It's peak hour, he thought he could get across the road, it turns out he could not. Now he is stuck in the middle. He might be there for a while. I can see him as I order my coffee, I can see him when it's delivered, I can see him as I drain the cup.
Hello good friends and creatures of this planet that we know a lot of things about,
I hope you’re well and keeping out of triangles.
Yesterday I arrived in London and I’ve been walking around a lot since then. I bought some new shoes - just canvas, nothing fancy. I’ve not worn out the old ones, I just got excited, new ones, “it's time” I thought. Just for a bit more variety in my life, for every time I glance down at my feet to negotiate a tricky curb or mysterious summer time footpath puddle that has trickled down from an obscured corner that has recently offered some undignified relief (wee wee), I have new shoes to look at.
Anyway, basically I just decided to write to tell you that I'm not just spending my days and nights walking around London looking at my new shoes, I'm also doing some things here, so I wanted to tell you about that but then I got distracted and started telling you about insects because I just realised that all of the memorable insects in my life are dead now. all of them, most likely dead, I have no way to prove it of course, I certainly haven't seen them out and about though. They just live little lives and I haven’t seen any memorable ones recently to keep me going. So they’re all dead. I usually like to keep an eye out for memorable ones, so that I can think back to the most recent ones and think, I wonder how they’re going today. But I’ve not been paying attention recently and the last one (wasp in the herbs, what's she doing in there? I don't know!) is most likely dead. Well, here are a few that I took photo's of, enjoy.
ALL DEAD. I will miss them. (actually I’m pretty sure that last photo is of one who was already dead, I think that picture is just the husk of it). irrelevant though, because the bit that wriggled out (if that's what they do) is most definitely dead now too - not just because it was getting around nude, but because it has been 3 years and I really don't think it would live that long considering it's trying to get by in this new globalised economy nude.
Hang on... two things
2. why am I sitting in the dark listening to christmas carols? Not sure, it just feels right I guess.
1. why am I telling you this? not sure it just feels right.
Anyway the more astute of you might be thinking - "hey stu, what about the show details you mentioned".
Cool your horses! I'm getting to that. easy there, easy there hot horse.
So while I'm in the London I'm doing a few things but the most interesting thing and most widely accessible for outsiders (people who are not in my body) is definitely Wilting In Reverse. It's my latest creation. Here are the details:
Mon 22 - Sat 27 AUG
Soho Theatre - 21 DEAN STREET, LONDON W1D 3NE
As a treat for looking at all those dead insects you can have 2-4-1 tickets if you use the magic code: REVERSE.
Anyway that's all I have to tell you about (FOR NOW!!!). but I have one question (rhetorical):
How long do hermit crabs live? I filmed this video in 2008.
Just with one simple “o” and some space, loneliness could become lone lioness, which is a more beautiful image. Like this:
Well, hello there.
I hope you are having the best day of your life, or, maybe it’s tomorrow, who knows. anyway i hope you’re alright. me? how’s my day? Well, I’ve spent a inappropriately long time standing out the back in the rain. Mostly because I’ve just planted some grass seed and I think I have a real shot at a lawn and watching that process is important to me. So thanks, it’s really nice of you to ask about me, about my day, you’re good like that. Enough chit chat!
This is an update targeted at the small but fervent members of the S. BOW Grand Street Gang on the island of Australia, specifically the Melbourne corner, so anyone anywhere else in the world (you know who you are) - Antarctica, UKingdom, Siberia, Kuala Lumpur, Panama, Canary Islands, Arctic Circle (that includes you Tromso!) or anywhere I’ve forgotten to mention including Canada (who I forgot on purpose) get back to work! This is not for you and it would be rude to pry.
Good. It’s just us now. lets talk frank.
I need back up. The Gang needs back up! I’ve been working my magic legs off down on Southbank, down at the Malthouse, winning new territory, but it’s a tough side of town. I know what you’re thinking, “what are you doing down there? That’s where the big gangs hang out, it’s dangerous”
Yep you’re right, there are some big gangs, the Warhol Weiwei Gang, there’s a whole bunch of MTC gangs with big white pipes and even one a gang with Marcia Hines in it. “Stu, you’re just a little peanut with a tin foil helmet on. What are you doing?”
Honestly, I have no idea! I need back up. Please spread the word. This is the meeting place: Malthouse Theatre, TUES - SAT 7pm, SUN 6pm until the 17th of April. AND don’t leave it to the last minute, I need back up NOW. Tell people - invite you’re old school friends, your work colleagues, your neighbours, the internet even, yes invite the internet. Tell them to go to join the She Was Probably Not A Robot *Gang.
