Moonfleece – Philip Ridley

moonfleeceProfessional world premiere at Rich Mix in London, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Original Cast:

Link (15-year-old boy)              Reece Noi
Tommy (18-year-old boy)          Bradley Taylor
Gavin (17-year-old boy)            Ashley George
Curtis (18-year-old boy)            Sean Verey
Alex (18-year-old girl)                Krupa Pattani
Jez (17-year-old boy)                David Ames
Sarah (17-year-old girl)             Emily Plumtree
Nina (20-year-old woman)        Sian Robins-Grace
Zak (22-year-old man)               Beru Tessema
Wayne (21-year-old man)          Reeda Harris
Stacey (20-year-old woman)     Alicia Davies

Director:  David Mercatali
Set and Lighting Design:  William Reynolds
Costume Design:
  Ellan Parry
Sound Design:   Ed Borgnis
Stage Manager:  Heather Doole

Publication:  Ridley, Philip. Moonfleece. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 M66 2010.

Setting:  A derelict council flat on the top floor of a tower block in East London; the present.

Language:  Contemporary

NINA

Listen, sweetie! I’ve just made my way up an Everest of Dog Turds to get here. I did that because I thought you wanted a séance.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Curtis, a young right-wing, British National Party (BNP) activist, arranges a séance because he has been seeing the ghost of his brother, Jason, who supposedly died while exploring the Colombian jungle.  The political meets the personal as Curtis confronts the truth about what really happened to his brother and why.  Not everything in the play works:  some of the characters feel superfluous and you question whether such a group of people would ever interact with one another given the extremes they inhabit on the social-political spectrum.  Since Moonfleece was written for young theatre practitioners and theatergoers, there are many parts for college age actors.  A production of the play in the West Midlands was banned after it was scheduled to run because some felt that the play’s themes of homophobia, fascism and the BNP were not “suitable for a community setting”.

 

 

Representative Monologues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.19-20:  Curtis explains to Link why the derelict flat will always be his place, even if Link currently squats there. Long monologue.

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.23-24:  Alex tells Curtis the reason Sarah stopped talking to him was because they saw him at a fascist rally.

ALEX

No reason? You want the full essay or just the bullet points? You lied! You’re full of hate! You preach hate! Your views stink! You’re a pig! You’ll breed pigs! You want me to carry on? [Lines cut] Then what happens? A family day out with smiley grannies and toddlers chanting, ‘England for the white!’ I was standing next to her when she heard you speak. Her world fell apart.

p.85-86:  Stacey talks about the troubles she encountered trying to bury her sausage dog, Banger, and how Curtis’ stepfather, Mr. Avalon, came to her aid. Long monologue.

STACEY

It’s like when my sausage dog died. I loved that sausage dog. Banger its name was. And one day I looked in its little basket and Banger was as stiff as a board. I cried and cried. Dad wasn’t much help. He said we should use it as a draught excluder. I got no sympathy at all. [Lines cut] And that’s when this man comes out the shop next door. A white man! This man pays the lovely Pakistani gentleman the money I owe him and takes me into his own shop. And who’s answering the phone? Wayne. Cos the man who paid for my drink was none other than Mr. Avalon. So you see, sweetheart, if it weren’t for my dead Banger I’d never have met Wayne.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  This play has a lot of characters and no scene breaks but there are a few sections of the play where only two people interact that could be done as a scene.

p. 17-20:  Link questions Curtis about his family after learning that Curtis and his family used to live in the flat Link now squats in with Zak.  Starts with

LINK

So … why’s ex-girlfriend Sarah coming here?

and ends with

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.74-77:  Zak tells a fractured fairytale about Curtis’ brother, Jason, which exposes the truth about why Jason disappeared and later died.  A long scene. Starts with

ZAK

The King’s death sent the Queen mad. She started to bring wolves into the castle. She cried, ‘My precious wolves. They are all I need.’

and ends with

ZAK

 …’Yes.’

 

 

Select Bibliography of Reviews and Criticism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Allfree, C. (2010, Mar 09). Putting the BNP on stage. The Independent, pp. 14.

Akbar, A. (2010, Mar 30). Banned, the play that took on the BNP; Dudley council accused of caving in to far right after pulling plug on ‘moonfleece’. The Independent, pp. 2.

Blacker, T. (2010, Mar 31). Nobody has the right to be spared offence. The Independent, pp. 38.

Edgar, D. (2010, Apr 10). Comment: Panic and folly: A farce: The ban of moonfleece is the latest example of an ill-founded censorious attitude stalking britain. The Guardian, pp. 36.

Iqbal, N. (2010, Mar 30). Misguided moonfleece ban is an affront to theatre. guardian.co.uk

Marlowe, S. (2010, Mar 05). Moonfleece. The Times, pp. 68.

Martin, D. (2010, Mar 04). Moonfleece. [open access] The Stage.co.uk

Orr. J. (2010, Mar 08). Review:  Moonfleece. [open access] A Younger Theatre.com

Philip ridley jmoves beyond shock tactics in moonfleece. [open access] (2010, Mar 01) metro.co.uk

Taylor, P. (2010, Mar 04). Under the skin of the racists; Theatre moonfleece rich mix, London. Independent Life, pp. 16.

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