Give It A Go!

Our first meeting of 2017/18, which will be our Give It A Go session, will take place on Monday 11th September at 7pm in Mono, DUSA.

We can’t wait to welcome back old members, and meet new faces as we introduce the society, outline our plans for the year ahead, and give a taste of what you can expect as a member of LIP!

We’ll have workshops for acting, backstage and writing during the session, and if you’re joining up for the first time, Give It A Go is a great chance to meet people who have done it before, and find out all about the society.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Fresher’s Fayre 2017

This year the University of Dundee’s Fresher’s Fayre will be held on Saturday 9th September. Campus will be buzzing as over 100 societies gather to let students both old and new know what they’re all about.

We’ll be there too, meeting everyone, answering any questions you might have about our society, and letting you know how you can get involved! So come along and keep an eye out for LIP Theatre Company! We’ll be telling everyone about our Give It A Go session on Monday 11th September at 7PM in Mono, DUSA, and getting you to join our Facebook Page!

Freshers Fayre runs from 12pm to 4pm (11:30 entry for those with accessibility needs only), at Dundee University Students’ Association.

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Size Matters – Meet The Team!

Size Matters is the second brand new play that LIP Theatre Company are bringing to Sweet Venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. Allow us to introduce you to the team and their roles in the production.

Calum Telfer, playing Jim Arrandale
Jim Arrandale is a fabulously arrogant – but average – actor, fallen far from grace.
With LIP Theatre Company, Calum Telfer has played Dr. Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest, John Proctor in The Crucible, and Trinculo in The Tempest. He also played the narrator in The Gorgon Girl, and Goebbels in In Defence of Hitler! LIP’s two Fringe plays in 2016.

Laura Thomson, playing Ellie Arrandale
Ellie Arrandale is Jim’s loving wife, who loathes their current predicament.
With LIP, Laura Thomson has played Maria in Twelfth Night, Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Doctor Livesey in Treasure Island. She will also play the part of Megan in Open Heart Surgery during the Fringe in 2017.

Coren Childs, playing Bill Costello
Bill Costello is a new and timid actor who just happens to be one of Jim’s biggest fans.
With LIP, Coren Childs has played Jesse in Desert Rats, and also performed in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure and Treasure Island.

Louise McCahery, playing Laurie Warren
Laurie Warren is a theatre director, and an up-and-coming visionary.
With LIP, Louise McCahery has played Janine in Undertaking, and The Girl With No Hands in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure. She also produced our recent production of Treasure Island.

Vachel Novesha, playing Tony Zevon
Tony Zevon is rumoured to be the saving grace, and next big thing in theatre…
With LIP, Vachel Novesha has played D.I. Weaver in Undertaking, Joseph Grimm in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure, and Caliban in The Tempest. He also wrote and directed the play In Defence of Hitler!, which LIP took to the 2016 Fringe, and which the British Theatre Guide applauded for its “efforts and tenacity,” and said had “an infectious sense of fun.”

Kai Durkin, playing Harry Paige
Harry Paige is Laurie’s neurotic assistant director.
With LIP, Kai Durkin has played David in Undertaking, and at the Fringe in 2016 they played Euryale in The Gorgon Girl, and Stefanie in In Defence of Hitler!. Kai will also appear in the upcoming independent film Dance Music.

Julian Joseph, playing Bernard Bernard
Bernard Bernard is an extremely famous actor of both stage and screen, ludicrously flamboyant with a larger-than-life personality.
With LIP, Julian Joseph has played D.I. Scott in Undertaking, Reverend Parris in The Crucible, Steve in A Streetcar Named Desire, and George Merry in Treasure Island. Julian will also write and direct the upcoming independent film, Dance Music.

Róisín McCallum, playing Amanda DuPont
Amanda Dupont is a very famous stage actress, with an aura of experience, talent and shrewdness.
With LIP, Róisín McCallum has played Cassandra in The Gorgon Girl, and Himmler in In Defence of Hitler!, our two Fringe plays from 2016, as well as playing Eunice in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Stephano in The Tempest.

Charlotte McIntosh, playing Liz Browne
Liz is an exceptional actress, but has an abrasive personality.
With LIP, Charlotte McIntosh played Gretel in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure, and also recently played Miranda in The Tempest.

Craig Watson, playing Max Currie
Max Currie is a somewhat creepy costume designer, and a huge fan of all the actors and actresses that come into the theatre.
With LIP, Craig Watson has played Alonso in The Tempest, and played Rathbone in Treasure Island.

