GE 1997-8 Season 4 Episode 16: Guerilla Theatre
Note: this is not a transcript, but a working draft of the script, so there may be differences in the aired version.
PAUL: The lights, the greasepaint, the songs, the dance, the
social cliques and bemused self-indulgence, these are the aspects
of theatre that disgust me.
In 1970, what did any of us know about theatre ? The only theatre
we knew played movies, or Shakespeare. Until we discovered guerrilla
That struck the fancy of a bunch of disaffected, disillusioned,
self-described revolutionaries. We were not satisfied with anything.
We thought theatre might be a good way of expressing our hippie / socialist
ideals. And not a bad way to meet women, either.
We liked the late nights, the eternal discussions about reality, perception,
soul, life and after-life. The poetry of youth.
But the "stage set" in those days was doing English bedroom farce, or
unintelligible "new Newfoundland plays" by imported Englishmen who couldn't
It was all terribly over played and totally in the mainstream.
Being liberal-minded dope-addled hippies, we wanted more. Or less.
So with only a couple of courses in philosophy under our belts, we sallied
forth under the guise of The November 3rd Revolutionary Council of
Anti-theatrics, or the N Three RCAT, as we called it.
Bill Murphy was one of my buddies who got involved, looking for free dope
and free love. Neither of which, by the way folks, exists.
We wrote and produced several ... works. Our first was "The Occupation
of the Student Complex Lunch Counter and Liberation Therefrom of Several
Sandwiches As Nourishment for Soldiers on the Cultural March." Reviews
were mixed and all charges were dropped when Dad paid for the lot.
A more successful foray into Che territory was our take on "The Mummers",
what had been foisted on an unsuspecting and culturally barren society
as its Christmas tradition.
I shouldn't be telling you, really. What's the statute of limitations on
stuff like this ? Ah, shag it, I've started now.
Chris Brookes's Mummers Troupe had been making a fair buck off the guilty
conscience of the St. John's middle and upper classes.
The Revolutionary Workers Christmas Panto, we dubbed our exercise. It was
Bill's idea, really, but it looked like a natural to us. We posed as
Brookes's Mummers, visiting some of the city's richest mansions. A few
songs, grab some food and a couple of feels, knock back all the wine,
beer and liquor we could, then the Turkish Knight and Old Balls the
horse would find their way upstairs and clear the place out of underwear,
sweaters, leather jackets, and jewelry.
This was also the beginning of our next foray into the theatre world -
a fund-raiser. With the proceeds from the fenced Christmas loot, we
got our hands on some ... Nicaraguan agricultural futures.
No profit was realized on this venture, however. We went on temporary
hiatus and smoked most of our investment. Neither theatre nor Christmas
meant anything to us for a while.
CD Maddy Prior God rest ye merry gentlemen