Indiana Jones and the extra chair @ Live Theatre, Newcastle (Juice Festival)
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne , UK NE1 3DQ
Presented by Simon Mole
In association with Apple and Snakes, New Writing North & Live Theatre as part of Juice Festival
Every family dinner needs a hero…
Relating to your relations isn’t always easy, and it’s often on those rare occasions when everyone sits down to eat together that things really kick off.
Our leading man is Mike, a 23 year old who still asks ‘what would Indy do?’ at times of crisis. We join him at a busy London station as the everyday reality of his own crumbling love-life unexpectedly collides with his heroic fantasy world, with hilarious yet heart-breaking consequences. We then follow Mike on a risky journey into the unknown (via his mums), and watch as his parallel existence in 80s Hollywood blockbusters rudely intrudes on an important family meal. What if Mike doesn’t like Richard?
Simon Mole’s groundbreaking one-man show is a sensory explosion that combines spoken word theatre, riotous adventure, laughs a-plenty and tasty culinary delights. Having collaborated with a group of young writers from New Writing North, Simon and site-specific theatre director Peader Kirk take spoken word performance in an exciting new direction.
The young writers will serve food with poetic memories and perform their own original family-themed writing as they host guests at this unique event. Tickets for these shows are limited so early booking is advised.
Indiana Jones and the Extra Chair! is written and performed by Simon Mole and supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Presented as part of Juice - NewcastleGateshead's award winning festival for children and young people, in association with Live Theatre, New Writing North and Apples and Snakes. Originally commissioned by Apples and Snakes and The Albany.
Being made to feel welcome is important, and when I went to Newcastle to run for the first workshops on the north east leg of the ‘Indiana Jones and the extra chair’ tour that was certainly the case…
First up, my mate Mark met me at the station and drove me via the beer shop to his house, where his partner had prepared us a mighty pasta feast (with home-made pesto no less!) – they continued to feed me like an absolute king all weekend, including home-made soup on saturday lunch and a packed lunch box of leftover pie from the night before to take with me for the train home on Sunday. Quality stuff. Cheers guys.
Saturday was the first time I’d been to Live Theatre, and straight away I was impressed by the location on the quayside, and by the building itself…
Walking through the front door I was greeted by this sign, and then soon after met by Rachel from juice festival and Laura from New Writing North – I’d been chatting to these guys on phone and email for ages so it was great to finally meet them in person. The welcome party was made completed by the arrival of Kirsten from Apples and Snakes, and also by the presentation of my Juice Festival ‘welcome pack’. These guys know how to do what they do properly!
The young writers soon started to arrive as well, and then it was up to the studio to get started – not without stopping to check out this awesome view from the third floor…
The whole building immediately has the feel of somewhere you know you will get good creative work done, and that very much proved to be the case for the participants over the weekend – each one of them came up with a quality draft of a piece inspired by one or some or all of the themes of family, food, and heroes. You can keep up to speed with the project as it develops on here…
Thursday 4th October was National Poetry Day, and by happy accident also the final event for Indiana Jones & the extra chair residency project I had been running with director Peader Kirk for Warwick Words Festival. By 7.30, the restaurant at The Grand Union was full up with guests, and by 7.40 they were being treated to tapas and sangria served by the kitchen team and poems served by the local writers who had participated in the project.
Later in the evening, I massively enjoyed performing my show in what was a fantastically warm and receptive space, but perhaps my favourite part of the evening was watching the participants sharing their pieces with the tables of audience members; seeing them adjusting their delivery as they went, really responding to the subtle signals they got from the live interactions between them and the other people at the tables.
The atmosphere was incredible, similar to that magic sounding buzz that you get when you walk in to a bar or pub and just know the vibe is right. After sitting in the space as they performed I was proper psyched up and good to go – I have genuinely never had to warm up as little as I did for the show that night which is a true testament to the work the local writers did.
Towards the end of the evening, the audience got chatting amongst themselves – sharing their own ideas, reflections, and memories. Here are some notes they left on their paper plates about what they felt were the classic ingredients for a family gathering…
Creating the space for the audience to chat about the show and their own experiences of family is a really important element of the event, and is always a lovely thing to watch and be a part of.