Blog | Newsletter: Batman and Ruth Aren’t Banned, but You’ll Never Guess What Was!

Newsletter: Batman and Ruth Aren’t Banned, but You’ll Never Guess What Was!

By admin | February 4, 2016

Opening Soon! One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody

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Two-faced super-nerd, Charlie Ross, lovingly tears Nolan’s Masterpiece a new one, in his solo show One Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody, openingFebruary 18 at WaterfrontTheatre.

No costumes, no sets, no Batmobiles—Ross takes you on a one hour joyride, from the caped crusader’s origins to his epic battles against Gotham’s super-villains.

This town deserves a better class of parody, and Ross is going to make sure you get it.

If you’ve seen Charlie perform his signature One-Man shows you know that this third installment in Charlie’s Trilogy of Trilogies is an event not to be missed. This show is weird, respectful of the source material, and irreverent.

Similar to many Fringe performers, Charlie is the sole actor, although he wasn’t totally alone on this journey—fellow Fringe Star TJ Dawe came along for the ride, as the director. Charlie chatted with Theatre Wire about his process, giving a glimpse into why we can’t miss this show!

What things do you want your performances to prompt people to think about?
I want to prompt people to remember what it was like to play (uninhibited) when they were kids.

What are you most looking forward to about the performances?
The nerds.

As a producer, how involved are you in guiding the interpretation and creation of a character?
As Producer/Playwright/Actor I tend to use my intuition, and then try to make TJ Dawe laugh.

How did you prepare to play your character?
I watched the movies, a lot, and read the comics/graphic novels (anything relevant I could get my hands on) as research. I also studied the heck out of the performances of the actors from the Dark Knight Trilogy.

What has been challenging about learning this role?
Trying to communicate the details that people have likely forgotten from the films, everything from the character’s idiosyncrasies to the details from the complex capers. As the writer and performer I’ve had to streamline a story that I know very well, but adapt it for a more general audience.

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One of Charlie Ross’ Many Faces

How has the rehearsal process influenced your original conception of your character?
When TJ didn’t laugh or respond to a joke or bit of business I was compelled to try either a different approach or edit out the bit completely. I also found myself improvising a lot more with some characters, like Bane, and discovering wonderfully ridiculous bits of material.

What’s the most misunderstood aspect of an actor’s job, in your opinion?
I think that too much emphasis is given to the actor and not enough to everyone who contributes to a production as well as the night itself (or matinee) of the performance. There’s a lot of pressure during performance on the actors, but the pyramid is built upon the backs of many who get very little notice for their efforts.

What inspired you to write this show?
I was looking (and had been for about 10 years) for a trilogy of films to round out my own desire to have a trilogy of trilogies. I loved the dark quality of Christopher Nolan’s films, it was exactly the tone that adapts well to parody. It’s hard to make comedy into comedy.

Is the story based in a true event? If so, what did you need to do to reshape the story into the guise of a play?
The only true event is something autobiographical, in that I have grown accustomed to doing myOne Man Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. The Bane of my existence (pun intended) is this nagging need to attempt adapting another trilogy for the stage. I feel a bit like the older washed up Bruce Wayne, very little cartilage in my joints, trying to slap on my costume and act like a younger man. I have changed over the years (some good, some bad), but I am trying to face the challenge. I’m facing my fear of falling—failing—and I can only do this by embracing the fear. By making the climb without the rope, so that fear will strengthen my resolve.

One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Trilogy _opens on Thursday, February 18 and runs through the 21. Book your tickets now!_

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What the Heck is a Dramaturg Anyway?

Tara Travis may have been a Fringe star for years, but she’d never worked with a dramaturg until she won the 2014 Fringe New Play Prize for The Unfortunate Ruth from Playwrights TheatreCentre (PTC). A dramaturg assists with the research of a play, as well as story development and editing, among other tasks. Tara developed The Unfortunate Ruth, which is being remountedFebruary 5 to 7, with the help of PTC’s dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty. In this previously unpublished interview, Tara shared what the experience was like in comparison to her usual methods of writing shows.

