In this week’s blog, we spoke to Ros Beeson from Up The Antics. Ros has been devising and directing the Bristol based group’s new show The Russian Doll! We caught up about the group, the show and her theatre idols.
1. Firstly, tell us a bit about your group! What do you usually perform and how long have you been together for?
Up the Antics is a graduate group out of Bath Spa University, we’ve been together and performing for about 8 years, we’ve also been friends for that long! D’awww! We regularly perform sketches and improv at our night, The Antics Joke Show. Usually we perform long form improv sets based around the monoscene format or a slacker, or depending on how long our set is we have experimented with doing a mash up of a monoscene that turns into a slacker, so we’re no stranger as a group to mixing things up and pushing the envelope.
2. This is a new show for Up The Antics, can you briefly explain what it is and how the idea came about?
So the idea for Russian Doll came out of my experiences making films, when you’re breaking down a script to film it you make a shot list of what you want to capture. It’s customary therefore to start with filming a wide, this sort of acts like a safety net that captures the whole scene, as it suggests you’re viewing it all from as pulled back of a perspective as you can. You would then focus in, getting medium shots, close ups and extreme close ups etc. I was thinking about how enjoyable it is to microscope in on elements and draw an audiences attention to details, heightened emotions, etc. The name Russian Doll just seemed to perfectly encapsulate that idea as you start with the largest doll and then remove layers getting smaller and smaller. The format Russian Doll therefore will be a set that starts in the wide of a scene giving us an overall idea of an event that we’ll be getting from the audience, then we’ll keep removing layers and focusing in on relationships, moments in time and abstract concepts. I’m very excited!
3. How have rehearsals been going for the show?
We’ve only had one rehearsal so far, but it was brilliant. We’re very lucky to have been performing together for so long, we trust each other and we know what makes us laugh as a group, so already we’ve had a lot of fun and have been able to skip a lot of the steps when starting an entirely new idea. Last rehearsal was really a chance to put this idea on it’s feet and see if it’ll sink or swim, and luckily this idea floats! Now we just need to work on teaching it how to swim.
4. Who are your comedy, theatre and music idols?
I think I’ve talked about my comedy idols before so I’ll talk about theatre this time. There are lots of phenomenal directors and theatre companies out there but I have to say I’m a huge fan of the National Theatre, especially their NTLive productions. If you stop and chat to me about theatre you’ll probably get me talking about the production of Frankenstein they put on about 8 years ago now, directed by Danny Boyle, I was just absolutely in awe of the use of staging and filmatic interpretations of the text. For me great theatre is something you cannot stop thinking about and I think that’s absolutely true of this production, truly a stand out for me.
5. What are you most looking forward to doing on the night of the show?
I cannot wait to play with this format especially flashing back through scenes to get back to our base (wide) scene at the end!
Up The Antics: Russian Doll is on Friday 29th February. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased here