SECRET THEATRE LONDON – Secret zone 1 location, London
Tuesday 29 Oct – Saturday 30 November 2013 | PRESS NIGHT: Wednesday 6 November
Doors 7pm for a 7:45pm start | Director: Richard Crawford
Having staged productions in New York with the world premiere of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands and in Hollywood (The Diary of A Sociopathic Freakazoid), Secret Theatre have crossed the Atlantic for their first ever London production.
“By the end of this unrelentingly Dostoyevskian descent into vice, self-abasement, caddishness and appalling personal betrayal, Dominic (Crawford) successfully sweeps such emotional encumbrances from his life with a fierce and frightening finality. A hilariously scathing serenade to the all-consuming self-absorption of the artistic ego.”
–LA Weekly critic Bill Raden on The Diary of A Sociopathic Freakazoid
Working from a foundation of daring, and immersive, avant-garde productions staged in site-specific locations, Secret Theatre foster an element of mystery by withholding the title, location and cast until the last possible moment, where they will be given a dress code for the evening and a password to enter the event.
Transcending the boundaries of traditional theatre, Secret Theatre encourage audiences to become one with the performance. Participants who register on the website and buy tickets get a series of clues regarding the show and invitations to secret free pre-events. The only clue released so far for this inaugural British outing is that the performance will be a stage adaptation of a Quentin Tarantino classic.
Secret Theatre do not work for profit, on each production Secret Theatre collaborate with up-and-coming artists and with charities where a percentage of the ticket sales will be donated to a chosen charity. For the first Secret Theatre London production they will be collaborating with artist Lauren Baker and the charity “Save the Wild Tigers”, for which Baker is an ambassador.
BUY THE TICKET… TAKE THE RIDE
With tickets having already sold out for the October dates, audiences are advised to book early for dates in November to avoid disappointment.
Website: http://www.secrettheatrelondon.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/secrettheatrelondon
Last weekend, a few close friends of mine and I escaped on a weekend visit to beautiful Berlin. We had managed to nab a flight at a really good price on a budget airline and visit what currently seems to be the coolest city in Europe. The problem with budget flights, though, is that unless you go for the absolute basic package, the extras really tend to add up, especially baggage allowance, and you’re left paying close to what you would have paid on a ‘normal’ flight. My solution: do away with your suitcase completely. You can definitely fit in enough stuff for a city break in your hand luggage, and I’m happy to show you how to pack. Here is my list:
- A carry-on suitcase: go for the largest one allowed (usually 55x35x20cm). You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this, but if you travel a lot, make sure the bag you buy is durable. Oh, and get one with wheels; they’re a lot easier to carry and won’t tire you out if you have to walk long distances.
- A make-up bag: Anything will do. It’s usually best to get flat-shaped ones because they are more easily packed. Buy a small one; you won’t be taking much make-up with you.
- A bag for toiletries: I like packing things in separate bags because it’s easier to organise your luggage this way and if you really want to find a specific item in a hurry, you don’t run the risk of losing things.
- A bag for first aid: Most hotels and hostels have first aid equipment if you need it, but it’s prudent to pack a few items of your own, just in case.
- Passport – the most important thing you’ll pack. Check repeatedly to make sure you haven’t forgotten this before you leave the house. It is unlikely you’ll be able to travel without it.
- Documents – flight ticket, hotel reservation document, car rental document, and so on. It’s likely you’ll be able to use your mobile to show these in most places, but if you can print them out and take them with you, do.
- Wallet – Don’t take too much cash with you. You won’t need all that much for the weekend. Account for transport, food, and accommodation.
- Your credit card – Because there are ATMs wherever you go. Keep it in a separate compartment to your cash, just in case it gets stolen.
- A book or e-Reader – Especially if you’re on a relatively long flight, or you have long train or coach journeys.
- A notebook and pen – To take down any ideas, or things you really want to remember about your trip, especially if you plan to write/blog about it later.
- Your phone – Obviously. Have a look and see if there are any apps you can download to make the most of your trip, like offline guides to the city, currency converters and dictionaries, if you are in a non-English-speaking country.
