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The Living and the Dead

The Necromancer (Ulysses Black) and Little Jimmy (Annie Brooks). Photography by christophersims.com

During the summer of 2010 Jack Stigner and Ulysses Black conspired to create a new FoulPlay Production. An ostensibly humorous show with a disturbing undertone. The resultant show was a site specific work based in five different areas of the Exmouth Market Misson Rooms.
   As its primary inspiration the show took ideas from the camp end of 70s and 80s horror cinema, including where possible those cliches that either play on deep fears or have since become so desensitised as to be laughable.
    The audience would be divided into smaller groups each encountering a different area in sequence. However, no groups ever saw the same thing in an area, meaning that different groups gradually revealed different elements of the underlying narrative. As is typical of FoulPlay shows the actions undertaken by the audience has consequences in the subsequent show, and directly affects the nature of subsequent performances with different audiences.
   Although unseen in totality by any one audience member, the show describes a disfunctional household of two brothers, a crazed black magician (Ulysses Black) and a mad scientist (Merry Colchester), an infirm and frail son 'Little Jimmy', (Annie Brooks) and the psychopathic spectral clown that haunts Little Jimmy (Jack Stigner). The obligatory decrepit Butler (performed by Liability Eden) also fulfils the occasional 'halloween story teller'. In addition to this we had a select cast of housemaids/cinema ushers (including Han Nicholls) 
   The show included audience groups:
   Seance: Using a custom made Oui-ja board, within a context of the debate for its authenticity. Video cassette films which allude or trigger live events.
   Necromantic summoning in the kitchen (By Ulysses Black and Annie Brooks)
   Medical procedures (in which an audience member assists in the increasingly dubious restraining of another audience member).
   Execution: an audience member shoots another audience member in the head.   
   Halloween Tale of Horror that included the unforgettable lines "My innards forcefully prolapsed like aborted sausages..."

Following the vein of all FoulPlay Productions, this show combined both the exacting 'FoulPlay Method' for constructing immersive theatre, and drew on and developed themes established in previous FoulPlay Shows. The most notable motif was -again- the presence of the Four Horsemen. In this incarnation the Four Horsemen were the four characters of the two brothers, the spectral clown and the immortal butler. As with Epoch two of these horsemen were brothers, and it was through these four figures that the audience is ultimately allowed (or led?) to bring about their own demise...

As a Halloween piece, the show ends at the stroke of midnight with an invocation of the devil performed by Ulysses Black, this in turn culminates explosively in a full cast choreographed dance and the revealing of a celebratory bar... The devil knows how to throw a party... 

Ulysses Black co-wrote, performed and designed printed material and props for this production

Custom made oui-ja board for use by the audience within the FoulPlay Production 'The Living and the Dead'. Featuring the four unchained horsemen and the FoulPlay Chicken logo. Designed and manufactured by Ulysses Black

Oct 29th-30th (four shows)
The Misson Rooms
London
2010

Flyer / Poster for FoulPlay halloween special 'The Living and the Dead'. Design by Ulysses Black

Little Jimmy (Annie Brooks) and his invisible stalker, The Clown (Jack Stigner). Photography by Christopher Simms.

Part of the Salt Box props made for the show by Ulysses Black. As with all FoulPlay Productions information is conveyed through detail. Other parts of the box contained qr codes that led to web pages containing more information for the inquistive.

Little Jimmy helping the cook. Photography by Christopher Simms

The FoulPlayers of the Living and the Dead 2010. Photograpjhy by christophersims.com

All words and images on www.ulyssesblack.com copyright 2014.