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And now with Piratey goodness…

Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?
Because they can spend years at C!

What did the pirate get when he hit the skeleton?
A skull and very CROSS bones!

What’s the difference between a hungry pirate and a drunken pirate?
One’s a rumbling tummy, and the other’s a tumbling rummy!

Why are we giving you pirate jokes?

It’s not just because we love pirates, or bad jokes, or bad pirate jokes… But we’re here to tell you a very, VERY exciting piece of eight… rem no, I mean an exciting piece of NEWS…


Terrible COMFORT is doing a PIRATE PUPPET SHOW at Fringe this year!!!


We are SO excited about this… It’s called X, and we’ll give you more details soon, but rest assured, there’ll be heros and villains, battles and treasure, skeletons, pirates, parrots and more…

Want quick updates? Follow us on Twitter, @terriblecomfort and keep an eye on our Facebook page and Flickr for photos and more…

But for now, we’ll leave you to rub your hands in glee and look forward to X. Coming soon to Fringe…


Evolution of an idea

Come with us on a visual journey, watching a new show grow from a seed.

The first step is Chuck Norris, the Dort’s pet bunny from Owl In Spotlight. This photo is Chuck in both his forms, big and small. Friends of ours came with their 2 year old daughter to see the show, and she was transfixed by Chuck. At one point in the show when he disappeared off stage, she said “Bye Rabbit!” and once she got home, she spent the next week carrying around a small toy rabbit that she was given at birth but had ignored since then. Clearly she was taken by Chuck. So I decided to knit her a Chuck Norris for Christmas. Then only problem was that neither Chucks had legs and I wanted the toy I knitted to have legs. So I asked people who had seen the show what they imagined Chuck’s legs to look like. The little girl’s father said that he’d envisioned them as long and paisley.

So that’s what I knitted.

When she grows up, I’ll explain to her that this was her dad’s fault.

We were gazing upon the finished paisley Chuck Norris and it occurred to us that it looked like he had bird legs. So I knitted another one, with super long legs in a good birdy orangey-yellow

His name is Aaron.

I had been knitting octopuses for friends and decided that since Aaron was a birdbunny, that I wanted to knit a guy with octopus tentacles and something else on top. Rob suggested a yak. So I knitted a yaktopus.
This is Steven.

By this stage, we had the idea for the new show titled Things That Shouldn’t Be. There are two more main characters, Tom the Penguphant, created while working with children at the zoo and almost finished (he just needs little penguin feet and he’ll be done) and Elise, the monkeyfish, based on the idea of the FeeGee mermaid. which I’ve knitted a prototype but we want the tail to be longer and more eel like for the finished guy.

So that’s the story. From puppet to present to weird idea that makes us smile to show.


Owl in Spotlight – How Dort taught the house to behave

Here it is, all the info for our Halloween show, Owl in Spotlight!

a Terrible Comfort production

Designed and created by Terrible Comfort
Voiced by Peter Houghton

Dort and her family finally move into their dream home but not everyone is happy about it.
When her parents disappear and the House does its best to scare her off, Dort and her pet rabbit Chuck Norris, face some of the scariest, strangest nightmares that are let loose and roaming free.

A Halloween show suitable for all ages
Discount for audience who come in Halloween costumes

Part of La Mama Theatre’s 2010 Spring Season

Wed, Sun 6:30pm | Thu, Fri, Sat 8:00pm
Tickets $25 Full or $15 Concession
Bookings 039 347 6142 or via http://www.lamama.com.au

La Mama Courthouse
349 Drummond Street Carlton

Come along, we’d love to see you there!

make an owl, be a part of the next Terrible Comfort show!

Come one, come all… Terrible Comfort is working on a puppet show for Halloween this year called Owl in Spotlight (How Dort Taught The House to Behave). It’s at the Carlton Courthouse, which is an old courthouse that’s been converted into a theatre but still retains all of it’s period features and multiple doors for Halloween this year!

The storyline is eight year old Dort and her family have finally moved into their new home but the house is not too happy about it. In fact, it wants them gone and does everything in its power to scare them away. Hideous ghouls and nightmarish monsters emerge from the houses dark shadows but they haven’t reckoned with Dort. A fully trained monstronaut, Dort isn’t having any nonsense from the house and, along with her pet bunny Chuck Norris, she sets out to investigate and teach the house some manners.

Owl in Spotlight (How Dort Taught The House to Behave), uses hand and finger puppetry, diorama, digital sound design and a walking tour in a spooky back stage exploration of the theatres. Designed as a Halloween event, How Dort Taught the House to Behave is appropriate for all ages and encourages the child in us all to find the courage to reason with our fears.

To help with the ambiance, we want owls scattered everywhere throughout the venue. This is where you come in!

Most of the sofites we’re making are around 20cms tall, so our preferences for owls would be around 10cm to 20cmsish. The bigger they get, the further away from the action they’ll have to be positioned to keep everything in perspective. The individual owls wont have credits next to them, but you will be credited in the program. People who contribute owls’ll get a free ticket to the show, if you can manage a couple of owls you get double passes. We’re happy to give them back at the end, but we’d love them as donations to Terrible Comfort. We’re hoping to tour our shows around the place and Dort will be one in our repertoire.

We happy for any kind of owl, how ever you want it to look, whatever material you want to make it out of and whatever position you want it to be in (flying, sitting, standing, other…) We need the owls by about the end of September.

