Phil Smith on Little Blue Man


Dear Carran

I was so glad I came to see your piece in Wootton Fitzpaine

What I really enjoyed about it:

  • The range of different environments, living room, back garden, football pitch, car park, field, village hall, road. The performed content stay mostly in a (familiar) similar ‘voice’, but the shifting of sites meant that that ‘voice’ echoed and resonated differently at the time; as if there was certain trapped quality, but trapped by ever more different things. The sites were always in some kind of tension with the performed personae; at odds with each other – there was never any ease with the grass or the living room or the clothes line. Normal processes were disrupted by a personal life, but that disruption did not resolve. Incongruities forced the spectator all the time to connect the events related and portrayed to new frames of reference – to giant ‘natural’ processes, to the everyday and informal archiving of ordinary things that accumulate in private lives, to exposure of theatre process – different from the one/s they narrated.

  • That in the way of speaking that you captured, and which I recognised (though I haven’t heard it for a few years now)  there is in that ‘grammar’ a kind of doubleness – a non self-aware self-awareness – that in speaking it speaks about itself as it speaks; this had (for me) the effect of invoking a force, a force quite separate from an individual, not (I don’t think) a spiritual or supernatural force, but a force of networks and relations which suddenly takes on independent volition, as if a pure form became a subject. It then feels as if something or some things are speaking through people as they speak. Not that they are puppets, but that there are extra players in the action; structural, ideological, banks of images that recur and recur despite the uniqueness of people. This felt very located in class, but maybe also to do with particular Coventry speech patterns. It felt like this force became revealed/independent during the sharing. Its independence was made stronger by your shifting between personae and situations.
  • How you turned those old ‘social club’ songs into a kind of liturgy, a set of commonly held lyrics that were not at all about what they purported to be; you exposed the secret resonances in the songs, the meanings that are not hidden or concealed by the songs, but the meanings that are ‘to the side’ of the songs – from which they take their power and to which they give warmth and meaning. This process – of to-the-sideness also seemed to apply to the  using of objects, telling of stories.

So, thank you!!! Do let me know if and when you perform it again

Phil Smith

See Phil Smith here

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