Thursday 19th July 2012
KEEP forgetting to ask my older daughter what age she was when we did that All God’s Children play together. Nine or ten? I’ll get back to you when she and I have had a chance to catch up.
Been thinking a lot about both girls recently while attempting to edit Hamlet for a summer school next week. My younger daughter will co-direct and choreograph. I’m very excited about it: the third time this year we’ve worked on a project together.
Initially she asked to me to contribute verses for a devised piece call The Barefaced Night, adapted from a traditional folk tale, in which a girl finds love, faces choices, and becomes a woman. I started with:
And thus begins Fayra, wild daughter child
Of noble king of noblest lineage
In stately court with regal comforts raised
In mannered speech and measured step full-schooled
By solemn fealty to her father ruled
Yet oft she peers beyond those cold stone walls
Defending all within from all without
Though strong may be the strong-hold of its keep
Through Fayra’s blood now burns a fiercer fire
To flee, to feel the freedom of desire
Fayra falls in love with a bear: a man under a curse, of course. When asked to script the ensuing exchange between father and daughter, I was relieved to be told that something light-hearted was called for. Any resemblance between Fayra’s relationship with her father and ours is entirely coincidental:
Father, are you there?
Sleeping in your chair?
Should I comb your hair?
Father, I declare
your wisdom is rare
and your judgement fair
For you are, I swear
The best anywhere
No one can compare
Father, don’t despair
And please don’t glare
Or give me that stare
But please have a care
Heed what I must share
And grant this, my prayer
I met him out there
We’re both self-aware
We’ll make a good pair
So tell me, full square
Well… what should I wear
To marry a bear!
But the tale soon becomes serious and sinister: Fayra must undertake a perilous journey in pursuit of her lover.
Ah, the pull of the iambic pentameter! Took me weeks to write, mind.