Joy Naomi Ramsay, playing Chorus
An usher, a theatre owner, a ditzy costume lady, and a stagehand who has always wanted a shot at the lime-light…
With LIP, Joy Naomi Ramsay has played Marissa in Undertaking, Sadista in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure and Ben Gunn in Treasure Island. She is also the Head of PR for 2017/18.

Ewan Gray, writer and director
With LIP, Ewan Gray has co-written and co-directed the ghost-walk Eleanor, directed The Crucible. Some of his acting roles include Fabian in Twelfth Night, Nathan in Undertaking, Poseidon in The Gorgon Girl, and Granny Fee in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure. Ewan will also play the role of Jeff in our other 2017 Fringe play, Open Heart Surgery.

Size Matters runs as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 15th – 27th (not 24th & 25th) at Sweet Holyrood, Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh. Performances begin at 6:20pm and last for 50 minutes. Tickets are available online now through Sweet Venues and edfringe, and will be available in person at the venue box office during the Fringe.

Size Matters read-through (L-R: Louise McCahery, Ewan Gray), photograph by Gavin Gilfillan

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LIP Theatre Company celebrates #NationalWritingDay

The Selkie and the River God by Nicole and Maureen Watson

Today, the 21st of June 2017, is National Writing Day. The day is a celebration of writing creatively, and we wanted to take some time to share with you some of LIP’s creative writing accomplishments.

We have a long history of creating and performing new drama since the society was created in 1993, especially in the productions we’ve brought to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which have always been new work. LIP also has a long history of hosting revue and sketch shows during the academic year to encourage our members to create and share new short pieces.

We Were Heroes by Calum Hodgson

In recent years, we’ve put on many new plays written by members. In 2015 we performed Calum Hodgson’s We Were Heroes – a satirical and powerful examination of the notion of ‘the heroic soldier’. In 2016 we brought Rob Currie’s play about life, death and grief, Undertaking to the stage. We’ve also recently performed two dramatic ghost-walks around Dundee city centre – Eleanor, written by Shaun Falconer and Ewan Gray, and Wiccan by Shaun Falconer. Last December we brought a hilarious new pantomime for adults, Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure by Luke Macdonald and Gavin Gilfillan to the stage.

Our output at the Fringe is as varied as ever, though as always, fresh and new. In 2015 we proudly presented Nicole and Maureen Watson’s The Selkie and the River God, about a woman struggling to find her place in the worlds of men and folklore, as well as Nicole’s play Paying the Piper, which explored the consequences of drug use in youth culture. In 2016 we presented Rachel Main’s thrilling The Gorgon Girl, a re-telling of the Medusa myth from the Gorgon girl’s own point of view, as well as the controversially titled In Defence of Hitler! by Vachel Novesha, which asked the question, ‘if you went back in time, could you kill Hitler?’

Open Heart Surgery by Rob Currie

At this year’s 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we’re delighted to once again be bringing two new plays to audiences at Sweet Holyrood (the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel). From August 4th-13th we’ll present Open Heart Surgery by Rob Currie, which sees a conservative relationship counsellor taking on her first gay couple. From August 15th-27th (not 24th and 25th) we’ll present Ewan Gray’s Size Matters, which sees an abrasive, failing actor attempt to re-take the West End stage by whatever means necessary. Tickets for Open Heart Surgery and Size Matters are available now, and for more information on both shows, please visit our Fringe page.

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Open Heart Surgery – Meet The Team!

Photo by Gavin Gilfillan

At this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, LIP Theatre Company are excited to present Open Heart Surgery, one of two brand new plays we’re bringing to Sweet Venues this August. Let us introduce you to the team and their roles in the production.

Rachel Main, playing Sandra Jacobs
Sandra is a conservative relationship counsellor. Due to her failing business, she is forced to take the only troubled partnership at her door: Will and Leo, her first same-sex couple. During the play, we discover the root of Sandra’s attitudes towards gay relationships, and learn about her own disappointing marriage.
Rachel Main recently played Squire Trelawney in our production of Treasure Island. She also wrote and directed The Gorgon Girl, which LIP Theatre Company took to the Fringe in 2016, and of which The Scotsman wrote, “the young cast of mortals, gods and monsters bring a real passion to proceedings.”