- Chargers and earphones – Don’t forget to research what sort of electrical sockets are used in the country you’re travelling to and buy an adapter if needed.
- I haven’t included a camera on this list because most phones now double up as high quality cameras, but if you have a separate camera you’d rather use, don’t forget to pack it, and possibly and extra SD card.
What to wear
You want to make sure you’re comfortable when you’re travelling, but remember if you layer up on the flight, you’ll be able to take more clothes with you without packing them up. Here’s the way I do it:
- A pair of jeans – versatile, durable, and comfortable. You can’t really go wrong with a good pair of jeans. Make sure they’re jeans you’ve worn before and which fit you properly; you don’t want to end up with a button digging into your belly for the entire duration of the flight.
- A vest in a neutral colour – You can wear this under your outfit if the weather gets cold, or you can wear it on its own or with a cardigan if it’s warm.
- A sweater in a colour of your choice – I usually stick to black because basically everything I own is black, but I hear other people enjoy colours (?)
- A jacket or coat – This depends on your own personal style. You don’t even have to wear the coat, just drape it over your arm. It doesn’t count as hand luggage and you may find yourself needing it if you’re out at night.
- Your bulkiest shoes – I only take one pair of shoes with me when I travel, but that’s because I’d wear army boots with everything if I could. If you’re taking two pairs, wear the bulkiest on the plane to save space in your bag.
- A scarf – Keeps you warm AND stylish. Win.
- Jewellery – I tend to wear all the jewellery I’m taking with me, which usually isn’t much anyway: a couple of rings, a necklace, my bangles and a pair of earrings. Just remember to remove them when you go through the metal detector at the airport to keep from wasting time.
- Sunglasses – Protect your face from the sun while you’re out sightseeing. Just pop them on your head and forget all about them during the flight.
What clothes to pack
- A black dress – because you’ll probably be wanting to go out and experience the nightlife of the city, and because black dresses look amazing paired with army boots. Really.
- But if you don’t trust me, you can pack a second pair of shoes. Make them lightweight. Flats are best because they don’t take up lots of space.
- A t-shirt or another sweater – depending on what the weather forecast says for the weekend you’ll be there. Remember to roll your clothes instead of folding them because it keeps them from getting creased and saves on space.
- A light cardigan – in black or grey or any other neutral colour which will match the rest of your clothes. I tend to stick to black and grey and use scarves to add colour to what I’m wearing.
- A scarf or two – because they take virtually no space, they change the look of any outfit and they can basically do anything.
- A handbag – you’ll only be able to take your carry on as hand luggage on the plane, so your handbag will need to be packed into your suitcase. Go for a softer bag which will sit flat when you pack it.
- Three pairs of socks and a pair of tights to go with your dress.
- Underwear, obviously – three pairs of knickers will be enough for the weekend. You can always wash them in the sink and dry them over the bath overnight if you need to.
- A separate bra. You’re already wearing one – possibly your comfortable t-shirt bra. Maybe pack a nicer bra to go with your dress.
- Eyeliner – I personally prefer liquid, but go ahead and pack a kohl pencil if you prefer.
- An eyeshadow trio – get a small one in a neutral palette.
- Mascara – because of reasons.
- Concealer – I know that Touche Eclat isn’t strictly a concealer, but I call it my miracle cream. There are cheaper highlighters on the market which work just as well, or you could just go with your favourite concealer. Use the triangle method to get rid of dark circles under your eyes.
- Your favourite lipstick. One is enough and you know it.
- Lip balm – I find that if I go somewhere with a different climate to the one I’m used to, my lips go dry. Lip balm helps a lot.
- Blusher – Get a small compact like this one so you don’t have to worry about carrying around huge brushes.
- Things I didn’t include which you MIGHT want to take: foundation, primer, lip liner, bronzer, etc. I find them unnecessary.
- Deodorant – because of hand luggage restrictions, it is better to take a roll-on deodorant than a spray.
- Here’s where all the perfume samples come in handy. Take two or three to last you the whole weekend.
- You can buy 100ml travel size bottles for your essential toiletries from most pharmacies. Fill them with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and moisturiser.
