Ah! An update! PDF 
Thursday, 04 March 2010 14:32

Now here's a thing - an actual update! It's ironic that I spend a lot of my time at work explaining to Headteachers how important it is to ensure that their websites stay active, and are updated on at least a weekly basis, when my very own site has stagnated for quite some time and all sorts of stuff has happened.

 

Having completed Tom, Dick and Harry, I auditioned for the role of "Villiany" in the Priory Theatre's production of "Sinbad the Sailor". I think the picture says it all:

Sinbad1

 

It was one hell of a run (3 weeks solid) but i had an enormous amount of fun, and am hoping to get hold of the video to see myself in action.

 

Next on the list? I'm auditioning on Sunday for the role of "Rafe" in "The Herbal Bed" for the Criterion Theatre. It's a proper thriller/drama and I am truly hopeful of getting the role and really getting stuck into something chewy :) There's even a fight scene (and a sex scene!). What more could a guy want? A purple sash would be nice again...

 

 
My on stage debut approaches... PDF 
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 09:49

Hamlet

 

Well, there's no going back now - three nights are sold out, and I'm starting to sound like an advert for comparethemeerkat.com. Click on the pic to get tickets booked!

 

Tom, Dick and Harry runs from Wednesday 2nd September to Saturday 12th September at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth.

 

 

 
Short story contribution... PDF 
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 08:44

7-writers_handsOver on Newbie Writers, the forum has just begun a joint short story. I was excited by the prospect of collaborating with much more established writers, and was even more excited to see I was listed as second in a list of eleven in the running order for the story! The editor, Dawn Copeman, began the story and I've just published my section. I'm actually pretty happy with it, considering I only had a week to do it and that week has been full of other stuff. So I present - my bit of the story. Pop over the the Newbie Writers forum if you want to catch up completely, or my section sparks your interest. As always, criticism is encouraged!


The following morning, Sara was penitent with Louis and Jacob. Some years ago she had come to accept that, despite losing her faith when Lizzy left, she still had an innate need to atone for her sins. Maple syrup flowed down the stack of buttermilk pancakes Sara had placed on her best oval display platter in the centre of the kitchen table, next to the jug of orange juice she’d poured earlier to make sure it wasn’t too cold from the fridge. She knew very well that her sons would barely remember the incident from last night, let alone appreciate the gesture she was making, but nevertheless she had taken great care and time to ensure their favourite breakfast was ready for them before school.

‘Morning, Mater!’ Sara mockingly impersonated as she laid out cutlery and glasses ‘What a fine morning to be alive. I see you have graced us with a veritable feast! Our eternal gratitude as always, dearest Mother.’ She giggled loudly, surprising herself with her upbeat mood. It had been some time since she had felt quite this buoyant, so she forced out the guilty thoughts out of her mind which seemed to reside permanently and enjoyed the moment. Today was a day to move forward.

The morning had passed without incident, save for Louis and Jacob interrogating her on the way to school in the Land Rover after she couldn’t stifle her amusement as the pair wolfed down their breakfast, barely acknowledging her presence save for a Neanderthal grunt to request some juice. She had reassured them it was something she had heard on the radio, as she felt that explaining the onset of teenage angst at such an early age would have only produced further questioning. Her positive mood remained, suspiciously, even as she drove to the post office, laden with another carrier bag full of eBay parcels.

As Sara pulled up outside the Post Office, she became aware of her feelings of trepidation returning to nestle in the base of her stomach. Once again, she felt the back of her knees seem to lose power, even as she pulled the bag from the back seat. ‘Today was a day to move forward’ she silently reassured herself. Resolutely doing her utmost to ignore the growing panic, any casual viewer would see only a cheerful figure going about her day, but Sara knew that anyone that knew her well would instantly sense something was wrong. Her panic grew when she realised that she counted Malcolm in that list of people. ‘No.’ Sara audibly reassured herself, turning the key to lock the door, ‘Today is a day to move forward.’

For the first time in a long time Sara did not hesitate as she reached for the door at the Post Office. She was riding her mood blindly, staggered by her sudden ability to disregard the screaming voice in her stomach which would normally be in her head by now.

Sara strode through the door, barely acknowledged the assistant who smiled a friendly greeting at the front of the store, and almost marched to the Post Office counter to the rear. Her thoughts seemed to be two seconds behind her vision. There was no queue for her to join, and once again Sara found herself astonished by her glee at being able to walk directly up to Malcolm. She was a Northern Valkyrie, established 1975, and today was a day to move forward.

All at once her adrenaline was pulled from her body, and her vision snapped back into reality with an almost perceptible pop, as her bubble truly burst. ‘Morning, Sara’ Derek beamed at her, lonesome behind the counter. In this morning of peculiarities, the deflating feeling at Malcolm’s absence didn’t go unnoticed.

 
I'm a fight choreographer, me... PDF 
Thursday, 12 March 2009 14:31

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a rehearsal in Kenilworth's gorgeous Priory Theatre to lend a hand to the Director of "The Long and The Short and The Tall". Having made contact with me through the director of "Tom, Dick and Harry", I had been invited in to assist with the fight scenes in the production. Right up my street, but nevertheless, the nerves were jangling as I came in as the "expert outsider" to this small group of closely knitted AmDrams.