Shaun Falconer, playing Leo Whitaker
Leo is a singer-songwriter, and the partner of Will. Leo is frustrated by the counselling and doesn’t see the point in it. He is brutally and unapologetically honest. During the play we see Leo go from taking his relationship for granted, to fighting for it.
Shaun Falconer previously co-wrote and co-directed the ghost-walk Eleanor, and wrote and directed Wiccan for LIP Theatre Company. He also played Reverend Hale in our production of The Crucible, and recently, Ferdinand in The Tempest.

Conor Ritchie, playing Will Gray
Will is a junior doctor, and the partner of Leo. Will is not a very confident person, and even after five years together with Leo, this shows in their relationship. Over the course of the play, Will begins to assert himself, and not just to Leo.
With LIP Theatre Company, Conor Ritchie has recently played Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure, and Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

Laura Thomson, playing Megan Gray
Megan is Will’s sister. She sees herself as Will’s confidante, and always offers her opinions on his problems, whether she’s asked to or not. Although blunt, she always has Will’s welfare at the front of her mind.
With LIP Theatre Company, Laura Thomson has played Maria in Twelfth Night, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Doctor Livesey in Treasure Island. She will also play the part of Ellie Arrandale in Size Matters during the Fringe in 2017.

Ewan Gray, playing Jeff Jacobs
Jeff is Sandra’s misery of a husband. He is a narrow-minded and self-centred man who doesn’t make much effort towards supporting his wife’s business.
With LIP Theatre Company, Ewan Gray has co-written and co-directed the ghost-walk Eleanor, directed The Crucible, and recently played the part of Granny Fee in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure. Ewan is also the writer and director of our other Fringe play in 2017, Size Matters.

Rob Currie, writer and director
With LIP Theatre Company, Rob Currie has acted in the roles of Giles Corey in The Crucible, and Dominic Clarke in Latin! or Tobacco and Boys. Rob previously wrote and co-directed the play Undertaking, which Dundee University Review of the Arts called, “a solid exploration of grief … enriched by flashes of dark humour and tender moments of personal connection.”

Vachel Novesha, producer
Vachel Novesha is LIP Theatre Company’s Fringe Convenor for 2017. With the company, Vachel has acted in the roles of Cheever in The Crucible, Jacob Grimm in Hansel and Gretel’s Excellent Adventure, and recently played Caliban in The Tempest. He previously wrote and directed the play In Defence of Hitler! which LIP took to the 2016 Fringe, and which the British Theatre Guide applauded for its’ “efforts and tenacity,” and said had, “an infectious sense of fun.”

Open Heart Surgery runs as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 4th – 13th at Sweet Holyrood, Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh. Performances begin at 6:15pm and last for 55 minutes. Tickets are available online now through Sweet Venues and edfringe, and will be available in person at the venue box office during the Fringe.

Open Heart Surgery read-through (L-R: Shaun Falconer, Conor Ritchie, Ewan Gray, Rachel Main, Laura Thomson, Rob Currie), photo by Gavin Gilfillan.

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Announcing the 2017/18 committee

At our 2017 Annual General Meeting on April 28th, the society held elections for new committee members. We’re pleased to announce the new committee members for 2017/18:

President: Rob Currie
Vice President/Senior Ordinary Member: Calum Telfer
Secretary: Rachael Simpson
Treasurer: Caeleen Saintrant
Head of Backstage: Chelsea Dunbar
Head of Tech: Louise McCahery
Head of Public Relations: Joy Naomi Ramsay
Social Convenors: Vachel Novesha & Conor Ritchie
Fringe Convenor: Róisín McCallum

Congratulations to the new committee members. They will begin their term in September, when we also look forward to electing a Junior Ordinary Member.

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Meet the characters of Undertaking!

Undertaking is a brand new play which begins with the murder of Julia Macrae. Her death brings together her parents and sister with the staff of Howkins & Son Funeral Services, in a play which focuses on memory and the impact of loss. There’s a variety of characters which make up the cast of Undertaking, so we’ve outlined a little bit about each of them below to help you get acquainted on this sad occasion.

 The staff of Howkins & Son Funeral Services

 Nathan Black | Head Mortician
“Death isn’t about losing someone … death is the long process that comes afterwards.”
Nathan has been a mortician his whole adult life, since starting with Howkins & Son in 1980. Having learned from old John Howkins he is very practical about his line of work, but he much prefers to be behind-the-scenes. Dealing with families is not his strong suit…

Miranda Hewer | Assistant Mortician
“I want everyone to cry when I die.”
Despite being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to funerals, as Nathan’s assistant, Miranda is always optimistic and hopeful. Despite difficult personal circumstances, she’s positive about finding someone to be with.

