Ballads, Trifles and Further Curious Suitcases is my one woman show.
It is suitable for performance in theatres, bookshops,
festivals, museums, in living rooms, at soirées , odd
buildings and even outside... pretty much anywhere. It is a labour of sweat and love... In this musical performance lasting about an hour what can
you expect? Drum Roll..... Well fear not ... It is not JUST Rocket Science! There are Stories, filled with odd characters and happenings. The stories are turned into songs with rhyming lyrics. Dare I say they are sung beautifully and the music is live. There are lots of blues and jazzy influences in the music. These story songs are linked together with: short readings;
instrumental music; a little spoken word; sounds and anumber of props. oh yes... and of course as I promised earlier you get a Rocket and Science Too!
The Ballads and Trifles
Some of the stories arise out of the question ‘what would happen if...’ For example, I was sitting in Costa’s on The Cowley Road drinking my coffee.
As I listened to the snatches of conversation, it struck me that they were all
stories. What happened to all of those stories in all of the coffee shops?
In a strange way the coffee shop seemed more like a house of stories than a
In my imagination, once the people had left, the stories stayed behind.
What if there was an invisible library and all of these stories were collected by
the waiter to be stored in the library? And what if a bored couple came into the
coffee house? What would happen next? In an instant the song,
The House of Coffee was born. At times, the boundary between fantasy and reality becomes blurred evenfurther
and fantasy spills out into the real world. This 'happened' with the song Origami. What happens when a Siren is looking for true love?
I wrote a story about a beautiful Siren, who is tired of heroes.
Heroes always want something from her kind, something like a trophy or a victory.
So she goes on a quest to find a nice guy.
After much searching, she comes across a lonely man.
She is captivated and entranced by him, she cannot resist.
He is an innocent, a simpleton who spends his days folding scraps into origami
creatures. Origami is what he loves to do and so he gets on with it.
Eventually, his house is filled with dragons, spiders, cranes, flowers and so on.
They cover his walls and furniture.
The Siren loves his innocence and lack of guile and they live happily ever after.
How would one go about turning this story into a song? In order to achieve that, a bit of fantasy had to fall into reality.
That bit was origami. Actually, origami created all of the songs in the show.
I folded this story along the lines of verse and rhyme and word play and chorus
and made the lyrics.
Then folded again along melody and harmony and it became a musical creature.
Like the simpleton,
it is what I love to do and so I did it with another story and another story and
soon my house was filled with musical offerings. They cover every wall.
I have gathered some of these musical creatures and they form the basis of this
show.The songs cover the normal range of emotions: love; loss; jealousy; greed;
deceit and so on. Some of the songs are based on historical facts and others on
places. Two songs come to mind here. A blues about The Beat Poets and the song,
'Far From Common Place'. The latter being a single camera shot sweep through
The History of Science Museum and then out into Oxford city.
(A style similar to the film 'Russian Ark'). The songs have large influences from jazz and blues and some spoken word and
This is a play on two ideas. Portability and a Cabinet of Curiosities In my great quest for portability, my show packs into a number of portable
All kinds of things are unpacked before and during the show...
props and keyboards...and origami dragons.Cabinet of Curiosities.
A Cabinet of Curiosity (also known as Kunstkabinett, Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms)
"The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater.
The Kunstkammer conveyed symbolically the patron's control of the world through its indoor, microscopic reproduction." according to Francesaco Fiorani, reviewing Bredecamp 1995 in Renaissance Quarterly 51.1 (Spring 1998:268-270) p 268
Stories are like that too... and these stories, these songs are my own portable
cabinet of wonder... 'Curiouser and Curiouser'... says Alice