Welsh

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.

FROM A CAST PERSPECTIVE / O SAFBWYNT ACTOR

OLIVER WELLINGTON plays 'JAY'

It was great to get started with a proper good warm up today. With the show we're already beginning to establish a physical language that in specific sections lends itself to the non-naturalistic - and as I'm not the world's most natural of 'movers' anything that helps me loosen up is always a plus. 

Straight from this we played around with abstract movement sequences that we'll come back to and use parts of throughout the play. Although it's difficult at first to let yourself go (and also remember what move you just did) I bloody loved doing this, and by the end Jess (our Movement Director) makes you feel like you came up with these nice, fluid moves yourself - I now feel like the God of movement. Also it kind of helps you find the character and gives James and I a chance to play around with how we interact. And it's fun.

Then we got cracking from where we left off last rehearsal. We split up the text into James' character's monologue (HEFIN) and mine (JAY) separately at first. Alun has written parts the script (before our two characters meet for the first time) as two overlapping monologues, so Mared wanted to really go into detail with each of them first before piecing them together. 

I wondered how we'd rehearse scenes like this, and I'm glad it was done this way because I wasn't listening out for the Welsh ha it gives us a chance to focus wholly on creating the two separate worlds we're in - which is also important from an audience point of view too. There's a lot to think about - the bi-lingual aspect and the two separate/contrasting worlds of HEFIN and JAY. But it feels like it's just coming together.

Another thing to think about - and get better at *worried face* - are the 'other characters' within the piece which James and I take on. Working out their physicality, voice, gestures - everything but also making the smooth, yet clear transition back into JAY is a tricky one. But I mean, so fun - when will I ever get the chance to play a sassy, 43 year old woman from South London?

*MARED AND ALUN BEGIN HATCHING NEXT PLAY*

After we filled ourselves up on pizza for lunch we got started on scene seven, which again is constructed as two overlapping/interlinking monologues and we approached them like we did the previous one. 

Jess has a really good way of mapping out movement for us within the scenes and again makes you feel like you've done it yourself so it feels natural for us to do. I like how there's a structure and style to how we move around the stage and weirdly find it kind of freeing. 

I'm also enjoying how James is finding ways to add in his Signature Turn into each scene. Really great work haha. And this is the scene where the brothers meet in real life for the first time and as soon as we've got the lines down and I can understand (and perhaps even speak Welsh so fluently so I can tell when James has finished his line) it'll be a cracking scene to play. The awkward first meet of the brothers - it's gonna be a good'n!

The final scene of the day was scene 8 and here it was really fun to play with the abstract moves again which we have added to the top of the scene. Setting up the relationship between Jay and Hefin - Jay as the protector and Hefin as the wide-eyed naïve little brother. In fear of repeating myself it just feels like we're working through all the really nitty gritty bits for this week and really trying to nail the beats and moves and intentions, but we're not ready to play with it anymore than that just yet as I'm bound by my script. 

Must. Learn. My. Lines. 

I think that's when we'll really start moving things on. But for a second day of rehearsal we're not doing bad. Oh, and everyone is really funny. Top marks for rehearsal room banter. What more can you wish wish for from a day's work?

Oliver

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JAMES IFAN plays 'HEFIN'

Diwrnod 2 in the big brother house. 

Diwrnod arbennig llawn egni. Dechreuon ni gyda warm up gan yr hyfryd Jess (sa'i di neud unrhyw ymarfer corff ers sbel so allech chi ddychmygu be o ni fel ar ol!) Ond oedd angen neud e! Nesaf aetho ni ymlaen i neud cwpwl o symudiadau dilyniannau er mwyn ffito mewn i'r sioe. Eto, nid exactly strong point fi yw symudiadau dilyniannau, ond wnes i a Oliver ffeindio lot o stwff diddorol a cael loads o hwyl yn neud e! Ni di ffeindio be yw signature move i yn y sioe sef.....Y SPIN! Love a good spin (Gewch chi weld pan ddewch i weld y sioe).

So ar ol sefydlu y signature move, aetho ni ymlaen i Golygfa 4. Penderfynodd Mared i neud yr olygfa fel dwy monolog yn gyntaf yn lle criss-crosso nhw fel yn y script, fel bod na mwy o syniad 'da ni o beth yw taith y cymeriad yn yr olygfa. Wnaeth hyn helpu loooooaaaddds i weld y byd lle ma'r cymeriad yn byw heb poeni am edrych mas am cues gan Oliver. Wnaeth hi neud yr un peth 'da Oliver wedyn, sef rhoi nhw at ei gilydd a wedyn HWRE we had a scene! 

Ymlaen at golygfa 5, bach o brêc i fi gan fod gan Oliver monolog enfawr cyn i mi ddod mewn reit ar y diwedd.

Bach o hwyl yng Ngolygfa 6 achos dyma'r tro gyntaf ma Jay a Hefin yn siarad (with a twist!). Nol a mlaen, short and sweet, cyffrous a nerfus a llwyth o emosiynau eraill.

Amser cinio! Pizza Pronto oedd y lle i fod heddi. Oedd Magic Wraps yn good, ond weithie ti just angen pizza, know what I mean? Ac wrth gwrs doritos, fruit pastels, mini doughnuts, krispy kremes nutella doughnut a afal o tesco.....dwi'n caru bwyd! Heb hyd yn oed son am y FREE PIZZA gafon ni gan y chef. Amser cinio llwyddianus dwi'n meddwl!

*NOTE FROM THE PRODUCER - SUGGEST HEALTHIER SNACK OPTIONS*

Ymlaen at y gwaith. Golygfa 7 - wnaethon ni neud yr un peth â Golygfa 4, splito nhw lan fel monologs gyntaf cyn rhoi nhw at ei gilydd. Llawer o gyffro gan y ddau gymeriad i weld ei gilydd. Let's just say dyw'r cyfarfod cyntaf ddim cweit be oedd Hefin yn disgwyl. Eto oedd 'na llawer o arbrofi gyda help Mared a Jess a llawer o chwerthin gan fi a Oliver, mainly achos o ni wastad yn anghofio llinellau ni! 

Loads o amser i gael nhw'n berffaith, loads...

Golygfa 8, golygfa ola’r diwrnod. Ma Hefin ar fws eto. Cafon ni lot o hwyl 'da hwn. Symudiadau newydd i weithio ar gyda Jess - Hefin wastad yn edrych mas o'r ffenest ar olygfeydd Llundain, Jay yn trio stoppo fe edrych fel fool. Pawb yn hapus ac yn gyffrous, cyn i'r twist digwydd (wnai ddim sbwylo fe i chi).

Amser i fynd gartref. Lot o hwyl heddi a mae'r golygfeydd yn dod at ei gilydd. Ma'r ddou diwrnod cyntaf wedi bod yn wych. Da ni'n cael hwyl 'da pawb yn yr ystafell a ma 'na deimlad y gallen ni greu rhywbeth really arbennig dros y mis nesaf. Ma'n mynd i fod yn sioe wych, ond dal lot o waith i fynd tan y finished article. 

Ymlaen at fory!!!

James