Musings on the events inside and outside the gates of Temple Studios at Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man
Above, a small excerpt from a comic strip by yours truly, a sort of Little Nemo in Slumberland / Sleep No More tribute comic (emphasis on sort of) to be published later this year by Locust Moon Comics — you can see a bit more of it here. I have recently discovered it will be one of two Sleep No More-related comics in this book, oddly enough.
Anyway, welcome. Enjoy your stay.
Drawninsideadream, you are a talented beast! Thank you so much for starting this, you know I’ll be frequenting your submissions tab.
I saw TDM for the first time last week and felt incredibly lucky to see Luke Murphy as Dwayne, Paul Zivkovich as The Fool, Leslie Kraus as Wendy, Conor Doyle as Frankie, and Lily Ockwell as Faye. It was a treat to see them all performing again!
That is a special treat indeed! I’d especially love to see Luke’s Dwayne.
Who’s Lily Ockwell? I can’t keep up with the new castings.
So I’ve been trying as best I can to keep updating my spoiler-lite character list, but the cast is changing so much I can barely keep up. Currently it’s as updated as it can be, but I’ve honestly had to go and amend it almost every day this week. New faces and new roles for veteran performers, plus people leaving here and there, has made it all the more confusing!
Dear Rose, since you are an expert) Do you know the meaning of an invitation card that I picked up saying "Mr Stanford cordially Invites you to the annual Temple Pictures private party Temple Studios, Tuesday 30 October, 19H30, RSVP"? It seems modern card, not 1950s paper, so is it actually an invite to anything, or just a prop? Also, the NT website says that return visitors should enter a promotion code to use the studio entrance - I am returning, but where would I get the code? Thank u!
Well drddr, I’m afraid I’m going to be annoying and not really answer your question. Instead, I’m going to ask you a couple back.
Firstly, who gave you the invitation? Or did you literally just pick it up somewhere? As the invite comes from Mr Stanford, I would strongly suggest you follow him on your next visit for an entire loop and I promise you’ll get the answer to your question.
As for the code…well, I can’t tell you where to get it from, but I wonder…did you keep your mask on your last visit?
Good luck and feel free to ask me anything (well, about the show), any time punchdrunkards. I’ll try to reply without spoiling anything for you or anyone else.
With love and whisky, “Rose” xx
I’ve gotten a couple of questions regarding the Studio Executive option on the National Theatre website when you buy tickets… I feel I can’t just give away such a thing outright, but luckily throwtherose gave out a big hint as to how to find it. Cheers Rose!
I remember the first time I met someone who didn’t “get” The Drowned Man. I was at an opening and happened to meet a performer from outside of London who said “I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Oh but at the end I found a sad man in a caravan, tall and blonde. I stayed with him for the rest of the show…”
She was talking about one of Badlands Jack’s many incarnations and for a character portrayed in so many different ways by each of his performers, he was surprisingly easy to get to know. Spend some time on the streets of Encino and you saw that he was fragmented, dangerous, and desperate. Through all his depression and rage, he turns to us, the audience, to trust in him and believe him.
Way back when I first set foot in Temple Studios in July, I ran around a very empty town and, peeking into a trailer, found my first character: Adam Burton as Badlands. He was talking to himself, staring at the caravan wall and I sat with him for a bit, enjoying the odd comfort of his psychotic mumblings. I didn’t revisit the character again until months later, when I was forcibly shoved into his trailer by River Carmalt’s Badlands, who strode around Outside the Gates like a shark. There was another audience member inside already who had been poking around Badlands’ things, and I must’ve jumped even higher than him when River slowly turned to him and screamed “GET OUT!” while pointing at the door. River’s Badlands brought much-needed intimidation to the Outside the Gates environment; Through River’s rendition I saw that without Badlands the characters of Encino would happily go about their loops without meeting much hostility. Compared to the intimidating characters of Inside the Gates - Stanford, Claude, Alice, The Seamstress, The Doctor, and The PA - it seems like Badlands was one of the only ones who was a consistently an antagonist for the Outside scenario. Then came David Essing’s Badlands Jack, who managed to hit a balance that worked best for his softer nature. I’m not sure if it was him who introduced those elements, but when the knife suddenly pointed inwards, I was in tears. His looping dance in the saddle shop was a wonderful little gem of a solo, and I haven’t really seen any other performer use that space, walls, floor and ceiling, in quite that same way. His rapport with Anna Finkel’s Drugstore Girl was also a thoughtful addition… Without the kindness of Anna as Drugstore, David’s Badlands loop would have been almost too