<![CDATA[Heretical Productions - Blog]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 10:34:54 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Fringe-Ready]]>Sat, 04 Apr 2015 20:20:28 GMThttp://www.hereticalproductions.co.uk/blog/fringe-readyAlex Howgego

I suspect that producing a Fringe show is one of those experiences which makes you look back afterwards with serene hindsight at all the things which seemed simple enough from the outset. I can only liken the ordeal to that described by the rather wonderful Fascinating Aida in their tale of attempting to book cheap flights, only to find that there are a million separate application forms, each with individual charges. And yes, I'm sure everything has a name (apparently if you give it a name, like "booking fee" or "congestion charge", it makes it a thing).

However the fact remains that the one constant through the whole experience so far has been the development of the show, which, disregarding minor organisational failures, must still go on. It's hard to say at exactly what point a show becomes 'Fringe-Ready', but it is interesting to observe how our own development process has changed over the years.

Undoubtedly one of the toughest challenges Heretical Productions has faced with this most recent endeavor is a burgeoning attention to the little details. In the old days, most scenes were liberally ad-libbed (sometimes to the point of being semi-improvised) and the general framework of knowing where a scene needed to go and who needed to end up dead (or, perhaps more critically, not dead) was usually sufficient for the cohesive flow of a piece. In recent years however, with the new practice of breaking down show footage scene by scene and the valuable experience of previous shows taken to Fringe, the editorial eye has become much more critical and allowing a scene to ‘simply progress’ has stopped being an option.

This is not to say that the new material doesn't remain reasonably non-formulaic in its conception. The show is as much the end result of our own anarchical brain-wanderings as it is a devised piece, and that moment when somebody stood up in rehearsals and said “Wait, what if zombies were afraid of polar bears?” was usually the moment when a key plot point or character trait slipped snugly into position like a Rolo into the old-shape Smarties tube. Ideas, characters or even whole plot lines tend to be born of someone’s spur of the moment idea, usually while playing Call of Duty or eating bacon. Sometimes, even stumbled or mis-delivered lines can lead to a new idea or just a different approach to an existing scene (what if all nightclub bouncers spoke like a 19th century gentleman’s gentleman?).

The end result is that The Heist has taken a whole year longer to make Fringe-ready than its predecessors. While we love Fringe dearly and would happily spend eleven of the twelve months a year pottering round at 2AM trying to find that show that handed out free bacon sandwiches, the show is always central to our Fringe visit and we won’t bring it until we love it.
<![CDATA[Show Day]]>Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:17:57 GMThttp://www.hereticalproductions.co.uk/blog/show-dayTom Bridges
The first show in a run inevitably means a long day for everyone. This is usually opened with a furious flurry of messages first thing in the morning as everyone realises that teleporters still haven't been invented yet and we need to get to the theatre. As anyone who has ever had to do anything to a time constraint knows this is now when you have a flat tyre /the trains are under 6 feet of water /there is a giant lizard monster outside the front door. Some days we seem doomed never to get in on time, but once everyone is together and in the space the work begins.

As Joe and Alex are with us through the creation/rehearsal process we all know (roughly) the music and tech cues. But there is always the nail biting process of throwing it all together. The physical sequences usually get first priority in tech runs, as they’ll often have been rehearsed in a myriad of spaces that aren’t the venue this will mean tweaks and changes: for example during one fight sequence we had to ensure to be set far enough upstage so that Alistair didn’t destroy a Par Can by kicking it to death. Give yourself ten points if you can work out how that’s even possible.

