Popping in…

Hi everyone! I know it’s been such a long tine since I’ve posted in this blog – quite a few things have happened.

I’ve received my PhD qualification – a labour of love, fear and doubt! I’m so relieved that I was able to complete it. It’s definitely a marathon rather than a sprint, and if anything it tested my resolve and commitment to a long project.

Where I am now, though, is interesting. After 30 years, I know myself well enough to know my shortcomings and frustrations. My biggest gripe with myself is the inability to sit in one place for a long time – figuratively and literally. It’s another reason why I’m so proud that I managed to finish the PhD in the first place.

I write plays – and then poetry – and then games. I feel like I’m spreading myself thin in many precarious avenues – and of course, self doubt gets to me. I did my PhD in playwriting, right? Surely I should stay and write more plays, produce more, keep going on building up my theatre company. I think about it everyday. I haven’t done a single production this year – and it’s what people ask me about, which is of course understandable. It’s a financial issue and a creative one – but I really do want to get back into it.

Even with poetry, I’ve been on and off for this. I did one open mic this year as opposed to a lot more last year, including a one person show. There is a reason for this. I’ve mentioned on some of my social media about my mental health and how, since 14, has been a roller coaster of sorts. I was hit particularly hard the end of last year and into 2017 – it was hard for me to think clearly, to get out of bed, to get out of this numbness and guilt. What was strange about this year particularly was a feeling of disassociation – one time I left the house, I felt as though I couldn’t feel embodied or grounded in a physical space. It scared me so much, but doing daily yoga and meditation has really helped with that.

So I went back to coding, something I did when I was younger. This feeling of sense of self and embodiment fascinated me throughout my PhD research, which drew me to VR and then AR. Since then, I’ve been learning to code – creating my own novels with an interactive AR layer. It’s a marriage of physical and digital – which I’ve found so interesting and it’s really helped me to find some sort of direction.

I feel a little unbalanced, however. I want to find some way of marrying all of these elements together. I feel bad for neglecting Stars or Mars and increasingly, my poetry. I also remember wanting to create a new initiative called Bards to the Future: a collaboration between Futurists and Artists, which I feel I’ve failed to do anything with as well. I feel ideologically and financially (very much this) stretched – this with my mental health dips have left me with very little self efficacy, and with that, self esteem. To be honest, that’s why I haven’t performed or delivered a paper for a while. I just don’t want to revert to my past self, who was terrified of doing such things, and I don’t want to erase all the effort I put into being able to do this. I love doing it.

I feel as though I haven’t caught up with so many people that I’ve wanted to, which adds to the guilt.

So what do I do now? I’m still working on my games at http://www.criticallitgames.co.uk. Now, I want to try something that incorporates all of these things together. Theatre, Poetry, Novels, AR, Games. I had such an idea walking home last night – which I need to work on and draw a structure from this. An issue that I had with my plays (and theatre in general) is mobility. The physical live nature of theatre makes it fleeting – which makes it precious but also any energy generated from this interaction fades out very quickly. Can AR, gaming and live streaming be able to prolong the conversation of issues raised in theatre? Can the impact be stretched temporally and in terms of audience?

I’ll get back to you with that.

I just want to thank everyone for their support and willingness to listen. Much love x

 

News and Updates!

With the unfortunate news that we couldn’t stage Cuckoos and Chrysalides in April, I have some exciting announcements that I will list here and on the Stars or Mars website!

June is going to be a pretty heavy month for me, that’s for sure.

1st June:
logoWe are taking the stage at the Hackney Attic with our show called RESPAWN! The play follows two identities trying to find peace with their pasts and present, which has been drastically changed through the process of uploading consciousnesses. Can they prove that immortality doesn’t have to be a hard sell?

I will be giving talks at the Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015 in Liverpool, talking about the portrayal of Time in Science Fiction Theatre, as well as the Being Non/Human conference in London and Smashing the Stigma of Science Fiction Theatre at the SFRA conference in Stony Brook. Miraculously none of these dates clashed, taking place on the 8th, 17th and the 25th-27th respectively.

sum-front-coverSUM will also be returning this year, but at the Camden Fringe from the 28th-30th August! Very excited about this! I’ll give you more updates as they arrive.

