The Premier of CRY, BLUEBERRY Written & Performed by Richard Canal
Directed by George Goodell
Hosted by The Cockpit as part of the 2017 Camden Fringe
Welcome to a place where nothing sounds but the clinks and tinkles of one's memories. The scene is replete with wooden crates and a cornucopia of colourful liquor bottles. In the middle of this disorder, like a scarecrow, emerges a tree left blackened by lightning long ago; naked, vulnerable, caught frozen as if blighted by midwinter. This is a secretive, undiscovered place, where one's nose is warmed by that earthiness found only by the Mississippi. Curiously, under the tree's dead canopy, is a dressing-room mirror from Broadway's backstages. Distant and muffled, there is applause and laughter, clacking feet and happy ballads: the heartbeat of the 1920s; the music of vaudeville. Such joy is some other-where, some other-when; the tree marks this ground a haunted one.
A clown enters the scene. It is Blueberry, a Mississippian performing on vaudevillian Broadway. Wrestling with bipolar and past trauma amidst the Roaring Twenties' sudden plummet into the Great Depression, he frequently flees from his pain not only into performance, but also into sex. His increasingly addictive escapes have finally lost him his partner and now his employment. He enters his dressing-room for the last time; and as he sheds his painted mask, hanging each bottle on his tree, he wrestles with his sorrows, guilts, and memories – either to his life's continuance, or conclusion.
But Cry, Blueberry is not a tale of gloom and woe. Blueberry is a trumpeter of life, whose laughter flies above storms and tears; and this magical-realist play, taking us on a heartfelt journey through the United States' first three decades into the twentieth century – through saloons, towns, cities, brothels, circuses, churches, synagogues, theatres, and more – presents a poetic, enchanting perspective on gladness, sadness, and everything in between.
£6.50Concessions [Students, Under-16s, Equity Members, Above-60s, Retirees, Persons with Unemployment and/or Disability Support, Veterans]:
The audience will be invited to give discretionary donations after the show,
100% of which will be forwarded to Bipolar UK.
[Independently from both the Cockpit and the Camden Fringe.]