A word with….Paradise!

Paradise, a devised piece of theatre created by a collaborative team of director Tom Barnes, producer Gabby Carboneri and a cast of four actors, is the final production of the current Nottingham New Theatre UNCUT season. In anticipation of the opening night on Monday 4th February, Impact caught up with the director (TB) and two cast members, Matt Miller (MM) and Lyle Fulton (LF), to find out more about this unique creative process. We also attempted to tap into the secrecy surrounding this production, and had some success… 

A production based solely on devised work is something different for the New Theatre- what inspired you to mix things up a bit?

TB- When anyone goes to any theatre, they know exactly what’s happening. They know where it is, they know they’ll sit in a seat for an hour, have a little break, then do the same again, and invariably they’ll know the plot. I don’t think you can say that about Paradise. We’ve tried to create an adventure rather than a show in a purpose built theatre. We’re solely responsible for everything, and we can’t shirk the blame if it turns out rubbish. I guess the danger is exciting.

Can you briefly describe the creation process?

TB- It’s involved a lot of rehearsals over a long time. From about October we would improvise scenes and invent new characters, and then over Christmas some of these characters were weaved together into a script, which we then tore to pieces several times and then rebuilt to be what it is now. We’ve filmed everything, so it’s been time consuming but the upside is that we effectively have a 20 hour out-take reel.

LF- Tom came up to me in a pub when we were doing a show together about a year ago and told me he wanted to do this show. I was really excited / skeptical, but now here I am and we’re performing it. If you’d told me that a year ago, I would have been shocked, but I also would have bitten your hand off.

Cast, how have you found the process, how similar/ different has it been to rehearsals for any other play? Most daunting/ rewarding part? 

MM- The process has been interesting and at times wonderfully bizarre. It’s different to most things I’ve been part of in almost every other way. Initially, we had no script. The first couple of months of the rehearsal process were unendingly enjoyable; we would be given license to create freely and we’d all come out laughing and talking about the people we had pulled out of our brains and thrown at each other. Inevitably, as things progressed and we needed to start finding some structure, rehearsals became increasingly more difficult. The reward here was seeing these characters we’d made up becoming part of a narrative but the most daunting part for me was certainly the necessary move away from free reign creation to piecing a story together. Rewarding, but daunting at first. It’s been several years since I’ve been part of a devised show and it’s been a pleasure to be part of.

LF- The most daunting and rewarding parts are almost the same thing. The most daunting part was that we were making it all up from scratch, but now we’re performing it now and that’s exciting.

Your use of social media has raised awareness of the project, why should people have a look at your tumblr, follow you on Twitter?

MM- Twitter makes me scared. In the past I’ve seen it as entirely useless nonsense. Over the course of this show, I’ve seen that can have great use and now I’m confused and just don’t know what I believe anymore.

TB- We’ve tried to use social media to appeal to an audience beyond the university network. We’ve had a fair amount of interest on it. Occasionally we post something interesting or funny on there!

Keep up with Paradise….

On tumblr:

On Twitter: @ParadiseNotts

Speaking of tumblr, we read that your set has been brought in from Germany! What can you tell us about the design of the production?

TB- Without ruining it, it’s an incredible piece of kit that allows us to dominate a space, but will also pack into a car boot. The design has developed alongside the dialogue really. The cast are onstage for the whole time and we don’t have a backstage so a lot of it was born out of necessity which we’ve then adapted to the concept and tried to make look good.

Funniest/ oddest rehearsal moment?

MM- There have been lots of funny moments throughout. That sounds twee and I promise I’m not fluttering my eyelids as I say it. ‘Felix’, one of Lyle’s characters, has always been a personal favourite of mine. The realisation that Vicky could talk at a rate of a million words a second was also an entertaining moment.

LF- That’s really tricky. I really enjoyed ‘Terry’ who was an early genesis of ‘Dave’ who made it into the play.

TB- A character with ‘alien hand syndrome’ was a comedy highlight. There was so much stuff which was too far out and out comedy to go into Paradise but would compile nicely into a sketch show.

Can you tell us ANYTHING at all about the location?

TB- It’s in the NG7 postcode area, but it doesn’t have a specific postcode itself…

Helpful. And finally, can we get one more secret out of you?

TB- We’ve got a few little tricks lined up for the shows! The journey to the venue should be good fun for instance. Also, we’ll release a big secret on our Twitter page at 7pm on Monday!

Great, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that then, thanks guys! 

Lauren Wilson

Paradise will be performed on Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th February at 7.30pm. Transportation will be provided from the Nottingham New Theatre to the NG7 location. For ticket info go to: 


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