Creating a Christmas show about Christmas is hard. Like, really hard. What hasn’t been said already a thousand times? What angle has not already been taken by a hundred films/songs/plays/stand up routines?
And so when we were asked to create a brand new show for the 3 week end-of-year slot at the fabulous The Other Room theatre in Cardiff, why on earth did we decide to theme it around Christmas?? Idiots…
Well yes, that’s precisely it – we are professional silly idiots. But silliness is what we excel in.
We decided to broach the festive theme precisely because it has been discussed so much, and as a company, we love to find to find new and unconventional ways of looking at something that everyone takes for granted. Whether that’s creating a brand new world in a well-trodden part of a festival ground, or finding the weirdness and magic in everyday objects by telling fantastical stories about how they were found, or investigating the strange phenomenon of being a “Girl”, we love to find new and, yes, silly ways of looking at the world around us. To find the hidden joy in the most unexpected of places.
The ideal vehicles to take on such a challenge are our flagship characters, Flossy and Boo. These two began in our very first outing as a company, an interactive show for families called Flossy and Boo’s Curiosity Shop (you can ask us another time for the full, very long, title!). We found quickly that people really bought into these characters and, more importantly, that we could get away with a lot more as Flossy and Boo than we ever could as Anja and Laura. This got our brains whirring and so, having toured our original family show both indoors and outdoors, nationally and internationally, we decided to plonk these characters in a very adult world to see what they made of it. It was very freeing to find wide eyed ways of looking at our own world (and oh, how much material there is for comedy at the moment!) and asking the questions that people want to ask, but are too worried about looking (here it comes again) silly.
And so Flossy and Boo are investigating what “A Christmas” is, and we are having so much fun looking into the weird and wonderful things that people do because – well because of what? Its been fascinating to look at the variety of things that happen simply because ‘that’s what we do at this time of year’.
We have been busy little elves writing songs, routines and even some games to bring something a little different to the Christmas theatre market. Of course, if you want to see something family friendly, there are productions abound! But we want to provide a show for those looking for something a little more anarchic and – well ‘grown up’ isn’t quite the right word, but certainly something that you don’t want to bring the little ones to!
We love to devise, and in the three years that we have been working together, we have found some really interesting ways to create new pieces. Finding brand new worlds and characters simply from objects we find on street corners, or weird voices that we have come up with at 3am on tour may not be the norm when it comes to creating theatre, but hey – each to their own!
We always create original songs and music for our work (with me, Laura, being the Tim Rice to Anja’s Andrew Lloyd Webber), and love the joy and danger of live interaction with our audiences. We like to pass over a certain amount of control to the audience because, what’s the worst that can happen?? (We’ll tell you the ‘chicken story’ over a pint later…) And in fact, with Flossy and Boo, we put the order of the show completely in the hands of our lovely audience. We are both guilty of getting itchy feet, as you can see from the range of work in our back catalogue – we just can’t sit still! And who would want to do the same show night after night? (Ahem, sensible normal people girls…)
So bring on the silliness and let’s see what happens!
Flossy and Boo: The Alternativity will be on at The Other Room in Cardiff 5-23 Dec. For more information and to book tickets visit www.otherroomtheatre.com