Sometimes you find yourself working on a show that becomes legendary. Possibly not at the time…
Missouri Williams had a vision – ‘King Lear’ performed by sheep… She came to Vauxhall City Farm with her director, Alasdair Saksena, they cast the sheep, they rehearsed the sheep, they costumed the sheep, they booked the venue (The Courtyard Theatre in Hackney, https://www.thecourtyard.org.uk/) for five nights in August, 2015. I tech’d, drove a horse-box full of sheep from Vauxhall to Hackney, marshalled the sheep up a ramp into their green-room/ backstage pen, attended to their sheepy needs, waited for their cue, helped them onstage through a big red drape, kept an eye out for escapes, and then enjoyed Snowdrop’s death scene as Cordelia – if you tilt a sheep’s chin up, it goes very still. If it’s a lamb on your lap, it goes quite floppy. Night after night, sheep-induced giggles turned into gasps of dismay, as the audience struggled with the possibility of an acting sheep actually dying in character. But no, she was fine. Then mopping up copious amounts of sheep-wee, carefully dammed-off from the audience (health & safety 101) and scooping up tonnes of sheep-poo, guiding the cast down the ramp into the horse-box, chauffeuring them back to V. C. F. and putting them to bed. Theatre? There’s never a dull moment. And now, five years later, it’s a legendary production. Who’d a thunk?
I read drama at Hull University in the 70s. I spent eight years as a Community Arts worker in Tower Hamlets, and doing occasional tech jobs, then I taught in East London and participated in shed-loads of community theatre till I retired in 2016. I'm currently reading for an MA in 'Theatre' at the University of Surrey (Guildford School of Acting). Now I go to shows. Lots of shows. And write about them.
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