Speak soon!

Nearing the End of 2014…

And it’s about time that I update the blog! 2014 has been such an exciting year – writing, performing, producing and presenting – and I’ve met so many amazing people who have wowed me with their hard work ethics, friendliness and creative brilliance.

Conferences

This was the year of the first SF Theatre conference – Stage the Future! We had performances, papers, discussions and more. You can read reports here and here. I want to thank all those who took part and attended, as well as those who supported us throughout. Also big thanks to Christos Callow Jr. for being a great co-organiser!

I also had the pleasure of presenting SF Theatre things to Lincoln twice this year – one as part of the Performing Science Conference (just before Stage the Future actually!) and the What Happens Next conference. Not a conference, but had a great talk at the Equity North/East Branch in Dec this year – discussing the pros and cons of staging SF on stage. They were a great audience, full of ideas and enthusiasm! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spread the word far and wide!

Performances

Performances have been crazy for me this year: Terra Firma was performed as a rehearsed reading in Feb, then as part of a fully produced play at the Camden Fringe in August. Both took place at the Etcetera Theatre, who were very accommodating indeed. Thank you to Ryan Watson, Alice Havilyn, Natalie Boakye, James Unsworth, Christos Callow Jr., Barra Collins, Rus Kallan, Jessen Aroonachellum, Paul Valentine, Eleanor Russo, Briony Wyatt, Sarah Bauer and Judith Georgi.

The Reality Test was a short play of mine that was produced as part of the Writers Bloc Night “CAGED”. I managed to do a few rehearsals before I had to leave for both conferences, leaving the production afterwards in the very capable hands of Jack Heath and Alice Havilyn, who did a great performance on the night – thank you so much!

Notes from Other Worlds was published and performed! Thanks go to Playdead Press for making my 20 year + dream a reality – nothing beat the moment when I saw my book in Foyles. Incredible! The SF monologue book has been a long project for me on and off, and it was all so so worth it. Thanks also go to Jessen Aroonachellum, Briony Wyatt, Judith Georgi, Eleanor Russo, Paul Valentine and Eva Mi Becker for their readings. SUM was my last run of performances in the year, which included my own performance – which I was extremely nervous about! I’ve always wanted to act in one of my SF plays and the cast and crew made the experience so comfortable, fun and challenging (in a good way!). Thanks go to Christos Callow Jr., Melanie Crossey, Lydia Kay, Briony Wyatt, Eleanor Russo and Lucy Harrison for her amazing composition and overall managerial skills! It’s such an honour to act amongst such talented people – especially Melanie, whom I shared most of my scenes with. I couldn’t have found a better Syne! Videos will hopefully come soon.

Publications

Notes from Other Worlds and SUM were published this year, which I’m ecstatic about! notes_from_other_worlds_front_coversum-front-cover

Aren’t they beautiful? You can read more about them here. I also have a small play published at Amazing Stories, one that inspired the writing of SUM. The original idea was a posthuman version of Susan Glaspell’s (great name) Trifles. So an amazing year all round – I couldn’t have done any of it if it weren’t for these amazing people in my life. I’m incredibly blessed.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and see you all in 2015! xxx

Updates!

I’m delighted to announce some autumnal updates!

1) Notes from Other Worlds – Reading at Creative Centre for Collaborative Collaboration

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I’m having a reading to celebrate my first published book, Notes from Other Worlds (you can see my fingers oddly coiled in the polished sheen of the cover) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross on 29th September, 7:30-9:00pm. It’s free, there’s wine and books. What could be better?

The Link for more info on the book can be found here.

2) Sum – Bread and Roses Theatre 

SUMimageFB

Sum, a new play of mine, is being staged at the Bread and Roses Theatre from the 27th-29th November and the 4th-6th December – focusing on new societies created from the pilot of a hivemind technology. Odd fact – the image is actually a painting of mine 🙂

I’m actually whipping up a separate site for this, along with notes and ideas, so you can have a peek if you want!

Tickets are already on sale! Have a look here.

