Muzzle The Pig was concieved in February 2011 in Croydon. I should note this was not an act of sexual rutting between two pigs to eventually spawn a pig called ‘Muzzle’ but rather an idea for a comedy company.
In February 2009, when I was coming to the end of my actual life (student life), I was lucky enough to be handed the opportunity to transform my first completed play, a black comedy entitled, ‘Ron Conducts Zero’ from script to stage. I was also given a nice budget to play with. Foolishly I spent it all on the play, leaving none for the strippers in the green room. Furthermore, I was blessed with being able to use a newly refurbished theatre to perform for the two nights. Knowing I was well out of my depth, fellow student David Griffiths helped me direct. The story was based around a set of protesting squatters whose pride in fighting for their beliefs had led them to neglect their much torn family. More information about this can be found under the ‘Events’ tab.
With ‘Ron Conducts Zero’ managing to draw in some crowds and make the budget back without me having to perform any self-degrading stunts, I set-out to write a series of new plays. The intention of these plays was to aim to have them performed in London. In 2010 I was offered the opportunity to perform my short, 25-minute play, ‘A Criminal Audition’ for the ‘Branching Out Festival’ at The Rosemary Branch Theatre. The story consisted of a criminal organisation who sought to clear their criminal clients by having a willing ‘down on life’ individual frame themselves in return for vast riches. During this time I was wonderfully supported by Peter Glover who took on the reigns of voicing an off-stage character as well as directing. The short play was relatively successful and by the end of its short run I decided I wanted to take it further and thus Muzzle The Pig began to form.
A Criminal Audition and onwards…
Over Christmas I re-wrote and lengthened ‘A Criminal Audition’ and began to go about luring my original cast back to the play with mentions of unpaid work, tedious/tenuous rehearsals and the introduction of a new character that would be ‘disturbing’. Unsurprisingly, they all jumped at the chance and before too long we were rehearsing. Developing a play this time around was a very different feeling, since it was the first time I had no backing or aid. It was during these rehearsals that I began to formulate the idea of creating a comedy company, not just for theatre but also for sketch work as well.
I wanted to create a company that reflected my writing and so I looked into the common themes such as riot, protest, war, dictatorship, traitors and crime. From my research I came across the 1940’s propaganda posters where the enemy was largely depicted as a monster or animal and the heroes and their families were seen as eerily cheerful with war a joyous occasion. ‘Muzzle The Pig’ comes straight from this, with the idea of a dictator, speaker, greedy politician, lazy husband or foul-mouthed wife being the ‘pig’ that needs muzzling.
The feature length A Criminal Audition was a tough experience, but ultimately rewarding. Juggling everything from my budget, rehearsal spaces, technical and promotional duties was a tough task. With a bit of fortune Muzzle The Pig officially made its first true profit and is now working on several sketches for the website as well as an upcoming sketch show for theatres, watch this space.