It’s not all bad on the south of the bridge though. Don’t be scared, I’ve been building some alliances with other powerful splinter gangs:
The Wil Greenway Gang is hairy, fierce but fair and strong in the field using words as weapons. Zoe McDonald, a powerfully formidable force. Adrienne Truscott, a deadly grip and wrestling aficionado. Damian Callinan a well dressed swing dancer with an extraterrestrial alliance. There’s an uprising on the way! AHAAAHHHAHAHA!!!
So come on down! Let’s do this.
Now I’m going to get back to the grass.
*it's just my show, there's nothing actually gang related in the content of the show, I'm just using that as a flashy, attention seeking PR angle, sorry. Although I do believe theatre: the act of gathering, creating community, uniting with ideas; is a political act. Anyhoo.
SHE WAS PROBABLY NOT A ROBOT - ADELAIDE
★★★★★ "Delightfully quirky, lo-fi weirdness from a truly gifted performer." Adelaide Theatre Guide
★★★★ "A sight to behold" - The Clothesline
★★★★ "An off-beat, absurdist, endearingly funny one-man show" Kryztoff
★★★★ "fantastical, ludicrous, funny and heartfelt." Indaily
SHE WAS PROBABLY NOT A ROBOT - MELBOURNE
★★★★ and 1/2 "Bowden is a talented theatre maker. His piece is punchy, he boasts some seriously decent vocal chords, does great things with looping vocals, and he manages to tell a completely absurd tale in a compelling manner." - Arts Hub
"In this darkly hilarious and utterly charming show, Bowden has crafted an absolute winner" - Squirrel Comedy
Tonight I'm previewing my 23 show run of She Was Probably Not A Robot at The Malthouse for Comedy Festival. Come check it out (if you please). It's a bit of a newer version of the show (the basic structure is the same). Oh and I've moved back to Melbourne to be based here so if it goes badly, well... yeah, this is pretty much make or break for the future of my career in Australia, so, yeah come along.
Cool as fog (to my knowledge fog is the coolest of the moistures).
OH and as a little prize for reading this far, here is a secret code for 2 for 1 tickets: ROBOT241 - pretty sweet code hey? It will be available for the first week only)
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
The Malthouse Theatre
23 MAR - 17 APRIL (no show on Mondays)
7pm (6pm on Sundays)
★★★★★ "he creates a hilarious, bittersweet and completely enthralling world" - Three Weeks
★★★★★ "utterly compelling from the start to finish" - Broadway Baby
★★★★★ "Phenomenal one man wonder show... Stuart Bowden is an absolute genius... With live music, bizarre storytelling and perfect physical comedy, She Was Probably Not A Robot will leave you with a skip in your step and a smile on your heart" - Edinburgh Guide
★★★★ "gorgeous notes of melancholia" - The Scotsman
"a subliminal masterpiece" - The Stage
★★★★ "Deliciously bleak humour... laugh out loud funny and heartbreakingly poignant" - Exeunt
"A combination of live music, poignant storytelling and physical comedy, She Was Probably Not A Robot is heartbreaking, thought-provoking and laugh out loud funny." - Perth Now
"Minimal, rough, surreal and hilarious. There’s also a darkness to the content that keeps sentimentality at bay." -Crikey
★★★★ "Side-splittingly funny, heart-wrenching and utterly absurd this is a beautiful piece of theatre from one of Tuxedo Cat’s finest. Stunning." - Adelaide Advertiser
"Bowden has a firm grasp on how to create an understated image using the simplest means. Using nothing more than a few boxes, some instruments and a loop pedal, he takes the audience to the end of the universe in the profoundest of simple ways." - The Public Reviews
★★★★ "He hits just the right balance of funny and sad, knowing exactly when to pull back on the wistfulness and punctuate it with something grotesque or absurd. Bowden has crafted a superb storytelling show and while it has a fringe vibe it’s deserving of a much wider audience." - SBS Comedy
★★★★ and a 1/2
"with its ridiculous humour, highly original plot and artfully-questionable use of props and blocking, this laugh-out-loud production is not one audiences are likely to forget" - Adelaide Theatre Guide
★★★★ and a 1/2 "Stuart Bowden is a smart guy. He has created a very funny and whimsical show about something that’s actually quite serious. Excellent!" - Rip It Up Magazine
"This fantastic show is hugely entertaining and touchingly funny... a remarkable, handmade odyssey... Outstanding show" - Fringe Review
"a heartwarming, melancholic and hilarious work of lo-fi storytelling" - The Music
Outside plumbers were working, removing roots that tangled and broke into the drain. Who knew, the tree, this huge healthy beauty that shaded afternoon naps and fluttered like the sound of a waterfall, who knew underneath, unseen, the tree was desperately searching for a drink in drainpipes, with a wretchedly clenching grip that cut off circulation. The pavers were ripped up, strewn around the trunk and over by the shed. A deep trench around the house dug, it began to rain. Mud clumped so tightly it stuck to the spade, requiring another spade to scrape it off.
