Christmas Tomfoolery – Patrick Barlow’s “The Messiah”

Christmas Tomfoolery – Patrick Barlow’s “The Messiah”

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December is always a busy time and this year was no different. I had the great fortune to participate in a play this past December. It’s called “The Messiah.” Now, those of you who are familiar with Händel’s “Messiah” may be disappointed to learn that this is no Händel’s “Messiah.” It is a British satire written by actor and playwright, Patrick Barlow.

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Patrick Barlow

The play is about a playwright, Desmond Dingle, who has written his personal magnum opus. The play encompasses two characters (Desmond Dingle and Raymond Box) who will re-enact the entire story of Christ’s birth. If you think that’s not possible to have two people re-enact the story of Christ’s birth then you would be right. That’s when the hilarity ensues. My character is that of an opera singer who responds to an advertisement posted by the playwright in the local neighborhood paper. As she’s the only one to have responded, she’s hired on the spot. Her job is to sing highlights from Händel’s “Messiah.” And, off we go…

The play requires little set and few costumes and is ideal in a smaller and intimate space. This theatre in the middle of the University of Basel fits the bill perfectly. It is done in a panto-type style in which the audience also participates in the show. The “play” never seems to get off the ground properly between Raymond’s inexperienced acting and Desmond’s self-important direction. In spite of it all, they soldier on.

Mrs. Flowers in the first act. She’s not aware that tonight’s ‘rehearsal’ is     actually a performance. Oops!

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It’s the 2nd act and she’s managed to find a dress and pull it together…a little.

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The reenactment of the Roman census.

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Mrs. Flowers assists with the “miming sequence.”

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Mrs. Flowers consoles Raymond with a rendition of “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”

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King Herod played by Joshua Malik.

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The play (within the play) has devolved into chaos and Mrs. Flowers decides to save the day with a ditty from “South Pacific.”

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She, too, is playing all the parts.

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Listening to the silence.

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“The hour is come!”

It was a blast and it looks like it will be a yearly tradition. We look forward to doing it again next year and touring it around Switzerland. My cast mates, Jorian Pawlowsky and Joshua Malik were a lot of fun to work with.

Till next year!

TNS

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