Sally O’Reilly’s response to the film ‘Muster’
A pair of columns flank the view of a body of water with land beyond. The wind blows gently and boats can be seen bobbing about. The sky is clear and all seems calm.
(shouting) That’s it, that’s it, let’s hold the scene a while and then … enter stage right Captain Daedalus Bullshott. That’s it, nice and dignified. Think gentleman adventurer. Straight back, that’s it. Take your position there on the left. Swivel and raise your pistol. Other arm behind your back. Nice. Now show us your manly chest and your gun. Nice and big, nice and big. Hold it, hold it…
Ok, get ready fossil collector; now, come on slowly, from the front, from behind me, that’s it, nice and slow, like lava. Look at the ground, look at the ground like you might find a fossil any moment. Excellent. Shuffle round and show us your book, that’s it, and the stone in your hand. Not too clearly now – stay mysterious, like the hills. That’s it. Bullshot, contemplate her. She’s just joined you, you can’t ignore her, you’re a gentleman. That’s it, great.
Ok, now, I want the steam-punk couple to enter from the back. Devlyn, you walk on Gambit’s right, that’s it. And exude, exude. You’re the Soderstroms. You’re infamously decadent. Don’t smile, that’s it. This is serious business, being anachronous. Nice touch with the cane there Gambit – it could have been an affectation too far, but actually I think it’s working. Ok, show us your piercings Devlyn, that’s it. And let’s turn the sea up a bit, shall we? Not the actual volume, not the mass, just the sound levels – the shushing noise, just a touch. That’s it. Nice. Hold it for a while everyone. Reach deep into your characters. Signify and connote like mad. Not just with your costumes. Use your body language, your facial expression, every fibre of your being. Feel the part. That’s fabulous.
Ok, man in pink wetsuit, I want you to cycle onstage from the front, but circle back out before coming back in again. Got that? Right. Off you go. Lovely. Nice and loopy. That’s it. Now, pull up there in front of the right-hand column and let us see that briefcase. Make us really wonder what’s inside. Maybe lose the smile – it undercuts the mystery. Oh, it’s stuck? Ok, we can work with that. Try holding the smile way too long, until it feels creepy. That’s it. And the suitcase too. Awkward’s good, yes. Love it.
Ok everyone, hold it nice and steady. Let’s have a plane passing in the distance to emphasise the stillness. A long, low rumble please. Lovely. And bring the sea back up again. Yes, I mean the audio! Although you could bring the amount of water up very, very slowly and steadily, maybe raise it a few centimetres in all, but not so that we’d notice. Ah, nice touch with the seagulls. We’ll revisit that later too I think. And hold it while the woman in black approaches. Great, yes, show us the sexy feather on your back, but hide your face behind the paper. Very dramatic, very muse. And turn into the circle now, show us what you’re carrying. Ah, a skull – excellent work props department. No stinting on the symbolism, I see. That’s it, nice and slow, regal, this is death and literature you’re bringing us. Classy. And hold it everyone. Lovely.
Now, come on in Raven in the purple cape. From behind, yes, that’s it. Pause a while. Nice. Show us your big red brooch. Hmm, it’s a bit homemade looking, but I think we can write that in. Gives it a meta touch in fact. Very clever, very clever. Oh, and a tug on the peak of the hood. I like that too – a Brechtian moment you might say, a display of self-consciousness. I see you’ve been intellectualising this. Well, while we’re at it, then, let’s have the wind pick up a bit, shall we? And chuck in a couple of birds flying by. Let’s really crank up the gothic. Lovely. Lovely. Ok, that’s enough. Woah. Don’t tip the atmos into kitsch. That’s it. Great.
Ok, let’s keep this narrative moving, shall we? Bring on the young man in camouflage trousers from the left. Turn around and show us how awkward you are in your flat cap. And let us see those ferrets. On second thoughts, you might be overdoing it with the flat cap. Kind of clashes with the army motif. Still, who am I to say what the youth are wearing these days. We’ll keep it in for now. Just keep looking ill at ease; shift your eyeballs about. Great.
Now, what we really need now is a blonde, I feel. Bring on Janus Swan. That’s it, from the right; and stand next to the gentleman in the white pith helmet. Bullshott, acknowledge her, she’s a lady, you’re a gentleman. Ah, nice touch with the hat raising. Look tough now Janus. You’re not swayed by this sort of chivalry. You’re an independent woman. Show us your binoculars. Thank you, thank you. Nice. Soderstroms you can acknowledge her if you like – she’s one of you. What was that? You feel more threatened by a little bit of difference than that which is totally alien? I can appreciate that. It’s easier to spot the flaws in the familiar. You keep stoic too then, Janus. You’ve seen them, but you don’t need them. You’re tough. Now, let’s have a bit of sweet birdsong for contrast with the punky grit. A bit more. Keep it going until I say stop. Keep going…
That’s your cue, purple and black horse. No, I don’t know why you’re purple and black. Think mad old lady crossed with the Lloyds stallion. That should give you motivation enough. That’s fantastic. Walk right across the front there, to stage left. And turn to me. Make your nostrils nice and big. Bigger! More flare. Excellent. And let’s have some more wind. Not too much now. That’s it. And can one of the ferrets please clamber over a shoulder. Ok, great; and retrieve it. A bit more wriggling ferrets. And hold them like a pair of socks. Don’t be precious with them. They’re really just stuff to you. Excellent.
Bring on the pirate now please. In you come, yes, from the right, like last time. Stop right there. Make sure your hand’s on your pistol. Look sullen. Sullen. No, it’s not really like sad; more like boredom with a touch of disgust and a dash of acceptance. Nearly – a bit too much annoyance. We’ll keep working on that. Maybe stay blank for now. Ok. And keep that birdsong coming. I haven’t said stop yet. And more ferret wriggling please. Lovely. And … stop the birdsong.
Now, send in the Starfleet Admiral from behind the right-hand pillar. And pause there to punch in some data. Great, great, come forwards and take your position. Three-quarters on. Very iconic. Maybe flash us your insignia. That’s it, your rank means everything to you. And blink into the sun, like it’s the future itself. Like you are dazzled by the expanse of space-time as it unfurls before you. Hold it, hold it. Lovely.
Right, when the young man with the ferrets scratches his head I want some seagulls to cry please. Perfect. Keep still. Still, I say. A bit longer. That’s it. Steady, steady … Now, everyone, in a moment, I want you all to turn round, just before the pigeon lands on the left-hand column. Can you feel it approaching? Yes? Ah, that’s it. Nice turn. Hold it, hold it with your backs to me. Pigeon, you stay there too. Hold it everyone. And now pigeon, walk to the right of the pillar, stop and then take off, that’s it; fly off stage right. Brilliant. And now, everyone, I’m going to turn the lights down, gradually, but quite fast, right down to black. It’s going to be totally black, but don’t be afraid. I’ll be just over here. Trust me…