Our last night following an intensive week’s work on the project.

The post-show discussion was lively and interesting – comments on the video projections, the jazz-formed writing, the three Chet Bakers as well as, of course, a lot of comments about Chet’s life.

The video clip is from the end of the show.

Our first performance followed by a ‘critical creative forum’ – a live discussion with the audience about their responses to the work.

Lots of interesting feedback – about the video projections, the integration of jazz and dramatic performance and the extension of the music to add a bass player.

The video clip is Andy and Glenn – the ‘Eleven O’Clock Number’ scene.

Technical rehearsal day but still time to work on some scenes.

We tried out developing the BakerLite scene (Let’s Get Lost) by playing the intro in a loop with a sequence of movements as Chet prepares both to sing and get shaved. It would be good to work on more sequences like this and finding more opportunities for the gestures to respond to the music and vice-versa.

A day of starting to put it all together. It’s interesting that as close as you get to running the whole thing, gaps seems to appear and you become all too aware of the lack of development time left!
Andrea’s responses to the Baker themes are great and we played around with different ways of embedding them within the work – a lot of on-the-fly editing going on.

Let’s hope there’s time to still play around and improvise some more before Friday!

Three major events today:

The Line For Lyons scene – we decided to move completely away from question and answer and just deal with responses, with both actors playing Baker and improvising off of each others’ answers. This worked so much better and gives a lot more to play with.

Secondly, in the Love & Loneliness scene – we merged all the dialogue into a montaged, condensed monologue by Chet’s alter ego. Again, much more powerful – and we decided with The Thrill Is Gone, less is more and we should work more with light and shadows rather than naturlistic drug taking.

We also started trying out the shaving sequence with Let’s Get Lost – something we adapted from a photograph of Chet shaving. Lots of potential here.

Monday, February 12th 2007

Today started with introductions, ripened with table-work and read-throughs, evolved with character analysis/background, and developed it’s productivity through the processes and initial groundwork of “free-based” improvisation.

Many conceptual issues were addressed aided by music and video to come to some sort of understanding of the path this project will be taking, as well as the many ways available to interpret the life of Chet Baker…when, as we found, he was even unable to do effectively when he was alive.

The latter part of the day was reserved for exercises on immediacy and lying; something subconsciously mastered by the man himself. A YouTube video link is included below for the curious observer:

Saturday 15th October, 2005
Nicholai La Barrie and Steven Beckenham.
Initial research meeting.
Feedback from reading Deep in a Dream biography.
Watched Let’s Get Lost.
Talked about the nature of the project – using found text.
Everyone very excited about that.
Talked about where the show might start, at what point in Chet’s life.
Talked about the need to make two lists:
– one of songs
– one of lines we think are important from people, including Chet.
Steve took Ronnie Scotts DVD to watch.
Nicholai took Live in Japan to watch.
Rehearsed My Funny Valentine with trumpet and piano – very good fun!

Our first video rehearsal is up for everyone to see. We are still in the very early stages of the process and what you see here are conversations about the text and way to approach the playing of the character.The one thing that we know is that this piece is going to be filled with muisc ,so there is lots of that as well. Steve play’s “My Funny Valentine” and he and Andrea jam on “Theres a Small Hotel” at the end enjoy.




Steven Beckingham:  Actor

Originally from England, Steve started his acting career in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.  After earning a BA in Music from Pacific University and appearing in many professional productions in Portland, he moved back to England and completed the One-Year Post-Grad Classical Acting Course at LAMDA.  While there, Steve enjoyed roles such as Vanya in Uncle Vanya and Marc Antony in Julius Caesar.  In a LAMDA production of Hamlet, he not only played the role of Polonius, but had the pleasure of composing and arranging the music. 

Since graduating, some of Steve’s credits include – STAGE: Death of a Salseman (No 1 tour of Germany),  The Settling Dust (Union Theatre) and Serenading Louie (GBS Theatre-RADA).  TV/FILM:  The Tiger and the Snow (dir. by Roberto Benigni), The Road to Guantanamo (dir. by Michael Winterbottom), Dr. Who: Dalek, ep. 6 (with Christopher Eccleston), Ian Fleming:  Bondmaker and Alive: Baja.
As well as playing the trumpet, Steve is an avid composer, arranger and singer/songwriter.

Nicholai La Barrie: Director
Nicholai is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, he started his acting career at the age of ten, with the Lilliput Children’s Theatre.  He has performed with many of the major theatre companies in Trinidad and Tobago.
He has been seen in Ti-Jean and his brothers 1998 for Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Clear Water -Clear Water Productions & Oval House. Since moving to London he has appeared in Passports to the Promised Land –Nitro, The Adventures of Snow Black Rose Red- Queene Productions, Macbeth –Fifth Column Theatre, 147 -Dende Collective, The Seer –West Yorkshire Playhouse and most recently in High Heel Parrot Fish –Theatre Royal Stratford .
He has directed It Had To Be you for Ragoo Productions, co-directed Pieces of Mine for Standing Room Only, and Passport to Posterity for Tiata Fahodizi.
Nicholai is currently Head of Youth Arts and resident youth theatre director at the Oval House Theatre. He recently directed the Festival of London Youth Arts award winning production of Chatroom for the National Theatre Shell Connections Youth Festival and a site-specific production of Peter Pan, staged in the flower garden of Kennington Park.

Mark O’Thomas: Writer

One of the few playwrights working in the devised theatre domain, O’Thomas’s Time Out Critics’ Choice Piranha Lounge (with Dende Collective) best demonstrates his use of the interplay between text and physical performance. His theatre credits include Almost Nothing Royal Court and OneFourSeven Bristol Old Vic and UK tour.  He is script advisor/translator for the Royal Court and his adaptation of Jorge Amado’s Dona Flor and her Two Husbands opens at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio in March 2006.
Andrea Vicari:  Composer

Pianist and composer Andrea Vicari was born in Miami (Florida) and grew up in Birmingham (England). Educated at Cardiff University she won a scholarship to study at The Guildhall School of Music in London. Andrea was soon in demand as a ‘side-man” working with bass guitar legend, Dill Katz in a band that included the then unknown guitarist Phil Robson. Soon after she formed her first important group with Julian Argüelles on saxophone & Stuart Hall, then of Django Bates’ “Human Chain”, on bass. Other employers included GRP recording artist, Phil Bent; jazz warrior David-Jean Baptiste with whom she recorded her first commercially released CD; and the all-women band “Birds” led by Kathy Stobart. She played a successful season at London’s sadly defunct jazz club “The Bass Clef” with the late great American saxophone innovator, Eddie Harris, broadcasting live on JazzFM radio; and gigged with the US trumpet legend Art Farmer.
In 1994 Andrea was commissioned by The Arts Council and the Peter Whittingham Trust to write music for a new eleven piece jazz orchestra which became the Suburban Gorillas project. A CD and Jazz Services tour followed including a triumphant appearance at the Brecon Jazz Festival and a live BBC broadcast from the Newcastle Playhouse

 Chet Baker: Speedball can be performed in a traditional theatre space but this is not our location of choice.  We are interested in finding other spaces to perform the work such as jazz clubs, hotel rooms or dressing rooms.  We are interested in a proactive relationship with an audience that both challenges and influences them, taking them into new dimensions and spaces with a unique experience that only live art can bring.  Live streaming provides another audience for the work and adds to a sense of otherness for the live audience who are both part of a shared world in the here-and-now of the performance and that of cyberspace