Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Cosmos, The Cosmetics

The reason I went to see The Cosmos, The Cosmetics show in the Brighton Fringe was that the subtitle said "a spoken word play". I'm always interested in seeing how poetry can be used to create a narrative, and have my own secret (or now not so secret) dreams of one day putting together a one-woman-show, using my poems and other writings. In a way I've done a bit of that when I do author talks at schools and libraries, but I haven't created something that feels like a finished shape or a whole piece.

Through poetic language Nick Field told his coming-of-age story, drifting from one subculture to another, and eventually coming out and finding himself for real. I loved how the very simple stage set worked ... With the help of different tubs of cosmetics Nick illustrated his experience of being a raver and being a goth. From fluorescent lips to black lips ...

A couple of times I got a bit lost or confused when Nick jumped in time and between different episodes in his life, but he always managed to capture me again with his very calm but catchy way of speaking. I was trying to work out if there were any "complete poems" in his play ... I'm not sure and it doesn't matter anyway. The narrative flowed without any awkward pauses.

Most of the time it felt like Nick was speaking to me personally. So many things I could relate to ... The difficulty to fit in within a certain scene (he was too chatty and positive for the goths, I've always found myself being too "rock 'n' roll" for the goths*) and the worry about spots (Nick found that covering his face in thick foundation (?) or powder (?) helped and I used rouge (!) to conceal my spots as a teenager ...) I found it particularly funny the way Nick had to sneak out of his house to avoid being seen in his various outfits and hair-dos by his parents ... I remember times when I ran out of the house before my mum noticed that I was wearing my Dr Martens with a neat dress for a school graduation ... Not to mention the small-town mentality, and all the neighbours knowing what you're up to ...

There were also some very touching moments in the show when Nick spoke about bike accidents he had and how his skin was damaged and he got this "skin paste" to use to cover up the scars, but in the end chose to leave them be. I hope to see/hear more of Nick Field's stuff in the future!

Here's a quote that kind of summarises the show: "There were so many stitch and dye initiations. So many cut and rip, fix together, plagiarise and innovate, mix and match, daub and dab paint rituals."


*My Swedish debut novel "Punk industrial hard rocker with attitude" is all about not being able to fit into a particular box

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