Category Archives: Comedy/humour

Booker produced Off Broadway (2,000 miles ‘off’ to be precise!)

Building on Sand, Reno 13Nevada has made theatre history! It’s the first state in America to debut a play by Claire Booker. The wonderfully monikered ‘Goodluck Macbeth Theatre Company’, based in downtown Reno, had a fantastic month earlier this October, with a run of her sea-side comedy ‘Building on Sand’.

“With the manner of Moliere – or, dare I say it, a Benny Hill sketch – this seaside farce involves lots of contrived situations, misunderstandings, naughty behaviour and characters that are adorably weird,” said the drama critic of Reno News & Review.  “The play is seriously funny – I know this despite having missed several lines due to audience laughter – everyone watching laughed a lot.”

Building on Sand Nevada

Laughter seems to have been contagious, as proved by the thumbs up given by ‘Your Sassy Gay Reviewer’ Oscar Ceezon, to what is essentially a heterosexual romp: “I laughed throughout the entirety of the show. Whether it was the ridiculous premise, the highly-charged sexual innuendos, or the senile musings of an old woman, the wealth of humor present is boundless. The production benefits from an already brilliant script, which the cast bring to life. A hilarious show and certainly worth seeing.”

“A credit to director Amanda Alvey, for effectively casting the show. Richard (played by Ian Sorensen) delights audiences with his quirky antics and has a hilarious physical presence on stage. Juliette (Amanda McHenry) grounds the production with her dry wit and delivery, harkening back to an Oscar Wilde period piece, where the humor lies in the subtle quips and clever intonation. Building on Sand - Reno

Dan (Marvin Gonzalez) woos audiences with his suave charm and sly remarks . . . Aunt Dot (Jeanne Weiser) and Berenice (Jessica Johnson), ultimately won me over in the end and delivered some of the funniest bits of the show.”

For more information on ‘Goodluck Macbeth Theatre Company check out their website at: http://www.goodluckmacbeth.org  To read an excerpt of the play, click on: http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

Building on Sand - Good Luck Macbeth Th Co

‘Last Man in Watford’ unleashed on Southwark Playhouse

Sibling productionsClaire Booker’s short comedy ‘Last Man in Watford’ is to get a second bite at the cherry, following a successful run earlier this year at The Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington.

Producing company, Little Pieces of Gold, has selected nine state-of-the nation short plays by UK-based playwrights to showcase on Sunday 24th November (7.30pm) at The Southwark Playhouse, near London Bridge.  Previous Little Pieces of Gold showcases have been sell-outs, so if you don’t want to risk missing out on a variety-packed evening, then book your tickets at: http://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

‘Last Man in Watford’ is set in 2084 when women rule the world and men are kept as exhibits in zoos.

Tom Kirkin unleashes Adam on a helpless audience

Tom Kirkin unleashes Adam on a helpless audience

Utopia or dystopia?  You decide!  The play was performed as part of Sibling Productions Short Cuts 4 season in Islington in July, alongside three other dark comedies. Tom Kirkin played the role of unreconstituted Adam, Kathryn Perkins was the schoolgirl ingenue, and Lydia Lane played the long-suffering zoo keeper. It was directed by Tessa Hart.

For more information about Sibling Productions:

http://www.shortcutsfestival.co.uk

To contact Little Pieces of Gold about the Southwark Playhouse evening, or to submit work for their next showcase, please visit: http://www.littlepiecesofgold.co.uk

Poems break down barriers on the Northern Line

Tube travel. You know the score. No chat. No eye-contact. There I am, nose deep in my hot-off-the-press Loose Muse anthology, when a handsome young Spaniard leans over, points to a word in Steph Pike’s poem ‘Sea Shanty’ and asks “What does ‘shore’ mean?”  Cue an interesting discussion on semantics before the interchange at Oxford Circus parts us forever.Loose Muse (Autumn 2013)

The moral of the story?  A Loose Muse anthology can seriously pep up your love life!  The latest (and fourth) issue is packed with poems by the likes of Cath Drake, Zena Edwards, Rosie Garland, Sue Johns and Agnes Meadows, plus short-stories by Niki Aguirre, Isabel White and Leila Segal among others, as well as a 5 minute surreal comedy by Claire Booker which explores the tribulations of youth unemployment and irritating parents.

“This anthology is a fabulous cornucopia of original work by women writers,” says editor Agnes Meadows, who launched London’s only continuous Women’s Writers Night nine years ago. Loose Muse offers a smorgesbrod of UK and international guests plus generous open-mic slots every third Wednesday of the month at the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden.

For more information on Loose Muse events, including how to get hold of the latest anthology check out: http://www.loose-muse.com

The cover image is by Lorraine Clark.

 

Achtung! Booker comedy unleashed on Germany

BuxtehudeSocksOne more European stereotype bites the dust. Germans really do have a sense of humour, as proved by the English Theatre Buxtehude’s production of Claire Booker’s one act comedy ‘Socks Go in the Bottom Drawer’.

