Friday, August 22, 2014


My article about #flyerfreeday was published over at A Younger Theatre.

Will it take off? My pessimism about human nature says no. But I'm always ready to be surprised.

Stories about Love, Death, and a Rabbit

I've been interested lately in British politeness, especially within the context of Europe, as it seems to me the defining trait of the people on that group of islands. And it also seems to function a particular way, and with a particular (political) outcome. I'll confess that, at least for now, I'm not at all sure what that outcome is. A certain type of power, gained through excuse?

The irony is that within performance, this is something that's seldom examined. Much more popular in UK drama are the kinds of hard-hitting, abrupt violence, site-specific live art or experimental hybrid performance, or design-driven spectacle. 'Manners' is a term distinctly left for comedy.

I don't read Stories about Love, Death and a Rabbit as a comedy. It's funny, yes, if nothing else because of its familiarity, but there's certainly something else motivating the creation of this character. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why the Dame Edna-esque Ms Samantha Mann, alter-ego of performer Charles Adrian Gillott, was created. Was she a mockery of British politeness? A satire on a kind of upper-class cliche that now surely exists only in the imagination? Or was it, as I read it, working towards something darker and more biting, like a terrible, violent underbelly. After all, not every old woman throws in lines like 'I'd better lighten the mood or you'll all go and throw yourselves in front of a bus'.