Inside the house it was not quiet and Sam was a tightly scrunched anxious little ball of crinkled skin and skeleton, and some pudgier bits, on the kitchen floor, except he was sitting perfectly upright at the table, but emotionally he was the ball tightly wound. So he wrote a letter.
I know you're really busy at the moment. I know it's loud inside and out, but calm the question and know it will be ok, that is surely and has so far always been true. You've never been here before and that is the best place to be. You'll never be here again and that's the best place to leave. Things will move on and on.
The plumbers stopped in the backyard, then there was a knock, a conversation and they left through the rain down the side path. The sound of rain. The sound of the tree enjoying the wind in it's hair as it let its roots do the work.
You're in the hotel room. You're not allowed to have guests here, cheap hotel. I park in a space across the road. It's quiet, no other cars, I sneak towards the back of your room, I'm pretty excited. You're still sleeping. I push the window open and climb in, with a coffee for you. I take the trumpet out of its case, I take off my clothes until I am completely naked. This will be the funniest thing to wake up to I think. But just before I'm about to play, I worry that it might be a bit too intense, so I climb into the closet and start playing some stupid jazz from in there. You spring out of bed, and see the window ajar, pick up a belt and fasten it around the two closet doorknobs, I'm trapped.
"You scared the shit out of me" you yell at the closet.
"Sorry, I got excited. Now let me out."
"No it's your punishment"
There is a knock at the door. Quickly you go to the door, "hello" you say to the closed door.
"We've had a complaint, we need to come in."
"Oh is it about the trumpet, sorry I've stopped."
"No it's not about that. We need to come in I'm afraid."
"Oh, ok." You open the door a little. "It's really fine, I've stopped playing trumpet."
"Do you have someone else staying with you?"
"No, no, I'm completely alone."
"Sorry could you please let me in, we need to check your room."
"Someone reported seeing someone climb in the window. We need to check your room"
Meanwhile I'm naked, locked in the closet holding a trumpet.
I'm making a new show called Wilting In Reverse. I'm doing a residency at Soho Theatre. The deadline is getting pretty close but I'm still not exactly sure what this new one is yet. But I thought it might be nice to share some of my early/not fully formed (embarrassing) ideas. So, hopefully I'll keep putting things on this blog. Firstly I have this little video (which most likely/definitely will not feature in the show but maybe it will who knows).
so pretty much I'm narrowing down what will and will not make it into the show by a process of elimination.
Alright here it is:
I'm doing Before Us at Soho Theatre.
It's a theatre/storytelling/comedy/live music/monologue/silly/strange/sad/happy kind of thing.
You can get tickets here.
And to get you in the mood here are some nice things people have said about it so far:
'An impeccable performance, endearing in his total weirdness.' ★★★★ Everything Theatre
'I have died & been reborn in a single show...dying from fits of laughter.' A Younger Theatre
'A strange but beautiful way to spend a theatrical hour.' British Theatre Guide
There's only 4 shows left.
It is a Sunday that fills its mind with rain and footsteps. Walking down to the park as a rite, coffee as a rite; but it doesn't do what it should, it doesn't mend you a like-new week. It doesn't fix your tired neck that creeks in loose collars. What does a Sunday like this do? It lays you down early and turns off the radio because it was only playing static and you didn't even notice. It puts a glass of water beside the bed and takes your socks off. It says, "I know you want a holiday, but you've just had one, so you're going to have to think about going to bed a little earlier more often".
"I'm not sure it was a wolf. It was more likely a fox or a dog"
Well, that's it. That is all there is to it then. There is nothing else to say. Laura has stamped her opinion on the matter and everything after that is void. The fact that there is doubt totally discredits anything that Kyle can say after that. This story is over.
Kyle finishes the last of his watery lemonade, then casually shrugs and with a twinkle in his eye says, "You were pretty eager to get back on the track then, if you thought it was just a dog?"
Bold manoeuvre from Kyle, Laura won't take kindly to this.
"I was just getting bored, that's all, just bored." Laura sighs then continues, "to be honest, Kyle, the whole waterfall thing was pretty unimpressive."
