Frankenstein
A co-production with Andy Hay’s Bristol Old Vic and Neil Bartlett’s Lyric Hammersmith, this was the chilling tale of one woman, three men and a Bolt from the Blue. It was an immense stage journey into the Frankenstein Myth with nods towards the whole horror genre - movies, comics, and creation myths from The Golem to Terminator. Determined to oust the great Professor Sailcloth’s domination of Frankenstein academia, David G Scrivener travels to Switzerland to uncover the actual Spark of Life, which he is convinced is secreted in a remote churchyard in the mountains. But the diabolic hotelier Count Obladee confounds him every step of the way, until David G finds himself drawn into a hellish parody of the original novel itself, replete with a grotesquely cartoon-like Igor (played by acrobat Jonathan Priest) and the ghastly Monster himself. Here he is forced to use his knowledge of all things Frankensteinian to make The Monster’s Mate. This was the first FF show directed by Andy Hay, now collaborator, director, friend and guide on almost all recent FF shows. The specially commissioned music was by HOMELIFE.
Shelley and Byron discuss poetry.
Excerpts from the show.
Shooting Shakespeare
Commissioned by Bath Theatre Royal for The Bath Shakespeare Festival this was a mystery thriller set in the early years of the Silver Screen. The fledgling movie moguls, desperate to elevate the tone of their upstart art form, enlist the help of the mighty Theatre Impresarios of the day to shoot the first ever Silent Tempest. They set sail onto an ocean of uncontrollable egos, murderous intrigue and cut-throat rivalry in a love affair with the Cinema Kid that all but kills off The Old Queen Theatre. Above all it was about a challenge to make a Silent film version of The Tempest (sound on film was still decades away in the 1890s). We were greatly assisted on this project by film archivist Bryony Dixon from the BFI. Because we used film a lot during this show, the set was simple, pale and designed for light effects projected onto it. For instance there are three islands (flattish rumpled-fabric pointy shapes) these were caught by side light which exaggerated the texture of the wrinkles, this texture then interacted with film projected onto them from in front. At other times film of the islands was projected onto them as they moved giving a sort of ‘transparent’ effect. Because the islands were on wheels they could also be positioned into tight focus as for example when animations were projected onto them from 16mil projectors on the stage – at the same time the whole set was covered with a large image from the digital projector at the back of the audience.
Rough Magyck
Commissioned by the RSC for The Complete Works Festival this was a perambulatory piece which ended up on the main stage of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. “The story-line was inspired by the impending refurbishment of the RST, which would take place after the Festival. We came up with the idea of a startling discovery of an intricate network of ancient tunnels threading beneath the Theatre. Coinciding with this highly controversial discovery, The Brittonioni Brothers have come to The Complete Works Festival to give a lecture on The Death of Magic and the advent of The Age of Reason connecting Prospero’s abjuration of his Rough Magyck with the renunciation of the old pagan belief systems rife in Shakespeare’s England of the time. And then Prospero’s Book comes shooting out of the sea from where Prospero hurled it 500 years ago…. Straight into the Brittonioni’s hands…. and out of the RSC’s tunnels pour the suppressed Faerie host led by the Great God Pan himself.”
Invisible Bonfires
Funded by a DEFRA Climate Challenge Award Invisible Bonfires took on a cabaret format with the live music elements, automata, puppetry, short films and even a 3D Sequence. On a pan-global Tour of International Climate Change Conferences, the Brittonioni Brothers are chewing on the hot topic of Global Warming. Run entirely by cycle power and hot air, with special guests Mammon and Pan, the show had live music by The Lotus Pedals (Seaming To, Semay Wu, Howard Jacobs, Simon King of Homelife fame along with mixing & projection by The Professor: Mr Robert Storey) The brilliantly Brylcremed Brittonionis zoomed us from Outer Space to the Inner Atom as they explored their subject through such apocalyptic topics as the Evolution of The Carbon Weevil, the Fairy Angel Conundrum and the coming of the new Plastic-ene Era.
2002/04: the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Sadam Hussein captured and after the Invasion of Iraq, the CIA admit there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction.
2005/07: Hurricane Katrina strikes Louisianna and the bank of England bails out Northern Rock.
2008/09: Financial Recession and Barack Obama inaugurated as President.
JUMP TO THE 1970's
JUMP TO THE 1980's
JUMP TO THE 1990's