3) Interview with Female Arts

If you’d like to know a little more about both of these projects plus a little more, check out my interview with Female Arts where I discussed them in a little more detail. They are a great initiative that promote female involvement in the arts (they also reviewed Terra Firma for us!).

The link is here.

Thanks!

Notes from Other Worlds!

Cover

 

Here it is! My first published book – Notes from Other Worlds! What a neat shiny cover it is too – it’s hard not to get a reflection in the picture.

The idea behind the publication was to compile a collection of Science Fiction styled monologues for actors seeking an alternative to the standard as well as short stories for general readers. What’s especially unique about the collection is that they’re written for any age and gender – even if there may be the odd reference to age and gender in a couple of pieces – you’ll see why.

Each monologue comes with some crib notes (as sparse as I could make them, in my opinion), with the rest of the details to be filled in by the reader/performer. What I’d be interested to see is how people interpret the text for performance.

Where can you find them, you might (hopefully) ask? I have the initial lot of copies here, which I will be selling at a reading soon – I’m ironing out the details of those!

 

Stars or Mars!

Another delay – so it goes!logo

Some stuff has happened since my last post:

Stars or Mars, my new theatre company on SF Theatre, is now up and running at http://www.starsormarstheatre.co.uk! I really should buy a domain for this site, I think… if you go on the site, you can see updates for Terra Firma and collaborations between futurists and artists, which I’m in the midst of organising now actually! Email me at starsormarstheatre@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved!

 

Also:

I reviewed the Headlong Theatre production of 1984 at Amazing Stories, which you can find here – thrilling, dark, unsettling and timeless!

Stage the Future, myself, and Science Fiction Theatre at large also got a mention in the SciFi London Blog: http://www.sci-fi-london.com/blog/2014/05/brave-new-world-science-fiction-theatre-or-beam-me-la-right-now-scotty!

If you want to see me in the flesh – I’m going to the CRSF (which is actually tomorrow, oops!) in Liverpool – giving a talk on SF Theatre and Worldbuilding. If you’re in the area, do drop by – I’d love to meet you!

Susan

Updates!

Firstly, apologies for leaving it so long to update!

1) The Terra Firma reading was a great success – we got great feedback and response from the audience and I’m so grateful for stellar direction and acting from a great cast in such little time. I do have some good news to share about this, which I will do in time!

event image

 

2) I will be giving a paper in Lincoln for the Performing Science Conference (April 24th – 25th) on the topic of Science Theatre and SF Theatre, the differences between them and how attention should be paid to both forms.

3) Stage the Future is well under way!  Very excited for it, the programme is simply amazing! Check it out here:

EventBrite for Stage the Future

Stage The Future Poster

4) Also, watch this space for the monologue book!

Fiction Friday

ImageAnother cultural marker (following on from last post) – Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

Hope you’re all well! I’ve been busy working on my play which is going to have a staged reading at the Etcetera Theatre on the 25th/26th February! I’m utterly thrilled by this! We’re well underway in rehearsals and the cast and crew have been utterly superb. Terra Firma is obliquely quite a personal play to me – as I’ve written and redrafted it on/off (which is quite unusual for me), I can actually pinpoint the times in which I wrote certain parts!

You can find out more about the play at this website, which I’ll be updating shortly – http://www.terrafirmaplay.co.uk

So apart from this, I’ve been writing monologues for my collection, of whose working title currently is Notes from Other Worlds. I’m not *too* sure about this title wise (I don’t consider myself well versed in titles, unfortunately), so any suggestions would be helpful!

I’m working on some more plays – I’ve recently redrafted Pandora’s Box and Fishbowl and am starting planning on the new plays 🙂 Also, stay tuned for conference news – lots of exciting things to come!

Susan

Thoughts on Theatrical Jenga

Jenga 3Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you are all well and taking the opportunity for the next calendar year to accomplish a new and established set of goals and achievements. Of course, time is a human construct and you can make goals at any time, but it’s always a nice marker to play by.

It’s been strange, but I haven’t had the clarity that I had of last year in terms of my creative work. I had a plan of some sort and I draw out scenes, acts, characters and tropes by simple sentence synopses. I still write longhand in notebooks and manage to get through so many in the process (I have abnormally large handwriting, as some of you will know). I usually have a notebook for one or two plays specifically (originally called “play books”), where I will dedicate its entirety to ideas, scenes and timelines.