"Well, you rushed back to that track pretty quick, for someone who was bored. You kept tripping over. And then you insisted we come straight back to the burrow and just leave those berries that we'd spotted. You were totally shitting yourself. Bored? Yeah right, more like terrified."
Feeling like he's won, Kyle takes another sip of his lemonade forgetting it's empty, he lifts it, then lifts it a little higher, then higher again and then he finds himself completely under the cup, the cup is embarrassingly high and disappointingly dry.
I feel like this is a good point for me to diplomatically include myself, "Well, I don't think I've ever gone off the track, I've never been game, so well done."
"Well, Kyle insisted we go see this so called waterfall" Laura sighs and plays with her whiskers.
Kyle puts his cup down and says "It's actually quite nice".
I reply quickly sensing Laura is ready to rebut "Well, you'll have to take me some day."
"Don't bother" there she goes, as predicted, "it's just a trickle, and there are stinging nettles absolutely everywhere and spiders, don't get me started on the spiders, they're as big as my..." Laura stops dead still.
All of a sudden there is a loud, sharp howl from close outside in the dark. We all instantly bound to our feet and scurry down to the deepest part of the warren.
"Should I dig us a little deeper." Kyle speaks crouching, poised to begin digging.
"It couldn't hurt" I reply quickly, seeing that he's totally freaking out.
Laura steps in, grabs Kyle by his fury ears and throws him backwards, then with a hushed voice looks deep into my eyes and says "Are you serious? They'll hear us! If Kyle starts digging they'll hear us for sure"
"Yeah yeah, ok, lets just ride it out here then" I sit down. Laura is deeply in love with Kyle
The old man reclines on the soft grass in a park. The quarantined dog lies on a blanket. The tree eagerly watches as her shadow reaches towards an over exposed sun-baker. The bird chirps on a brick that has fallen from a crumbling wall. The skull of an extinct animal lies unseen in the ground. The pair of jeans hang on a rack. The newspaper lies in a bin bag soon to be buried by a machine. The extraterrestrial being sits backstage ready to receive an award for discovering life on another planet. The sleeping child in a sun filled room twitches in a bed of white sheets. The hot runway presents his belly for an aeroplane to smoke up her wheels on. The pineapple rots in a bag. The florist raises his hands in an empty room and weeps for his father behind the curtain, gone. The gyms digital screen clock observes a teenager drawing a picture of a turtle smoking a cigar in detention.
I, with nothing better or worse to do, sit on a step under what should be sun but is only clouds.
In May I went to Bristol for a weekend. It was great. I did Before Us as part of Mayfest at the Old Vic and I wandered around in the sunshine. I also ate a really nice salad and answered some questions - you can hear those answers below (with your ears) and imagine the salad above (with your mind).
Hello, I haven't written here for a fair while and it's about time I did so. This is how it's going to work, firstly, I'll tell you about a few things that I'm doing in the future, then (secondly/lastly) I'll tell you what I've been up to recently which will predominantly be me bragging about how busy I've been (mostly due to a constant fear of dying and being forgotten). Feel free to stop reading for the second half (but it will include pictures).
Next week I'm headed to Leicester to do a research and development with New Art Club at Curve Theatre.
In July if you're going to be at Latitude Festival please come and see me because I really want to impress Latitude with how popular I am, I'm doing She Was Probably Not A Robot (I think it's going to be at 1.45pm on Sunday on the cabaret stage).
In July I'm doing some previews of my latest (attempted) creation Wilting in Reverse, I'm not exactly sure what it's about yet, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be my finest piece yet (physically, emotionally and dramaturgically). I might do some little last minute test shows which I can't tell you about right now. I can tell you about the previews at BAC though, they are on 30-31st of July, you can (all) get tickets here.
"Hang on a second?!" I hear you ask/demand. "You said preview… preview for WHAT?" Well, I'm glad you asked/demanded.
In August I'm doing Wilting in Reverse in Edinburgh, honestly, this will probably be my last Edinburgh for a while so you should definitely come. It'll be on at 8.10 in Underbelly Cowgate. Get them (tickets) while they are hot (most likely room temperature unless freshly printed) here.
So… that's all the upcoming stuff, now to fill you in on what I've been up to. Feel free to stop reading now… but here's a picture before you go. It's me at christmas time in London in my flat.
what happens in the past, stays in the past
...anyway... that happened. So, since September I've been touring and working on various projects in various places. Here are a few pictures from my travels.
KAKISENI INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL - Kuala Lumpur
In September 2014 I was invited to Malaysia to perform She Was Probably Not A Robot as part of the Kakiseni International Arts Festival. While I was in Malaysia I was also invited to visit the Pulau Ketam International Arts Festival.