heartbreaking to watch, so I was grateful for those scenes they made together. Later in autumn I missed my chance to see Jude Monk McGowan’s Badlands Jack, though I did enjoy what I saw of his Badlands’ Andy interactions. It seemed he brought back some of the danger to the role and I particularly felt it in the increasingly violent Andy fight scene. For more thoughts on his (and David’s!) portrayal of Badlands, babymammoth did a nice post about them. The next Badlands I was with was Julian Stolzenberg’s whose two-part 1:1 helped elucidate Badlands’ whole backstory for me. I know it’s been said before, but Julian is a very powerful storyteller, and though he kept up his intimidation routine through the loop, his rendition of the story was quietly sad and secret. In a later show, when personal outside-show troubles kept me alienated from enjoying myself, it was Julian’s Badlands who made me smile when he surprisingly tapped me on the shoulder before the finale, rose in hand. It was also the first time I saw the ending from where he’d guided me, and yes, the view was great from there. Just when I thought I’d gotten the grasp of this character, Nicola Migliorati’s Badlands came back and surprised me all over again. Like Julian, he had a good grasp of Badlands’ dichotomy of the rough and rugged public persona and the sensitive and desperate private persona. His motel 1:1 made me realise that for some of the Badlands, in lieu of a caring Drugstore Girl like Anna Finkel’s character, they depended on the audience to share the burden of their story. Nico’s Badlands was also the only character to have essentially turned the concept of sinning back around to me as an audience member with his finishing question at the end of his caravan 1:1. In accepting Badlands Jack’s hand, you’re not just going along to bear witness to a terrible history but you’re reflecting on your own personal guilts. Then came Sean Edwards. At a time when I was beginning to I feel too comfortable at Temple Studios, Sean’s raucous, brash, and daring Badlands Jack burst onto the scene and brought chaos back to Encino. Previously, as many as five very different performers portrayed this character and from that Sean was able to pick up these pieces and depict a fully realised fragmented soul almost as soon as he set foot at Temple. He wasn’t content to settle into the cowboy cast either - anyone who has spent time on the second floor while Sean was on could instantly see him set apart from the cast in his gruffness and unpredictable (yet somehow elegant) shamblings about town. I feel lucky to have experienced Sean’s Badlands’ main 1:1 twice and both times were intense and drastically different. On the last day, I visited his caravan for my last private moment with Badlands Jack. It was a shortened 1:1, the pre-hoedown encounter. Still, huddled together in his trailer, Badlands’ sorrow, his rage, and his broken character surfaced and cut me like a knife. His last loops were beautiful, fun, and angry all at the same time and amassed a healthy crowd of people coming to appreciate these final moments. We were all there in it together, watching a character aware he was about to be killed off who was not about to go quietly but rather in a blaze of glory. At the end, we applauded and it was one of those rare moments inside Temple Studios, finale aside, when a performance culminates in such an outpouring of shared emotions.
Thank you Jack and your myriad of performers. All of us will miss your healthy diet of apples and whiskey, your fixation with blindfolds, and the way you shook up Temple Studios so very well. Salute!
Uhm so… As an animator myself and only having recently gotten this 1:1 for the very first time (I’ve tried before!) last month …. The FIRST thing I thought afterwards was that I have to do this scene justice by making an animation of Fania as The Assistant to Ms. Grey’s amazing moves in this sequence… Wait too long and bam, the internet has already taken care of it.
(though I may still make my own attempt at it!)
Have you or any of your lovely followers experienced the studio exec ticket experience? I'm quite curious and haven't gone through that entrance yet. Thank you!
I haven’t been in on a Studio Executive ticket yet, but I have been in through the Premium Entrance, and have heard reports back that (currently) it’s a very similar experience. So you probably know what you’re expecting if you did go through the Premium Entrance anytime last autumn, though I’m not sure if it will be changing at all in the coming months.
It’s a unique way to enter Temple Studios differently if you’ve been through the regular entrance already and worth a try at least once. When I went in the autumn, actually getting into the show took a while, as we waited in the entrance hall for a bit before going in. Supposedly entering now on the Studio Exec ticket, and the pre-show experience, is a quicker process. I won’t spoil what happens upon entering, but it does involve a wee drink!
Like the old Premium ticket, one of the best treats with Studio Exec is probably the tag that gets you into the Drafting Room in the basement. There are loads of fun surprises for people interested in the plot, characters, and loops, as well as some lovely little moments with the elusive Phoebe herself.