Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands
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A Year With It's Your Film

November 1999 - November 2000

4 countries, 11 cities, 200 hours of performing

Over 1500 people saw It's Your Film - one at a time

11 different venues, 11 rooms to make dark...

Personal facts...

I've taken a ring from my finger 1500 times, I've torn up over 1500 pieces of paper in a heartbreaking way, had drags on a 1000 cigarettes in a noirish way, looked lost around 1500 times, in approximately 17 different ways, been snowed on by tiny squares of paper and then had to sweep them up afterwards 1500 times, I've found at least 9 different ways of running on looking for my elusive lost love, I've got through 12 cigarette lighters and found the cheaper ones to actually be better. I've not seen the faces of 1500 audience members...

A few memories...

Nick in Colchester ushering on Sunday morning, being bought drinks by an increasingly friendly crowd outside...I'm having the time of my life out here...A comment from the book ...I recently had to make a decision about a wedding ring, this reminded me of how I felt then....thanks for coming. Seeing Shadows in hotel rooms, ghosts in the night, tears of strangeness.

That's amazing...how do you do that?

Finding someone eating their lunch in the booth in the London Mime Festival...

That's one of the best things I've ever seen.

Are they real? They're not real are they? I told all my friends it's a film.

Wow...that's...that's...wow.

Sailing to Hannover...22 hours...James and I writing letters to our loved ones whilst reclining on deck, later wondering how many times we can justifiably return to the free buffet, watching the low countries slide by on the starboard side.

The names of Amanda Hadingue and James Yarker nestling close to those of Pina Bausch, Peter Brook and Jan Fabre on the festival poster.

Having Happy Birthday sung to me by the mayor of Hannover and 100 international theatre practitioners who unfortunately thought my name was Mr. Clark

Achtung sie auf die stufe...ihr augenhuhr solte auf die mitte das fensterzein...viel spas bi ihren film

Peter Brook's coming to see your show...what?...really he's coming tonight. Amanda and me on ushering duty...evening, mind the step as you go in....your eye level should be in the middle of the frame....enjoy your film...I draw the curtain and Amanda and I look at each other...that's Peter Brook in our little booth...sat in there behind that curtain...Graeme and Nick performing...do they know it's his turn...what will Nick do when he meets his gaze at the end. The music ends and out he comes...one of our German helpers asks him to sign the book we can't bring ourselves to do it...an intoxicating show...could be longer...I avoid any quips about the Mahabarata...we return the favour and go to his show... it's great...that's why he's Peter Brook

My new Mr Clark persona allows me a certain freedom on the dancefloor at the various parties thrown by the festival

It's Galway and it's hot and sunny, everyone is out, everyone is drinking, it's party town. We're sold out...but still people come. They wait for 2 hours in the hope they might be able to get in. It's so hot in the performance room James can't put his jacket on, I can't roll up the sleeves of my thick winter coat. We're both thinking I can't believe we're still doing this...but we love it really. Sarah does exercises between each show to stave off cramp and madness.

Weird
That was weird
Fantastic
I don't think I understood it


A small boy leaves in tears
A journalist leaves before the end...busy, busy, busy

James and I driving to Prague, putting all our trust once more into the mechanics at Valley Self Drive. How long's it going to take...don't know, never driven to the Czech Republic before...no, neither have I. France, Belgium, Germany...pass by us through transit windows. We live it up in the Cologne Airport Holiday Inn

Beautiful Prague, towers, statues, bridges, churches, synagogues...and very cheap beer. New recruit Charlotte used to live here...she helps us with the finer points of the language...shows us the cool places...helps us order beer.

New boy Mike has an ushering baptism of fire...Pozor skot...uroveni ochee bi mniela beat na stredoo okenka...hesko zabavu.(N.B. That's written phonetically to aid your pronounciation!)

Beautiful, amazing, perfect...how did you do it?

We're going to Litvinov next...where? Litvinov..never heard of it
Litvinov..oh yeah I've heard of it...chemical works


Mike and Charlotte chauffeur driven in the Litvinov town car...James and I follow in the van....lunar landscape of old slag heaps then towers, spires, sculpted pipes, chimneys gushing fire...the Chemopetrol chemical works.

The Citadela arts centre...a run down, leaky Warwick...three big lads sat in the cafe...we're all a little bit scared...but then there's Lenka...she runs the place and she's lovely...no-one speaks much English...we don't speak much Czech...we draw pictures and flick through James' Czech English dictionary...she takes us for a walk in the hills with her dog...we walk through the empty streets of Litvinov...a town on the move...we have our photo taken by a blackboard with our name on it in the town square. We find a bar that becomes our local. James tries to compliment the waitress on the food...she looks on in horror. When we go Lenka gives us a stone angel to guard us. We all feel sad.

But it's on to Kolin...setting up shop outside our temporary home...is this still a bar? No sorry about that...it's a theatre show. People queue for hours, we're getting very slick inside...super fast turn rounds, 12 shows an hour...outside vegetables walk by on stilts, clowns perform hilarious tricks with bricks, a Swedish rock band performs 'Sexy Lady' in the style of Scooby Do, Russian street performers throw themselves around, let off fire works and burn paper horses.

That' was very beautiful.
Can I see it again.
Amazing...so atmospheric.

On the last night a man tries to bribe people in the queue so that he can get in..but they're not having it...oh well maybe we'll be back next year.

Soon it's Dublin...

I couldn't get in in Galway so I've come here.
That was fantastic...it wasn't a film though was it
My friend sent me...that was wonderful.

Four hour shifts, we try to pace ourselves, Mike is a shadow of his former self, Charlotte lies shivering wrapped in a blackout curtain in the corner of the room. James and I can't believe we're still doing this...but we love it really.


Craig graduated from Warwick University and gained an M.A. at Lancaster University. He has performed with a number of companies including Insomniac Productions, Plane Performance, Talking Birds, The Playhouse. He has also written for amongst others; BBC Radio 4, Talking Birds, Hamfisted! and Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

He first worked with Stan's Cafe devising Simple Maths in 1997 since when he has been at the heart of most of the company's activities. Craig became Associate Director in 2006, a move that acknowledges his creative contribution to the company, his direction of numerous small-scale projects and his lead of the company on tour in James's absence.



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