Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #12

Lead on, MacDuff: Paul Jones has this week’s SUP blog

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Paul Jones (centre) in rehearsals, flanked by Dirk and Professor Chronotis

Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by the idea of acting on a stage but never plucked up the courage to act myself, due to being dyslexic. I would, however, always overdress for costumed parties – my personal favourite is my Adam Ant costume – or be up singing Karaoke.

It wasn’t until 2014 when the acting bug finally sank its teeth into me.

After a drunken night at Rockaoke (live band but you’re the singer – I sang “Tribute” by Tenacious D), I finally decided that the feeling of being up onstage is as exciting as it is terrifying. So naturally, I rushed out – once the hangover cleared – and found the nearest theatre group to me.

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“Not Paul Jones” – but his favourite dressing up character

I started at the sound desk at the Chameleon Theatre Company of Chandler’s Ford, pressing the all-important buttons during a pantomime version of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Shortly after that show, I was swiftly dragged away, thrown onto the stage, put under lights, given a script and took my place in the cast for “Fawlty Towers”.

Next, I was given the part of Johnathan Harker, in a chilling retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula which was a huge challenge for me, being onstage for the first 15 pages!

My approach to acting is very much a head on approach… But, even after preforming in a few plays and being nominated for a few awards in festival plays, I still get nervous about the first step onto the stage.

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Paul (far right) joins the SUP murder mystery team in 2017

I’ve recently found  joy in the chaotic world of unscripted shows: Murder Mysteries. I was never thrilled with the idea of murder mysteries (it’s normally the butler, after all) but I was given the opportunity to perform in one by SUP and I grasped it firmly – and it surprised me how much fun they actually are!

As a bit of a nerd, I was super excited to hear that SUP was auditioning for Dirk Gently by Douglas Adams.

I originally wanted to go for the title role of Dirk  himself but after the read through and auditions I’m glad that Paul Cresser was given the role – especially after I had seen the amount Dirk that has to say!

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Paul wrestles with his part – and Phil de Grouchy’s – during a tense rehearsal

In this telling of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency I am playing the role of Richard MacDuff.

The character has been a bit of a challenge for me, mainly talking about Schrodinger’s Cat and computer jargon – but I hope I can play the part well and keep everyone entertained!

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: Paul has recently been cast in a leading role in SUP’s new one-act play BULLY BEEF AND WHIZZBANGS, to be performed at this year’s Totton Drama Festival and beyond…
P.S. We know “Lead on, MacDuff” is a misquote of Shakespeare

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #11

Tempus Fugit: meet Reg

Our guest blogger and SUP veteran Philip de Grouchy plays the enigmatic Professor Chronotis in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Mad Professor? Phil as ‘Reg’ Chronotis

Despite knowing little about Galaxy Guiding and Star Trekking – I am more of the ‘Dick Barton’ generation (not that I listened to him much either, I preferred reading ‘Biggles’), I am greatly enjoying my role in ‘Dirk Gently’ as Professor ‘Reg’ Chronotis.

Apart from indulging in his hobbies – which include somewhat ham-fisted conjuring tricks, smoking, leeches (?), and time travelling by abacus, Reg has managed to live for at least 200 years undetected in his Cambridge college rooms, since being appointed to his Chair by mad King George III.

img_4525.jpg Much fun has been had at rehearsals trying to video the above-mentioned conjuring tricks, involving clay pots and disappearing silver salt cellars, so that when projected on screen, the projections will show marvellous close-ups and, hopefully, distract the audience’s attention from the actually execution of the tricks on stage… IMG_4533

Reg is a delightfully shambling, forgetful character, who is nevertheless able, by intense concentration on his abacus and mathematical calculations, to transport himself and others four billion years into the past: prehistoric Earth. And, thanks to Dirk Gently’s extraordinary feats of deduction, ultimately saves… spoilers!

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Taken with a pinch of salt?

I am personally pleased to be appearing on the Nuffield (NST Campus) stage this year, it being the 50th anniversary of my first treading those venerable boards.

Quite apart from my contribution to this show, we have a highly talented company portraying many dramatic activities in the various scenes in which I don’t take part, including hypnotism, ghostly possession and murder – to mention only a few!

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.

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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