Thursday, August 26

Urban(e) artists. CAPTION THIS PHOTO!

Brink Bits caught a theatre director and three actors moonlighting as urban(e) artists instead of doing their day job. Maybe it's because their day job means being in the dark a lot?!

Brink Bits wonders what they were talking about.   As a follower of our blog, suggest a caption. Amaze us!

The most outrageously funny one received by Brink, via any electronic means, before opening night of Harbinger (Tue 31), will win 'something'. The Brink judges' decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into - but know that chocolate holds great sway at Brink....

Winner notified and announced on Wed 1 Sept. 
Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Tuesday, August 24

Production Week is here!

L to R: Francoise Piron, Melanie Selwood, Michele Chigwidden
(Photo: Chris Herzfedl)
Melanie Selwood is the Stage Manager of Harbinger. She gave Brink Bits an iPhone glimpse backstage! The company has just moved into the Space Theatre.

PRODUCTION WEEK IS HERE! As a stage manager, this is my favourite part of the process. We start to see all the elements coming together. As I write, the set is being built in the theatre, we are creating 120 sound cues and, later today, we’ll start plotting our lighting cues. Tomorrow we will begin to see the show as a whole - lights, sound, costumes and actors. We’ll go through the play and put it all together Q by Q. By Thursday we should be able to see the entire show for the first time and hope to be ready for our first preview audience on Friday.

It is really fascinating to see the many hours spent in rehearsals coming together with all the technical elements.Production week is certainly a manic time, with everyone working long days and nights, but once the adrenalin starts pumping, it can be very exciting. Back to plotting the sound Qs.....!

Sunday, August 22

The long and the short of Harbinger

Confidentially speaking Brink Bits is wondering the lengths Yael and Nathan (playing Maddy and Chris respectively) will go to to get it off onstage, so to speak!

Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Friday, August 13

FF = Filmclip Friday!

In a twist on 'Follow Friday', we've decided that a 'Filmclip Friday' is in order! Playwright Matthew Whittet shared with us five songs that inspired him to write Harbinger for Brink Productions. Here on Brink Bits we share his thoughts along with clips of the songs. Get your air guitars ready...

Matthew wrote...
Some of the first thoughts I had about Harbinger were pretty basic and amorphous. I knew I wanted to write something about a guy and a girl who knew nothing about each other. I knew I wanted the story to take place over a single night. And I also knew there was a feeling I got from 2 pieces of music in particular that I wanted to translate in some way into the play. That the play would start with the feeling of early 1970's David Bowie, and somehow through the story of this one night lead these 2 characters to something that felt like Joy Division. Not that necessarily any music from either of them would appear in the finished product (maybe...) but that these artists inspired a feeling that hopefully is in the finished product. When I write I like to listen to a lot of music that is particular to the feeling of what I'm trying to write. Here's five songs that I had on high rotation while I was writing Harbinger.

1) Oh! You Pretty Things- David Bowie
Such a great, catchy early Bowie song from the album Hunky Dory. Really jangly, in a cool way. About "nightmares coming to stay", and all the young pretty things driving their parents insane. Very apt.

2) Cygnet Committee- David Bowie
Even earlier Bowie. A shimmering, epic 9 minute song. A bit psychedelic, but really passionate. Full of the frustration of youth, but also a bit of a manifesto about the world a young Bowie would want to live. "I want to believe in the madness that calls now". What a great line.

3) Shadowplay- Joy Division
So stark, with an incredible rawness and power. Something about this song feels so honest. In the same way that the Bowie songs dream of a magnificent future, this song feels like the reality of that future.

4) The Young Thousands- The Mountain Goats
One of my favorite songs. Has got this incredible drive for an acoustic song. Another fevered dream from a young mind of what the world could be. Has a great line, "the things that you've got coming will do things that you’re afraid to. There is someone waiting out there with a mouth full of surprises".

5) Ready, Able- Grizzly Bear
I could almost list any song from their album Veckatimest. It's simple and complex, and very beautiful. Almost glitteringly beautiful. I would listen to this constantly as I was thinking about the play, dreaming up what sort of delicate things would reside in the hearts of the 2 main characters Maddy and Chris. Of the things that dwelt deep within them, but they couldn't yet put into words.


Two young strangers on a hunt for ghosts and monsters

Pressed further by Brink Bits, director Chris Drummond tries to lessen the mystery surrounding Harbinger - mystery that has arisen from the Brink marketing pundits struggling to find a way to talk about the show without revealing too much too soon. What we call  'spoilers' that reveal too much to audiences before they experience the play. In Chris' words....

I am reticent... to reveal the plot … and to talk about the process.  I don't want to analyse what we're doing.  The minute you start analysing what you’re doing in rehearsals you’re lost. But I have to give it a crack, so…. what to say?

Photo by Chris Herzfeld

For starters, the reason for being so circumspect about the plot is that Harbinger's main 'fuel' is the element of surprise.  I can tell you Harbinger is a ‘quest’ play that occurs over the course of one night from dusk to dawn, involving two young strangers on a hunt for ghosts and monsters.  Along the way there are hauntings and transformations, Ziggy Stardust, Hall & Oats and an excess of blood. The play makes wondrously impossible demands of the stage and the actors... has a brilliant ear for the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour and exquisite playfulness and wit.  Right now in rehearsals we have (at least) two ways to read the play… two different layers through which to understand it.  Our job is to build a journey that encapsulates both these layers without committing to either.  This can be truly difficult work but when it comes together the play springs into life.  The actors are doing absolutely beautiful work and there's a density and a lightness to their playing.   Most days, usually late afternoon, the rehearsal room becomes filled with giggling idiots incapable of speaking.    Not unusual in a rehearsal room but particularly persistent here.  I try and claim it has to do with some brilliant insight or other... but Yael just reckons it's a disease that needs to be destroyed.  Either way, it's joyous.

Thursday, August 12

A brilliant combination of romantic horror and deadpan wit

Brink Bits pressed director Chris Drummond to step out of the rehearsal room and describe Harbinger, written by Matthew Whittet, so we can all get an insight into what we might expect from Brink's new and mysterious play.

Harbinger opens up unexpected worlds. It’s vivid exciting theatre. A brilliant combination of romantic horror and deadpan wit, it twists and bucks and shimmers like a disturbing and beautiful dream. It goes into very dark places but it’s got a huge heart. I think Harbinger is one of the most intelligent, generous, playful and imaginative shows I’ve ever worked on.

Sunday, August 8

What an eerie rehearsal room!

Melanie Selwood, Stage Manager of Harbinger, told Brink Bits about spooky shadows, spooky sounds and ghosts of theatres past... 

This week we’ve been rehearsing in an old church that has been converted to a proscenium arch theatre as part of the Holden Street Theatres. The stained glass windows are blacked out, elongated shadows that appear on the walls in the afternoons, spooky darkness. Wednesday afternoon  we played with some of the sound effects that we might be using in the show and the old church definitely provided the perfect atmosphere. We turned the lights off and sat in near-darkness listening to screams, screeches, bats flapping and deep breathing. It felt like we were sitting in our own horror movie, complete with tombstones on the walls and spider webs in the corners. Who knows what ghosts will start haunting us!!