BoldText member Julia Wright writes:
A new year, a new show. As December was engulfed in a frenzy of preparations for Christmas, four BoldText writers were struggling to write about the politics of consumption while rushing towards the annual over-consumption of food and gift buying. But the next production was on January 9th when Christmas and New Year have become a distant memory, so what to write about?
Steve Jackson decided that the common sense thoughts of Ted Pigeon, Caretaker, were what was needed to shed light on the insanity of consumerism. So Ted could comment between the three other plays and give the audience the benefits of Ted’s mature insights on life, or just ramble on while the other actors sorted out their next bits of props and sets. And of course he did brilliantly again.
My play ‘How Much?’ had a young woman ripping into her mother’s plans for a lavish second wedding. ‘Maslow: The Upgrade’ by Liz John looked at the issue of self-esteem ad designer goods, while ‘The Invariant Right’ by Vanessa Oakes showed the perils of getting jobs via the internet, along with the joys of ‘unpacking’ vlogs.
Our two actors, Shannon Anthony and Janice McKenzie worked tireless through the rehearsal day, galvanised by the lively humour and enthusiastic directing of Janice Connolly. Janice conjured up a hotel ballroom, a clothing warehouse and a young woman’s living room for the settings of the plays simply by using a table, two stools and a handful of props.
But how to end it? Consumerism, typified by the excesses of Christmas, provided the answer. The audience were asked to bring unwanted Christmas presents for a present swap. Would they bring anything? Yes! A flood of gifts were brought to the table and Janice compered the redistribution with her customary aplomb. There were some real delights and some real horrors. Some of the audience, despite having just watched the plays, seemed to slip back into consumer hell as they jostled to gain attention and receive the choicest items. But it was great fun. Thanks to our wonderful audience for supporting us and taking such an active part in the whole evening.