To avoid theft, we encourage you to add a little material loop to the back of your owl, and we’ll then screw/sew the little guys down and maybe even put little bells on them. YAY!

Please let us know if you’re interested in participating in Owl in Spotlight. and do feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

To see more of Terrible Comfort go to their website – http://www.terriblecomfort.com

Terrible Comfort. We make our own fun!

remote post

Writing from Brisbane at the PWA National Play Festival, but that’s just to give you some idea of where I am atm.

We don’t get a lot of time for rehearsal so I’m spending a fun packed fortnight in my hotel room working on my various other projects.  That means a couple of official things, submissions and redrafts mostly, and many many more terrible comfort things.

Puppetry is proving a touch addictive that way.

Since however this is a blog about process and not about me hiding from the Queensland heat under the aircon I should really post something about where we’re at with text and related issues. Plus  Sayr’s been keeping you posted on the progress of the various massive builds that she’s got on her plate, and that’s starting to make me look just plain slack.

I’m about two thirds of the way through version 1 of the Owl in Spotlight text which will be on at the Carlton Courthouse over Halloween.  What started out as being about simple solutions is turning into an increasingly complex project. But it’ll be fun I think, we’ll certainly have fun anyway.

In the mean time we’re waiting to hear officially about remounting Everything Will Be Okay at La Mama mid year.  The script is done for the new show we’ll be pairing with it (for those few who saw the original production in fringe last year) and we’ll be recording vocals mid march.  I’ve got some designs to whip up on Illustrator and send off to a laser cutter I’ve found but I’ve been a bit distracted with other projects, so that’s the next thing I’ll be starting when it’s four in the morning and I can’t get back to sleep.

I’m using a laser cutter because I want the outlines to be detailed and sharp, and an Exacto knife and an old bit of Masonite in this instance really aren’t gonna cut it.  If you’ll pardon the pun.

I’m a bit worried about both the build for that and about bumping both shows in and out.  We know EOkay’s took about eighteen minutes to set up, which takes up most of an interval.  I’m hoping that the new thing will be a quick set up or we can somehow shorten Eokay’s prep time (at least we wont be going back and forth over the whole space of 45 Downstairs – though we might be going up and down stairs at la mama… oh the exercise….)

as for new gear… While I’ve been up here I’ve started sketches for a brand new show idea and also got a couple on the boil to develop for next year.  This is quite different to the old days when you could just grab a couple of actors and throw the whole thing on stage.  Now you’ve gotta spend six months building all the stuff, which I guess is the trade off for not using actors in the first place.

It does also mean that I end up with books full of ideas that I just cant get to.  We can slowly build all the stuff we’ve thought of so far, but by the time we do, we’ll just have thought of more stuff.

But, and this brings me to the thing that’s been starting to bug me, a lot of the ideas we’ve been having (and I guess more particularly little ol’ impractical me has been having) are really gonna need more puppeteers than just Sayr and I.  I like doing the little stuff, the things we can get away with two people for, but at some point we’re gonna need to bring other folks in.  I don’t know what the process is for that in the puppet world.  If it’s like the theatre scene there’s a whole bunch of guys floating out there looking for cool stuff to do, but I suspect the puppet community is full of self starters who will just as soon come up with their own projects before waiting to be asked to play with someone else.  Particularly the weird new kids from out of town.

So, what do you think, puppet people?  Anyone out there wanna fill the noob’s in on where and how we engage ring ins (particularly since there’s always so little money going around….)

And you know, it’d also maybe not be a bad idea to talk about what the community response to puppetry in Australia is… that’s maybe a whole other blog post, but its still something I’m wondering about.  You know, community festivals, rural touring, whats the go with that?

Strategogo dancing

Terrible Comfort is spending this holiday season developing an honest to god strategic plan featuring brand promise, objectives and directions and a whole heap of other corporate style goodness.

It does funny things to the head thinking this way, everything starts to look like factors and pie charts, but ultimately i think it’ll be useful both in codifying what it is we think we’re doing here (rather than simply going on instinct and aesthetic) and targeting appropriate funding, presentation and support partners – not to mention developing work for specifically identified markets….

hahaha – see what did i say? I am a washing machine, do what i say.

Never the less, what this process makes me reflect on in a more global sense is the need for contemporary individual/independent artists to be more than just lay about hippies who slap a bit of paint on a board or write the odd line of faintly purple prose when the mood takes them. I’ve got a feeling it’s a little trite to say it now, that this is something everybody else figured out a hundred years ago and the philanthropics have been calling for since the moment the spread sheet was invented, but contemporary independent artists have to be their own corporate edifice. One or two good hearted folk can get together and throw on a show to their hearts content, but if they’re gonna take their art seriously at all they have to approach it as a business. Branding exercises, corporation speak and all.

There’s no business like…

I dunno. Maybe it’s the nineties grunge twenty something anti globalisation politics blood in my brain or the spirit of Naomi Klein crawling up my vertebrae, but the angels of my better nature are warring with what feels right in my gut and what makes sense on paper.

Never trust paper. It turns truth into lies.
But at least they’re useful lies.

On a lighter side we have ideas for two CRACKING new works that are seriously get out of town fun – and there’s a script and some actors for the partner piece to go with the mid year remount of EOkay. The Rock and Roll continues (even if it is a bit more nostalgia now).

I am bender baby, please insert liquor.


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