2000/01: The Millenium Bridge and Tate Modern are opened, Concorde crashes and the Twin Towers are hit by hijacked plane (9/11)

An early sketch for the show
An early piece of research by Chris
An early sketch for a film sequence
2 pages from a Frankenstein brochure
The Independent
The Guardian
Headline of article about "Shooting Shakespeare" in the Independent
The Brittonionis investigate the Tudor tunnels
Dr Brazil tries not to panic the foyer audience
2007. In a form of ‘break’ after 35 years of creating and touring new shows we resurrected and embarked on a second tour of “The Fall of The House of Usherettes”
Music for the show was by Simon King and all the Homelifes and Dominic Scherrer
During this time “Carbon Weevils” Tim’s 2007 Climate Crisis animation, created for “Invisible Bonfires”, led a separate life touring conferences and film festivals. He presented it at The Nobel Laureate Climate Change Symposium at The Science Museum in 2012. The following year it went to Shanghai Expo in the ZED Factory Pavilion in a Mandarin subtitled version. To reflect the billionfold population increase since he first made it, Tim has created a new version for 2019.
Around this time Forkbeard were getting more and more commissions, public and private, for permanent installations, peepshow boxes and interactive sculptures in museums, gardens, visitor centres and nature reserves
'The Cabinet of Curiosities" at Lyme Regis Museum
FF created two shows, both presented in the seaside Marine Theatre, with its dressing rooms hanging over the sea. The first was “Brontosaurus” (based around our 1983 “Brontosaurus Show”; and a couple of years later “All at Sea”, containing Chris’s underwater piece, later resurrected for The Brittonionis at Chagford Film Festival in 2018, first live Forkbeard appearance for 6 years.
The Fossil Festival Lyme Regis
These were three AI robots designed by Penny with Pete Gunstone and Chris Squire. Profoundly insecure, the computer-controlled robots were positioned round the gallery responding to visitors as they passed among them.
The "Paranoids" or "The Insecurity Men" 2009
An early sketch of "The Paranoids"
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Forbeard Collaborators No. 6: Andy Hay
Andy was Artistic Director of The Bristol Old Vic. We were doing “The Fall of The House of Usherettes” in the Studio. He was rather amazed and we all laughed a lot and then he asked us to create a show for his main stage which he offered to direct. We came up with  “Frankenstein: A Truly Monstrous Experiment”, co-produced by us, The Bristol Old Vic and Neil Bartlett at The Lyric Hammersmith. The partnership was perfect and Andy then directed nearly all subsequent shows up to “The Colour of Nonsense” - when we stopped making shows. Andy’s now a very successful TV & Film Director.
Forkbeard Collaborators No. 7: Homelife
Formed in 1998 by Paddy Steer, Anthony Burnside and Simon King. Recruited Rosie Lowdell and Semay Wu, in 1999 Seaming To, Graham Massey, Richard Harrison and 'various' other personel (including Howard Jacobs) throughout a 20 year period. They have recorded six albums and three Eps. Homelife is not a definite entity. It's hard to pin down their sound, how many people are in the band or even which band they are in! Nearly every Homelife track has a different line up. Less of a collective, Homelife is more of a pool of musicians whose talents are marshalled by reluctant foreman Paddy Steer. They have composed and performed for Forkbeard shows "Frankenstein" & "Shooting Shakespeare".
Out of these Homelife collaborations came The Lotus Pedals (Simon King, Semay Wu, Seaming To and Howard Jacobs) specially formed to play live in “Rough Magyck” at the RSC and for the two tours of “Invisible Bonfires” in 2007/8
Paschale Straiton

   


Archive 2000's