WriteWords talks to Komedy Kollective|
Tell us something about your background.
Once upon a time, a discontented writer fell asleep during a play he "enjoyed" in a large playhouse, sponsored by jointly the wonderful makers of Valium and Horlicks. Soon afterwards, a group of anarchistic renegade creative writing hobbits got together with a revolutionary vision to create fast moving, visual, fiendishly terrifying theatrical product with a powerful counterculture aftershock.
"Hatched from a dog egg in a kerbside gutter", the gruesomely subversive Komedy Kollective plopped into public consciousness. Heavy in ultra-absurdity, gross out gore, and cutting edge satire (plus a generous helping of that hideously sticky jelly you get in tins of Whiskas catmeat), growing in stature through appearances at cabaret nights and sketch evenings, the movement began to grow in size. Blood, guts, toilet humour, and satirical innuendo, galore, our twisted minds turned to the fetishistic side of comedy horror, schlockomedy.
Sordidly erotic cabaret nights are still on the agenda, but our sights are now firmly fixed on creating a durable yet kinky stew of musikopolitiko debauchery to make the Rocky Horror Show seem like the Sound Of Music.
Currently under development, Restart is a singalong surreal schlockomedic tale of governmental double dealings, sickly fishy snacks called Colinís Cod Pieces, the North South divide, and mad scientific experiments that go incredibly wrong.
How do you find your writers?
Fate, and word of mouth.
What excites you about a piece of writing-
The belief we are pioneers, and that through plays like Restart, we will create a new type of all-action theatre that will steal the thunder on movies, television, and the world wide web.
and what makes your heart sink?
The apparent lack of forward-thinking by "the theatre world" (if such a thing exists), and whether live drama will still continue to flourish as a form of popular entertainment, since the dawning of MySpace, YouTube, video on demand, and plenty of other stay-at-home, quick fixes.
Luvvies, egotists, and water-treaders have had it too good for far too long. Too many performances are obsessed with nostalgia, and continue to follow the same tired-old format, and even many new plays refuse to break with convention. No wander most average-to-low income people prefer to sit at home vegetating on Big Brother or East Enders, rather than venture out to their local playhouse. The acting might be dire, the storylines lacklustre, but at least you donít know, or canít guess the endings.
There are many skilled writers, directors, actors, and set designers who try their hardest to create lasting works of theatre, and yet, whose dreams of success are dampened by the lack of a framework to allow the total progression of talent from fringe to regional or national venues.
Two distinct levels of theatre prevail: -
(1) Meaningful, artistic, clever, fun, enjoyable, yet disposable avant-garde fringe-orientated, or touring, productions that once performed, (however excellent they are, and important their message is towards mankind) will only be preaching to the converted, and will never be seen from, or heard of, again.
(2) Popular, famous, often retro, self-indulgent, over-performed, over-rated works from famous writers, which often are middle-of-the road, offer little in terms of visual excitement, and appeal mostly to mainstream, middle-class theatre aficionados.
In footballing terms, it's like having a Premier League and a Football Conference, with nothing in-between.
Without the right development and investment, there won't be any significant progression of talent from the fringe to the mainstream for all but a select few. Theatrical success should be about quality of product, rather than about luck, being at the right place, at the right time. Unsurprisingly, budding playwrights all too often defect to the quick fix of the glitz and glamour of the celluloid dream, where their talents are (seemingly) more valued, and more readily accessible to a wider audience.
Those who stick with theatre, however talented they may be, face the risk of remaining penniless, unfulfilled, and inconsequential, which for all but the most hardened artists, is an untenable position to be in.
*We had an enlightening near-life experience with Richard Bean of the Monsterist movement at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, at the Everyword new writing festival (http://www.monsterists.com). We support their aims, and hope they can help improve the prospects for large-scale new writing theatre.
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