Helen called up playwright Bettina Gracias and said, “Would you like to write an opera monologue for me for a slot at the Riverside studios on the 9th of August?” She said, “It sounds fun but I think I’m going away to India”, so here we are. We did it as her India trip was postponed. The starting point was a woman preparing a dinner party in which the extraordinary happens….. I won’t say what
the extraordinary is, as that would spoil the surprise but both Helen and Bettina tossed the idea backwards and forwards adding and subtracting from it until they had the skeleton story. They spent a day together ‘workshopping’ the plot and characters from which Bettina went away and wrote the first draft of the lyrics. Helen took the first draft lyrics, played around with them on her own for a while, throwing and adding as she went along. She then brought in Liz, Steve and Mark to fuse the music together producing what we have tonight, the first live performance of ‘It’s Ten pm! They’re Late’ which we hope you will enjoy.
This Sensational, daring and curtly delivered operatic monologue incorporates rare recipes from extraneous parts of the globe. Preparing a dinner party for a series of unknown guests is proving taxing when the unimaginable happens……! Helen Astrid’s
ingenious vocal flair is executed with precision, ease and artful grandeur.
Helen Astrid (Soprano) is described as having a voice like a cocktail of steel and silk. She continues to amaze audiences with her daring heartfelt sincerity. “My songs come from deep from within, flowing from the pit of my stomach to the keys on a piano. I’m inspired by a wide variety of artists from Aretha Franklin, Candi Staaton, Sarah Vaughan, Stravinsky, Bach, Kirk Franklin, Frank McComb, Ray Charles and Betty Wright. It’s about people identifying with my music; this is how I express who I am. In my life, anyone I’ve loved has either walked away or died. My music is real; it cuts like a knife and at the same time fills me with hope.”
When not playing to packed houses Helen regularly broadcasts on radio and TV. Her credits include C4’s What the Butler Saw and a guest appearance on The Paul O’Grady Show and BBC 1 News, singing her song for the 2012 Olympics. In 2005 she founded The Helen Astrid Singing Academy and has written her fist book, ‘Singing Tips at your Finger Tips’ featured in August issue The Singer Magazine.
Bettina Gracias (Playwright/Librettist) Austrian/Indian playwright, Bettina Gracias, writes regularly for Radio 4. She is currently work-shopping a new stage play ‘Cellular’ at RADA, writing a new radio play for Radio 4, ‘My Name is Iqbal’ (to be broadcast in January 2009) about a child slave labourer in Pakistan and working on a screenplay set in Jordan. She has been on attachment to The National Theatre, London, and has been short-listed for several theatre and radio awards
Max Webster (Director) studied at Cambridge then trained at the Lecoq school in Paris. Recent directing includes the premieres of *Mustard* (Soho Theatre), *Finisterre* (Theatre503) and *El Mono* (Centro Della Cooperacion, Buenos Aires). His next production is *Feast Kazulu* for the Hilton Festival in South Africa. He is also an associate artist of Company of Angels.