A by-stander often sees more of the game than those that play …
Man has the right to live by his own law—
to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.
Aleister Crowley, Liber OZ
“In 1976 Ken Campbell staged Illuminatus! in Liverpool. This production — and the novel that it was based on — irrevocably changed the lives of all who were involved, both performers and audiences, and wound up opening The Cottesloe at the National Theatre. It is still talked about in Liverpool as one of the city’s great happenings.
We are now re-invoking that mythic production but this time telling the story that surrounded the writing and staging of Illuminatus!: the extraordinary life and times of its co-author, Robert Anton Wilson, as the central thrust; the unstoppable force that was Ken Campbell barging into the action from behind the scenes; and some extracts from the original production woven through. As Ken would say, ‘this is an enthusiasts’ production’.
Daughter of Ken, Daisy Campbell, continued his legacy by directing the epic revival of the 24 hour play The Warp in various theatres, festival spaces and raves around London in the 90’s.”
“Daisy’s adaptation recounts the period of Bob’s life around the inspiration for, writing of and theatrical culmination of Illuminatus!, a period where he also met iconic countercultural figures like Timothy Leary, Alan Watts and William Burroughs, all of whom feature in the play. The narrative slips in and out of Illuminatus! itself and the production employs song, music, projections and stagecraft to evoke the real-life hallucinogenic trip through conspiracy, paranoia and enlightenment that transformed Bob from a simple Playboy editor into the influential countercultural figure he is today.
Robert Anton Wilson sought to induce in his readers agnosticism; not just about God, but about everything; and all his work blurs the lines between truth and fiction. This will be reflected in a staging style that often breaks down theatrical conventions, with actors amidst the audience, tiny stage-sets that can pop up anywhere and cutting-edge projection trickery, allowing the very walls of the theatre to drop away at one climactic moment. Alan Moore (The Watchmen, V For Vendetta) will voice The World’s Most Intelligent Computer, and Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols album artist) will lend his occult artworks to the production.
But there’s more…”
Casanova by Howard Guy Ervin III, composed by Richard B Evans, directed by Peter Merle Devine and Kenneth Lawrence Stegmiller, is a 2011 hardcover libretto for the 106th Grove Play produced and performed by members of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
Dare to live
Like a song arising,
Throw your heart
Into life’s full flow,
Dare to fight
For what you believe in,
Dare to love
And make love grow.
Dare to see
All the beauty ’round you,
Taste the fruit
Picked from life’s rich vine,
Raise your glass
To your friends and lovers,
‘Til you’re dizzy
On life’s sweet wine.
And should the face of darkness try you,
Stand and hold your head up high.
Loudly sing out, “I defy you,
Spirits bold will never die!
Spirits bold will never die!
Spirits bold will never die!”
Spirits Bold Will Never Die! (pp 74–5)
If you’re in the the London area, you should check out John Constable’s one man play dramatizing Austin Osman Spare at Treadwell’s which opens November 21st, 2013. It runs for four dates, so even if you can’t catch it on opening night there’s other chances: November 21-22 and 29-30.
Spare: One Man Play
21-22, 29-30 November 2013
London artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) comes alive in this new one-man play. Set in the artist’s studio at the Elephant and Castle on the night of a Blitz bombing, it shows Spare growing old in poverty, yet fiercely committed to his vision. In the course of the night, a rogue sigil unleashes unpredictable consequences. This ‘play conceived as an act of magic’, performed by the author, is both an homage to AOS and a playful exploration of Constable’s own esoteric work to ‘set us free from ourselves.’ John Constable is a poet, playwright and magical practitioner best-known for The Southwark Mysteries, and for his acclaimed stage adaptation of Gormenghast. Previous solo shows include I Was An Alien Sex God (‘mind-blowingly weird’ The Independent). Premiere performances last Spring were sold out, and received acclaim.
Time: Doors 7pm, for a 7:30 start