improvised theatre

March 20, 2006

A reunion...of sorts

Woo - my first post. After months of trying to figure out how to log in and then trying to remember my password. And then finding out I can only post in the Impromime section, which no-one will read now. I figure I'll be even on entries with Amelia after this anyway. Amelia - let's unite and challenge this Lark-dominated weblog.

Speaking of Amelia, we had a rather bizarre reunion yesterday. One of Lark's short films consisted his being stalked at a party by Amelia. This scenario was followed by what I gathered to be a dream sequence in which James acts out most of his fantasies, mainly involving Amelia, a bow tie and a plate of profitteroles.
Amelia had been costumed, as far as I could tell, to look at similar to Coronation Street's Bet Lynch/Gilroy as possible - purple shirt, shoes, girly bag, and leopard skin. Not to mention the bright red lipstick which undoubtedly was smeared on James' face during the profitterole sequence.

The reunion consisted of Francis Ford-Aylett, Amelia Gilroy, James Lark (who defies a celebrity comparison) and me "acting" as a party-goer. All we needed was Andrew Ormerod as the voice of Amelia's impressive and very much on display breasts ("Hello, darlings") and we could have been back in Mudchute.

Posted by Chris Mundy at 1:07 AM on March 20, 2006 (read with comments)

January 30, 2006

Vegetable obsession

Since we're onto the whole summing up stage, for the sake of completeness I should probably explain Andrew's reference to veg-heavy diets.

When working as an actor I have generally found that normal priorities like eating and sleeping get pushed aside by far more important things like technical rehearsals and late conversations in pubs about putting the world to rights. My usual solution to this is to subsist on a diet of pork pies and cup-a-soups - which I have found to be perfectly feasible for a whole week, possibly more. (In fact, during the musical I worked on last year I got food poisoning and did the whole run of performances on nothing but lucozade.)

And this has never been a problem before. Indeed, when working on Oedipus (previously refered to on this site as "the one where I grew a beard") I walked into a rehearsal with a pork pie and a copy of Doctor Who magazine and Phil Mulryne, a fine actor of Irish descent, said "my respect for you has just shot up." (The Doctor Who magazine was a factor in this earned respect, but the pork pie didn't go unnoticed.)

No such respect from the Division. Whenever I've tried tucking into a pork pie, I've had disapproving looks from James Aylett whilst Andrew Ormerod shakes his head making tutting noises with his teeth. Even Andrew Pontzen, usually the human approachable member of the team, tends to turn his back so as not to look as though he's party to my dietary misdemeanours.

I haven't been able to observe Amelia's response to pork pies, because not a single pork pie has passed my lips over the course of the entire run of Impromime. NOT ONE.

Instead, James Aylett has been force feeding us flapjacks for their slow-burning energy properties, and when he sees me heading for the pork pies in shops he gently diverts me to the fruit section. Even the Bowen West Theatre's sandwiches were stuffed full of vegetables, which I discovered was due to a request he made (I can hear him on the phone: "We'd like to perform at your theatre, but only if you're going to give us fruit and veg").

Even when some of us cooked in Aylett's absence, Andrew Ormerod insisted on making a veg-heavy meal.

I'm not complaining. It's not that the food hasn't been lovely throughout. But never has my diet been subjected to such scrutiny and my preferences been so criticised. Essentially, we were living under a food dictatorship. A friendly, healthy dictatorship (the sort of food regime you could imagine Ann Widdecombe putting in place were she ever to become Prime Minister). But a dictatorship nevertheless. I have rights, you know. I like pork pies.

It also means that, while I usually lose weight during a show, I suspect during this one I've put on about half a stone.

Posted by James Lark at 11:38 AM on January 30, 2006 (read with comments)

January 28, 2006


this is about the point in the diary where we all put in some concluding remarks - before James Aylett ties the digital ribbons round the digital vellum cover, and puts on the digital wax seal that forever says "this tour has finished".

at the end of previous tours i've felt a combination of sadness and relief (is this what nostalgia is made of?). but this time i just feel excited. excited about an excellent tour - and excited about the future.

so here's then to Impromime in Winter 2006/07 - and many more opportunities for tarpaulins, boxes (real and imaginary), motorways, church halls, veg-heavy diets, references to the past, and all that jazz.

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2006 (read with comments)

January 22, 2006

Another fine week

We have spent a lovely week performing beneath the dreaming spires of the stunning university town of Oxford.


The Moser Theatre in Wadham college played host to a week of shows involving hobbits menaced by giant scorpions, endangered llamas in geriatric homes, dating agencies on the moon and a thoroughly terrifying audience participation in the underpass game.

Oxford (14).jpg

I should also mention the fact that we had a techie called Gwyn, who achieved some wonderful things with lights…


...including this quite terrifying image of Andrew Pontzen.

Oxford (9).jpg

Of course, anyone can look scary bathed in red light – but look closely and you'l see that, like that scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Andrew's shadow is looking in a different direction to him.


