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Educating Rita…

Educating Rita…

That’s Rita educated. Thanks Karen. Thanks Willy Russell. Thanks Self.

So what does it take to put on a staged reading of a theatre classic?

eductaing Rita 1st theatre

Two nights in the Theater Studio in Amsterdam. 14th and 15th may 2014. Audience of about 20 each night in a black box that holds 75-100 maxed out.
Produced by the titular Rita resulting in a profit margin of some 45 euros in the plus.
Theatre- paid for,
technician for the lights- paid for,
rights for the play- paid for (the biggest slurp of potential profit at 100 euros a night),
the actors- unpaid.

That’s for 4 rehearsals, the time analysing and marking up the script, the time spent gathering costumes, the bringing to and fro of the set and costumes to the theatre, and the hours spent on publicity and marketing.

Promo Video made from the Theater Studio performances

The seemingly futile trying to garner an audience, which experience shows will turn up on the basis of 1 out of every 100 solicited. The same old friends and acquaintances cajoled once more into supporting your passion. The promises of attendance and the excuses after they don’t show up.

Now all this written down seems so simple and so uncomplicated. The bare threads common to every production put on anywhere in any town. And believe me this isn’t a complaint. This is unfortunately the state of affairs I knew I was getting into when I answered the ad:

‘Wanted: actor 40-50 years for leading role in a play’
on the website.

The old joke typifies my acting career: ‘I didn’t get into acting for fame and fortune. And so far it’s working.’

Like Rita I made a choice. And like her, it was the only choice i could make. Without this, mere oblivion.

I didn’t choose acting, it chose me. My life was one big drama and a downwardly mobile spiral. My friends in the Rietveld Academy studied to be artists. I hung around the British Council library on the Keizersgracht watching free BBC Shakespeare films with pink eyes.

‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.’

Oh how age shows that to be truer than truth will ever define it.
As Frank Bryant, the professor who educates Rita, says,

‘The only thing that I know, is that I know nothing.’

Frank Reading Yeats.  W.B. not the wine shop.

Frank Reading Yeats.
W.B. not the wine shop.

The motto i follow for acting is ABW: Always Be Working. This thing we actors follow, the theatre, whether black box or Broadway, is bankrupt. The names will get paid, the supernumaries won’t. The rest of us do what we need to do.

We worship the written word for the insights it lends. Those few authors tried and tested in the theatre played again and again.

We, the actors approach them to test and hone and display our skills. Fully cognizant of lines such as ‘I detest the theatre’ when Rita cajoles Frank into going to see theatre for her first time. The process will continue though predictable.

New Ritas will stand up and claim their right to choose.

Rita stands up for her rights.

Rita stands up for her rights.

More Franks will drown their pain on the knowledge that there is very little to be gained from that choice.

Bemused Frank

Bemused Frank


Frank drinks a draught

Frank drinks a draught

No. Hopeful…

Rita offering great writer Rita Mae Brown

Rita offering great writer Rita Mae Brown

Photos by Maarten Toner can be viewed in better quality here.

BTW we revived it at the end of July in the Badhuistheater Amsterdam. The houses were much better because word had got around.

See more bums on seats!

See more bums on seats!

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