People's Company BLOG
Tuesday 11th July
Written by Barton Williams
The heavens may have come down with showers but this didn't dampen spirits for the passionate People's Company drama session tonight.
Charismatic newcomer Tiberius from Romania took to the People's Company like a duck to water. This was greatly eased by John's introductory activity involving food and the thoughts of chips and gravy!
Enough food mentioning, time to work. The MELODRAMA focused evening then consisted of; a flashback review of the two melodramatic representations captured the week before, where tragedy struck, people died and betrayal was unfolded. Thanks to Constantine for supplying splendid action photographs of the melodramatic scenes last week to use as a visual story board tonight.
Next was the Historical context as John provided the group with some key historical events highlighting the dynamic nature of melodrama in England. John's tailored envelope delivery of the notes, provided yet again, a physical challenge for those that chose to read the context notes. "Man those envelopes are a bugger to open!"
Some common learning points of melodrama were clearly identified, namely;
The final activity for the night saw us set a lead character in times of adversity. They were to be rescued from a promiscuous adult nightspot in London by the would be hero/heroine. Three truly unique and dynamic scenes were created by the People's Company. A mixture of FBI and undercover Police heroes saw an unfortunate new woman experience the underworld of London's "adult red light industry" in what could only be described as hilariously funny and text book melodrama, complete with boo's and hisses from the audience!
A truly dramatic night that was a beautiful blend of history, melodrama, skill acquisition, performance and laughs!
L-R: Erina, Michelle, Miranda and Barton
Ishla, Rachele, Kim, Nina and Mellissa
Eloy, Mina, Carolyn, Shelagh and Tiberious
The groups improvised a contemporary sketch based on a play that was staged at the Britannia in 1868. This starred Marie Henderson, the actress-manageress of the Elephant and Castle, who first became a theatrical star in the East End of London.
The Era, Sunday, May 17, 1868;
London with the contrasts of character and social conditions which are to be found among its millions of inhabitants, affords ample materials from which, guided by newspaper reports, and assisted by a lively imagination, dramatists have frequently derived subjects for animated stage pictures of the greatest novelty and interest. Mr W Travers has drawn from this inexhaustible source the incidents and characters which he has introduced into a drama called THE DARK SIDE OF THE GREAT METROPOLIS, which was performed for the first time on Monday night. In the earliest announcements of it the piece was called LONDON BY NIGHT, but that title has been relinquished, as it had been previously appropriated by another author.
Ellen Morton (Miss M Henderson), a country orphan, comes to London in answer to an advertisement, and according to appointment, meets Armand Sauterre and Madame Bellecoeur at the Angel, at Islington. Richard Grenville, a gentleman resident in London, gets into conversation with the fair young stranger, and fearing that she may come to harm, determines to find out where she is taken to in the cab in which her decoyers convey her away. Bellcoeur’s establishment is supposed to be a place of business, but is in reality a trap in which women are taken and made the victims of the basest of men. Ellen finds a friend here in Scrubby Jemima (Mrs S Lane), who is a servant in the infamous place, and also in Magdalen Margrave who has likewise been entrapped, and by their assistance she manages to escape from Sauterre on the first night of her arrival in the confusion caused by an alarm of burglars being in the house. Magdalen and Ellen start in business as seamstresses, and are living happily together notwithstanding that they are poor, when Sauterre finds them out, and as Ellen refuses to comply with his soliciations, he endeavours to get her apprehended on a charge of theft; but as the pocket-book, which he places in one of the girls’s garments, is secretly returned to his own pocket by Scrubby, that plan fails. Growing desperate, through being thus far foiled, Sauterre shoots Richard Greville a he is walking with Ellen, and carries off the latter to a new low haunt of his. Richard, disguised as a doctor, gets access to Ellen, and her brother Harry, a sailor, directed by Magdelen, with whom he is love, also arrives; but they are both got rid of by being tumbled through traps in the floor. Sauterre now keeps the 3 prisoners till Scrubby comes to the rescue, accompanied by a crowd of helpers, who break open the place, liberate the captives, and haul Sauterre away to prison. A large amount of comic business is worked into the piece, so that it seems like the scenes of a drama and a farce being played alternately. Towards the end of the piece Jeremiah Snip and Timothy Snob open a Theatre, called the Temple of the Drama, and Scrubby is engaged as one of the actresses. This portion of the composition is extremely lively and amusing. Mr J Reynolds had an unthankful task in having to personate the disgusting Sauterre, and the apperance of Miss Coveney in the character of Madame Bellicoeur was far from pleasant to contemplate. Miss Henderson’s acting, which is always good, was in this case all the more striking and gratifying, as she had to depict maidenly purity remaining unsullied in the midst of hateful vice. Mrs Lane, with her hair in curl papers protruding from beneath the large borders of her cap, or in her grotesque costume as the actress, looked an extremely odd specimen of womanhood, and her speech and manner were as eccentric and laughable as her aspect.
Reflecting the views of artists, actors, residents
and participants in
The Melodramatic Elephant in the Haunted Castle.
An art project about the Coronet from 1872-2017.
Final Curtain Call
Directing and acting
Jacko at the Coronet?
Ale and steak pies
This Is Where I Came In
Pollock's Toy Museum
Adventure with the Mayor
Reach for the stars
Ghost of Marie Henderson
Shop till the zombie drops
Faith, Hope and Charity
Singing and sketching
History and legacy
Dark Side of Metropolis
Walworth Street Festival
Interview with Sam Porter
Blood and Thunder
Culture and Capital