Wednesday, 29 July 2015

In the slaughterhouse. Part one

In the slaughterhouse. Image by Coralline Dupay

In the slaughterhouse the condemned cow began howling like a diseased dog. Instantly, like the extra membrane protecting a lizard’s eye, my inner awareness flicked opened letting me take account of the whining cow and the people watching it. Though this was not how I had rehearsed things, I did not think this is wrong, this should not be happening. I’ve learned over the years that often enough stories invite in elements and ideas that I would never consciously think of introducing into a story. So there I stood in front of an audience impersonating a cow that just happened to think it was a sickened canine.

The two slaughterhouse sequences were central to the telling of my extremely dark story ‘The Last Supper’, which I was telling as part of the Galway Fringe Festival . I had only ever performed a rough truncated version of the story once before, some nine years ago, but it had been rolling around in my head ever since. The fringe gig seemed a perfect opportunity to take it out of my skull, wipe off the clots of gore, and see if it was ready for a proper telling. I announced that for the fringe my usual Celtic Tales session would be devoted to TALES OF TERROR. The Galway Advertiser’s online edition accompanied it’s coverage with a disturbing black and white image. The word was out; there was no turning back.

My rehearsals where few and far between. I’m a full time parent and it is the summer holidays. But on the occasions when the boys where away for a morning I’d tell the story to my empty living room. Other days I’d just get up at five in the morning and speak it over to myself like some weird and twisted prayer. I get to know the story again. Though it takes about forty minutes and a lot of energy to tell the story is in sections, almost like separate chapters, which made it easier to engage with. However ten days before the show, my rehearsals had to come to a halt.

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