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16th, 17th, 18th April 2006
A Modern Mumming Play
A Mumming Play is a form of traditional English theatre that has its roots deep in the ancient pagan traditions of death and rebirth that can be seen in Easter celebrations. Mumming plays usually follow a quite strict format: There is always a narrator (for our Easter play we chose the Green Man, who introduces the hero of the play – in our case St. George). The adversary character then comes in and is almost always some variant of the Turkish Knight. After some duelling St George calls in his lieutenant, the Valiant Soldier called Slasher. The Turkish Knight sees off Slasher, only to be killed by St. George in turn. The Green Man then cries for help, calling for a Doctor, who enters and agrees to heal the dead man – for a price. His price being agreed, the Doctor ministers to the dead man, who is miraculously resurrected.
Mumming plays functioned as a form of ancient propaganda play, with a heroic English character seeing off an evil adversary, who was generally either Turkish or French, depending on whom England was at war with at the time. We have tried to bring this into our Mumming play – ours is a contemporary piece of propaganda, the world as the publicity machine behind the current US government would have us see it. The archetypal characters have been updated to depict characters and stereotypes that a contemporary audience will recognise, while remaining true to the tradition and spirit of the Mumming play.
Director/Script Co-ordinator – Sam Miller
Tamara Gatward (now known as Tamara Lucas)
Two women and one man are talking and drinking in a dirty room above a dirtier pub. Bella and Jenny are up for a good time. Jim can't believe his luck. The drinks are poured, the talk gets dirty, but do they only want him for the stories he can tell?
Paper Flesh was inspired by issues of immigration and commercialisation, but it is also a story about love, guilt, friendship, the stories we tell and the ways we use each other. Stories of unscrupulous lawyers in Hackney, writing accounts of political repression for their refugee clients which were so exaggerated they were almost works of fiction in themselves, inspired the idea of the character who sells stories of all kinds made to order for specific purposes.
Writer – William Drew
Director – Ceyda Erdemli
Paper Flesh is currently in further development