- Don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste. You can buy travel size toothpaste which won’t get confiscated by airport security.
- Face wipes – to remove your make-up. They’re a lot less cumbersome than having to carry a bottle of make-up remover, cotton disks, and toner, and more likely to make it through airport security.
- Hand sanitizer – Keep it on you at all times, especially if you’re sightseeing with no immediate access to a bathroom and soap.
- Cotton buds – for cleaning make-up.
- Bobby pins – and a couple or hair elastics.
- A hairbrush or comb.
First Aid bag
- Bandages – in case of any minor cuts or burns. You may also want to pack a couple of blister sticks if you’re going to be doing lots of walking.
- Antibiotic cream – you can usually buy this over the counter. It’ll come in handy if you have any small open wounds or any inflamed insect bites.
- Painkillers – For headaches, period pains, and so on. Paracetamol is usually best because it doesn’t make you drowsy (like codeine) and doesn’t mess with your stomach (like ibuprofen) and you can get it over the counter. Get rid of the box and just take one or two blister sheets.
- A small pair of scissors (with the blade no longer than 6cm) is usually allowed in hand luggage.
- Sunscreen – Even if it’s not particularly hot where you’re going, put on some sunscreen if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors.
- Menstrual supplies – Tampons, sanitary towels, diva cup, whatever you use. Don’t get stuck somewhere without them.
- Antacids – In case that street food you had for lunch gives you reflux. You might also consider taking some Imodium with you, just in case you get the runs.
- Tweezers – For removing splinters, glass, AND grooming your eyebrows. Multi-purpose ftw.
- Any prescription pills – Contraceptive pill, anxiolytics, antibiotics, steroids, anti-depressants, etc. If you’re supposed to take them every day, make sure you pack them.
That’s it! Have I missed anything important? Let me know in the comments.
PBS announced today that it would be airing the premiere of Sherlock Season Three on January 19. Tumblr and Twitter instantly went crazy.
So the US has an air date, but so far it’s been silence on the UK front. Buzzfeed said they contacted the BBC for a comment on the matter, and were told: “Sherlock will air in the UK before it airs in America. However we won’t be in a position to announce the date until later in the year.”
Many have speculated that January 1, 2014, will be the UK air date for Sherlock Season Three, but no reliable sources have confirmed this yet.
To reiterate: we know we be finding out how Sherlock faked his death in The Reichenbach Fall sometime between now and January 19. We just don’t know WHEN.
But basically, within 88 days.
I hope you appreciate the extent to which I am controlling my fangirling here.
Trying to explain your personal Punchdrunk experience to someone who’s never had a Punchdrunk experience is like trying to describe a particularly convoluted dream to somebody – their eyes glaze over, they nod politely, occasionally they give you a strange look. (“I chased a naked man past a scarecrow funeral and into the desert – it was exhilarating.”)
I was a Punchdrunk virgin before I went to see The Drowned Man last Thursday. Now it’s all I can think about. For days later, I was having flashbacks, my dreams were permeated with images I had first seen inside Temple Studios. It was clear the three-hour experience was enough to impress itself strongly onto my subconscious.
Imagine you could enter David Lynch’s mind while he was thinking about a mash-up of his films, listening to heartbreak 50s music and looking at Salvador Dali paintings, and that you could move around freely inside his head, perusing papers, opening closed drawers and poking through caravans and motel rooms and you might – just might – start to grasp the essence of The Drowned Man. If you could synaesthetically take that ineffable feeling that came with the first chords of the opening tune to Twin Peaks and turn it into a building you could root around in, you’d be getting close to The Drowned Man.
Punchdrunk is not new to immersive, interactive theatre. They have been active in the UK for almost 13 years and previous shows such as The Masque of the Red Death and Faust were largely met by critical acclaim. Meanwhile, Sleep No More, their adaptation of Macbeth, currently staged in New York, has become an instant cult hit. The Drowned Man, however, is their biggest and most ambitious project to date, which has required – according to director Felix Barrett – “the budget of a small movie” in order to come to fruition. Punchdrunk have taken a former Royal Mail sorting office right next to Paddington station and transformed its massive 200,00 square-metre premises into a dark wonderland for audiences to roam, discover, and lose themselves in. Designers Barrett, Lin Vaughan, and Beatrice Minns have created a huge, intricate, surreal art installation sprawling over four floors (one of which is literally a desert), and have executed this with astonishing attention to detail.
