Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

When is Boring Not?

January 15th, 2015

Tomorrow The Commentators return. This time they are ‘stateside’ for their first American engagement since the heady days of the original New York Cosmos – Pele, Beckenbauer et al. On Friday they will bringing eager listeners all the comings, goings and lingerings in the Foyer of The Public Theater, Manhattan. Due to the time difference UK listeners will have to tune in between 23:30 and 03:30 GMT to catch the action live as it happens (the link will be on this homepage).

Fans of The Commentators may also be interested in the television broadcasts which are the subject of the TED talk linked to above.

War or Peace?

January 15th, 2015

NYC-getinAh it’s starting to feel like the olden days. The days when we made shows that sharply divided audiences (mostly for us) from critics (mostly against). Continue reading “War or Peace?” »

Celebrity Spot

January 12th, 2015


I’m not a big fan of the ‘selfie’ but sometimes, for the very big feathery celebrity, exceptions have to be made. Logging into New York Public Library’s Wi-Fi on Saturday I spotted on their home page that there is currently a Sesame Street Exhibition on at their library for the Performing Arts, in the Lincon Center, so I was presented with a dilemma work in the library right through until my next appointment, or quit early and indulge in some nostalgia. Continue reading “Celebrity Spot” »

All Is Safely Gathered In

January 9th, 2015


It is here. The set has arrived at The Public Theatre. It is stored Stage Right in The Martinson (one of The Public’s five spaces) waiting for rehearsals on Sunday.

Currently set up in The Martinson is the big, double height set for Mariano Pensotti’s Cineastas, which I was enjoying very much before I fell asleep. This sounds like an indictment of the show but was my fault. In mitigation, it was warm, dark, 1am in UK time, the third show of the day, fairly demanding to follow and required reading Spanish surtitles. Jetlag got me I’m afraid. I was enjoying it. I think it was good. I may try and see it again tonight. Continue reading “All Is Safely Gathered In” »

Public Opening

January 8th, 2015


So the team is gathering in New York City. Last night was the opening of Under The Radar, a big party in the foyer of The Public Theatre. In one corner was a screen for people to be photographed in front of, a rope held back the press photographers, four of them, each stood on a sheet of A4 paper with their agency’s name on it. Weirdly Gerard and I weren’t called to pose, so to correct this error when the professionals had gone we stepped in.

Just when we were reflecting on how being abroad means you don’t really know anyone at these events we started to see people we knew, some from England and some we met in New York last time around.

Risk Analysis

January 7th, 2015


The clock is ticking down on the deadline for the final submission of our business plan to Arts Council England. Once this is approved it will confirm our successful application to remain an National Portfolio Organisation, meaning we are given a sum of money to help us pursue and agreed program of arts activity over the next three years. One of the most recent elements added to our plan has been a detailed risk assessment. Ros Robins, who has been helping us shape our business plan, introduced us to a risk weighting matrix that she has recently deployed helping the Everyman in Liverpool to it’s acclaimed reopening. The matrix sets out risks on the left hand column followed by consequences, mitigation Etc. In the centre is a column for weighting the runs from boring “improbable x insignificant impact” combination to the abandon ship “highly probable and catastrophic”. Continue reading “Risk Analysis” »

Osaka Express

January 5th, 2015


There has been rather unreasonable nerdy excitement in the Stan’s Cafe office as we learn that the container ship Osaka Express has just moored in New Jersey on the Hudson River. In theory one of the many many containers on board is the one containing all the set, props and costumes required to perform The Cardinals.

Real time tracking shows a green diamond between two large piers which is the Osaka Express.

It now has to be unloaded, go through customs and I should be able to there to help unload it off the back of a truck on Thursday outside The Public Theatre, 425 Lafayette St, NYC.


Creative Teaching & Learning

December 22nd, 2014


Any Fool Can Start A War continues to attract the interest of the education community. In January the project is to be the cover story for the Creative Teaching and Learning “the most cutting edge curriculum and learning magazine in the country”. Inside there are nine lavishly illustrated pages carrying an essay I wrote for them about the project.

One of the challenges posed by Arts Council England is for companies to substantiate claims of Artistic Excellence / Innovation Etc. being able to point to articles like this helps.

The Value of Research

December 18th, 2014


Through illicit back channels I got temporary access to a volume on the history of the Benshi in early Japanese cinema. I read it fast, taking notes and returned it whence it came before it was missed overdue. Yesterday Craig and I were in the rehearsal room running through early versions of a scene for our new show, A Translation of Shadows, we were discussing the narration we had written for one of the scenes in the film we have made. In search of clues I flicked through my notes from said book and mentioned that the Benshi always narrated their films in the past tense. We had written ours in the present tense. Hasty re-writing proved that past tense is better but being able to flick back and forth between the two is better still. So once again the value of research is proved, even very small observations like this can make a big difference.

Charlotte’s Party

December 17th, 2014

Photo: Jonathan Blackford

On Friday we threw a party for Charlotte our General Manager because she is leaving. It was a good night.
Continue reading “Charlotte’s Party” »

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