The Commercial Traveller
We had a great deal of lovely feedback about ‘Macbyrd’. We know you love the birds as you did the animals in ‘Gentle Harry’s Farm’, or the dog in ‘Five get Famous’. When it comes to writing a new play that thought, that you liked this or that, dominates my mind, and there is always the temptation to do something similar again. But we have found that people like different things and by going again with the previous loudest response, if you know what I mean, doesn’t allow for what other people have liked. In the end the only way forward is to write about what inspires me personally at any one point – and writing stories is what I love doing.
So…! This one will be different. It is based on a 400 year old scenario from the commedia dell’arte which was originally called ‘The Fake Husband’. Will it be a piece of commedia dell’arte? Well, while we are always massively influenced by the tradition we never feel bound by it, even though I go back to it over and over again to remind myself about theatrical first principles. Theatre isn’t for us an archaeological exercise, however. We take a script into the rehearsal room and see what happens – and it will take us where it will. Lots of people think they know what commedia dell’arte was and might say, ‘This isn’t commedia dell’arte.’ But who cares! The play will be what it is.
It is therefore, we think, a very strong story, but hard edged with a feeling of February about it, a slow flowing Thames, cobbled streets and mists of 1920’s London. Dark deeds hidden away. A complicated lock of rusty cogs and levers that will gradually be oiled until the key eventually turns in the final few minutes of the play – when the Spring blossom on the cherry trees comes into bloom. It is a complicated plot, but Albert, the butler, will be there as narrator explaining the twists and turns, so you’ll follow it alright. We are getting excited, especially as the casting has now fallen into place; I hope you will be excited, too.