improvised theatre

January 22, 2006

Another fine week

We have spent a lovely week performing beneath the dreaming spires of the stunning university town of Oxford.


The Moser Theatre in Wadham college played host to a week of shows involving hobbits menaced by giant scorpions, endangered llamas in geriatric homes, dating agencies on the moon and a thoroughly terrifying audience participation in the underpass game.

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I should also mention the fact that we had a techie called Gwyn, who achieved some wonderful things with lights…


...including this quite terrifying image of Andrew Pontzen.

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Of course, anyone can look scary bathed in red light – but look closely and you'l see that, like that scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Andrew's shadow is looking in a different direction to him.


The Moser Theatre prop store…or an exclusive leaked picture from the forthcoming second season of Doctor Who?


Amelia and I found this picture quite funny because it seems to be an instruction to pull men. But perhaps you had to be there.

Oh, and we acquired a door.

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I was staying with family in a place near Oxford called Wantage. My cousin Andrew, previously mentioned on account of being callously dumped during Thursday's show, gave me a guided tour and pointed out a shop that has much in common with the "local shop" in The League of Gentlemen.

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Aside from the suspicion-filled old woman who lurks within, the shelves are filled with Precious Things which, if you peer through the grimy window, make for entertaining viewing. I was disappointed that the box of marathon bars that apparently sat there recently have now gone – but there was a box of maltesers so old that it had turned orange, amongst the collection of random and often unidentifiable items which presumably would have proved difficult to purchase, had I been brave enough to try.

We all got to do a little bit of sightseeing, and on Saturday we went for a long walk to see Oxfordshire’s White Horse.

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Here is a picture of James and Andrew with the White Horse in the background:


I know what you're thinking – where, actually, is the White Horse in that picture? Here’s a clue:


Yes. Disappointingly, it seems that it is not possible to actually view the White Horse, even from the little grassy knoll that appears to have been arranged for that very purpose. Which begs the question, who on earth was the White Horse drawn for? The aircraft of the future who would one day be able to take aerial shots like this one?


You’ll see that, even with the advantage of elevation, there is still an element of disappointment, in that it looks nothing like a horse.

Andrew Ormerod argued that it has a Picasso-like modernity. I disagree. If a human artist of any merit had been involved (perhaps Neil Buchanan, who often does pictures on this scale in children’s programme Art Attack) they would have got the angle right and made it look like a horse. Like this:


No, the actual "white horse" is plainly something else altogether. Anybody who knows their stuff will see that it is a picture of a diplodocus. Which leads me to suspect that it’s actually a lot older than people think; it was drawn by dinosaurs. This explains the basic nature of the picture (dinosaurs are not known for their artistic skills) as well as the great height from which it needs to be viewed – a diplodocus on its hind legs would reach pretty much the right angle from which to see the whole thing satisfactorily.

I’ll finish with a picture of a place we have seen altogether too much of recently: the South Mimms services. Or as we now know it, the bloody South bloody bloody Mimms services.

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Incredibly, it really does look this beautiful at 11pm.

Posted by James Lark at January 22, 2006 05:01 PM