These last months and weeks, really since the last time I was in a polling booth, certainly since Well Thumbed returned to my horizons, I have found myself lost in memories of cultural impedimenta and ephemera. I don’t really know why.
My symptoms: I have been watching old movies that matter to me, seeing my heroes struggle again within totalitarian dystopias: most recently Cabaret and V for Vendetta, soon I know I will turn again to if… & even before the50th birthday hype, I have been listening to my teentime treasure, Sgt. Pepper.
As I said, I don’t know why. These classics have little or nothing to do with the content of Well Thumbed. Perhaps it’s just the 2017 times we live through. The threatening gloom that echoes in our foreshadowed world; a manifest o’twirling liars and their fiddling hoopla convictions.
Obviously this being right up myself is a nostalgic inevitability of the looming and ‘significant’ birthday, combined with re-rehearsals, re-shaping and remaking Well Thumbed for a series of revivified performances, including a month on the Edinburgh Fringe.
I realise too that these sporadic Well Thumbed blogs are more stream of consciousness than puff. Still, what’s a blog for if not self absorption? The rehearsal process for me needs a let-off-steam of consciousness. Besides, who’s listening?
My inward focus sharpened a bit a couple of days back when I semi-completed a questionnaire at artsculture.newsandmediarepublic.org in support of some performances of Well Thumbed at the Barnstaple Fringe Theatre Festival. Now read on…
When we heard Terry Victor’s Well Thumbed was ‘a show, I imagine, that would have Mary Whitehouse spinning in her chastity belt’, […] we put down our Fanny Hill, clipped on our own belt, and pricked up our ears.
‘Well Thumbed is a mischievous and very rude exploration of classic literature, conceived and performed by Terry Victor,’ says the blurb.
Which goes on to described it as ‘a libertine and ribald celebration that contains historically robust language and subject matter. Jane Austen’s dirty bits will be riffled for your pleasure.’
It’s will be playing at the Guildhall during the The Barnstaple Fringe Festival, with the refreshingly egalitarian price of Pay What You Will.
Here are my unedited and unpolished answers.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Terry Victor, an actor who wears other hats – writer, lexicographer, director, storyteller. Actually, one of those might be a badge. I wear lots of badges. I create interesting theatre.
Why do you do what you do?
I have been doing it – whatever it is – for so many years now that, nature or nurture, it is part of my DNA. No choice, I have to make things happen.
How do you work?
I follow a notion, as far as possible, collaboratively. In the case of Well Thumbed, the show I have created and am performing as part of the Barnstaple fringe fest, I am collaborating with dead authors. Is it art? I don’t know.
What has been a seminal experience?
As an actor and deviser, being a part of Punchdrunk’s Masque of the Red Death. It freed me up.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Writing, devising and rehearsing. What I am doing tomorrow
What themes do you pursue?
Freedom of artistic expression, the joys of language and the horrors of war
What’s your scariest experience?
The first time, every time. Sorry, that’s a bit glib. The first proofs of my books terrify me.
What’s your favourite art work?
Sunday on the Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, as interpreted by Stephen Sondheim
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I remember tears and gasps more than laughter.
Should art be funded?
Yes. End of.
What role does arts funding have?
It gives confidence to society.
What makes you angry?
Not getting funding (for the wrong reasons)
What research to you do?
Deep vein. I should stand up more often.
What superpower would you have and why?
The gift of time.
Name something you love, and why.
Slang. It’s democratic art in the mouths of the masses.
Name something you don’t love, and why.
Intolerance. I can barely tolerate it.
What is your dream project?
I am living the dream. It’s my next work (I hope)
Favourite or most inspirational place (in Devon)?
Barnstaple’s Guildhall – I’m looking forward to it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When faced with a questionnaire hide behind the answers.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To continue until I drop.
What wouldn’t you do without?
Breath. And books.
Well Thumbed is on during The Barnstaple Fringe Theatre Festival, at The Guildhall, Thursday 29th June to Sunday 2nd July @ various times. Pay what you will.