Based just outside Hamburg, the English Theatre has been offering German theatre-afficionados a chance to enjoy English drama in its original tongue for the last 27 years.

‘Socks go in the Bottom Drawer’ was directed by Karsten Wildeisen, who taught English at Hamburg Grammar School for four decades. His fine troupe of English-speaking actors included Jürgen Kotisa as Adam (one of the last men to survive after women take-over the world!) and Anja Droge-Jacobs as his zoo keeper.  The funny but feminist programme also included a production of ‘World Without Men’ by Philip Johnson and ran for five performances.

Adam and his inflatable wife!

Adam and his inflatable wife!

buxtehuder-tageblatt-7-1-2013 - Socks

To read an excerpt of ‘Socks go in the Bottom Draw’ please click:  http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

For more information about The English Theatre of Buxtehude click:http://www.englisch-theatre-buxtehude.de

Socks Buxtehude Tageblatt

Churchill, Booker and Ibsen – Visions of Utopia

Hills Players, BrisbaneSabina Head, of Griffith University, Brisbane, has published a fascinating paper in Drama Australia Journal in which she analyses power relationships in Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’, Claire Booker’s ‘Socks Go In The Bottom Drawer’ and Caryl Churchill’s ‘A Number’ and considers how the three playwrights enable their audiences to contemplate alternative futures.

Hills Players (1)Future Studies is a developing branch of academia which looks at the portrayal of utopias and dystopias within a range of fields including drama.  In this particular article, Sabina uses the technique of causal layered analysis to reveal a play’s depth of innovation – how dialogue and action are informed by underlying beliefs and metaphors.  

“In this half-hour comedy “Socks Go in the Bottom Drawer” (Booker, 1991), two women and their daughter visit a zoo cage to see a most interesting exhibit – a man. He shows off for them and flirts with the girl, who is interested but unimpressed by his attempts at seduction. His keeper then entertains him with a story from the distant past, in which “once upon a time, the world was ruled by men” (ibid. p.15). She then tiptoes out, leaving him to sleep. . . .

Hills Players, Australia

” The status transactions are intended to be comic, to make the audience laugh. The metaphor throughout is one of man as a quaint curiosity, of no actual use but seen as a pet to be occasionally indulged in small ways, including the pretence that he is powerful and dangerous. Clearly women control the world; they are beings of power and influence, functioning without men. The metaphors are pushed into contrast in an extreme reversal of traditional male and female roles, throwing macho male behaviour into the spotlight. . .

The plays discussed may make the present appear remarkable; equally important, they make the future debatable. The story ideas generate public response: condemnation or approval, but above all, debate. Encouraging playwrights to add to these few works is a project worth pursuing if they can inform a broad democratic process.”

To read the whole of Sabina Head’s article, please click on the following PDF  – Forward Theatre and Causal Layered Analysis http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/17-1/A03.pdf which was printed in the NJ,36, 2012.

To contact Sabina Head directly, please e-mail her at: sabina.head@uqconnect.edu.au

Loose Muse Anthology Spring 13A 5 minute drama by Claire Booker based on ‘Socks Go in the Bottom Drawer’ was recently published in the Spring 2013 Loose Muse Anthology of New Writing by Women. It is entitled ‘Last Man in Watford.’  To buy the anthology or for more details click  http://www.loose-muse.com

A Tale of Two Cities – Loose Muse hits London and Manchester!

Loose Muse Anthology Spring 13Loose Muse has just launched its third anthology of new writing by women, including work by Ivy Alvarez, Claire Booker, Miriam Halahmy, Sue Johns, Sarah Reilly and Janice Windle.

And only days after a lively launch party at Cotton’s in Clerkenwell, the All Woman Writers’ Night spread its wings and flew north to Manchester for the first of (hopefully) many Loose Muse events organised in that city by local poet and activist Steph Pike. Guest performers invited to Manchester included Agnes Meadows and Claire Booker.

Local poet Aryamati with Agnes Meadows at Manchester Loose Muse

Local poet Aryamati with Agnes Meadows at Manchester’s Loose Muse Night

Thanks to the sheer get-up-and-go savvy of Agnes and her editorial team, the Loose Muse anthology is packed with an eclectic mix of contributions from writers across the UK as well as Greece, Spain, Holland, Finland and Australia.

Celebrating her ninth year as Loose Muse co-ordinator and host, Agnes Meadows is rightly proud of the anthology: “It’s a diverse mix of high quality poetry, short stories and short plays, clearly showing that women can write with strength, passion, humour and imagination.”

