Myself and Rebecca Braccialarghe, as respectively Hecuba and
Cassandra, given yet another lease of life in an early draft of
The Black Overcoat. As captured in this image I am feeling the cold.
Another rehearsed reading for our summer slot at our
spiritual base – Café 5, Easton Bristol. I hastily adapted early script for the
above to fit Richard Worsnop’s theme of War in Times of Love.
But ‘The Overcoat’ has been a brief working title. Yes, I am profoundly influenced by Nikolai
Gogol and Wolf Mankovitz’s brilliant play “The Bespoke Overcoat” and the
relevance of both to anticipated fuel poverty in the U.K.
There’s potential in this but I am mindful of Gecko Theatre’s recent interpretation of Gogol’s story. The Overcoat — Gecko (geckotheatre.com) I am also aware of the near universal association with the Shelby gang in Peaky Blinders. And, relevant to Richard's theme, this image of a young Russian man wearing his grandfather's military overcoat on the subway, the back inscribed with anti-Putin slogans. (A link needed for this).
A future title might be
The Overcoat in my script is a character, speaking in verse:-
THE OVERCOAT: Before you jump to conclusions,
Let me tell you,
I’m a cut above. Superior.
My origins on the
back of a fat, greasy sheep,
But the very matter
of my being universal.
rolled and re-worked
Courtesy of J & J Crombie, Aberdeen.
First the swift caress
of the tailor’s chalk,
before a brutal intimacy with the very latest treadle machine.
Courtesy of Mr. Isaac Singer.
Second, the tender tickle of the tailor’s needle and the
exquisite pull of the waxed cotton.
Third, a communion
between myself and yards of blood
red satin lining.
Tiny stitches, a gentle
nibbling as we merge,
fusion. Of sorts.
And four fittings! Yes, four! Moulded and massaged over the broad shoulders of the man who
will never pay for me.
Never pay for me to protect him from winter’s bite.
Never, from this moment in time, mark him out as a man of considerable means.……
(and further on in the script)
THE OVERCOAT: Don’t forget I’m superior. A cut above.
A work of my tailor’s art.
And you’ve taken me
for granted for decades.
On the ample backs
of kings and generals,
Prime ministers and
Or day and night on
the shrunken frames of men
No poppy on
Just a grubby, pawn
Take care when you
unpick my stitching,
Take care when you
– I can’t be