Today was spent partly sorting shit out and partly writing. I got up early to make sure all the bin bags were out. The kitchen was turning into a bin city after Christmas and New Year. Brian and I mutely carried bags in the early morning. Then I woke up with coffee and looked for work until about 3 when Jack came over.
Jack was Marley to my Scrooge. We have a duty to the show to record the working version. We might end up running it in New York while another company plays London. The working script has been forged in the fire of many audiences. But the only existing formal script has very little correlation to the words we speak. It was written by a good friend, for two actors in the back of a pub, two years before I joined. (Btw sorry if you thought we were done with Carol blogs. Nope. Another Christmas Carol blog… The last one for at least 10 months.) But the show works. We’d like to be able to pass it on.
So yeah. That immersive dining show started 7 years ago in York. Tom Bellerby who directed it had just finished working with Jack and I at Ripley. We did As You Like It in the grounds of Ripley Castle for the glorious Sprite Productions, directed by Alex Hassell with the combination of fixed and flowing that can make theatre particularly special. Tim Carroll, the guardian angel of The Factory, used to insist that great theatre is a combination of the fixed and the flowing. If it’s all fixed, it’s mummified. If it’s all flowing it’s unfocused. We try to balance the two in Carol. Jack’s taste moves towards order. Mine towards chaos. Both are necessary in a live experience.
Nowadays, dining theatre is actually a thing – we got shouted out by You and Yours on Radio 4 in opposition to a badly thought out experience with a lot more money behind it, and something at The National. We came over very well, especially considering we were the cheapest ticket. Everyone likes to think they’re doing something new. Because everyone wants to feel ownership of universal ideas. This shit has been around for centuries. But yes I’ll stroke your head and sing to you if it’s important that you think you were here first. I’ve encountered a bit of snippiness in the industry. I only joined this show four years ago myself. Tom and Alex were way ahead of the curve at the time. They couldn’t get Jack and I from London to York because there was no budget. You don’t get Jack and I for free. But when the opportunity arose we were lucky enough to join a complete show that was ahead of its time. Now it’s of its time and it’s great to have had a month of full houses.
So Jack and I argued about order versus chaos, faith versus nihilism, capitalism versus communism. And we drew up a script for any poor fucker that follows us in London. Plus a few ideas for our next show, the first proper Fable Feast show. Watch this space. Here I am, slave to the laptop whilst Jack prances around in my ladies summer hat and Pickle offers support in her own complicated laptop obsessed manner.