Tomorrow, at Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle, I’ll be performing as Suzanne Tweddle: (Wild) Life Coach!
As a character, she’s not had a lot of air time, though it’s two and a half years since I first invented her. That was as a character to do one poem as part of a set of mine at The Alley Café in Nottingham in June 2014, around the time that I first started playing with character invention to spice up a poetry gig. (There was also Tim the Tory who had a catchy song called ‘I’m So Happy The System Works For Me.)
Back then, Suzanne went down quite well, even if her hair was all over the place. Here she is –
Nevertheless, she got waylaid and forgotten, until last September, when she came back with a fabulous vengeance to compete in an Anti-Slam at Alphabetti Theatre in September last year. The idea of Anti-Slam is to try and score as low as possible – to perform the worst poem. Suzanne didn’t realise this at the time, and was far too good for the event. She didn’t win, but she did touch people’s hearts, and everyone said how nice her hair looked this time round.
Here she is at that gig –
And now she’s back again, as part of PUG #2, established and run by the wonderful Hannah Walker and Rosa Postlethwaite. I could say more about that, but Simon Beckwith has done a fab interview write up for NARC, here, that says it better – http://narcmagazine.com/feature-pug-spotlight-matt-miller/
There’s a little batch of character stuff coming up for me, as my Edinburgh PBH 2016 show ‘Rob Hobson Needs To Talk’ is coming to Alphabetti Theatre in a couple of weeks too.
Creating and performing character pieces and working on autobiographical shows such as ‘Sticking’ seem sometimes to run into dichotomies with each other. I struggle sometimes to figure out whether presenting as ‘myself’ is more or less authentic than someone else.
it can be difficult to step from one to the other and to know what each is trying to achieve, and where they cross over.
I think, in a way, the impulse is similar though. Whether it’s as ‘myself’ or someone else, I like to try and show characters who are ultimately flawed, twisted, not entirely self-aware, but nevertheless loveable.
Suzanne’s a girl with her heart absolutely in the right place. And though she’d not readily talk about it, she has been through a lot. She’s also an irritating prat. But I don’t think I’d love her as much if she wasn’t.
Come along and see what she has to say on Friday.