Forever in your Debt: daisies and chainsaws

13Feb10

Last night saw premiere of Forever In Your Debt at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford. The relief of getting the show up and running was immense, particularly given the monster 3-day Tech that has finally brought together the complicated sound, light and staging requirements. There is still a great deal of work to do to improve and steady the ship as it makes it’s voyage around the country; questions to ask about how best to serve the frames of narrative.

At the heart of it there are four personal stories of financial hardship and catastrophe which lead to threats of rooftop suicide. The building’s humble cleaner, Vera, turns counsellor as she attempts to unravel the stories and coax the characters away from the precipice. With her mantra “better a song than a scream”, Vera draws the luckless four into her Band – using songs to illustrate the back-stories. Putting the show in front of an audience for the first time – hearing laughter and applause – reassured us that the show can be followed and that it can be entertaining. But what we haven’t cracked yet is how much we can shape our performance to permit audience’s responses. Eg. can we allow them to applaud the songs or should we drive through without acknowledging them? It’ll take a few shows for us to discover this, I think.

a sample of Pippa's blouse material

Afterwards it was great to get some feedback from friendly faces, but tiredness was working against me. I got drunk very quickly and we somehow wound up in Hereford’s one and only drag bar. The acerbic hostess, Daisy Chainsaw, looked mildly miffed as I joined her rendition of “He never cleans up, the boys does nothing…blah blah”. Her gaydar was clearly showing interference between the channels as I transfered some of my stage persona Pippa onto the dancefloor.

Hereford’s colourful nightlife served us well and sets the benchmark for future tour shenanigans. We staggered back to our digs in the small hours and the next thing I know is waking up with a sore head.

The show continues at The Courtyard tonight and moves on to the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton in just over a week.

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