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Badengood precis for Toga
The Reckoning of Badengood is an Ozfrank Theatre adaptation of a 14th Century popular morality play, Everyman. These plays were the original form of street theatre that were used to enlighten the illiterate peasants of Europe in the moral precepts of the Christian religion. They form a bridge between the classic plays of ancient Greece and the secular plays of writers such as Shakespeare. As such they are an important part of western theatre tradition. They are also the transitional connection between Religious Art and Secular Spiritual Morality. Jacqui chose the play and re-arranged the scenario and John Nobbs rewrote the dialogue so that the audience wouldn't think they were attending an 'old fashioned' performance. The design style is simple; Costumes and props that look ordinary plus the use of the doors and spaces of the Studio as they already are.
It is the story of an ordinary man, who learns the important moral lessons on his life's journey to death. The 'reckoning' is the name for the judgement cast upon a person's soul when, upon his death, his good and bad deeds are weighed to determine whether, in the context of conventional christian morality, he will go to heaven or to hell. The name of the protagonist has been altered from Everyman to Christian Badengood because every man is both bad and good!
Originally conceived as a performance for the Toga Festival August 2009. We were asked by Tadashi Suzuki to formulate a piece for a 'studio' space, which is an Octagonal building with specified doorways and a pronounced timber decor,
We are currently preparing it for filming and director Jacqui Carroll and set designer John Nobbs have devised a fresh setting using a revolving 'bay window'
It is conceived as an entertaining lecture, as those 'morality' plays were meant to be. As currently staged it lasts about one hour. It has minimal music- it is for Jacqui, a complete departure from anything previous.
The cast (in order of appearance):
Messenger: Glenn Johnson
Death: John Nobbs,
God: Glenn Taylor,
Christiane Badengood: James Anderson,
Mates: Glenn Taylor & Benjamin Williams
Sis and Bro: Glenn Johnson & Benjamin Williams
Worldly Goods: Glenn Taylor,
Good Deeds: Kate Lee.
We are using 'ordinary' costumes ( black t-shirts and black pants) with the characters' names printed on the T-shirts.
The costume 'Look':
Messenger:Black cloche hat, white gloves
God: Big red-lined black coat, red sash with GOD written on it; black top hat, tall and fierce, carrying 'Gandolph' stick
Death: top hat with black scarf on it, eye-patch, long floor length back coat and cane
Badengood: baseball hat on wrong way and hoodie jacket (a la beastie boys),
Mates: baseball hats too, plus Aussie beer bottles (they speak with strong oz accents),
Family: Bows and beanies, munching potato crisps -- hip, 'whatever' argot,
Goods: fat suit and bling,
Good Deeds: really skinny small girl with white beanie.
At the Toga Festival we used the shape, colour and dynamic of the Studio Theatre we performed in both frame and pace the show. Jax has constructed the play around the door entrances, with only Death and Badengood occupying the stage space in the play proper. All the others pop out from the doors to deliver, then pop back, each section (person) having its own door space.The particular wall angles and door spaces of the studio create an existential shift between the on-stage and behind. People, hands and objects can suddenly appear and just as suddenly disappear, occasioning mystery and surprise.
There are few props, mostly on castors and clad in timber to match the natural colour of the wooden floor and walls. The main prop is a rolling two faced clock. It is motorised, such that it both rotates and the the two sets of hands rotate in different directions (time racing forward and backwards simultaneously).
Sample of the Text:
We have eschewed the fire and brimstone ending, opting instead for a post Darwinian apotheosis that draws on the spectacular interstellar imagery of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Death: Final Speech
Pilgrim Badengood! The time has come for you to take the penultimate path. Your final transit now sets you inside the Luminous Shimmering Nebula and you are now about to experience your permanence wherein the future manifests as an eternal starlit sky without circumference or centre. First, your inner essence implodes, folding and refolding in on itself in an ever decreasing vortex, devolving down to an atom......when it can go no smaller, it explodes at electron speed, vapourising to a distant dust ..... a supernova remnant to hover suspended, dispersed by a celestial wind inside the transparent spotless sphere. In that moment know yourself and abide in that state.