Theatre, Dance and Comedy
100 Ways To Meet That Special Someone
Meeting people in the modern world can be tough at the best of times, but what about when your friends are ready to poke at your every failure? That’s the situation that the lead character of 100 Ways To Meet That Special Someone finds himself in.
The modern farce follows the trials of Ian, who, in one last desperate act to try and get a girlfriend, buys a self-help video that he hopes will guide him through; a purchase he has to keep hidden from his flatmate Nigel, who, as writer and director Rick Laxton puts it, "will rip it out of him".
Rick was inspired to write the play after some personal experiences, though he’s quick to allay any rumours that it’s based on his own life.
"A lot of people seem to assume that it is based on my own life and my own horrible failures with women, but I’d like to set the record straight and say that’s not true.
"The idea first came to me when someone I know went to extreme, ridiculous lengths to cover up the fact that he’d met his new girlfriend on the internet. His friends actually found that more funny than if he’d just come clean from the start."
It’s hardly surprising that people think that it might be based on Rick’s life. Writers usually create from their own experiences, but Rick says it is a little more complicated that that for those looking for laughs.
"It can be quite tricky to write comedy. There’s a lot of people watching involved and recollection of situations that you’ve seen or been involved in. Those ideas build upon each other, though sometimes things do spring from nowhere.
"But a lot of it is making a note of things you’ve seen and hopefully there’ll be a time when you are writing that those things will crop up."
100 Ways To Meet That Special Someone
The play was a hit at last year’s Manchester Comedy Festival, which is particularly impressive, given that it’s the first time that Rick has taken the reins completely.
"This is the first thing I’ve directed and to start with, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but it was good fun.
"It’s really satisfying when you see what you put on paper coming to life, but when you’re watching a work that you’ve directed, it’s more nerve-wracking than if it had just been something I’d written and handed over to someone else."
Wearing both hats has allowed Rick to make the play a work in progress, refining it right up to the first curtain up with a little help from his cast.
"A lot of the actors involved in this are naturally funny people and they add to the humour of it by bringing the characters to life. Even though I hope it is funny on paper, when they get involved, it becomes funnier and that helps the creative process too.
"You’ve just got to remember not to be too precious with the words you’ve written so that people can have their own input. But it does help that I knew the initial vision, so I can try and get everything I wanted to out in the finished article."
That finished article goes on show at one of Manchester’s most famous comedy venues, the Frog and Bucket. But it’s not that which is making Rick worried.
By day, he works in casting at Coronation Street and there’s a rumour that some of the cast have promised to come down, along with a certain comedy giant by the name of Peter Kay. It’s something that is making Rick understandably tense.
"The thought of putting your work out is always a nervous time anyway. But when there are people who are successful in the comedy and acting world, who are doing really well at something that you want to do, coming along, that does make you a bit more nervous.
"But to be honest, it’s just great that they are interested and may well come along and give their support to new work and things that are just starting out."
It looks like Rick’s friends may well be laughing at him, but thankfully, it should be for all the right reasons.
100 Ways To Meet That Special Someone plays as part of a double bill - with Ruth E Cockburn's Saturday Boy - at the Frog and Bucket on Tues 13 and Weds 14 Nov. Tickets are £7
last updated: 07/11/07