Audiences don a mask which distinguish them from actors and are let loose into the building, encouraged to lose their friends and advised that “fortune favours the bold”, making The Drowned Man a deeply personal experience. One may choose to spend the allotted three hours perusing through drawers and roaming from trailer to motel to bar to saddle shop, and reading love letters, piecing together the story in that way. Or, you can pick an actor you feel a connection with, and follow them, by which I mean RUN. These actors sprint from scene to scene and you will need to be fast on your feet to catch up with them. They stop abruptly and interact with other characters, performing some of the most beautiful dance you will ever watch. These performers’ relationship with gravity is tenuous, to say the least, and the unlikeliest of things become dancing partners: a caravan, a table, a car…
The actors – a 30-strong cast – are playing simultaneous scenes based on Georg Buchner’s unfinished Woyzeck and Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust. The entire action would run for 10 hours if played back to back, and so The Drowned Man makes you aware of your choices in an acute way: watching one scene means missing another. It is heightened reality. The audience understands the story depending on the perspective of the character they choose to follow and so there are no ‘supporting characters’ as each actor is continuously doing something or other.
There were times during my experience when I decided to break off from the sea of masks and found myself alone in dark spaces, feeling real fear, and deciding to push through it. I was rewarded with the discovery of a secret maze. Fortune favours the bold.
For a while, I thought of the actors as ghosts, cursed to live their tragedies on a loop every day while audiences watched them. Then I realised it was quite the opposite: we could see them; they couldn’t see us. We were the ghosts, we were the invisible ones. And with the anonymity of a mask comes surprising audacity. I stood in a room with ten other masked people and watched a man bathe, and felt no sense of shame. It was nothing I had ever experienced before.
On more than one occasion, I recalled Tiresias, the old, androgynous, invisible and prescient narrator of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. The audience is Tiresias, “foresuffering all”, looking upon arid deserts, woman stooping to folly, scenes of ritual and cleansing, lust and death, “fragments… shored against… ruins”.
There is always sound, wherever you are, coming from hidden speakers, adding to the immersive experience together with clever tricks of the light, and now, almost a week on, when I look back on the memories I made in Temple Studios, I recall it as one recalls a dream: it is slippery and hazy, and intensely subjective.
I am already planning my next visit.
I know it will be completely different.
What makes an adult? Is it just a question of age? Is it a matter of turning 18 and -bam- you’re a fully grown human now? Legally, perhaps, but how many legal adults do you know who you would swear are still children going by how they behave? It’s alright being young at heart – nobody wants to be serious all the time. But grown-ups who behave like constant children in need of constant care and attention are not cute, they’re tiresome. Here’s a list of things you must absolutely be able to do in order to properly call yourself an adult. Feel free to add more in the comments.
1. Feed yourself
I don’t understand how people can reach adulthood without knowing how to feed themselves. They may not enjoy cooking, and that’s okay, but how can you not care about what’s going into your body? I don’t mean stupid diets and obsessive calorie-counting, but surely you realise that eating fresh food = good for you, and eating processed food = not. Look, I know there are nights we come home from work and we’re exhausted and all we want to do is shove a frozen pizza in the oven and get on with it, and that’s fine. But you can’t expect to survive that way. It’s not that hard to learn a few recipes, a little repertoire. You don’t need to be making lobster thermidor, but you should be buying fresh vegetables and fresh meat and including them in your diet. This isn’t about weight loss or anything like that; it’s about respecting your body and keeping yourself healthy.
2. Dress yourself
I don’t subscribe to the whole ‘dress for your shape’ nonsense, because frankly, you should be wearing whatever makes you feel like a superhero, no matter what shape or size you are. However, you ought to know the difference between casual and smart casual, business casual and gala, and be able to fit your style into that dress code when the occasion calls for it. Also, if your jeans/shirt/dress/panties don’t fit anymore, throw them out and buy new ones. Stop hoarding. This doesn’t concern other people; it concerns yourself: if you’re out, meant to be having fun, but all you can think about is how your jeans keep falling down, you’re doing it wrong.
