Big Squirrel Productions
My most frequently asked question is 'why are we called Big Squirrel Productions?'. The answer is boringly simple - I like the word squirrel. I assume all writers have their favourite words. Mine are about sound not meaning, with squirrel top of the list (particularly the way Americans pronounce it) closely followed by hoof and pixelated. If I had thrown caution to the wind it would have been the Pixelated Hoofing Squirrels Production Company but I realise that would have just been plain stupid so I settled on Big Squirrel Productions.
Big Squirrel Productions was formed in 2010 because, after writing plays for twenty five years, I felt it was time I moved on from predominately real time one act plays to something more shifting and 'fringey' with the odd fantasy scene thrown in for good measure. I wanted to explore personal themes, rather than plots, with the opportunity to go depeer into characterisations at one end and have moments of extreme silliness at the other.
Man's Uncertainty Theory
A MIDDLE AGED MAN'S UNCERTAINTY THEORY explored in a surreal, cynical, witty and thought-provoking way the uncertainties of life. It featured evangelical line dancing lawyers, a sex obsessed therapist, a squirrel loving gardener, an untalented show contestant, a condescending doctor, a laid back vicar, a disinterested shop assistant and an ever increasing bizarre bunch of taxi passengers to illustrate the point.
The premise is we are all brought up to believe we live in a life full of certainties. Good will always triumph over evil. You can achieve anything you want. One day you will find a partner for life. All designed to shape the life we are expected to lead. To make us feel safe but also threatened if we veer from the path of righteousness. However as we get older these certainties start to crumble when we gradually realise nobody can achieve everything they want, partnerships are not always limited companies and if God exists he is inclined to turn the occasional blind eye.
It was first performed at the ADC Theatre on Wednesday July 27th 2011 and subsequently at the Etcetera Theatre for the 2011 Camden Fringe. In 2012 it was performed at the Drama Studio, Cambridge, Fisher Theatre, Bungay and from August 19th-27th at the ETC for the Edinburgh Fringe.
THE ORIGINAL CAST
TIM BODEN - The Man
SEAN ABBS - The Son
KATTREYA SCHEURER-SMITH - The Daughter
Directed by - Stephen Scheurer-Smith
Technical Design - Mark Easterfield
Technical Operators - Gregory Jordan and Liam Baker.
BROADWAY BABY REVIEW
Mid-Life Crisis Broadway Baby Rating: We gave this show 4 stars.
"We've all seen or heard about that infamous point in a man's life where he starts to feel out of sync with the world - it usually results in a fancy new car or ridiculous hobby. It's the Middle-Aged Crisis, and the inspiration for Big Squirrel Productions' alternative musical. In a sweet take on what it is to be a middle-aged man, we follow lovable Dad as he was forced to face up to his uncertainties in life with the departure of his children to university. Having lost his wife some years before, the prospect of life on his own brought to the surface all those problems he has with the modern world such as colour TV and Facebook, as he can't help but reminisce on the past when everything seemed so much simpler. Narrated through run-ins with Psychiatrists, Doctors and Priests by his New-Yorker Alter Ego, it wasn't pills, probes or prayers that were needed most, but a sense of certainty which could root him in this ever changing world. Showing how out of hand everything has got nowadays, with God about to be sued over climate change, we face up to things alongside Dad with the help of some funny musical numbers and fast costume changes. The small cast performed their various roles with enthusiasm and energy and thrilled us with shining moments of comedy which threatened to make even them laugh. Cleverly arranged, the sharp script played on some brilliant interpretations of lawyers and naturists who hijacked the show. With great performances from all the cast, particularly Sean Abbs who secured most of the laughs, the poignancy of a man feeling at a loss with his life took centre stage against all the backdrop of comedy as you realised that there was more truth behind all of this than you could have imagined. Vocally strong, the cast delivered a practised show which on the whole was great fun to watch. An alternative subject, it combined great comedy, nostalgia and sadness into a well balanced mix as we finally realised that it's the uncertainties in life that make it worth living.
Reviewer: Tiffany Shepherd.
If you are interested in reading this play, please send an e-mail across on the 'Contact Me' page for more information. This piece is currently unpublished.