Forever Indebted


I find myself having conversations about how lucky I am / one is to have work happening in these tricksy times. Maintaining a flexibility to work and working patterns is probably the key; theatre-making teaches you to have to respond to eventualities, survive on your wits, make do on the leanest means. Arts organisations can make the most of redundant industrial or commercial space once the speculators accept there’s no point holding onto dead space with no profit attached.

I’ve just spent a thoroughly enjoyable past week at the Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton,working with Talking Birds and Foursight Theatre Co.s as they R & D their forthcoming collaborative venture, Forever In Your Debt. The basic premise is this – woeful stories of Debt and Despair are woven together in a song-driven cabaret format: Cautionary Tales which pull on our heartstrings, prig our consciences, prod the old pathos bone.

We’d spent most of the first day character-devising, when Kate Hale deigned to ask,

“You do know we want you to play a woman, don’t you?”

…and so was born (Venus-like from the shell) Pippa – forced by dire financial circumstances to shed her store-card-debt-ridden former life as Philip to embrace a new future as part of the Whitmore £4.07 Ladies Cabaret Band.

There’s something suspicious about Pippa. … a cuckoo in the nest, perhaps?

In the absence of much musical ability, let alone the right physiology, Pippa takes up a position at the back with the Tea-chest bass and quietly strikes up (…pic).

Useful to know that even where there’s a willy there’s a way, and tea-chest bass can now be added to my CV skills list. Off with Stan and Constance Brown to Germany tomorrow. Following that, the show hits the South of France.

I pinch myself again….


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