I've just done the seventh rewrite of the original 1999 show, Topless*.
New jokes have been added. Old ones upgraded or snipped off and left to curl on the cutting room floor. A keen eye has been put to the themes. Changes made to the songs.
I've written (with the invaluable help of my 'outside eyes' including producer Sharon Burrell) a brief bit at the top of the show to ready the audience to travel with me, to contextualise a script written 20 years ago.
My outside eyes are all women younger than me - they tell me how many of the issues in the show: identity, body image, autonomy versus relationship speak to them now. Hooray, the work is still relevant! Boo, much of the muddle is still going strong...
Something about the date for the first work-in-progress run has been nudging at me.
I finally go and look something up - oh, it's the anniversary of my Mother's death. I don't like to be sentimental or portentous (neither did my Mum), but Mum (and her death) is/are in the show. There's other more fun stuff, too, I promise! Mum loved live theatre and lounge songs so might I think of it as a tribute she would appreciate?
Marking moments, marking changes, marking time? Moving forward and back.
I am also currently reviewing Mad Men on netflix. Don Draper was pretty much my father's age. I just saw the Cuban Missile Crisis episode - an interesting resonance with the current 'major, major' stuff going on right now. It was interesting seeing all the characters weighing up their pasts and simply carrying on. May we all look back on this as an interesting moment in time.
Back in 1996 there were some events that took my life right off-track. I didn't like it at all at the time, but I found after a few years had passed what a fantastic benefit it was to have been thrown a few existential curveballs.
* Topless went to Edinburgh 1999 with the racy byline : 'a show about life and death and love and hate and sex and sticking plaster and breasts.' And was described this way by the press:
a macabre comic style...her accounts of failed relationships, low self-esteem, and her brush with breast cancer...are both hilarious in their frankness and moving. ..with her consistently high energy and warm, engaging stage presence, Peta Lily captures and maintains the attention of her audience throughout. Total Theatre
a talented comic, she takes the departure of her husband and the illness and death of her mother and turns them into something which is not just entertaining, but is even funny Edinburgh Evening News
a refreshingly comic, intelligent and informative exploration of the turbulent events in one woman's life crisis...consistently funny...Lily recounts her experiences with an incisive and inventive wit...guiding her audience away from unnecessary sentiment but not losing a sense of poignancy The Scotsman
instead of erotica, Lily gives her audience something far more outrageous and personal...told with consistent humour. Lily has lightness of touch, instinctive wit ...one of those rubber faces...and a silky singing voice. Lily manages...to keep them laughing right up to the end. The Stage
Do see her perform her uniformly funny, yet unabashedly realistic play about ageing, breasts, cancer, sex, music, movies, life and death. Totally HK (Hong Kong)