Bonnie Baxter | Administrator
“Everyone seems happy. Well, not happy, but you know what I mean.”
Bonnie has been keeping the books at Howkins & Son tidy for decades. She is precise and organised, but old Mr Howkins has never really come to terms with her relationship with his son, John Junior, much to Bonnie’s distress.

John Howkins Senior | Owner
“Let me tell you something about undertaking…”
John Howkins Senior started his own funeral business in 1980, taking on a young Nathan as his assistant. He tries to find the humour in every situation – even in the workplace – and he has an impeccable sense of timing.

John Howkins Junior | Director
“Rest in peace? That’s the easy part. Living in peace, now that’s the real trick”
John Howkins Junior has spent much of his life in his father’s shadow, feeling that he must live up to the sign above the business’s doors. With his father unwell, John Junior has taken over the management of the family business. With Bonnie by his side, he’s hopeful nothing will go wrong.

Marissa Kelly | Celebrant
“The more the merrier – so to speak.”
Marissa wholeheartedly embraces her job title – celebrant. She believes that death is not a time to mourn, but a time to reflect and to celebrate the achievements of a person’s life. Many people find her cheerfulness slightly inappropriate.

The Macrae family

Julia Macrae | Deceased
“I’m not yours to hide away from the rest of the world.”
Julia is brought into Howkins and Son Funeral Services before the play begins, having been stabbed and killed. Her murder brings together the staff of Howkins with her family. Young and headstrong, she had a fractious relationship with those close to her.

Shona Macrae | Julia’s mother
“I keep expecting her to walk in, like she’s been out all weekend…”
Already weary, Shona struggles to keep her family straight following Julia’s death. There’s so much to consider: music to play, clothes to wear, and the ongoing police investigation. Shona does her best to cope.

David Macrae | Julia’s father
“Did people talk? I wasn’t really listening.”
Although he is quite a distant man, David is heartbroken by the loss of his oldest daughter. He finds it hard to communicate with his family, and tends to come across as overbearing.

Heather Macrae | Julia’s sister
“I just want to be on my own.”
A talented musician and clever girl, Heather can’t quite believe her older sister is dead. Rather than feeling sad, more than anything she finds herself feeling angry – and she’s sure she knows who killed Julia.

Reece Anderson | Julia’s boyfriend
“You spend all your time talking to them. Then, they’re not there anymore…”
Sullen and withdrawn after Julia’s death, Reece is a hot-headed young man. Although unpopular with Julia’s family, he would still take her to parties at his flat, and promise her the world.

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Review: Oscar Wilde is Underrated

Oscar Wilde is underrated; or, more accurately, unappreciated. Quoted, harvested, deployed; rarely lounged in or enjoyed. The fault of any classic is that it becomes taken for granted, treated with suspicion or that it’ll always be there to check out later. Like a Londoner who never cares to go to the O2 or take a ride on the Millennium Eye, one can feel so content, so sure that it’ll always be there to check out later that why would anyone bother to check it out today? When there’s always tomorrow. But it’d be foolish to be so dismissive of the present.

 

Equal in failing is the tourist’s appetite compelling them to devour all in sight. Wolf down Salomé, shovel in A Woman of No Importance and, of course, there’s always room for dessert á la The Canterville Ghost. But gluttons ruin their palette. The prettiest prose is better enjoyed in skirmishes, not campaigns. Morsels: a muffin here, a cigarette there, a cucumber every now and again. Here’s how to enjoy a thing, not with the feverish zeal of the convert, but in bites infrequent and savoured that linger in the memory. More than a crumb of an aphorism and less than a feast of a reading list: a single performance. A performance of the singularly delicious The Importance of Being Earnest, infused with a delectable mix of silliness and seriousness; two elements that usually go together like chilli and chocolate.

 

However, directed by the capable Miss Molly Rose, and to the merit of skilled cast, the play works and, for two hours, had its audience laughing. My own commendations in particular go to Luke MacDonald who has the gross indecency to play a delightfully farcical Algernon, far more entertaining than what a certain other auditionee could have pulled off. True to the spirit of Earnest, the cast was playful and quick: ad-libbing, speeding and checking the pace and revelling in a fine-tuned absurdity.