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“You Must Be This Tall To Write This Play”

Can you talk about how you develop work by performing it for audiences?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the audience teaches you so much, especially in comedy. By having the luxury of developing a show over the course of a tour, I can master the minutia of immaculate comic timing. I can also learn if there are issues or flaws in my play—if concepts are unclear, or the arc is clunky and scene order needs restructuring, and so on. Over time I can slowly try new things, reshape and edit the show until I’m happy with it.

What are the biggest differences between that and how you develop work with a dramaturg before sharing it with audiences?
Developing work with a dramaturg beforehand (until this experience, something I had never done) gave me greater confidence going into my first performance with the piece. Usually, my first show is: “Well, let’s put this in front of humans and find out what the heck it is.” By working with an expert, I had a sense of how the work would be received going in, and took great comfort in that. I feel I started about 10 steps further along than I would usually…then continued to allow the audience to inform the next evolution of the piece.
Having a staged reading months before my final draft was due was invaluable. I knew immediately what needed to change where and why. Thank you, audience. You’re so much smarter than me.

As a performer, always saying “yes” (to scene partners, to directors, to writers) is a huge asset. Do you find it helps your writing process as well? Does it ever interfere with your rigor or judgment?

YES! Being stubborn helps no one. If someone you trust is making an offer, at least consider it. They wouldn’t suggest it if they didn’t have sound reasoning or thought it would do a disservice to your work.
At the same time, when I do say “no thank you” to an offer, it serves to remind me of why my original choice was so important to me, reaffirming my original intentions.

In what ways do you bring your performance chops and experience to playwriting?
I am a character-creation based playwright for the most part. I enter the process with a concept and a character or two, then I inhabit the hearts and minds of those characters, talk to myself like a crazy person, then write down the good stuff they have said. From there, I put on my writer hat and buckle down to make sense of it—I weave their words into a narrative, inject dramatic tension, manipulate their given circumstances and so forth. Any jokes or clever word play comes from the characters themselves. I just channel them from the deepest place in my imagination. I know I’ve got a solid character when they say things that surprise me. It’s a little weird, but that’s how I roll, and I’m okay with that.

We assume you’ve got your tickets to The Unfortunate Ruth, it starts NEXT FRIDAY!! If not, Book today!

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Banned in Vancouver: The Ankle Watch

By Chelsey Stuyt

With a nickname like, “Queen of the Music Hall,” Marie Lloydcrashed through conventions like the Miley Cyrus of the Gold Rush era. Touring the world in an act built on suggestive lyrics, knowing winks, and couple of waggling eyebrows, Lloyd arrived in Vancouver in 1914 red-hot and ready to trot. Her act debuted on February 2, 1914 at the OrpheumTheatre and was attended by the toast of Vancouver’s high society including Mayor Truman Smith Baxter and his wife Sarah Whiteside. After all, it wasn’t every day that a famous British entertainer made it all the way out to the Pacific. Everything went well until Lloyd started in on her trademark number, The Ankle Watch. While local papers are slim on the details, one rather poetic editorial described the act as “the way a watch, plus a slashed skirt, would awaken a general masculine interest in the passing of time.” Naturally, the mayor was outraged.

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Click to listen to an original recording of Every Little Movement has a Meaning of it’s Own – recorded in 1912

According to license inspector Charlie Jones, the Mayor immediately called for her performances to be drastically altered, saying “two of Marie Lloyd’s songs might go all right in London, but Vancouver would not stand for them.” With such a high bar set for all that was moral and decent Marie Lloyd did what she did best—went down and played dirty. Lloyd attacked the writer of a scathing editorial in the Vancouver Sun and even bit a stage hand that refused to let her take the stage. She very nearly finished her run at the Orpheum but after threatening to do something in her final performance to really make Vancouver sit up and take notice, Mayor Baxter personally cancelled her final show forcing the “Queen of the Music Hall” to take that final performance back to London.

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