Drag

Ganed i'n byd CONNIE ORFF / Unto us a CONNIE ORFF is born

Llun/Image: Claire Ford Photography

Llun/Image: Claire Ford Photography

As a Lady very near and dear to my heart once said, “Hi, Cherubs…”

 

Firstly, sorry for being absent of late (you may not have noticed, so we shan’t dwell on’t)… We thought we’d give you a little update on where we’re at with our project, Tuck, but specifically so on a rather vital research element (for me, Alun).

I was initially inspired to write Tuck based on my own experiences of watching Drag Queens perform, from Cardiff’s own Miss Kitty, Pixie Perez, Marcia Bassey Jones and the late, great Lady Ding, to Drag Race favourites Katya, Jinkx Monsoon, Latrice Royale and MANY others.

I’m a fan of Drag, but the question remained, would I be informed enough to write an actual play about it? People often advise Writers to “write what you know” - it's valid and valuable advice, and means that your play is informed, that you’re not approximating other people’s genuine experiences, potentially presenting broad brushstrokes and missing the intricate details. Writing what you know means really ‘getting it’ and presenting a stronger authenticity. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, obviously, but it’s about thorough research.

Would it be enough, therefore, to watch videos and read about Drag? Probably not.

Read on… It’s about to get dangerous.

 

I’d read somewhere about a Drag ‘course’ based in London, and did a little more research. I found that the third ‘round’ of The Art of Drag would be starting up in September, led by a performer called Michael Twaits. I did my research on Michael and found that he’s been working on the Drag and Cabaret circuit in London for some years, and regularly comperes at Pride in London… On the main stage in Trafalgar Square. That’s a pretty safe bet.

I signed up, paid my money, booked Cardiff-London-Cardiff buses, begged understanding and patience from my damn cool husband (husband-slash-co-parent), and lo, for some months now I have been getting to London, attending class, doing homework and preparing my 7-10-minute act for our showcase on November 29th.

My 10 weeks spent in a mixed-gender group of twelve was gloriously helpful and an education. Michael Twaits proved to be the most positive, open, helpful mentor, bringing in guest speakers with a rainbow of experience in Drag, from comedy queens like Myra Dubois and Cosmic, to Drag King Adam All, to performance artist, Pi the Mime.

I fulfilled an ambition - one which excited and terrified me in equal measure. I thought I might do The Art of Drag in order to learn, but perhaps not do the showcase. After our first class I already knew that there was no way I could miss the showcase… Even with tickets already booked to see Steps live that night!!

Our showcase night was a joyful evening of entertainment by the Drag world’s newest ‘recruits’… Including a one-Ming(-the-Merciless)-ABBA-tribute; a Russian Trump-loving harlet and a Ke$ha-esque icon-in-mourning. It was awesome, and an inspiring springboard for my act, Connie Orff. There are some CRACKING pics from the night here...

 

Connie Orff has been birthed, and I don’t think she’s going back in the closet anytime soon… Watch out, Cardiff... Soon!

You can follow Connie Orff on:
Twitter: @connie_orff
Instagram: @connieorff

If you're interested in Michael Twaits' The Art of Drag course then you can find more info here.

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Shwmai bawb!

 

Ga’i ymddiheuro am fod mor absennol yn ddiweddar… O’n ar fîn defnyddio’r un hen esgus a glywn yn ddyddiol - ‘pethau’n brysur’ - ond y’n ni gyd yn brysur, ife? Dyma jyst diweddariad sydyn ar lle y’n ni arni gyda’n prosiect ni, Tuck, ac yn arbennig felly ar un elfen ymchwil eitha hanfodol…!

Ces i’n ysbrydoli i ddechre creu Tuck o ‘mhrofiad o wylio Drag Queens - a pidwch cael fi’n rong… Sai’n credu bo ‘Brenhinesau Drag’ â cweit yn un ‘ring’… Na DragFrenhinesau. Wy’ ‘di wotsho lot o Cwîns gore Caerdydd - Marcia Bassey Jones, Miss Kitty, Pixie Perez, y diweddar Lady Ding - a rhai ‘llai llwydiannus’ lleol hefyd (na’i ddim enwi!), ond hefyd Cwîns profiadol Rupaul’s Drag Race - Detox, Tatianna a Bianca Del Rio.

