Forever In Your Debt: homes and away

25Feb10

This week saw a homecoming for Foursight Theatre Co. with the ‘Forever In Your Debt’ cavalcade screeching into the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – always a welcome addition to the touring itinerary. As I write this, I realise that my very first visit to the Arena was 20 years ago this month (with glory what glory‘s highly physical, retro-futurist Inertia Real – a collection of  ideas anticipating Millennium fever, set in a space capsule) Director Kevin O’Sullivan is still at the helm and hardly changed from my first memory of him. The Arena is a great example of a venue prepared to take risks on young companies and it boasts a busy programme of work that is sadly lacking from many other venues in these challenging times. Another of the exciting characteristics of the Arena is that you can pretty much guarantee some genuine diversity in the audience: Age (an impressively attentive yr.10 schoolgroup yesterday), Ethnicity, Class and … Sexual orientation ? This last one not so easy to identify by sight, perhaps, but as it happens the venue was also playing host to an LGBT conference (LesGayBiTransgender) on tuesday and I suddenly got nervous that my rendering of Pippa would be under extra scrutiny during the  post-show Q & A session.

Performances have relaxed considerably and the show is in much better shape, thanks to more rehearsal and tweakings of the script. Some elements of the piece remain open to interpretation but feel less problematic to the narrative. Hopefully less problematic for co-director Kate Hale’s parents too – who had no idea there was a Man-person on stage until they read their programme on the way home.

Next week there is a second homecoming – this time for co-collaborators Talking Birds – as we land in Coventry for the Warwick Arts Centre dates. Wednesday is Press night and there is hope that the great and the good will be winging their way up from London town.

In the meantime, though, the Birds’ Nick and myself will be heading to Queen’s Uni, Belfast for a weekend’s Adventure in Interdisciplinarity. This will be our second visit, following a similar weekend of site-sensitive enquiry in the empty Crumlin Rd. Gaol back in October 2008. This time, with the working title Shelf Life, we’ll have the opportunity to interrogate the abandoned spaces of the Old Library Building at QUB. In two days with a dozen postgraduate we’ll create a performance piece which draws on their creative daring, as the students interpret the unique dynamic of the space. I’ve no idea what or how it will happen; therein the excitement lies.

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