a farce (1991)


in loving memory of mama and papa

who were taken from us in that terrible accident

the never-ending wake through which the siblings sit

forever telling tales about the da and ma

about the time it all went wrong

the time they can’t remember when

oh god have mercy on their souls

for they know not what they have done.

BODIES IN FLIGHT’s fourth show is a horror story about the slow death of the family, the glimpsed deaths of a whole lot of things in ways so terrible they can only be imagined. Combining original score with new text and choreography, this piece is pure nostalgia, a family romp through detritus of the comfortable home – photo-albums, teatimes, abuse, Sundays. This is what happens when you play mummies and daddies for real.

This work was the first to focus explicitly on what we called “everydayness”, something to which everyone could relate and invest in emotionally and intellectually – here the family. Based on a TV documentary which told the lives of twin sisters trapped in an almost psychotic routine of domestic work in the home of their deceased parents, we labelled the show “a farce” and explored the grim edge between earthy comedy and chilling Freudian nightmares, children’s games and adult’s desires.

CHRISTOPHER AUSTIN composer, LUCY BALDWYN costume designer/performer, JON CARNALL performer, SARA GIDDENS choreographer, SIMON JONES director, BRIDGET MAZZEY set designer, SIMON PEGG performer, KATHERINE PORTER performer, BARNEY POWER performer, CHARLOTTE WATKINS costume designer/performer

Music performed by: ROBERT LAMB flute/alto flute/piccolo, JACKIE PAWSEY oboe, ELIZABETH PURNELL trombone, JOHN CORNICK trombone, JOSEPH COOPER percussion, CHARLES STRATFORD percussion, RICHARD TOWERS piano, RICHARD WADE violin, LISA ISTED violin, JANE SAMUEL violin, KATE THOMAS viola, EMMELINE BREWER cello, MARGARET WILLS double bass, CHRISTOPHER AUSTIN conductor

With: CAMERON EVERLIZE photography, DAVID JONES set builder, JUSTIN O’SHAUGNESSY stage manager

Performed at: Battersea Arts Centre (London), Wickham Theatre (Bristol), Now Festival (The Powerhouse, Nottingham), Traverse (Edinburgh), Powell Theatre (Sherborne), The Old Bull (Barnet), Bath City College, Cheshire School Dance and Drama, Queens Hall Studio (Widnes), Dovecot (Stockton-on-Tees), Nuffield Theatre (Lancaster)