Ros Beeson, cast member of Real Positive Poles’ hit show ‘After Dusk: the Improvised Twilight Zone’, tells us about the conception of a show and how it’s grown since. Followed by a Q&A with their support act Ollie Shiels who gives us the round-up on his new show ‘A Candlelit Dinner’.
I’m very excited and cannot wait for our Fringe Preview coming up at the Theatre on Friday 10th June! Having just returned from the Brighton Fringe and seeing all the new shows being advertised, and with the Edinburgh Fringe run right around the corner with the promise of hundreds of artists old and new, I felt like it was the perfect time to reflect on the origins of After Dusk.
I remember distinctly the day that we came up with this idea, it was a total collaboration effort and all we knew at the time was that we wanted it to be a sci-fi, to have a monologue to open (which is a famous opening for The Twilight Zone) and we wanted to make lots of 1950’s jokes like smoking constantly and drinking scotch, a la Madmen. Other than that we had almost nothing else planned and that was four years ago now!
So in honour of the uniqueness of the Fringe experience, we knew we wanted to find an opening act that would typify the spirit of the fringe. Candlelit Dinner is exactly that show, playing with the most joyful elements of immersive theatre, which is audience interaction and doing something exciting, experimental and new. I had the luxury of seeing the show in development at the Unscripted Space and I can tell you even in those early stages it was hilarious so we can’t wait to see this show open for us.
I had a quick chat with Ollie Shiels about his experiences developing his show:
1) What is the concept for your show?
A candlelit dinner, a 2 person improv show, set in a restaurant, one is the date the other is the waiting staff.
2) How did the first seed of this idea come about?
Whilst rehearsing the last Unscripted Players show I needed to line up something to make post-show blues that little bit more manageable. I knew I was craving something immersive which involved the audience more. I enjoy fancy restaurants from time to time and the next thing I knew I was writing down an outline for this show!
3) How did being in the Unscripted Players help you develop this into a show?
The community has been amazing, not only have I been able to bounce ideas or questions off of fellow members, combined with the Unscripted Space which is a more free-form session offered bi-monthly at the Bristol Improv Theatre, which allowed me to actually test the waters.
I was also able to pitch this idea to 2 people and get them on board for actually rehearsing and building this idea together!
4) Any advice for anyone else out there thinking about starting a show?
If you have an idea for a show? Write down an outline of a format, and get it checked by improv teachers, friends or anyone in the street! Trust me, it’s possible, you’ve got to just start by writing it down!
If you don’t have anyone to perform it with? Go to a Monday night drop-in, Go to the monthly theatre jam, if you find someone you enjoy performing with or see someone who is amazing, have a chat with them and get them on board!
If you don’t have anywhere to put it on? Find the groups putting shows on, and ask them if they would love to have an opening act before! Spots exist but sometimes you just have to ask!
5) What should the audience expect from Candlelit Dinner?
You’ll get to be on a romantic date whilst also being at the theatre! Hopefully, you’ll be able to ask questions in-between laughing at or with your potential future spouse! Or maybe you might fancy the waitstaff more? Will you ask a big deal breaker question? Or will you just sit back and enjoy their anecdotes? Come along on Friday the 10th of June, your reservation is already booked!