Dirk Gently blog archive

It’s the end – but the moment has been prepared for

Kevin puts pen to paper for the last time: it’s the Dirk finale…

Well we’re here, the journey that started in July with auditions and the scripts being doled out is about to come to an end. We’ve done four shows and are in the dressing room getting mentally ready for the big finale.

This has been a great show to be a part of, both in the cast and as the production manager, blogger, delivery man and numerous other tasks that have fallen on my shoulders. I’ve learned a lot and know I’m nowhere near ready to direct on such a large scale, at least not without someone to hold my hand.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The cast have uniformly been superb: from Paul Cresser as Dirk, wonderfully enigmatic and fully understanding the interconnectedness of everything, Paul Jones as Richard caught up in the whirlwind of the story, and Phillip DG as the forgetful professor Chronotis, in his 50th anniversary on the Nuffield stage – to Lou, Darcy and Beth as the impish Sarah complete with a yo-yo and of course the myriad of supporting players, everyone on the stage has given their all to make this the success it has been.

We were also lucky to have some amazingly talented people back stage and working on props and effects. Without the likes of Ollie, Clayton, Mike, Adam (both), Steve, Dave, and Tom we would look like fools running around in dress up. Their craft makes the unreal real and creates the illusion that we are in the world of Dirk.

All of this of course needs someone to be the puppet master, someone to pull the strings and we had someone colourful and larger than life to corral us and keep us in line. It’s not always been plain sailing, rehearsals with lots of sickness, line learning not where it should be, SFX taking a little, ahem, longer than hoped – but in the end almost 1,000 people will have left the theatre with a smile on their faces and mild feeling of confusion as they work out what they’ve just seen…

Lorraine, it’s time to get the sofa off the stairs and sit down and have a cuppa. Phew!

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #13

Here we go: Dirk is about to take to the stage

Cast rehearsals have ended and the theatre and audiences await… production manager and cast member Kevin Bowers reports from the final Dirk Gently rehearsal

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The get-in and technical rehearsal are almost upon us, and we’re gathered at the Annexe – very close to NST Campus – for our last run-through before we enter the Nuffield theatre proper. We are live, onstage, and ready to rock from next Tuesday 30th January! And you only have until Saturday 3rd to catch all the fun, craziness, colour and comedy of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. You can book here.

The Annexe is a great space to work in, with a wonderful lecture theatre giving the cast a real sense of the space they will need to fill once they get onto the NST Campus stage. Voices will be raised, gestures slightly exaggerated and sight lines worked out.

So, as exam time at the University of Southampton draws to a close (and the students head to the bar) the cast and crew of Dirk Gently still face their greatest test: we are about to see just how well the months of preparation have been used.

Do we know all the lines and our moves?
Are we ready for our cues?
Is the stage crew ready to set the scenes?

Our audiences are in for a treat, that’s for sure. Yes of course, it’s a nerve-wracking time for our director Lorraine – but one in which she also sees the fruits of her labours. Everybody involved in the production has put so much into it – and the excitement is really building.

Transporting scenery and props has been planned like a military operation; everyone knows where and when to be. It’s going to be a mammoth logistical task, for sure, but one we’re ready for. We’ve also got a couple of days of promotional walkabouts at the University, with cast and other SUP members – some in full Alien costume – accosting students and staff near the Students’ Union building, handing out leaflets, promoting the Save The Rhino International charity, and trying to tempt students one last time with a special ticket offer.

It’s been great fun getting Douglas Adams’ weird and wonderful characters from the page to the stage, and the whole team now is missing only one element, but it’s the most important one: the audience. When all the elements are mixed together, we can’t wait to experience the reaction…  we’ll see you next week!

 

 

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #7

“Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up”

Lights! Camera! Hot water bottle! Featured cast member Jane Beasley shares her experiences of a rather chilly night shoot, filming special inserts for SUP Theatre Company’s new production of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

JaneB

No Way! She died with her boots on… guest blogger Jane Beasley rehearsing for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Have you ever wondered what a ‘best boy’ and a ‘grip’ do, in the credits for a film? I have – and following my recent experiences in front of the camera for SUP’s new show, I now know the answers.

Friday was the first of two filming sessions for my character in Dirk Gently... This excited me much (as does the fact that for this production, I have a body double, which felt really grand, but that’s a story for another blog).

I turned up in costume at the appointed hour and was warmly welcomed by Chris, who was doing technical things with lights on his driveway around a beautiful old car. What followed was a few hours of my sitting in the car saying my lines, whilst around me the car shook with the vibrations of “the road” – and brooms, twigs and a tennis racket all used to create effects ranging from shadows and rain to passing cars. A little bit of movie magic explained.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that it was the coldest night of the year to date. Within a short while, the cold started to get to me, which meant the perfectionists I was with (our cameraman and the show’s director, Lorraine) both want to reshoot in the New Year to get the best possible footage for what’s going to be a very exciting production.

What struck me most was the warm welcome from Chris and his family into their warm and welcoming kitchen for mugs of hot tea and mince pies. And, when I got home, I was greeted by Mr B. clutching a cuppa and a hot water bottle for me, which he instructed me to take straight to the already lit fire. Hollywood A-listers can keep their champagne and ‘blue only’ smarties – I’ll take the warmth of those cuppas, thanks!

Jane is appearing in Dirk Gently’s… as Jordan Way – onstage at NST Campus (Southampton University) from Tue 30th Jan to Sat 3rd Feb 2018. You can book tickets here

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #6

MWWMichael Wenton-Weakes writes:

My magazine is being ruined!

First, it’s stolen from me by my own mother – now it’s moving in a direction it should never be going.

My magazine was MINE! It let me speak to people, people who, like me were sick of the way modern life is heading.

They tell me it’s now (ahem) profitable! And not only that, it’s got a high circulation figure.

They don’t get it! IT WAS MINE!

That’s what it was, that’s what I’ve lost. I’m in despair.

Albert Ross, Albert Ross, what can I do?
I wonder where you’ve got to?
I don’t know what I’ll do?
Will you be at the wedding?
Will you be standing to sing?
When we next meet up, usurper,
Which of us will end as king?
Shh! I hear a voice…


Excerpt from Dirk Gently’s notebook
Michael Wenton-Weakes is, unfortunately, the spoiled son of rich parents.
I gather he was known as ‘Michael Wednesday-Week’ – the date when he would promise to have things completed by, including future issues of his rather badly-run magazine Fathom. Not surprisingly, his mother later sold Fathom to Jordan Way, a loss that still bothers MWW greatly. Note to self: it seems that entrepreneur Jordan Way may also be pressuring Richard MacDuff to complete his behind-schedule software project??

Excerpt from Dirk Gently’s notebook
Rather interestingly, I have come across these strange social media posts from Sarah Androyd, Marvin Androyd’s young daughter. I’m sure I’ll work out what it all means… eventually. ‘Omg’ indeed.
 
Omg I’m so excited about going to my first adult party all the wine, the celebration, I even have a new dress and new shoes…

😡😡😡😡 so boring all I heard was nerdy stuff this and nerdy stuff that. The only fun part was when I got to kick somebody in the shins and see a magic trick. Dad told me off loads, so I sat on the floor and sulked.
If that’s an adult party you can poke it up your b…. Oh no, Dad’s back!

 

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #3

This week: the interconnectedness of all things

Holism – from the Greek holos, “all, whole, entire”, is the idea that systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not just as a collection of parts

Everything is linked.

Dirk Gently describes himself as a holistic detective: that is, he aims to solve the whole crime and find the whole person (although it has to be said, his typical caseload does seem to mainly comprise of “messy divorces and missing cats”). It’s also interesting that his particular holistic approach involves running up extremely large expense accounts and then claiming that every item – visiting a tropical beach in the Bahamas for a few weeks, for instance – is a crucial part of his investigation.

connected

As Dirk himself explains, “Holistic refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we, with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world, might naturally suppose.”

Clear? All will be (or won’t be) revealed on the Nuffield stage from 30th January to 3rd February 2018!

We’re delighted that tickets are selling pretty well already: to secure the seats that you want, you’re advised to book now using this link. And don’t forget to tell your friends, families, aliens and ghosts about the show!

We’ll finish with a Dirk fact, which may or may not be relevant to our story: did you know that ‘Dirk Gently’ is a pseudonym? The character’s birth name is actually Svlad Cjelli.

Next time: rehearsals update, including some strange images of The Birdie Song