The fool, the cult and the tower

Perhaps the longest title we had – The fool, the cult and the tower – our RE in 1991. The theme was based on ‘cults’ using the imagery of tarot and circus and a parody of TV evangelists. My favourite bit of the whole design process was the stuffed cats on sticks, which the TV audience waved in adulation (pre-empting an Oprah-style event). The very talented Danielle Baseley (below right with Ram’s horned hat) created much of the imagery for the Principal cast costumes and the sets. She and our production crew (including the legendary Lara and Bell Frolchenko and the wonderful Judy Charnaud) pretty much hand-painted everything in sight. We prided ourselves on the fact our costume budget was about $10 per cast member e.g. Dan painted all the detail on the the fool’s shirt, so it cost next to nothing but was absolutely unique!

We always tried for an atypical ending in these performances – nearly everyone else ended with a huge cast tableau, so we always wanted to be different, and besides, a tableau never suited our content. This one didn’t quite come off – the ending included the fool’s parents bowling (lawn bowls) and painting (a fence) and the TV Evangelist/High Priestess and their crew standing in informal noisy huddles congratulating themselves on the fool’s entry to the tower at the end of the ‘show’. Just another  moment for the audience to think ‘What the …’

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