For the record, it is not easy to find a venue for even a one-off performance, a week before registration closes for the Brighton Festival Fringe…
Having very successfully staged The Fever at the People Show Studios late last year, and with a shared belief that you can never have too many performances of it, Vera Chok of saltpeter and I spent the last few days hunting down a venue for a performance at the Brighton Festival in May. Suffice to say that this was not easy. However the deed is done, and the saltpeter ensemble will be performing The Fever by Wallace Shawn at 7:30pm, at The Brighton Media Centre Gallery, on May 22nd (how good it feels to type those words).
With only the vaguest ideas at the moment about how the venue (a gallery obviously) will inform the way we stage the piece, I am looking forward to discovering with the ensemble a new way of sharing this important work with another audience. The Fever explores ideas about the world and our emotional responses to it. These are neither extraordinary ideas, nor unusual emotions, they are ones that we all share (to a greater or lesser extent). They are however ideas that are easier to live with if we hide them at the very back of our minds, and emotions that we try to suppress. This is that unusual beast: a piece of drama that takes a long hard look at what it means to be human. Though the aspiration of all artistic endeavour is to be part of a process of sharing ideas about, and our emotional response to, the human condition (I am in danger of breaking into a rant about the needless waste of time and energy that so much of what passes for theatre is – however like Fermat and his solution, there is not enough space in this margin for that), it is always a pleasure to be given the opportunity to work on something that does more than aspire, and actually delivers.
For those who do not know Shawn’s work, I recommend you engage with something of his as soon as possible. His plays are strange, difficult, and very exciting. His other writings are personal, political, and never fail to make me think differently about the world.
Some thoughts from Wallace Shawn can be found in this Huffington Post piece >>>