News, happenings and goings on from the Old Fire Station, Oxford
Sparky Buddy Productions bring two plays to the Old Fire Station on 22 & 23 September: It’s Crumpled, Needs Ironing/Presto And Clown. Rehearsals are underway, and we caught up with director David Pustansky to find out some more:
These sounds like two very different plays – why have you chosen to link them in this way?
Caroline’s writing has a natural ebb and flow between comedy and tradegy, and both plays continually bounce between laughter and sadness with it’s characters. It’s Crumpled, Needs Ironing has a mother and new born child who struggle to get along, whilst Presto and Clown explore the internal struggle we all have with self confidence. The great opportunity for me is that the two plays show people trying to cope with every day life at two very different stages of life – childhood and adulthood. Connecting the two has been great as I think everyone can relate to sometimes behaving childlike as an adult, or have memories of when we had to grow up fast as a child.
Tell us about Sparky Buddy Productions.
Sparky Buddy Productions is a multi platform production company. To explain that, we primarily focus on film and theatre production, but have started to dabble in audio, animation, computer software, and comic book projects. This may seem like I’m saying we do everything, but all of them are very connected in that it’s all story telling and entertainment based. Our roots go back as far as 2010, but Sparky Buddy as it is today really came into being in 2014.
It’s an usual name – where does it come from?
As I just mentioned our roots go back to 2010, when the company was called ‘The Improdigies Theatre Company’ At the time it seemed cool to do a play on words with ‘impro’ and ‘prodigies’, but as time went on I realised that few people could tell how to spell it, even fewer knew how to pronounce it and most importantly we started moving away from purely improvised projects or just theatre.
Sparky Buddy as a phrase means ‘lively and high spirited friend’ which I felt summed up the company well, but the full reality is I once had a Budgie called Sparky and have a dog called Buddy.
Tell us a little about your actors.
The cast for this double bill of plays is really exciting for me to work with. It mixes a couple of actors I know and have worked with before with some new faces for me, all of whom gave brilliant auditions. I’m really excited to see their creativity on stage.
How have rehearsals been going?
The rehearsals have been going really well. What’s excited me is that all the actors have found so many little moments that put new spins on the themes we’re exploring.The plays give so much opportunity for creativity and we’re really being inventive with the characters, the comedy, even the set, which seems so simple at first has a lot of creativity in how it’s used across the two plays.
The plays touch on delicate issues such as depression. Has it been tricky to make comedies about this kind of subject matter?
I wouldn’t say it’s been tricky, but rather that we have to continually check in that the comedy is there to highlight and draw greater contrast to the more serious notes. Comedy and tragedy are very closely connected, and comedy is a great tool to be able to touch on delicate subject matter and engage with an audience. Watching depression can be distressing and draining for the audience, and with that you risk putting people off engaging it as a topic. After all, it’s unfortunately the case that many people avoid the issue or suffer in silence. Using comedy allows us to explore it and hopefully get a wider audience talking about and being aware of the issue.
Double-bill of plays It’s Crumpled, Needs Ironing/Presto And Clown is at the Old Fire Station Thursday 22 and Friday 23 September, 7.30pm. Click here to book, or ring 01865 263990.