We are in a deserted street in the north of England. Aligned, the red brick houses all look alike. Still Life motionless and silent, everything was devastated by an earthquake. Deserted homes that are only now places of desolation. It is the end of the day. It is 6p.m The rescue dig stops tonight after several weeks of searching. Tomorrow the bulldozers arrive to clear away the rubble. A woman stands alone and watches. Her name is Mary Brown. A voice calls out » It’s official the search is over. Madame you have to leave, you must go home »
Mary Brown crosses the security zone and climbs onto the rubble. And indeed she returns home after 23 years of absence. Her home was here. She lived here, next to Kathleen Doyle, her neighbour, her friend. Kathleen has disappeared and has left no trace in the ruins. She has not been found. This is not the first seisme that the two women have experienced. Everything crumbled 23 years ago. Mary Brown slammed the door shut, closing the friendship between her and her neighbour Kathleen Doyle. We discover the drama through Mary Brown’s eyes. Kathleen, prisoner in the ruins is unaware that she is living the last hours of her confinement. Her friend, who is not far away, will dig and search in the the rubble of her own life in order to find her.
With Mary Brown, I want to go deal with two areas. First of all, my work’s theme, it’s a light motive that has been running through my work since 2006 and secondly I want to deal with the artistic form. With regards to the theme; I want to deepen and bring to conclusion the stories I tell with my Liverpool voice! This show will be the third in a Trilogy. It started with ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and then came ‘Through the Looking Glass’ on themes of Resilience and Dandelion Children and we finish with ‘Mary Brown’, the theme of reconciliation.
And with regards to the second area; it is what will give the show its form; working images in shadow theatre.
For more than ten years Shadow Theatre has fascinated me. In ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in 2006 I began to mix Shadow Theatre and Object Theatre. I am fascinated by the transformation of simple objects when put in the right light they turn into something quite marvellous as shadows.
The neighbourhood where I was born is destined to be demolished. It is imminent. I’m going home to tell this story; I revisit my neighbourhood one last time before the bulldozers arrive. We are in a deserted street in the north of England. Aligned, the red brick houses all look alike.
It is in the suburbs of Liverpool, in the 80s. Margaret Thatcher’s political policy is ravaging the country, Elvis Costello is on the Radio, the miners are on strike, and they fight for their right to work. It is the beginning of the end…
Mary Brown is mentioned twice during the show ‘36ème Dessous’ released in 2011. To situate where we are: In this show I tell the story of a woman who takes refuge under her kitchen table during an earthquake. She has been there quite some time now and lives in what remains of her kitchen. She is waiting. She revisits her memories and her life and we discover she has a friend, Mary Brown, with whom she hasn’t spoken for 23 years.
This short form (just 30 minutes) has been a great springboard for the new creation. I used it as a starting point for research and development. The most interesting theme that came out was the one about the neighbour, Mary Brown and that’s how the idea came up.
The two shows are a diptych whose protagonists are united by a strong bond.
For this new creation I wanted to stay with the same event, the same place – the earthquake and rubble – but this time the story is told from a different point of view.
This time we see the tragedy through the eyes of Mary Brown outside the building, who searches, seek and digs in the debris of her life.
This is not the first earthquake that the two women have experienced. Everything fell apart 23 years ago. Mary Brown slammed the door, closing the friendship between her and her neighbour Kathleen Doyle.
Kathleen, prisoner in the ruins is unaware that she is living the last hours of her confinement. Her friend, who is not far away, will dig and search in the rubble of her own life in order to find her.
I want to dig deeper into the themes of projections and the destructive effects of gossip.
The survivors of which like so many people of our times are lonely, isolated. Is it possible to go from survival mode to that of living fully? From isolation and confinement in an opening.
Is it possible to build bridges and dig tunnels between the past and the present to bring about reconciliation? After ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’, ‘Mary Brown’ marks the beginning of the journey home and reconciliation with my hometown and my past.
I was deeply touched by the work of Andrée Chedid in her book ‘L’Autre’ – The Other. She inspired me greatly in the development of writing ‘Mary Brown’.
A show suitable for 13 years and up wards
Acting – shadow theatre – object theatre
Performance length – 55 minutes
Written and directed by : Colette Garrigan
Performed by : Colette Garrigan & Laura Muller
Music : Patrick Morton
Sound universe : Fabrice Bisson & Guillaume Doussaud
Acting direction : Jean-Louis Heckel
Manipulation – Object theatre : Sean Myatt
Lighting : Jérôme Houles / Olivier Bourguignon
Sound technician : Antoine Quotient
Set builder : Sylvain Diamand
Photos : Virginie Meigné & Anthony Ceccarelli
Audience capacity: 120 to 180 people
Stage space: 7m x 7m – Height 3,5m
Total blackout required.