Captain Amazing From the Rehearsal Room

The Astonishing Adventures of Captain Amazing continued…

This month marks the return of Alistair McDowall’s Captain Amazing, a delightfully entertaining and incredibly funny one man show that tells the tale of Britain’s one and only part-time superhero. Performed by the marvelous Mark Weinman and directed by the equally fantastic Clive Judd, this charming piece of theatre – which had a sell-out run at 2013’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – blurs the lines between the imaginary and reality, exploring how every parent longs to be a superhero in the eyes of their children.

Despite arriving at Live Theatre to sit in on a Captain Amazing rehearsal drenched from head to toe and feeling a little bit sorry for myself I’ll admit, I knew that it was nothing a quick trip to the hand dryer and an afternoon of theatre couldn’t fix!

If you managed to catch a sneak peak of Captain Amazing last year at the Fringe I think you’ll understand why…am I right?

Greeted with warm birthday wishes and expressions of disbelief, provoked by my absolute enthusiasm about sitting in on their rehearsal, I quickly reassured the lovely Mark and Clive that I was in fact feeling fine, frivolous even. I was more than happy to be offered the chance to get a sneak preview of this fabulous show in the reworking process, announcing just how much I’m in love with the world of theatre! Including Live Theatre itself, I mean even on my birthday I just couldn’t seem to keep away!

The minimalist setting of Live Theatre’s gallery for the rehearsal with just a few stage blocks transformed immediately into a little girls bedroom for a bed time story and then became a platform for Captain Amazing to fly through the air alongside Superman. For the duration of the rehearsal I was completely captivated by Mark’s performance and the ways in which he could transform into each different character so believably.

Upon my arrival at the rehearsal room director Clive Judd explained that they were approaching the rehearsal by going through the piece scene by scene then collaborating with Mark.  After each scene they examined the exposition of the scene, inciting questions of character intention each taking turns to jot down points for their reference post rehearsal, before going back to the scene and re-enacting it.

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Part way through the rehearsal we took a short break to talk about the piece – at which point I grasped the opportunity to ask them both about how they thought the piece has developed since its first run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Both Mark and Clive pointed out how much more they’ve discovered about the characters in the piece this time round. Mark pointed out how he discovered a lot more about characters relationships and how much easier he found finding a voice for each of them.

Although Captain Amazing himself might be something short of a super power or two…so to speak…Mark did a fantastic job of acting out the ‘Superman’ scene. At this point in the play the audience discovers that Captain Amazing recognises his failure as a super hero in his imagination and his own reality including his role as a father to his daughter Emily. I’d even go as far as saying that Mark’s performance made me feel rather emotional – very strange given that I was giggling away not two minutes before!

…That’s exactly what I love about this charming one man show, its ability to stir each emotion…a true testament to a perfect trio of acting, writing and directing.

As the rehearsal drew to a close I realised how quickly the past hour had flown by and immediately regretted my complete and utter mind block when Clive asked me whether I had any more questions for either of them – what a numpty!

As you’d expect a million and one questions sprang to mind as soon as I left the rehearsal… Thankfully though you can join the creative team for a post-show discussion on Tuesday 13th May which I would definitely recommend that you attend! Plus there’s a video interview with Clive and Mark which you can watch here:

…So, you’re booking your tickets online right now? Super!

Nina Berry
@NinaJayneBerry

Following its success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 Captain Amazing takes to the road in 2014 as Britain’s only part-time superhero travels the country sharing tales of family life, defeating super villains and rescuing families from burning buildings with audiences.

Tour dates:

Traverse Theatre: Thursday 3 to Saturday 5 April
www.traverse.co.uk
(0131) 228 1404

Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford: Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 April
www.oxfordplayhouse.com
(01865) 305 305

Hull Truck Theatre: Thursday 10 & Friday 11 April
www.hulltruck.co.uk
(01482) 323 638

HighTide Festival Theatre: Sunday 13 April
www.hightide.org.uk
(01603) 598 606

Soho Theatre: Wednesday 16 April to Sunday 4 May
www.sohotheatre.com
(020) 7478 0100

Live Theatre: Wednesday 7 to Saturday 17 May
www.live.org.uk
(0191) 232 1232

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