THE CLEANSING OF CONSTANCE BROWN presented by STAN'S CAFE
@ A E Harris, 1st - 19th March, 18.30 & 20.30 (running time 70min)
(no perfs. Sundays or Mondays)
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An hour long theatre show in two halves devised and performed by third year performing arts
students of De Montfort University, based at Melton Mowbray College, under the direction of
Craig Stephens and James Yarker from Stan's Cafe.
Susan Tuesday works in the law courts as a factotum, she hears everything that happens in the precinct. At night she dreams of dead bodies under arc lights, a jury of terrorists, raids by secret police in the night. Susan Tuesday arrives late to work only to find they are hearing her case. She sits mute. Dialogues between figures from her conscience come in and out of focus.
Working in the area of law and conscience as research for Good and True, The Hearing of Susan Tuesday presented an excellent opportunity to play with ideas old and new.
The large stage at Melton Theatre and a cast of sixteen allowed for large scale choreography. Part 1 was a tightly plotted series of scenes and sealed off behind a wall of noise (an idea never fully realised in Ocean of Storms but later delivered in The Cleansing of Constance Brown) within which performers were encouraged to perform in a mode somewhere between the televisual and operatic.
The flow of imagery in this first half was edited by the flying in and out of three curtains; this exuberant use of the theatre's fly tower betrayed the novelty of such technology to us. The second half, which opened with the most dramatically successfully clearing up operation in our long history of messy shows, was very measured in contrast to the first. The device of replacing protagonists in dialogues one at a time whilst keeping the back and forth dynamic, echoed the telephone conversations of Ocean of Storms all be it for a different purpose.
The students responded excellently to what was a challenging series of performance problems and found much of their original material in the final performance of what was, in contrast to the previous year's collaboration with the college, Nightshifting, a tightly directed piece.
Devised and Performed by
Directed by Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Commissioned by De Montfort University: Melton Mowbary