However, I’m becoming increasingly scatterbrained, which I hoped last year wouldn’t happen. It’s nice when ideas come, but they shatter the illusion of confidence (that I know what I’m doing, where this is going, that it feels consistent-ish to the characters and their intent) and the play becomes unrecognisable. It happened to Cuckoos and Chrysalids, it happened to Newshound and I’m a little scared that I don’t take the transitions as well as I had hoped. I often chop and change my writing projects and it isn’t as fun as I thought.

The theatrical Jenga of the title though, is from what I’m “researching” for my critical work. Theatre has been seen as notoriously hard to create a world only for it then to be disrupted later in a way that the audience can identify and run with as soon as the piece has been taken away and the structure compromised. Would we be able to see the piece from all angles? Do we have to wait for someone to gasp and cry “Oh no! The puzzle has collapsed!” or the equivalent in SF pulp literature? I’ve been looking at it, however, through the anthropological theories of Tim Ingold’s taskscape and how patterns of behaviour can build up this picture, punctuated by the dialogue.

I’m working on a few creative projects at the moment – but these descriptions are going to be incredibly vague. One play is about a character who is unable to focus on the present moment, instead dwelling around past and future, unable to see how people have changed around her (it’s to do with memory development and enzyme reactions). Another is dealing with virtual representation, mass hive-mind juries and A/B testing. Another is to do with the transition between mind transfer and living in another skin, monologue style (which I’m hoping to structure in a similar way to the amazing production of There has been an Incident).

It’s taking me longer than expected to hone these theatrical sculptures, but it could be a good sign. I feel that I’m taking more risks with the writing I’m producing, which can only be a good thing at this stage.

Fiction Friday!

So, after what seems seconds, we suddenly shift into the cold/rainy season of Autumn/Fall. Another term of Uni starts and the reality starts to sink in like the elusive quagmire that is time/truth – that I have to submit a thesis.

However, I’d like to let you have a smidgeon of an inside scoop as to what I’ve been up to – it seems fair to let you know as I haven’t been as active as I was once on the blog!

As some of you know, I’m now a blogger at Amazing Stories http://www.amazingstories.mag (you can see my profile here http://amazingstoriesmag.com/authors/susan-grey/). My latest post investigates the nature of Science Theatre, and how its immense profile has left SF Theatre backstage. You can find it here – http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/10/science-stage-vs-science-fiction-theatre/.

I’m also going to be performing one of my monologues/one person show Object Meet Subject at the Creative Centre of Collaboration as part of a… collaboration with Lucy Harrison, a PhD student in Music Composition on the 1st November.

I’m also scratching one of my short plays, NewsHound, which deals with the pitfalls and upsides of social media at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre. I will give you more details on that when I can.

I recently had my first ever full length play read by KDC Theatre, Opening Pandora’s Box. It was great to revisit it and immerse myself in the context of when I wrote it, and how different I feel now. It’s only been 3 odd years since I started it but I feel like so much has happened since then! Thank you to the team; I look forward to revising it and experimenting with it! Plus, it’s nice to return to my comedy writing. A member of the group called it Pygmalion meets Blade Runner, which I must use for the strap line!

I also had my play Fishbowl read by the Otherworld Theatre Company in Chicago. Tiffany Keane, the artistic director, has given me some fantastic notes and I’ve been very eager to redraft this one (it’s been my favourite to write by far, actually!).

I’m also planning to have Terra Firma read by the end of the year, which I’m very excited about!

I will also be writing some reviews – I saw There has possibly been an Incident at the Soho, which was a stripped back, bare, brutal and thrilling performance – the monologues were so powerful and emotional. I also saw as part of the Ideal World Season Override, which was very interesting in the way the boundaries of identity, human augmentation and how consciousnesses are projected. Another one to review.

That’s it in a nutshell. I’m still waiting back for news from plays and am preparing for the Stage the Future conference with Christos Callow Jr. Will let you know more as soon as I can!