Unverified Stories from a Travelling Suitcase

Written and performed by The Lounge Room Confabulators (Stuart Bowden and Wil Greenway)

Lying in the street

The Lounge Room Confabulators are in Melbourne.

Enjoy critically acclaimed, multi award winning Australian theatre in the saccharine surrounds of your living room, parlour, patio or pantry (we might not all fit in your pantry, it would need to be quite big for a pantry. Chances are your pantry won’t be the best place to be honest. But maybe?).

Awards

Won the Underbelly Edinburgh Award at Adelaide Fringe 2011.
Won the Adelaide Fringe Award at Melbourne Fringe 2010.

Highly Commended for Best Performance Melbourne Fringe 2010.
Nominated for Best Independent Production at The Melbourne Green Room Awards 2010.
Nominated for the Bank SA Innovation Award at Adelaide Fringe 2011.

Toured

Lounge Rooms in Melbourne, Adelaide, Edinburgh, London, Yorkshire, Oslo, Perth.

Press

‘the narrative ingenuity behind this performance — infinitely clever, insidious and beguiling — is a rare treat.’  - The Age, AUS

★★★★ ‘Awesomely talented’ - The Herald Sun, AUS

★★★★ 'Magical' - The List, UK

★★★★ 'Masters of their craft' - Metro, UK

★★★★ 'They are by turns funny, touching, macabre and ridiculous' - The Arts Desk, UK

A Story About the Beginning of The Lounge Room Confabulators

In 2010, I was living in Melbourne. I had just signed up to do a show in the local fringe festival, a brand new project with Wil Greenway, the only problem was we didn’t have a venue. We were keen to make a new show, but didn’t know where to do it. With the deadline looming, no money, and as two relatively unknown theatre makers, we decided to do something stupid, so stupid it just might work. We contacted the head of the fringe festival and proposed doing a show in peoples homes, in their lounge rooms. She went for it. We called ourselves The Lounge Room Confabulators, published a description in the guide and crossed our little fingers.

We set the ticket price stupidly low – not knowing if anyone would actually want to book a show that involved two strangers showing up to their house to entertain them. Well, they did and the show sold out within a few weeks.

Our first ever preview was in the festival directors house, I guess she wanted to check what she was letting loose, to wander into her festival audiences' homes. I think it was the moment we parked our little hatchback a block away, in the middle of residential suburbia, surrounded by innocent homes, I think that was the moment we realised how stupid and strange this whole idea was. That's when the nerves kicked in, realizing how horribly wrong this could all go. Then of course, the moment we knocked on the door, that was also terrifying. 

As we stood on the doorstep we where like two mountaineers at the base of a massive peak, nerve-racked, excited and courageous. Who were we to have the audacity to go into someone’s home, to stand in front of their television and try to entertain them? But as we wandered in to see an audience as equally nervous, as equally excited and as equally brave to invite us into their home, their was a mutual understanding.

Standing in a lounge room surrounded by a group of eager faces, we realised that we were not the only ones who had taken a risk and where totally invested in this evening. We stood surrounded by guests who had arrived early, who had been so excited that they had set up their own DIY theatre, with chairs and cushions, a spread of nibbles, a collection of bedside lamps and various lighting options to use like 'real theatre' lighting - they had invested in this. It was like a family christmas concert, we where the two odd cousins who had made up a 'play' and everyone was excited to see it. The show came together like some sort of unexpected miraculous meal made without a recipe full of unknown ingredients, but it just seemed to work. The fact that we had come to the audiences home, that we had left the comfort and control of the theatre (we even had a curious cat cameo), made the experience of live theatre, of being there, of sharing a unique, unrepeatable moment all the more tangible.

At the end of the Melbourne Fringe The Lounge Room Confabulators were awarded the Adelaide Fringe award, which gave touring support and meant we would then go on to present the show in Adelaide. The show sold out the entire Adelaide Fringe season in two hours. We were shocked, we'd even upped the ticket price from 'stupidly cheap' to 'still pretty cheap. Then in Adelaide I presented my first theatrical solo show The World Holds Everyone Apart, Apart From Us. That year my solo show was nominated for three festival awards and The Lounge Room Confabulators where nominated for two awards. The lounge room show was awarded the most coveted award at the Adelaide Fringe, the Underbelly Edinburgh Award, this gave us the opportunity to take our show to Edinburgh. I had always wanted to live somewhere overseas for a bit, to explore the world. So this was my opportunity to make that happen. I moved to London. I then presented my solo show as well as the lounge room show. That year while I was in Edinburgh I also began my collaboration with internationally acclaimed comedian Doctor Brown. It was a busy year, I performed 61 shows in 26 days. Here is part of a blog I wrote summing up my time in Edinburgh:

"I performed approximately two hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and thirty-nine words (am I saying it right?) it’s 202839 words, based on a word count of the scripts. My solo show had an average audience size of 25, I almost fell causing serious injury to myself during a performance twice, I garnered a total of 70 stars: Four 5 star reviews, nine 4 star reviews, four 3 star reviews and a 2 star from a twitter review, I destroyed two tape players, I ate three meals I regret, I climbed Arthurs seat once, I had around 60 coffees, I cried once, I appeared on BBC TV once, I stood in poo twice, I lost two pieces of clothing, I saw four shows that changed the way I think about theatre, I was kicked in the shin on the same spot twice, I swore I would never do another festival three times, I committed to doing three shows in Adelaide next year, I performed to gnomes and fairies in a basement on a floor covered with plastic once, I heard fireworks at least 15 times, I saw fireworks twice, I caught 19 taxis, I signalled for 16 taxis that didn’t stop, I almost lit a prop on fire during a performance twice, I was followed by a photographer once, I performed to an audience made up of 12 reviewers and one punter in a small lounge room once, I ate 6 Panini’s from the café over the road, I was nominated for one award, I received zero awards, I ate haggis three times, I walked through a cemetery at night 4 times, I had 5 breakfasts in the sun, everyday was filled with hundreds of disappointments and every disappointment was surrounded, encrusted and overcome by pure joy constantly." - www.stuartdances.blogspot.com

That was 2011, subsequently I have created and performed two more solo shows The Beast and my most recent work She Was Probably Not A Robot . In the last five years I have won 7 major arts awards in Australia and Edinburgh and have received nominations for 19 awards. My most recent show She Was Probably Not A Robot received huge critical acclaim and was nominated for an award in Edinburgh last year. And The Lounge Room Confabulators are now based in London and are available for bookings, check out our blog - www.theloungeroomconfabulators.blogspot.co.uk