The Moser Theatre prop store…or an exclusive leaked picture from the forthcoming second season of Doctor Who?


Amelia and I found this picture quite funny because it seems to be an instruction to pull men. But perhaps you had to be there.

Oh, and we acquired a door.

Oxford (1).jpg

I was staying with family in a place near Oxford called Wantage. My cousin Andrew, previously mentioned on account of being callously dumped during Thursday's show, gave me a guided tour and pointed out a shop that has much in common with the "local shop" in The League of Gentlemen.

Local shop.jpg

Aside from the suspicion-filled old woman who lurks within, the shelves are filled with Precious Things which, if you peer through the grimy window, make for entertaining viewing. I was disappointed that the box of marathon bars that apparently sat there recently have now gone – but there was a box of maltesers so old that it had turned orange, amongst the collection of random and often unidentifiable items which presumably would have proved difficult to purchase, had I been brave enough to try.

We all got to do a little bit of sightseeing, and on Saturday we went for a long walk to see Oxfordshire’s White Horse.

Oxford (20).jpg

Here is a picture of James and Andrew with the White Horse in the background:


I know what you're thinking – where, actually, is the White Horse in that picture? Here’s a clue:


Yes. Disappointingly, it seems that it is not possible to actually view the White Horse, even from the little grassy knoll that appears to have been arranged for that very purpose. Which begs the question, who on earth was the White Horse drawn for? The aircraft of the future who would one day be able to take aerial shots like this one?


You’ll see that, even with the advantage of elevation, there is still an element of disappointment, in that it looks nothing like a horse.

Andrew Ormerod argued that it has a Picasso-like modernity. I disagree. If a human artist of any merit had been involved (perhaps Neil Buchanan, who often does pictures on this scale in children’s programme Art Attack) they would have got the angle right and made it look like a horse. Like this:


No, the actual "white horse" is plainly something else altogether. Anybody who knows their stuff will see that it is a picture of a diplodocus. Which leads me to suspect that it’s actually a lot older than people think; it was drawn by dinosaurs. This explains the basic nature of the picture (dinosaurs are not known for their artistic skills) as well as the great height from which it needs to be viewed – a diplodocus on its hind legs would reach pretty much the right angle from which to see the whole thing satisfactorily.

I’ll finish with a picture of a place we have seen altogether too much of recently: the South Mimms services. Or as we now know it, the bloody South bloody bloody Mimms services.

Oxford (26).jpg

Incredibly, it really does look this beautiful at 11pm.

Posted by James Lark at 5:01 PM on January 22, 2006 (read with comments)

January 20, 2006


Last night's show saw everybody in the audience paired off blind date-style by Dame Bagel's dating agency. Apart from one unfortunate break-up (in which, alas, it was my very own cousin who was dumped for some floozy) I feel proud to say that we saw several promising couples set up during the show, some of which I feel sure have the potential to last for many happy years.

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Post-show discussion revealed that at least two of our acquaintances have found love at The Space following Uncertainty Division shows. So we'd very much like to hear from anybody else who has had any kind of romantic success at one of our events. Any stories would warm my heart to a point of almost unbearable contentment.

And who knows, if we appear to have successfully set up a few more relationships, perhaps we may start a real dating agency. That way we might even make some money one day.

Posted by James Lark at 1:10 PM on January 20, 2006 (read with comments)


i'm also sick, btw, of motorways. here's an example of how much time i've spent on them in the last fortnight:

Visits to Leigh Delamere services - 3
Vists to South Mimms services - 2
Vists to Heston services - 4

I'm going stir crazy.

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 12:01 PM on January 20, 2006 (read with comments)

box clever

Fans of The Div. will know and love our black cubes. They've been with us for 18 months now, since Susie Parker (remember her?) rescued them from a skip at the ADC Theatre. Last Friday, they proved once and for all how truly versatile they are...

Some friends of mine had come to our show at The Space (the "Penguins and Prisons" one), and when we packed up after the show there wasn't room, even in James A's monster truck, for one of the cubes. So, my peeps and I struggled home with this cube (we struggled drunkenly, dear reader, I confess) cursing at every opportunity its weight, its bulk and its lack of handles.

But, when we got some aggro on the train home from a slap-happy crack-head over our consumption of beer munchies (he may have used the word "slobs") which threatened to turn nasty after I stood up and - with true style - declared "come on gang, we don't have to stand for this sort of s**t", it was then that the cube came into its own. As the rest of us scarpered, Nicole promptly stood in the doorway of the carriage, with the cube, and calmly said "why don't you just sit back down, mate?” Which he duly did.

Quizzed afterwards about her bravery she said:

"Well, he couldn't have hit anyone else without getting past me - and he wasn't going to hit a girl - and even if he was he'd have had to come past the cube first".

Now, that's box clever.

Posted by Andrew Ormerod at 12:00 PM on January 20, 2006 (read with comments)

January 17, 2006

Spot the difference


Posted by James Lark at 1:47 PM on January 17, 2006 (read with comments)