Sunday 22 March 2015

Don't dot shop - flash theatre in the High Street.

Wells Trading Local Festival was like molten blobs of creativity dropping on a small cathedral city and bursting in random places. Where they fell, Saturday shopping world was suspended. A dozen shops became flash theatres. In the corner of a practical commercial space: a supermarket, a school uniform shop, art bloomed. Something happens when a group of people suspend reality together. The audience, crammed between aisles and islands of folded jumpers or kitchenware, hushed rapidly. There was breath-holding and laughter, and at two of the shows, sniffing and eye-dabbing.

The monologue is a great form for immediate intimacy. It is like opening a door in the forehead of a stranger and peering in. There is confiding, vulnerability and revelation. It is an encouragement to wider empathy and greater attention to others in life as well as art.

As one of the writers and a member of the audience I won't see the city and its shops in the same way again. It's now a map of little theatres in my head. The empty stage holds an imprint of magic even when the players have gone.

Move your body not your finger. Don't dot shop. Use your local shops, have conversations, meet real people. You can't do it on Amazon.

Sod got into my phone and drained my battery just as I was about to film my piece, so picture this: Actor David Reakes (like Benedict Cumberbatch but more talented) opened his jacket to reveal a satin ruffled shirt and in the back of a clothes shop he became Prince Steve. You can read the script here.

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                    For more about the fabulous Show of Strength Theatre


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