In October I went to Norway for a research and development week for a new kids show that I'm directing at Det Andre Teatret. Then a week later I was joined in Oslo by Wil Greenway and together we performed The Lounge Room Confabulators in 10 lounge rooms around the city. Then I performed my solo storytelling show The Beast at Det Andre Teatret.
FEBRUARY - MARCH
PERTH, ADELAIDE, MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY
From the pictures it may seem that I didn't do any shows, but I did in fact perform lots of shows. We started in at Fringe World in Perth with Before Us at the Blue Room Theatre, then went to Adelaide to perform Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger... Again! (our brand new kids show) and I performed Before Us at Tuxedo Cat. Then in Melbourne we performed the kids show at the Arts Centre and Before Us again with our good friends at Tuxedo Cat. The Australian tour ended in Sydney with the kids show at the Bondi Pavilion and Before Us at Giant Dwarf.
I spent the month of April with Nils Petter Mørland and Mats Eldøen making a brand new kids show called The Ballad of Steven Von Gutenberg and Robert Robertsen. This show will premiere in October 2015.
CENTRE STAGE… WITH STUART BOWDEN
WHAT WAS THE FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE YOU WERE IN?
I’m fairly sure my first ever performance was a solo poetry recital of Old Mother Hubbard in the Yarram Eisteddfod. I went on stage, saw everyone, had severe difficulty breathing and ran off stage yelling “I don’t want to do this”.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IRRATIONAL HATES OR FEARS?
Eating sticky food when I’m cold, especially in the morning. And Old Mother Hubbard.
DOG, CAT, OR INDIFFERENT TO PETS?
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Grappling with a dried up old Christmas tree, trying to take it outside after the festive season, whilst struggling to hold my dressing gown closed (because I’m naked under there). But there’s this pesky/indecent branch trying to embarrass me. 5 mins later I’m still outside my apartment, not exactly sure what to do because I’ve locked myself out there. 5 mins later walking towards the real estate shop (30 min walk, total) unaware that on the back of my dressing gown, attached to the cord there’s an ornate, quite shiny bauble dangling and wobbling around (which I will later sit on and cut myself quite seriously).
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
So that I will be remembered forever.
WHAT SHOW/S ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING SUMMER NIGHTS?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT SUMMER?
The snails aren’t so prominent.
Stuart Bowden: Before Us is presented by The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights and DON’T BE LONELY as part of FRINGE WORLD 2015.
Find out more about Stuart Bowden: Before Us here.
Before Us (my latest solo show)
This year in Edinburgh I premiered my new solo show Before Us, it went pretty well but I'm always trying to make things better, so I'm still tinkering with it. I'm very excited to be taking it to Norway for my Arctic Circle debut in december, if you are in Tromsø you can book tickets here. And I haven't forgotten about you Australia, I'll see you in early 2015. Here you can get tickets for the Adelaide Fringe season. I'll give you more dates soon!
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger... Again
Also in Edinburgh this year Dr Brown and I reunited to start making a brand new show. We did 5 pretty exciting and experimental work-in-progress shows. Since then I've also visited the Dr in Los Angeles where we did a few work-in-progress shows. It is coming along very nicely and we're excited to be bringing the show to Australia in early 2015. Tickets are already on sale here for the Adelaide Fringe shows and here for our Melbourne shows. I'll let you know about more Australian shows soon!
Remount of Mr Sole Abode by Unfinished Business (directing)
I'm directing the remount of this very exciting solo show written and performed by Leo Kay at Unfinished Business. It will be touring the UK in 2015.
Musical, Det Andre Teatret, Oslo (writing)
I'm currently writing a musical for Det Andre Teatret, Oslo. There will be more information on this project available soon.
Kids Show, Det Andre Teatret, Oslo (directing)
I'm also directing a show for young people at Det Andre Teatret, Oslo. There will be more information on this project available soon.
"A combination of live music, poignant storytelling and physical comedy, She Was Probably Not A Robot is heartbreaking, thought-provoking and laugh out loud funny."
"Side-splittingly funny, heart-wrenching and utterly absurd this is a beautiful piece of theatre from one of Tuxedo Cat’s finest. Stunning."
Adelaide Theatre Guide
★★★★ and a 1/2
"with its ridiculous humour, highly original plot and artfully-questionable use of props and blocking, this laugh-out-loud production is not one audiences are likely to forget"
Rip It Up
★★★★ and a 1/2
"Stuart Bowden is a smart guy. He has created a very funny and whimsical show about something that’s actually quite serious. Excellent!"