• 'The Cosmos, The Cosmetics': the tour

    ‘The Cosmos, The Cosmetics’ has been my biggest solo project to date, a culmination of all my previous work. I’ve drawn on my formative experiences as a playwright and my work with some of the most eminent theatre practitioners to structure it, and the performance spurs I’ve earned and polished from the last four years or so working the Spoken Word stages of Britain and beyond to play it. The result is a hybrid of different forms and styles; performance poetry, spoken word art, performance art, storytelling, all pulled together by a dramatic impulse inspired by my fascination with bold, experimental theatre.

    Making the show has been my greatest creative challenge. I took risks in the writing and how I was writing it, but a belief in the story I wanted to tell pulled me through the moments of doubt. The decision to strip back the performance, so that it is about a connection with me and the audience, a journey I take them on that relies principally on the power of spoken words to conjure a world out of nothing, was at first a terrifying one. But as I worked with this more and more it became clear it was the right decision, removing all the things it’s possible to hide behind on stage; multimedia, elaborate sets, lots of prop business, somehow made the essential elements; the flow of the language, the story, my performance, more powerful. However, my fundamental obsession with make-up prevailed, I do slap on and wipe off quite a lot of it during the show, it punctuates the performance throughout as well as lending an aesthetic quality.

    The story is a personal one, it’s honest and intimate. It tells of a journey of discovery, navigated through attempts at breaking into various sub-cultures. I’ve been through them all, from goth to techno-new age raver, I’ve been there and then tried to get a refund on the t-shirt. It veers from poignant to funny- sometimes it’s poignafunny, and has a kick you won’t see coming. But most of all, everyone sees something of themselves in the central struggle to work out where and how to find a place in the world. I opened the show at Brighton Fringe Festival last year and since then it's gone international, with performances including Stockholm Fringe Festival. Next week I bring the show to Ovalhouse in London before taking it back to Brighton and then Oxford. I never feel like it’s just me performing it, the audience is so present in their reactions and in the connection that develops through the show, so I can’t wait to get more of that going.

Nick Field

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