 

What was once a mirror is now a window (hopefully), and despite the perennial problem of reconciling an audience and a play more than a century apart, Earnest, in Rose’s hands proves to still be fun.

 

The last performance of The Importance of Being Earnest is on tonight at 6pm in mono. Tickets can be bought online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/liptheatrecompany and on the door.

 

 

– Vachel Novesha

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‘The hardest thing is keeping a straight face’ – Interviews with the Earnest cast.

 

Thank you all for taking the time to do this. Maybe just quickly take us through your characters.

 

Luke: Well, I’m playing Algernon which has been a lot of fun, but he’s also a little bit of a… a word you can’t put on the blog. But he gets to eat a lot on stage, so it’s worth it.

Rachel: I just like how enthusiastic Gwedowlen is, I mean I think she’s so awful in a lot of ways and she’s also really mental. And for some reason she really loves Earnest.

Louise: Cecily’s so kinda weird. There’s a moment in the play when an engagement is revealed, and for me she goes from this very innocent sweet to… “she’s a psychopath”!

Olivia: I think Miss Prism is a really timid character – she’s really awkward – so she’s really funny and easy to play.

Calum: I like my character, Dr Chasuble, but don’t identify with him. I’m not really a minister. But he’s a good honest person… which I am… A good upstanding citizen in society… which I am… So there are parts to him that I can relate to. But overall he isn’t really me. Because I’m playing him. He’s a character in a play.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve all faced so far in rehearsals?

 

Olivia: The hardest thing is keeping a straight face!

Louise: Not finding inappropriate double-meanings in the script.

Luke: I think the keeping a straight face thing is a good point because it is actually a really funny play, so it’s kinda hard. Because we’ve done sketches and stuff which are funny to us, but this is really great because it’s actually an established comedy.

Olivia: It just takes one person to crack up and everyone’s gone.

Rachel: There’s also a lot of physical comedy which it’s hard not to laugh at because it happens really suddenly.

Calum: I also struggle with my attention span… Generally when I’m not on stage I cause a bit of commotion, and then when I am on stage also cause commotion. I just like being used and abused!

Luke: Thank you for sharing, Calum…

Calum: I did nothing today!

[Calum proceeds to get up and rudely leaves to take a call mid-interview, much to the relief of everyone else.]

 

Okay, that’s nice. So what would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see the show?

 

Rachel: I’d say come see it because it’s something that LIP hasn’t really done before – a big established play that isn’t Shakespeare! It’s a light-hearted comedy, it’s got a bit of romance in it. It’s also not serious – it’s so trivial and that’s why it’s so funny.

Louise: “A trivial comedy for serious people.”

Luke: Just do it, do it, don’t let your dreams be dreams.

Louise: Don’t dream it, be it!

[Calum returns, everyone leaves.]

 

Tickets are available for The Importance of Being Earnest at www.ticketsource.co.uk/liptheatrecompany

 

– Dave Barwise

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Last Production of the Semester and Undertaking Cast Announcement!

 

This week LIP Theatre Company has been hard at work with not only auditions taking place for The Importance of Being Earnest and The Undertaking, but we have also been deciding on what our final play of the semester will be. We are excited to announce that it will be Arthur Miller’s The Crucible! This production will be directed by Ewan Gray and assisted by Rachel Main. Heather Margaret Scott will be producing the show.

Auditions for this show will be taking place in Meeting Room 2 at DUSA The Union on the 27th, 28th and 29th of January. For times and more information please refer to the following event  – https://www.facebook.com/events/894869890620369/. Everyone is welcome to audition.

Lastly we are proud to announce our cast list for Undertaking:

Nathan … Ewan Gray
Miranda … Hannah Mcaulay
Bonnie … Eve Shepherd
John Snr … Calum Telfer
John Jnr … Shaun Falconer
Marissa … Joy Naomi Ramsay
Julia … Catrin Evans
Shona … Eilidh Albert-Recht
David … Anna Durkin
Heather … Amy Galloway
Reece … Jon Feeney
D.I. Weaver… Julian Joseph
D.I. Scott … Vachel Novesha
Francesca  … Anzal Faran
Janine  … Louise McCahery
Chris … William Edwards
Lana …Ruby Alice Main

Congratulations and well done to everyone that auditioned, the decisions made were not easy ones due to the large amount of talent everyone showed during the auditions. Undertaking is on in Mono at DUSA The Union on the 25th and 26th of February at 6pm and on the 27th of February at 2pm. We hope to see you then!

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