3. Write a letter
Doesn’t matter whether it’s handwritten or digital. You’ll need to write a lot of letters as an adult – important ones too. Emails. Covering letters. Resignation letters. Letters of apology. Letters of thanks. Letters of complaint. Even love letters, if you’re lovely. It’s important to know how to properly format a letter, how to address it, how to sign it. You need to be able to know how to put your thoughts to paper (or keyboard) in a comprehensible way.
4. Save money
I believe it’s worth encouraging children to do this in order to teach them about the value of money. You don’t want them to become stingy, of course, but setting aside a small percentage of what you earn every month is a good habit to form, and you’ll be thankful you did when something comes up and you don’t need to borrow stupid amounts of money from other people to get by. Learn to be discerning about what you spend your money on. Stop buying crap you don’t need and will only end up throwing away. Yes, indulge yourself once in a while. Yes, treat yourself here and there. But take 20 per cent of that paycheque and save it first.
We’ve all got the gift of the gab when we’re with our friends, but I’ve a great deal of respect for people who can strike up a conversation with a stranger. Sure, it’s uncomfortable at first, but you’re going to have to do it – parties, job interviews, networking events. Yes, some people are shy, and that is fine, and nobody is asking you to tell anyone the story of your life, but as an adult, you should be able to speak to a new person for five minutes without it turning into an awkward scene worthy of a Todd Solondz film – i.e. One-word answers are a no-no.
6. Say no
We all know how important it is to say yes. If you’re looking to make friends, have adventures, travel the world, you want to be able to say yes when opportunity comes your way, and then follow through. BUT. There are going to be times when that opportunity just does not feel right. You’ll feel it in your gut; there’ll be a persistent voice in your head telling you this is not right, stop it now. Part of being an adult is being able to recognise that and say, kindly but firmly, “Thank you, but no”.
7. Break up with somebody without being awful
You’ve been on a few dates with somebody and you’re just not feeling the magic. Or you’ve been in a long relationship, maybe you thought this person was the one, but it’s becoming more and more clear to you that they really, really aren’t. If you’re anything like me, the temptation is to change all your numbers, move house, ignore all their emails, wear a disguise in public… But you owe it to this person to tell them it’s over, explain why, and do it in a humane way. Be nice, but be firm. There might be tears, there might be attempts to persuade you to stay, but if you’ve made up your mind, stand your ground. And then invest in a tub of ice cream and a couple of weepy films to watch under your fluffiest blanket because break ups suck no matter how old you are.
8. Know when other people’s opinion matters and when it really doesn’t
Disregard these: Other people’s opinions on what religion you choose, who you decide to pursue a relationship with, the clothes you decide to wear (unless you’re at work and have to wear a uniform), opinions about your body (unless they’re being expressed by your doctor), opinions about how you choose to spend your money, opinions about whether or not you decide to have children… you get the gist.
9. Say please and thank you
It honestly doesn’t take all that much to be polite, does it? If you’re asking for something, say please; when it’s given to you, say thank you. If you don’t, you come across as a spoiled child, and nobody likes a spoiled child. Oh, and here’s a personal pet peeve: people who are rude to waiters. They are doing their job. Yes, you are paying for a good service, but unless the service is awful, it costs you nothing to thank them for bringing your food or clearing your plate away.
10. Be responsible about your health
Maybe it’s because I’ve lived with chronic illness for over five years now, and regular check-ups are a part of my life, but it still always baffles me when friends of mine in their mid-20s admit to never having had a medical check-up. Annual appointments: dental, gynae, GP – schedule them and stick to them. More than that, learn what’s normal for your body, and if anything feels NOT normal, go have it checked out straight away. Strange lumps, new moles, odd aches, persistent headaches, head-colds that linger too long… get that stuff checked out. You’re young, but you’re a human, meaning your body is a fragile machine, no matter how invincible you think you are. You owe it to your loved ones and especially to yourself to take care of it.