 A quick chat with John, the director, revealed that there were five fight scenes within the production that he wanted me to choreograph. The plan was for them to run them past me in chronological order, showing me what they currently had, and then I would step in and tweak as required. As the first scene was run through, I realised that tweaking would not be an option, and total redirection was going to be required. The fights originally looked faked, forced, and the performers weren't using the space they had effectively. Time to step in!

 

 


 
What followed was two hours of regression for myself, as once again I became head trainer (I previously ran a wrestling school), working my damndest to ensure I got the absolute best out of what i had to work with. As it turned out, what I had to work with wasn't bad at all, and most scenes turned out pretty well. A particular favourite of mine is the second fight between the Northern hard man and the weaker southern soldier. Controlled violence at it's best, as a kick to the groin, headbutt and sucker punch I demonstrated to the protagonist brought shocked cries from the resting actors in the seats. Now, I said "most" scenes turned out pretty well. Except the final scene...

 

The final scene was an exercise in telling a story. I don't want to ruin the plot, but the fighting in the final fight requires slow build, escalation and genuine anger. It was a lot to ask of anyone who wasn't used to combat - let alone the entire cast. However, this scene didn't just turn out pretty well, it was fantastic. I'm not taking the credit here - most of my direction was placing bodies in certain places whilst lines and action were run to ensure that the audience got full view. I assisted with a bit of line/action timing, and that was about it. Once the performers were comfortable with their positions and timings, they really went for it. What transpired was a genuinely tense scene, acted with extraordinary ability and I have no doubt in my mind that those 45-60 seconds will stay with the audience for some time. My congratulations goes out unreservedly to the performers if they can pull off on the night what they did last night.

So why not join me at Kenilworth Priory Theatre?

Performances are as follows:

Wednesday 25th March 7.30pm    Tuesday 31st March 7.30pm
    Thursday 26th March 7.30pm    Wednesday 1st April 7.30pm
    Friday 27th March 7.30pm    Thursday 2nd April 7.30pm
    Saturday 28th March 7.30pm    Friday 3rd April 7.30pm
     Monday 30th March  7.30pm    Saturday 4th April 7.30p

 

 
Urban War - starting and cover PDF 
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 14:34

urbanwar

Medium Dave and I have now completed five games of Urban War, and I promised myself I would scratch my thoughts on the system down sooner rather than later. It seems to have been later, but there you go.

Our first two games were simply to attempt to learn how the system's heartbeat sounded. As a old school player of games such as Blood Bowl, Battletech and so forth, I was pleased to see that Urban War used a traditional "rounds" system that allowed both players to take actions during the round. I have always found this much more realistic and satisfyingly tactical. During Urban War, each unit (in our case, single models) is given one of three orders, which influences what they are able to do as well as how quickly they do it.

It is at this point that my housemate Mark interjected himself into the discussions Dave and I were having. Mark is a former squaddie, and approaches almost everything he does tactically. It's inbuilt into him now. My breath held, the lashing did not arrive, and Mark found himself impressed with the realism of both the orders system, and the sequence of events. Nice!

By our third game (which was about two weeks after our first) I had come to realise that my Gladiators stood no chance whatsoever against anyone when I had no cover to use. Hand to hand combat specialists need cover, and plenty of it! "You;ve got some nice CQB's there - they're getting slaughtered in the open", Mark accurately commented. A flick through the book revealed some nice cover rules, which we combined with the character size rules to produce our own method of cover which has worked brilliantly so far. Dipping into Dave's sons' Lego collection, a box of potential cover came about. Each bit of cover was issued with a size (1-8) and this was then reflected in the rules as ot how much cover it gave. For instance, a size 2 model standing behind size 1 terrain would have 50% of them showing, and this translated into a certain "saving throw" in the Urban War rules. Outstanding. Makes perfect sense, as the bigger models have more showing, and therefore cannot use cover so effectively.

A simple random generator for putting cover down was made by Dave and I which went like this:

1) Divide the playing surface into a 5x3 grid, so that the surface had three rows running lengthways. My side, Dave's side, and "no mans land". Eahc one of these rows was divided into 5 sections.

2) Roll a D10 per section (of which there were 15). 1-3 Meant no cover, 4-6 meant my choice, 7-9 meant Dave's choice, and a 10 meant two pieces of cover, with one choice each.

 D10

3) The choices avaiable to each player were simple. Either "no cover", or a piece was picked and placed in the relevent section.

I recommend this system thoroughly, as it has produced some great tactical games so far.

The next step up for us is to find a system for true CQB (close qurter battle) and have a game of Urban War inside some buildings, seperated by a little open ground. As I'm on 0-5 so far, I'm looking forward to this a lot.

I know this hasn't been a full review by any stretch of the imagaination, but it was more like me throwing my thoughts down so far. I'll do a full review when I know the system upside down. 

 
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