Dwi’n ffan GO FAWR o Drag, ond y cwestiwn oedd, a faswn i’n deall Drag, yn medru treiddio i’r byd ddigon i sgwennu drama amdani? Y cyngor cyson ma’ sgwennwyr yn ‘i dderbyn yw “write what you know” - cyngor da - ma’ hynny’n golygu y bydd yr awdur yn hynod o gyfarwydd â’r deunydd a’r pwnc; mae’n golygu nad y’ch chi’n sgwennu amcan o brofiadau go iawn pobol eraill (pobol fydd, o bosib yn gweld y gwaith). Dychmygwch gweld darn o theatr yng Nghymru am y profiad o fod yn Gymry, sydd wedi’i sgwennu gan rywun sydd erioed wedi byw neu ymweld â Chymru. Mae’n ddigon posib y gall y fath waith dramgwyddo, heb sôn am fod yn anneglur. Mae sgwennu am yr hyn sy’n gyfarwydd i chi yn golygu deall y pwnc a’r deunydd neu’r cymeriadau a chyflwyno, felly, dilysrwydd. Nid dyma’r reol hard and fast wrth gwrs - mae ‘na ddigon o eithriadau ond mae ymchwil yn hanfodol.

A fase’n ddigon, felly, i ddarllen erthyglau, i wylio perfformiadau a fideos am Drag?

Daeth newid.

 

O’n i wedi darllen rhywle - yr hen Weplyfr - am ‘gwrs’ Drag yn Llundain, ac wedi ychydig ragor o ymchwil fe ddes i ar draws manylion The Art of Drag fase’n dechrau (eto) ym mis Medi, o dan aden perfformiwr o’r enw Michael Twaits. Do’n i ddim eisiau gwastraffu amser ac arian, felly nes i chydig o ymchwil ar Michael a gweld ei fod yn berfformiwr hynod o brofiadol a brilliant oedd wedi bod yn perfformio ar y circuit Cabaret ers rhai blynyddoedd ac hefyd yn cyflwyno ar brif lwyfan Pride in London yn Trafalgar Square. Hyderys oeddwn!

Dales i’n arian, bwco ambell i National Express Caerdydd-Llundain-Caerdydd, gofyn yn garedig am ddealltwriaeth gyda ngwr (a chyd-riant wrth gwrs), cyn commiwtio i Lundain am ddeg wythnos wrth baratoi act 7-10-minute ar gyfer y showcase ar Dachwedd 29ain.

Roedd treulio 10 wythnos mewn grwp hollol gymysg o ran oedran, rhyw, rhywioldeb a diddordebau yn amazing o addysgiadol. Ges i gyflawni uchelgais - un hollol gyffrous a terrifying. Dyw ‘brawychus’ ddim wir yn cyfleu ‘terrifying’ yn yr un ffordd. O’n i wedi meddwl gwneud y cwrs a dysgu popeth allwn i, ond efallai osgoi gwneud y showcase - efallai y basai dysgu’r wybodaeth yn ddigon OND… Wedi’r dosbarth gynta, o’n i’n gwbod fod angen i fi wneud y perfformiad - oedd hi’n rywbeth roedd angen i fi ‘neud!!

Noson fendigeidfran oedd noson y showcase, yn dangos talentau recriwtiaid newydda’ byd Drag… Gan gynnwys Mamgu oedd yn poeni’n arw am fywyd carwraethol ei wyr; iarlles OTT oedd wedi cyrraedd ar y bws, ac act o’r enw Fruit, a lwyddodd i gymysgu pina colada yn y modd mwya’ eye-opening mae fy Mam erioed wedi gweld yn ei byw. WAW. O ie, heb anghofio ‘chydig o stand-yp gan y Gymraes, Connie Orff. Mae 'na write-up gan Boyz Magazine a chwpwl o lunie grêt yma...

 

Mae Connie Orff - fy alter-ego - wedi’i geni, a dwi ddim yn meddwl ei bod hi am ddiflannu’n fuan iawn…

Dilynwch Connie Orff ar:
Twitter: @connie_orff
Instagram: @connieorff

Os oes gen ti ddiddordeb yng ngwrs The Art of Drag gyda Michael Twaits yna mae 'na fwy o wybodaeth yma.

We're back... Y'n ni nôl... CASTING!

YO!

