Listed in order, just scroll down to find them – Bag Lady (and friends) / Miss Julie / Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons / Rebel Boob
Bag Lady (and friends)
After several months of dark theatre due to Covid-19, we put on ‘Bag Lady’ as a Christmas show.
Traditional Christmas fare – games, Christmas cracker jokes, readings from letters to Santa Claus …
and Sarah Charsley as Brenda, the (rather disillusioned) Christmas fairy
That was the first half.
After the interval we had Sarah Davies as the Bag Lady.
Bag Lady doesn’t speak – the whole piece is done in mime and by gesture. After the window sequence, she’s blown in with the snowstorm.
She worked with the audience, too.
From contemporary dystopia to nineteenth century Swedish angst. In July we put on Strindberg’s classic at New Venture. So good to be back up ladders, rigging lights.
The action takes place over Midsummer Eve, and Director Mark Lester wanted the second half, set the next morning, to have the kitchen flooded with early morning sunshine.
It was the Midsummer Solstice : the Sun stood still – though I suppose the Earth moved for Miss Julie …
If there’s a moral to this play, it must be – “Don’t fuck the servants” …
And of course, it ends badly. This play should come with more trigger warnings that ‘The Gunfight at The OK Corral’ …
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
We finally got back into the NVT theatre in June, after a Covid-19 induced absence of over a year. But we started with a bang – Cata Lindegaard directed ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons’, a dystopian play about what life would be like if we were only allowed to speak 140 words a day. (That’s 54 words just there . . .)
The 140 word limit is the result of a new law brought in by a reactionary Government, and the play’s fragmentary structure jumps backward and forward in time, showing a couple’s reactions to events before and after the new law. The set design featured words written on torn paper, and for my lighting I used a palette of two colours; warm and cold, to indicate whether a scene was taking place in the present or the past.
A feature of Judith Berrill’s set design was a constellation of hanging bulbs, which could illuminate in different numbers gradually reducing to one, then none, as the day’s allocation of words was used up.
As well as the main location of the couple’s home, there were scenes driving in a car, and in a pet cemetery. Eclectic, or what? . . .
‘Rebel Boob’ is a show about breast cancer – or more specifically, women’s reactions to diagnosis and treatment. This production was staged in the assembly hall of Brighton Girls School, and I had to take over a few of my own lanterns to augment their lighting. Two of the BGS pupils (aged about thirteen) operated the lights and background audiovisuals, and performed brilliantly!
Director Angela El-Zeind was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43. She wrote the piece, a performance of verbatim monologues from interviews she conducted with a number of women after her own recovery.
Everyone’s story is different – some family and partners are incredibly supportive, others find it hard or impossible to deal with. Some women want to celebrate their fight – others just want to put it behind them. Actor Aurea Williamson and dancer Chess Dillon-Reams spoke the words, along with El-Zeind, and Dillon-Reams interpreted the emotions in movement.
Some sequences were about the ravages of chemotherapy – though they had to remember “the drugs are actually your friends”.
( ‘Rebel Boob’ photos by Miles Davies Photography.)