A play by Matthew Francis from the novel by Charles Dickens
Directed by Phil Newton
The sound of eerie music, a cackling, intoned, untutored singing. And Dr Manette opens the windows. Immediately the sound becomes intense. Figures appear all over. Ghoulish puppets peer over ledges. A great guillotine at the rear of the stage moves forward. Behind it, an Executioner with Defarge, & a Soldier; at its foot Mme Defarge and another woman, knitting. Cries of “Liberty, fraternity, equality”
Defarge (calling out) Condemned by the Tribunal sitting in the First Year of the Republic, the 14th Thermidor, twenty-two enemies of the people. First. Philippe d’ Agray. the former Comte de Montauban.
The hapless aristocrat is dragged to the guillotine, his head forced on to the block, and the execution takes place — to a great cheer and roll of drums. The Executioner lifts the head and shows it.
Wow, and this isn’t even the best bit!
The soundscape will be as cinematographic as we can make it (if you saw The Tempest at the Whit then you’ll know what I mean
The set will be bare and transformed by light and effects into the multiple locales of the play; there will be no ponderous set changes I PROMISE (all ponderous people in the production now firmly on diets.
Puppets, Blood, Swordfighting, All-Girl wrestling as Pross and Madame Dafarge get to grips with each other in a fight to the death.
Oh yes, Love and Sacrifice too (but no kissing, only ponderous people kiss…see above)
Yes, you spotted it, we’ll have to work hard to achieve the ‘untutored singing’, and I can reveal that there is a modicum of drunken dancing too, but as Alan Cremer is not in the cast (YET ) we’ll just have to struggle through with our innate talent.