We're sooo sorry that we've been rather absent from our Neontopia blog - both Mared and Alun have been hibernating in the recovery position since A GOOD CLEAN HEART's tour ended in October (lies - we've been spending some much-needed family time and working on S4C's Gwaith Cartref - more news to follow) BUT...

We've also been applying to the Arts Council of Wales for some funding which will allow us to research and develop an exciting new bilingual play to be written by Alun and directed by Mared... And we're really, REALLY excited to announce that we've been successful! Our enormous thanks to the lovely people at ACW and also to Wales Millennium Centre and Sherman Theatre (as well as some other awesome creatives!) for supporting our application.

TUCK will explore the world of Drag - the Drag scene in Cardiff, around the UK and beyond - as well as exploring mental health in an innovative and up-front fashion, and we're now looking for a small band of generous performers of any gender identity and ethnicity who are excited about co-creating, and are interested in the art of Drag and LGBTQI+ stories to help us create a dynamic, multilingual piece.

For the purposes of this development period we're particularly interested in performers who are either:
- fluent in more than one language (Cymraeg or any other language) 
- a proficient singer
- a proficient dancer or mover
- able to play a musical instrument to a high level

Any OR ALL (!) of the above skills would be incredibly exciting - come and play!

DATES:
EITHER
May 15-19, 2017
OR
May 22-26, 2017 (TBC, depending on availability)

LOCATION:
Cardiff

FEE:
Equity rate for workshop/rehearsals only - no travel/accommodation expenses paid

Please send a covering email along with Spotlight link or CV to Alun & Mared:
neontopiatheatre@gmail.com

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YO! (ody 'YO' yn gweithio yn Gymraeg??)

Y'n ni'n ymddiheuro'n daer fod ein blog wedi bod mor dawel dros y misoedd dwetha - mae'r ddau ohonon ni wedi bod mewn trwmgwsg dedwydd ers diwedd taith A GOOD CLEAN HEART ym mis Hydref (celwydd noeth yw hyn - y'n ni wedi bod yn treulio bach o amser gyda'n teuluoedd ac yn gweithio ar gyfres S4C Gwaith Cartref!) OND...

Ry'n ni hefyd wedi gwneud cais i Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru am arian fasai'n ein caniatau i ymchwilio a datblygu prosiect y'n ni wedi gwneud dechreuad arni - drama lwyfan ddwyieithog newydd gan Alun gaiff ei chyfarwyddo gan Mared... Ac y'n ni'n hollol, hollol gyffrous i gyhoeddi'n bod wedi bod yn llwyddiannus! Diolchiadau anferthol i (G- treiglad) CCC ac hefyd i Ganolfan Mileniwm Cymru a Theatr y Sherman (ynghyd a nifer o unigolion briliant piliant) am gefnogi'n cais ni.

Mi fydd TUCK yn archwilio byd Drag - sîn Drag Caerdydd, ar draws y DU ac oddi allan - ynghyd â darganfod ffyrdd arloesol ac onest i drafod iechyd meddwl, ac ry'n ni nawr yn chwilio am nifer o berfformwyr hael o unryw hunaniaeth rywiol, unryw hunaniaeth cenedlaethol, ac o unryw dras ethnig, fasai'n gyffrous am gyd-greu gwaith newydd, ac sydd â diddordeb mewn Drag a straeon LGBTQI+. 

Ar gyfer y cyfnod datblygu hwn mae gyda ni ddiddordeb arbennig mewn actorion a pherfformwyr sydd naill ai:
- yn siarad mwy nag un iaith yn rhugl (Cymraeg neu unryw iaith arall) 
- yn ganwr hyderus
- yn ddawnsiwr abl neu'n symudwr hyderus
- yn medru chwarae offeryn cerdd i lefel go uchel

Basai unryw un NEU BOB UN (!) o'r sgiliau uchod wir yn ddelfrydol i ni allu creu rhywbeth cyffrous - dewch i chwarae!

DYDDIADAU:
NAILL AI
Mai 15-19, 2017
NEU
Mai 22-26, 2017
(TBC, yn ddibynnol ar argaeledd)

LLEOLIAD:
Caerdydd

FFI:
Gradd Equity am weithdy/ymarferion yn unig - ni thelir costau teithio/llety

Danfonwch ebost at Alun a Mared, ynghyd a linc Spotlight link a CV:
neontopiatheatre@gmail.com

DIOLCH!