Remaining as calm as possible while Joe and Alex work their magic at this point is always quite hard; we get quite excitable once given a stage to jump around on, but we do our best. We find an order of priority rather than a straight tech run helps because then we’re not snookered if we faff for too long with the first job on the list (quite a possibility given a propensity for inserting last minute jokes), and less important dialogue bits can always be done out of the way while focusing etc gets done. Sometimes if we get practice sorted quickly and we’re being well behaved we’re even allowed to touch the equipment– I even borrowed Joe’s Leatherman to cut some gels to size once. The advantage to not having anything in terms of set or props is that once we’re set up we can keep running sections over and over to get lighting and music timings down to razor sharpness, which ultimately is what makes the difference between a bunch of guys shouting a lot and a slick looking production.

Once everything is done the only important job left is dinner. As this always feels like a long day pushing for too hard and too long only makes us full of hate, so pausing for long enough to refuel makes us more productive. Heretical Productions has never got anything done while hangry. Filling ourselves up with sausage rolls, coffee and Tangfastics is somewhat of a recognised tradition – although recently fruit was brought in and everyone sat in bemused but approving silence enjoying this ‘healthy’ treat.

Bar a lot of jumping and stretching to get ourselves physically warmed up that about takes us up to the first show. It’s a funny process to suddenly go from the relaxed tea drinking of the rehearsal room to the serious voice filled performance space, but we’ve avoided any murders so far.

<![CDATA[Heretical Rehearsals]]>Fri, 05 Dec 2014 11:21:14 GMThttp://www.hereticalproductions.co.uk/blog/heretical-rehearsalsTom Bridges
For those of you who've been following Facebook and Twitter you'll have seen a few sneaky photos from recent rehearsals for the new show.

The anarchic and alarmingly exuberant images aren't planned, we're happy to reveal that this is normal rehearsal process for us; if no one has been kicked in the head (accidentally or not), got unnecessarily fighty or  laughed so hard at another Heretic they've forgotten their line - then something's gone wrong.

Although structure is very necessary to make sure we get something done by the end of the day and haven't just jumped around for eight hours and then watched The Matrix, we still believe that our very best material come from play time - the more free we are to try to make each other laugh the better characters and scenes become. Some of our most beloved jokes have come about simply from ad libbing and trying to put each other off, so 'sticking to the script' is never too strongly enforced. If there is a script. And everyone can remember their lines in the first place.

On the occasions when we've either had someone sit in and join us for rehearsal, or in the interviews we've given, you can see the growing astonishment/fear in their widening eyes as the thought, "Wait... they're like this in real life?!..." rounds on them like an angry bear.

Some groups tend to work more productively from scripts, sitting round the table and going over ideas and jokes. While this does still make up a big part of rehearsals, we do try to get up on our feet as soon as possible; whenever we can with Alex and Joe planning music and tech from the off. This way the characters, music and lighting all evolve together from the moment someone makes an offhand silly remark about a swan.

We'll be posting more photos and silliness this weekend, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled!
<![CDATA[Website update!]]>Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:03:12 GMThttp://www.hereticalproductions.co.uk/blog/website-updateAlex Howgego

Having toyed for a long time with the idea of starting a blog, I decided the best way to begin was to describe some of my experiences since taking on the roles of Producer and Webmaster at Heretical Productions.

Despite being largely quiet to the outside world, the past couple of months have been hugely busy for Heretical Productions, not just as a company, but individually. Between Mr. Booker having made his way down to "The Boat" in Bristol Harbour and myself having moved out of said vessel, spare weekends and evenings preparing new material for shows, website and press releases seem to have consumed the remainder of my life recently! 

While it is certainly good to be busy, a year and a half in social engagement has taught me that you cannot neglect your public profile. Although the mass of unedited show footage looms ever ominous, rewatching past show footage has always been an enjoyable past-time and I hope to get some more up soon!

I was lucky enough the other week to get a sneak peek of some new content that Mr. Booker and Mr. Bridges have been working on for the website, but in the meantime I hope to deliver regular, if brief, updates on all matters Heretical, including development of the new show as well as some of my own ideas for musical motifs, themes and so on.

This seems an appropriate time to conclude my first post, so I leave you with a picture of some beautiful cows we found on holiday: