Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #10

SUP: The Next Generation – and meet the show’s strange policeman, Perkins


Dirk Gently’s Production Manager Kevin Bowers writes…

2018 had barely started and five intrepid explorers made their way to deepest darkest Botley. Their mission: to see if excellence could be improved.

The three youngest performers appearing in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Lou, Darcy and Beth – joined director Lorraine Biddlecombe and myself, a heavily over-burdened production manager and cast member, to rehearse the Don’s dinner scene: away from  distractions and with the luxury of a couple of concentrated hours to focus on their performances.

Chairs stood in for other cast members, and our youthful cast took turns to read-in as Reg and Richard – without the accents – with myself reading for everybody else. By the end of the session, each of the young actresses had run the scene three times. Great stuff. They listened to direction, the bruises on my leg showed clear improvements in their kicking skills, and their abilities with a yo-yo came on in leaps and bounds. It’s going to be a great scene. Three actresses giving three unique interpretations of the same role, all telling the same story. SUP Theatre Company clearly has a talented future.


The very handsome Chris Aland is playing Dirk Gently’s ‘ugly’ copper

The last time I was involved with a police uniform was during the pleasurable experience of directing It’s A Bobby’s Job for SUP at the Totton Drama Festival two years ago, with a cast that included SUP’s current co-chairs Stephen and Alison. 

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Ready to inspect: Chris Aland as Perkins

Two years on, and I find myself donning the very same costume (Stephen’s not Ali’s) to play Perkins: an ugly (as described in the text), daft and slightly disturbing copper who spends his time being clipped around the ear and getting very excited at the prospect of taking a chainsaw to a sofa jammed in a stairwell, but largely fiddling with a dead body.

I have enjoyed taking part in a smaller role for this production especially as the part has few words to learn but still gives me the opportunity for comedic interactions with fellow cast member Sophia (she is the body under the blanket), while I am also doubling up as a Groom at a wedding, a university Don, and taking part in a ‘delightful’ song and dance routine – which for pleasure I can say is only seconded by intrusive dental surgery.

The rehearsal process has been interesting with a variety of new faces joining SUP, which always makes it more fun. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together – and I’m sure it’s going to be a fun final month.

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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

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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!