Claire Booker performs 'Last Man in Watford' at London launch

Claire Booker performs ‘Last Man in Watford’ at London launch

My own contribution includes a 5 minute comedy called ‘Last Man in Watford’ set in a (dystopian?) future when women rule the world and the few remaining men are exhibited in zoos!                                     To order copies of the anthology (published by Morgan’s Eye Press) or to find out more about Loose Muse events in London or Manchester, please contact Agnes Meadows at agnespoet@gmail.com or ring her on 07789 901 667.  You can also check out the latest updates on Loose Muse by clicking the following link: http://www.loose-muse.com

Poet Angela Brodie at London launch
Poet Angela Brodie at London launch

For more information on Lorraine Clarke whose amazing art-work features on all three Loose Muse covers, please click: http://www.clarke-art.co.uk

For information on Steph Pike and Manchester Loose Muse click: http://www.about.me/stephpike                            

Appreciative audience at London launch

Appreciative audience for Caroline Vero at London launch

Natasha Morgan reads 'This Sharp Edge'
Natasha Morgan reads ‘This Sharp Edge’

Other Poetry gets Lost in the Forest

Black ForestForests can be treacherous places – unless you’re armed with a good compass.   The sorry tale of a young man in the Bavarian Alps  inspired my poem ‘Dead Letter Box’  which is out in the latest issue of Other Poetry.

People go missing in these vast European forests and are not always found.  This particular young man was discovered fifteen years later by an enthusiastic hiker.

What might YOU do if you found a skeleton next to a well-preserved rucksack and inside, a picture postcard, written, stamped and ready to go?

Other Poetry Series 4, No 7Answers on a postcard please! Or better still, buy a copy of Other Poetry (Series 4, no 7) to find out what hiker, Hubert Schaunegger, actually did do.

Other poets featured in this issue include Mike Barlow, Will Kemp, John Hartley Williams and Claire Dyer. To order a copy of the magazine please visit their website at http://www.otherpoetry.com

Education, Education, Education!

Where better to produce a play about youth than Bradfield College, Reading, which has been educating young people since it was founded in 1850?  Not only that, but every three years, the College produces a Classical Greek drama in the original language and has been doing this since the nineteenth century. 

Last month, a group of Bradfield College drama students decided to take a break from the rigours of ancient Greek and produced a one act play of mine – ‘Gone Fishing’.  A canny choice, I think, as the play is all about a young man striving to find his way in the world.  I hope I’m not giving too much of the plot away if I say the young man eventually turns into a fish!

May I wish all the students at Bradfield College a happy and non-aquatic life in the future!

To read an excerpt of ‘Gone Fishing’ by Claire Booker please visit http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

Sperm Vampire takes wing at Loose Muse launch

Thanks to the verve and sheer gung-ho brilliance of Loose Muse founder Agnes Meadows (plus some very handy Arts Council funding) – another Loose Muse anthology came wriggling and squealing into the world last week.

And after a stiff drink and a deep breath, Claire Booker took to the stage at Cotton’s, Clerkenwell, to give a no-holds barred reading of her short play ‘Sperm Vampire’ at the launch party.

The latest edition of Loose Muse features poetry, prose and drama from 35 women writers living as far afield as Greece, Australia, Spain and the USA.  Highlights include poetry by Sue Johns, Cath Drake and Poets Scratching Heads’ member, Natasha Morgan, plus stories by Isabel White and Naomi Woddis.  A second play by Claire (Rainbow Baby) is also included.

Loose Muse is London’s premier Women’s Writing event that meets every second Wednesday of the month (excl. August) at the Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street, Covent Garden.  It offers a generous 5 minute open mic for any woman writer to show their work, together with UK and international invited guest readers.  Men are very welcome to attend as members of the audience. For more information about Loose Muse events and publications, please visit:http://www.loose-muse.com

To buy a copy of the Loose Muse anthology, please visit:http://www.flippedeye.net

Natasha Morgan performs at Cotton’s

Loose Muse anthology launch – waiting for kick off

 

Booker play goes down under!

It’s the year 2084, women rule the world and only a handful of men remain – carefully exhibited in Zoos.

Claire Booker’s dystopian (or is that utopian?!) feminist comedy ‘Socks Go In The Bottom Drawer’ was given its third Australian production last month by The Hills Players in Brisbane.   ‘Socks’ played for four nights alongside ‘The Rack’ by Louise Neilson and ‘Babysitting Calvin’ by John H Newmeir.  It was directed by Tina Reid and starred Peter Carmichael as Adam – a thoroughly unreconstructed specimen.  Joanne Prove played Adam’s indulgent zoo keeper; whilst Eleanor Hayden and Tyrion Perkins played two students eager to knotch up their first man hours, supervised and instructed by Ann Johnston and Margaret Reid as their College lecturers.   Needless to say, Homo Sapien Male proved capable of much mischief, even under captivity.Adam and his Keeper have a therapeutic disagreement over a blow-up doll!

To read an excerpt of the play, visit http://www.bookerplays.co.uk

For more information about the Hills Players visit http://hillsplayers.com