shyko, Kate, Naomi, Molly, Alex in All Because Of Molly – she joined us after answering an open casting call.

“A year ago I took part in the original rehearsed reading of All Because Of Molly written by Paul Ferguson and directed by Martin Jameson. Although we only had a day to rehearse and only did one performance I absolutely loved the play and especially the character I had played. It was very well received by the audience and I knew that it would go further and in the future become a full production. When I heard that Organised Chaos were going to Produce the show I jumped at the chance to audition for it and luckily for me I was chosen to be in the play. I am delighted to be playing the same part as last time, Juror 1, which is multi-role part consisting of 12 characters of not only varying ages but also varying genders! It can be very challenging at times especially as sometimes I have to switch between characters very quickly but mostly it is great fun! It has been an intensive rehearsal process but I am thoroughly enjoying working with the rest of the cast and our brilliant director! I can’t wait to perform at the Lowry Studio (it is a first for me as well as Organised Chaos) and I am excited to embark on our little North West tour!”

Introducing Tamira Hamam – Juror Two – All Because Of Molly

Tamira plays Claire, Mikey, Mrs Shopland, Claire, Julia, Catherine, Sam, Man in the club, Deedee, Emily, Jenny, Caroline, George in All Because Of Molly – she joined us after answering an open casting call.

“Well, it’s show week and rehearsals are getting more and more focused and intense as we draw closer to our opening at The Lowry. The cast are so excited to get in the studio and perform our first shows but there’s definitely an air of nervous anticipation in the room! It has been an incredible process to watch the play grow from the script we were initially given to the piece of theatre we have created now, and we can only hope that Paul is going to be pleased with the results and enjoy the show! I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed my time working with my fellow actors and director James Baker who have been so inspiring in the process of realizing this play and moving it from page to stage. To be able to have freedom to create and make so much of a minimalist set and costume design has been so teaching in terms of what we really need to ‘create theatre’. So much work has been brought to life by imagination, spot-on characterization and brilliant sound, lighting and overall design that we’ve created something which is quite a little treat, I think! Friday’s first ‘taster’ performance of the show went well, and I cannot wait for the house lights to go down on opening night and to see what our first audience makes of the piece! To my fellow actors, break a leg, to Paul, hope it’s wonderful to see the piece up on ‘legs’, and a big thank you to our team and Organized Chaos for helping it all to happen. Let’s make it a cracker!”

Introducing James Baker – Director – All Because Of Molly

James Baker is the director for All Because Of Molly he joined us after answering an open call for a Director.

He was asked to write something about why he wanted to get involved with us and our production of All Because Of Molly and his experience so far.

” ‘Needing a break’ is a cliché and a common saying when climbing your way through the world of theatre eagerly trying to obtain work. However, as with all clichés, they hold some truth. The North West is fast becoming an integral theatre producing region, yet it is still difficult to find opportunities never mind secure the job. 

As a director, it isn’t easy, without having a strong network, to secure work. Unfortunately there is still an incestuous element to the art world when it comes to hiring. New talent is often undermined or feared. You’d think with the BBC arriving jobs would be plentiful, but they’re not. Organised Chaos was the remedy. After leaving a successful UK Tour as assistant director, it was perfect timing which allowed me to apply for the position of director for the playAll Because of Molly.

 After receiving the script, I began to do a cold read with a friend to prepare my ideas ready for the interview. As I read the opening page I said “This is not me at all… I’m not sure I like the work”. Okay, bare with me. That was until I read the play from beginning to end. First impressions can be wrong and in this instance they were completely wrong. I loved it. It was a simple story thematically about friendship but had many layers dealing with issues I was also interested in discussing. It is having care for the material that leads to a successful direction of the play. If I ended reading with my initials thoughts I would have done the dutiful thing and not applied.

 The audition process was fruitful. Having the control and allowance to make the final calls is an Organised Chaos trait. They trust the individuals that they employ. They trust that your decision is fit for purpose, that you have the experience to make the right choices and that you are in control of the project. Both the writer and company have given me freedom to be creative; a rare thing in an industry fast becoming product led.

 The cast have been so understanding of my process, accepting and trusting my decisions. However, I work very closely with actors and elicit them to take responsibility for their characters and the story in which they need to communicate to the audience. I can honestly say that everything you will see in the end product has been processed by choices, thoughts, arguments, attacks and challenges. This play has been directed with care and respect by all involved. For this I am proud to be part of Organised Chaos and work with a cast as passionate as myself. “

Introducing Owen Rafferty – Sound Operator – All Because Of Molly

Owen Rafferty is the Sound Operator for All Because Of Molly, he has already worked with us on our production of Joy With Child last year.

He was asked to write something about why he wanted to get involved with us and his experience so far.

“Having worked with Organised Chaos Productions before, I was already aware of the company, its ethos, and the quality of work it brings to the fringe theatre scene. So it was not a difficult decision when I was asked if I wanted to be sound operator for All Because of Molly. It has already given me the chance to meet and work with some wonderful and talented people, and to develop my own abilities as a sound engineer. Working alongside a more experienced sound designer, to help realise her vision for what the soundscape will be, has been a great learning opportunity. I am also looking forward to the challenge that all the different venues will present from a technical standpoint, as the soundscape will need to be adapted for each one.

Organised Chaos have an ethos of promoting and nurturing new talent, giving people with ambitions in theatre vital experience that they might not get otherwise. If it were not for the opportunity they gave me last year, as sound designer on Joy with Child, I might not have discovered the fringe theatre scene, and how much I enjoy working in it. It is always a privilege to be part of that creative process, and to use sound as a way of bringing another dimension to a script. The best part of this process, for me, is the fact you never really know exactly where it is going to take you. All Because Of Molly is already a great script, but I am looking forward to seeing what we will have added to it by the time we get to our first showings at the Lowry studio.”