The Games tells the story of three Greek nobodies caught in a feud between the gods Zeus, Hera and Hercules. Taking on the ancient sporting world the three unwitting heroes Stanzas, Darius and Hermaphrodite compete in the ancient Olympics. Clowning, original music, song and shadow puppetry complete the show. Actors Liam Tobin and Jamie Wood talk about the show.
I have been working as a professional actor for the past 18 years; The Games was always intended to be a clown show. In order to bring us all up to speed Mark Smith, Spike’s Artistic Director sent us on a weeklong Clown Master class led by Aitor Basauri, of Spymonkey Theatre Company. It was great to be learning again and in an environment as, safe, fun and challenging as this. I have to say I was quite nervous at the start of the week worrying that I was too out of my comfort zone, I was comforted by how much instinctively I did know, I was stretched and pushed in new and exciting directions too. It was so much fun and Aitor was an amazing tutor, with honesty, patience and good humour with each and every one of us.
I would recommend a regular dose of further training especially for those who work within the arts and indeed to anyone from any walk of life. The clown workshops allowed you to lose your inhibitions and discover so much about yourself as a performer and as a person and all whilst being very, very silly! I will certainly be looking for further training opportunities in the future as it pushed me as an actor and those regular investments in skills are much needed to keep you growing as a performer and as a performer. Finally I think I can speak for the cast when I say how re-invigorated we all felt and how excited we are to get going on The Games again for Edinburgh. If we can take that spirit of play and use it to re-work what we have, we are onto a winner, are we up for it? Too right! Can we do it? Yes we can!
So we're at the start of July. The festival brochure is out. I've flicked through it a couple of times to see what grabs my attention. I find myself getting excited about being in Edinburgh, walking through the meadows, bumping into old friends, drinking in the Forest Cafe, meals at the mosque. And you prepare, prepare, prepare, is the image on your flyer interesting or funny enough? Will people come? Will we be playing the show to 3 people? How will reviewers write about it?
And then the memory wonders to a point in the second week after the festival has begun and all anybody seems to want to know is how many stars your show has got? Stars...the noise, the incessant shouting of egos. "Come see my hilarious thing that is nothing like anything you've ever seen before, it's amazing!!!" And the flyers build up on the tables, and the successes of the festival this year wonder round high and proud in this weird isolated bubble, where for 3 weeks what you do does feel important, when theatre doesn't feel like an odd thing to do.
But for now we work and imagine, prepare and plan, fantasize about queues round the block, laughter filling the theatre, award speeches...the future.
The Games can be seen at Zoo Rozy at 12.30 from 5-29 August (excl 16,23).