We've been presenting our show Too Many Penguins? to audiences for 7 years. As a Co-Production with Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling we made the show there in 2011 and returned in 2014 for a sell out Christmas run.
We double cast the show and made an additional set (and an additional 100 penguins) in 2012 so that we could take on a 4 month run at Polka Theatre in London whilst performing at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh over Christmas. We've toured all over world and the UK and to Europe and Asia. Our latest Christmas run has just finished at The Barn in Banchory - we sold out and it has now brought our total of penguin viewers to over 20,000.
Sam Jameson one half of the original cast (along with the wonderful Nicola Jo Cully) has performed the show over 350 times and we asked him to tell us a bit about what that means to him and frankly if he has had enough....
How many Too Many Penguins? are too many?
I suppose the thought has crossed my mind a fair amount of times.
You have a lot of time to think when you’re playing Mr Polaro. Sitting on a chair pretending to sleep, sitting on a chair reading last year’s newspaper, sitting on a chair waiting for a fish that you know is already hooked at the end of the line.
The first show was much like the one we perform every time, in the way that the story is that same. Though I’m sure our first show felt a little ropey. It was my first show in other ways - I hadn’t devised a show before, so I was doubly nervous. Then after a few more shows, and after a few more edits I started to feel like I knew what I was doing.
And as with all shows, after performing it in a few more times in a few more venues, you think of it as something completely different! You see it in front of different audiences, you even adapt it to suit them. The average age of the audience goes up and down, and so does your sensitivity to it. Now, after performing the show so many times, when things go wrong it’s like a little surprise, from the show you thought you knew inside out.
My perspective is that you can never do a perfect performance of a show, but it’s good practice to try. It provides a handy loophole that means when you do miss the teapot or leave the house with your shower cap still on you don’t have to feel bad about it.
Apart when I’m steering the car, with which I continue to maintain a flawless safety record.
And six years later, my answer to the “Too many?” question is consistent: I’ll stop when the show when I stop enjoying it. And there’s plenty of reasons to enjoy it. Due to the age group of the audience, many of whom are experiencing something like this for the first time, you can’t help but be charmed by their joy and curiosity of the story we tell. If it feels like we’re lifting spirits, and bringing smiles and boogieing. It reminds me to be silly, and to how to have more fun with more people. Especially with the likes of Nicola, Clare, Lynsey, Nick, Carrie, Cat, Laura and Heather to perform it with.
So here’s to many, many more!