improvised theatre

February 24, 2007

Alan Alda

Alan Alda's autobiography is the best book I've read in quite a while, and everyone else should read it. (Really, I should have read it ages ago, but that's me - not very timely; I've only just got round to watching Kill Bill... .) There's really nothing I can think of saying that hasn't already been said about it, and the more words I use now the longer it'll take until you get to the book yourself.

But I do want to mention that, when I was in my early twenties, I ate in a restaurant in Quimper at the next table to him and his wife. One of the people I was with, my sister's then-boyfriend, met him on the stairs to the toilet, and shook his hand. (Actually, it's even more genteel than that - he met him on the stairs, asked politely if he was Alan Alda and if, please, he could shake his hand.) I'm really rather jealous of him for that. At the time I was only really aware of M*A*S*H, but now I have a much better appreciation of what an awesome man he is (plus, he's done more since then! wow!). So my jealousy has been increasing as I've kept on discovering these little cool bits of the theatre, TV and film landscape. I hate it when that happens.

Damn, too many words. Go buy the book already.

Posted by James Aylett at 11:21 PM on February 24, 2007 (read with comments)

January 11, 2007

Kevin Tomlinson

Over the next couple of weeks, Kevin is doing a number of shows at The Etcetera Theatre in Camden, including mask, improvisation and (unless he's cut that bit) puppetry using found objects - amongst other things. If you have a soul, you'll like his work, so please: go see.

Posted by James Aylett at 1:01 AM on January 11, 2007 (read with comments)

December 18, 2006


This is a bit of a geeky entry I'm afraid. Three words though to its detractors: Deal with it.

Surely we've all noticed that the sort of things you see on computer screens on TV shows and Films NEVER look like the sort of things you see oncomputer screens in real life. the internet especially.

I saw an episde of Torchwood for the first time last week where Paul Chequer - who would no doubt be irritated to be remembered as the cute one from pulp TV show As If - sells an 'alien eye' on eBay.

Only of course - BBC rules - what we see on his monitor is not eBay, but some fake TV version of the internet - but deliciously in Georgia - which is the Uncertainty Division's own much beloved house font.

There I warned you it was geeky.

Right - I'm off to get out of the house more.

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 4:23 PM on December 18, 2006 (read with comments)


It's panto season everyone - hooray. So brace yourself for Chrisotpher Biggins - or, more shockingly, David Walliams dressed as Christopher Biggins at Matt Lucas's wedding reception.

(Yes I know it's a civil partnership ceremony - but they called it Adam and Ian's ceremony a wedding on the Archers - and if it's on the Home Service it must be true)

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 9:59 AM on December 18, 2006 (read with comments)

December 05, 2006

Clive Barker

Much in my theatre thoughts right now is the division between 'body-based'/physical theatre and 'text-based'/classical theatre. The sort of theatre produced in the English speaking world is often seen as distinct from the more physical work produced in continental Europe and elsewhere - I've been mustard keen to find a link. And then - last weekend - I re-read some bits of Clive Barker's great book "Theatre Games" - and, I think, found it...

The brain's still ticking over this one - I'll keep you posted if I figure anything out - meanwhile, I recommend "Theatre Games" to anyone.

(Trivia: "TG" is the source of the famous exercises that involve falling backwards and being caught in someone's arms - there's a good reason for doing them too, and it's not about the much misused notion of 'trust' - but to find out what it is, you'll have to read the book....)

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 11:30 PM on December 05, 2006 (read with comments)

December 04, 2006

Sporting Heroes?

Next week will be the first outing of The Uncertainty Division All Stars (AKA as The Uncertainty Division Evil Koala Dating Agency Vocal Star Band Fan Club All Stars). We will be competing on the 14th December in the first round of the National Impro League, which is the UK's first (we think) Theatre Sports TM event.

The TM is important. Apparently.

Much more important is the whooping and hollering which is demanded and expected from audiences - and probably from us too. Report to be posted here hot on the heels of the event - or come along and see for yourself.

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 7:16 PM on December 04, 2006 (read with comments)

November 27, 2006

Two little words

Two very important words for us here at The Div are:

"Improvised Theatre".

They're so important in fact that you'll see them in the top left of every page on this website. They are what we do and why we exist as a group.

But we've been talking a bit at Divisional HQ about whether we ought to change our two little words to "Improvised performance". Because, you see, we've been thinking a bit recently about doing some improvised films (and maybe some improvised other stuff - watch this space).

Robert Altman (now a fully paid-up member of Directors Who Didn't Win An Oscar club - founder members: Chapman and Keaton) was a master of the multi-layered drama, shot almost like a documentary, with story lines crossing, merging, interconnecting. I think that's the sort of style of film-making which would suit our storytelling the best. The challenge with an impro film is which of the interconnecting story-lines do you present to the audience at any one point? Or do you go for a crazy split screen and have all of them?

Interesting stuff. So look out for our two little words - changing soon. (perhaps).

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 5:54 PM on November 27, 2006 (read with comments)

October 25, 2006

Catherine Stevenson, 1980 - 2006

Catherine Stevenson, who was technical director and lighting improviser on lots of Uncertainty Division shows, died last week.

She will be much missed.

"Kwa heri na santa sana mama"
"Goodbye, old friend, and many thanks"

- The Uncertainty Division

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 11:10 AM on October 25, 2006 (read with comments)