Whines And Spirits – Annie Burkin
If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would be just weeks away from putting on my own theatre production I would have laughed in their face, then silently thought to myself maybe that’s a possibility before crushing that positive vibe and assuming it wouldn’t be an option. Maybe for the others around me, whom I looked up to in the creative world but definitely not me.
But here I am, excited, naturally nervous but totally ready to be a part of London’s Camden Fringe with my new play Whines and Spirits. A comedy drama which begins at a Clairvoyant’s evening of mediumship with the popular Danny Diamonte who’s fans always travel far and wide to see him but this particular evening turns into disaster when a divorced, deceased, bickering couple ruin the evening when they refuse to leave the show until they get their own way. Away from the Clairvoyancy it is a story tattered relationships regardless of living or dead and how you might still need to find peace when you’re already meant to be at peace. It also has my tiny spin on how modern heaven might be. Does everyone get a pair of angel wings or just the ones who didn’t leave any debt behind?
Wherever I’m heading to now will always be as a result of where I started and that is, I’m very honoured to say the Anna Scher Theatre based in Islington. I’ll always remember my first class as I’m sure all attendees do as the feeling it projects can only be described as special. Anna Scher MBE works in improvisation and allows you with just a small piece of guidance to feel and embrace your character by not being restricted with scripted words or props which creates a natural believability in the performance. Anna also encourages her students to use the allocated time slots for twenty minute plays at each class which were my first footsteps into creating my own work and performing them in a safe and respectful place, and accepting the compliments and critics which can both be hard and surprisingly more so the compliments as generally I think most of us are pretty poor at accepting that we did good just in case you are seen to be pretentious.
During and after my Anna Scher teaching years I was, and have been lucky to take part in other theatre productions and films in an acting capacity but two years ago I saw an opportunity for new writing as part of the Angelic Tales season, produced by Rikki Beadle-Blair and John Gordon Russell and in association with the Theatre Royal Stratford East. I submitted ‘Selfie Rules’ a comedy about online dating and I was offered a table read which totally took me by surprise. Rikki and John then became my mentors and really helped me in exploring my characters and storyline which helped with depth and layers throughout. I was ecstatic to actually have my play performed as a rehearsed reading to a 100 strong crowd at Stratford and absorbed all the feedback and that experience definitely gave me the courage and confidence to continue. Selfie Rules did not go as far as of course I would have liked and not without me trying very hard to get other theatre’s to pick it up but sometimes it’s about timing or it’s just not meant to be. Things do definitely happen for a reason otherwise I wouldn’t be now doing what I’m doing.
Dream big, work hard, be kind. Simple but all three are easily achievable on a daily basis.
Whines and Spirits will run from Monday 14th August to Sunday 20th August at the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Islington at 7.30pm every evening. Tickets available from camdenfringe.com
If you want to know more about Annie or even ask her a question or two, check her out on Twitter. Or see who else is talking about @Whinesandspirits