Dad and I are back after a grueling lot of trains and buses to get to-and-from Birmingham for Pilot Night No. 15 (curated by Talking Birds) at the Custard Factory.
Sometimes it looked improbable - Dad had a very bad cough and had had two mainly sleepless night prior to the gig. I was thinking of calling it off but he insisted that it would be alright on the night and, I think its fair to say, he was right. He didn't cough once throughout the whole show (!) and was indeed on good form. His dance was probably the best it had been and most of his lines got big laughs from the audience, who seemed like a kindly and generous bunch. We got lots of people coming and saying nice things so all in all it was pretty rewarding. It was tiring though, and I found it a hard one to perform on that particular night. But Dad's can-do attitude impresses me continually. Mum said: "well, he always liked showing off", and I think now that its my job to give him opportunities to show off in ways that an audience can take heart from. I think we did that last night.
The Bristol-based performer Edward Rapley wrote a little post about us on his blog, which I quote in full:
Kings of England presented Where We Live & What We Live For, they are Simon (imagine Simon Munnery crossed with a razor blade) and his engaging father Peter. Very much in the tradition of live art performance, this direct and contemplative piece was my kind of work. I really did like it, but was that little bit that prevented me from really feeling like I got it, the world they created didn't include me.In response I consider that the concept of family is inherently exclusive, in some ways, and with your family is a bit like showing a stranger your slides from your holiday, but I think that the exclusivity isn't wholly negative, although we can't be complacent about what we've made and probably need to re-think the points between particularity and generality. As a maker I would agree with Rapley in that I don't really get it all, but don't expect to. But there are a lot of intuitive decision-making which is a largely unexamined at this point (strange perhaps since I consider this a research project). More on this after some thinking.
Photos of The Show:
Dad's Big Dance.
Dad on the Bike.
In the Aeroplane Over The Sea.
...Talk About A Clear Blue Sea
Response to Applause
Photos of our Journey and Waiting:
Instructions for Wooden Bike Construction
Dad dismantling the bike, very early morning 18.12.08
Sandwich time for Dad, train: Stockport to Birmingham (mum made these - Tuna Mayonaisse)
Sandwich Foil and Clingfilm
Typical view-from-the-train from my camera
Bored Shitless in the dressing room, several hours before the show
Dad reading Birmingham Post or whatever the local rag is called, The Kitchen, Custard Factory, 6.15PM, 18.12.08
Pilot Night had a profesh stills photographer so we should be in receipt of some nice digital pix after Christmas & New Year.
A special mention to my friend from primary school, Jaime Scowcroft, whom I drink with pretty regularly these days and whom, I am sure, is not a theatre / performance enthusiast as such. He drove down from Manchester after work to meet his brother (he lives in Brum) and see the show. And Just after I'd finished the show, he walked through the door to the bar. I couldn't believe I was seeing him, although this is exactly his style. Usually if he wants to go for a beer he texts me saying at 8.15 with: "Beer 8.30" or "we're in the pub, you coming?" A shame he missed the show but it is, indeed, the thought that counts. It was good to see him and the effort he made to come and see it is a compliment so thanks Jay. King of England.
Lastly, I should say that my personal highlight of Pilot Night 15 was Peter Fletcher's lecture "On Reflections on the Counting of Sneezes" was very very good, so if you ever get the chance to go and see him, do. A great writer, calm and understated performer, great piece.