The six performers are dressed in different period costumes. They are provisional and ad hoc outfits. The historical period suggested by the costume is loosely adopted by the performers as it might be in a game rather than a play.
Performed by Heather Ackroyd, Brian Lipson, Miranda Payne, Jan Pearson, Joe Staines and Gary Stevens
Design in collaboration with Cornelia Parker
Lighting Beth Hardisty
A ‘Victorian’ couple is disturbed by a ‘Georgian’ couple who ignore them to the extent that at they sit on top of them. What appears to be a seventeenth century artisan shoemaker ignores everybody and interrupts everything. She sets up a table with shoe-lasts and begins to stretch leather, as the others look on. The sixth performer has no period costume and he begins by assisting the others, but as all performers ignore him, he increasingly interferes in their business and sabotages their action. Part of the game is slowly revealed: they can only see their contemporaries or characters from their past.
The stage is used as the site of conflicting interiors from different periods. The performers have their own period furniture, which they bring on with them as part of the action. They often collide with the others and jostle to occupy the same space.
The show creates the effect of an animated ornament. The characters do not have a fully formed psychology. Instead of an unfolding story, the representation itself becomes the source of fascination. Disparate objects are brought together to form a model of the characters. The table-tops become islands where states of mind are played out and externalised.
ICA Theatre, London, 1987; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; ICA Theatre, London; Powerhouse, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham; Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff; South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell; Pegasus Theatre, Oxford; Green Rooms, Manchester; Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal