• George Morris

Show Face Festival 2020

From the 28th-31st August 2020 (Yes, that means it's still happening today!), the Show Face Festival presented over 50 pieces of new entertainment from emerging creatives to an online audience for free.


http://www.showfacefestival.co.uk


In mid June of 2020 theatre director and founder Lauren Elizabeth tweeted out a public call for creatives to share an interest in an online festival of new work. It was a call for writers, actors, directors, producers, designers, musicians, dancers and artists...and over 150 people responded. This was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the frustration in having a lack of creative output. With theatres, cinemas and gathering spots closed down, many were not only out of jobs but out of practice. Show Face Festival was a chance for us to scratch that itch and meet people in the process.

Before we knew it, Natalie Pulfer joined Lauren as a producer for the festival and all the interested creatives started to meet each other over zoom...


Very soon a schedule was created, and the writers were tasked with assembling scripts and ideas for shows. So we pretty much got to it. From there on calls to actors and directors were sent out, with them choosing from the collection of scripts which ones they wanted to tackle. It's only now hitting me how fast everything went. Very soon we were all cooped up in little groups for individual pieces for rehearsals and recordings!


Sooner than any of us expected, it was time for the festival itself...


...and yes, that is Dame Judi Dench herself showing her support for the project after Lauren reached out and did an interview with her. Remember the state in which theatre was being left in during the pandemic? Whilst other businesses were allowed to re-open, theatre and the arts (within the UK especially) were hung out to dry. For a country that's known for their creative output it was pretty dire.


However, over the past four days there's been over 50 pieces of new entertainment from the festival. Spread across the four days, being found on the festival's website, Youtube channel, instagram feed as well as some interactive segments that require online sleuthing.


As one of the designers for the festival, the wonderful Eleanor Bassford illustrated the show's programme and schedules too. And they looked wonderful.

Across the festival I was lucky enough to have two pieces created:


Session 12


Written by George Morris

Directed by Geraint Owen

Performed by Charlie Blanshard & Alison Harris


Session 12 tells the story of Jake and Diane, who are trapped within the final free session of his career mentorship program during lockdown - the worst possible time to be failing at finding work. Jake's thoughtless attitude is questioned throughout this 12-minute piece however, and rather than signing off whilst maintaining his reserved nature, there's a spark of hope for genuine human connection and compassion.


Don't Worry, You'll Do Fine


Part 2 (happening simultaneously)

Written by George Morris

Directed by Theodor Spiridon

Performed by Owen Pugh, Christie Peto, Kate O'Gorman, Megan Armitage, Tunji Joseph, Sam Todd, Meg Dixon, Naomi Lauren and Emily Roberts

Designed by Holly Chandler


It's a virtual job interview from Hell, run by a corrupt company under the guise of a mad CEO named Ms. Motus, and clinically-average Michael becomes trapped in it as they feast off of his timidity. At the same time, employees of Motus industry watch from camera feeds, and ponder their own sense of guilt when working for a company responsible for such heinous acts.


Both pieces are radically different, and I feel like the proposed nature of 'Don't Worry, You'll Do Fine' would have arguably worked better as a live piece, but it's easy to say that considering the entire thing was put together within the space of a week by director/editor Theodor. For 'Session 12', Geraint's character-centric direction allowed for fluid rehearsals in a smaller space, which definitely heightened the personal feel of the piece.


Of course, there were a whole host of great pieces scattered across the festival, so I thought I'd just share ten of my personal favourites!


Please bare in mind the festival is still running today, so there are several pieces I haven't seen yet!

Remember to go check out everything!


Moth

Written by Amanda Hallam Lane

Directed by Grace Currie

Performed by Felicity Dorey

Designed by Hannah Harding


A delightful mixture of monologue and illustration about the change of perspective, followed up by a DIY craft session.

'Wrens' is an interactive follow up that's also well-worth getting involved in too.


Grapevine

Written by Elizabeth Godber

Directed by Alice De Gennaro

Performed by Remi F

Designed by Kathryn Weaving


An empowering performance and montage piece about the rallying cry of self-confidence in the face of rejection and hate.


Herpes Girl

Written by Emma Cooney

Directed by Kayleigh Adlam

Performed by Amelia Ryan


A brilliant comedic monologue with some great comedic timing about an unfortunate affliction from a sexual encounter...


Living with Apes


Written by Grace Dougan

Directed by Geri McNamara

Performed by Louis Pieris, Amber Wadey, Charlie Blanshard and Gemma Wray


Four clashing characters go on a virtual double-date, kind of reminding us just how awful humanity can be at times in this meaty bit of comedy-drama.


Plastic People

Created by Geri McNamara and Alys Whitehead

Music by Gregor Satti


I adore the concept of this one. A small community of people living within the litter dumps of our beaches in a piece about looking after the environment.


Birthmarked

Written by Owen Richards

Directed by Charlotte Churchill

Performed by Georgina Palmer and Rachel Newnham

Image created by Izzy Coombs


Split across four pieces, this scattered brain-shot explores the reality and imaginations of sisters separated by time as they sync up with one another.


Click here to see Shell's Memory

Click here to see Natalie's Imagination

Click here to see Natalie's Memory


Alex

Written by Emily Roberts

Directed by Theodor Spiridon

Performed by Alex Leak

Designed by Lauren Cross


A great visual monologue about the two-sided relationship between emotion and traditional masculinity.


Fringe


Written by Meg Lewis

Directed by Lauren Tranter

Performed by Meg Dixon


A woman rants to her instagram followers about the struggle she faces when talking about her identity and her style.


Interruption

Written by Hannah Harquart

Directed by Natalie Pulfer

Performed by Lucy Morris, Kieran Dooner, Gillian King and Chris Pickles

Designed by Lauren Cross


A big meaty piece of drama as twenty-something year old Layla goes through the most liberating day of her life.


Mint and Lavender

Written by Tobias Graham

Directed by Sam Rees

Performed by Miguel Barrulas

Image created by Izzy Coombs


A sweaty, uncomfortable, truthful monologue about LGBTQ+ life and the unwelcome spaces they're forced to endure.


Bare in mind these are only a fraction of the pieces available!

You can check them all out at http://www.showfacefestival.co.uk


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Howdy, me again with the weekly reminder to arm yourself with information in the face of adversity.

Whilst the Black Lives Matter movement has managed a resurgence in the news, it's at the cost of yet more innocent lives to join the list of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. The likes of Jacob Blake won't be forgotten, and the videos continue to be no less harrowing so don't you dare become passive.


Of course, Trump's reaction over in Portland is even more death. Not only are citizens there dealing with the continued threat of the secret police but they're now in danger whilst protesting.


Here in the UK the government continues to promote the active 'eat out to help out' routine despite growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. The return to schools this month will put thousands of children, and their parents, at risk just in time for a whole new wave in the Winter.


The political fallout from Beirut's catastrophic explosion continues to be swept under the rug as people become homeless and lose access to food.


Aside from Googling things, the carrd link I usually post has stopped being updated regularly so I'm trying out a new one. On it are hundreds of resources to charities and pieces of information on a whole load of news stories currently going on in the world. Spend 10 minutes. It's just 10 minutes.

https://the2020world.carrd.co/

Aside from that here is a link that allows you to help and donate to various causes (you can choose) by just watching adverts. So disable that AdBlocker and put your time to good use.

https://arab.org/

Stay Safe Everyone.

Thank you for reading, have a wonderful day.

See you next week.


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