Chris Goode - Lauren's Solo Performance

God/Head (2013)
Draws on Chris’s own recent experiences of spiritual turmoil
following a long personal history of comfortable atheism. The
familiar ‘crisis of faith’ narrative is turned on its head as Chris
is compelled to wonder: what if there really is a God after all
(ChrisGoodeandCompany, Online 2013)?
Keep Breathing (2011)
Keep Breathing started from an invitation made via the
internet to individuals all over the world, to speak to an
audience of strangers. They could say anything, on any
topic, provided it could be spoken in one breath. Through
their offerings, a network gradually became revealed,
connecting performer, authors and audience, locally and
globally (ChrisGoodeandCompany, Online 2013).
Hippo World Guest Book (2007)
In a virtuosic and uniquely compelling performance, Chris
Goode simply presents an hour-long recital of the edited
highlights of the guest book over the six years of its existence:
a sadly familiar trajectory of naïve optimism undermined by
arguments, thwarted by abuse, and finally obliterated by spam
(ChrisGoodeandCompany, Online 2013).
First performed in 2009, then a revised production premiered in 2011.
Shirley is a 14 year-old boy with a girl’s name who becomes a sidekick to
someone called Wound Man. Wound man is an “unconventional
superhero, sprung from the pages of a medieval medical text book, with
an alarming assortment of Weapons sticking out from every part of his
body” (ChrisGoodeandCompany 2013, Online).
Shirley lost his older brother, Tony, a year before this story takes place.
Shirley is in love with a boy with a ‘cooler’, weirder name: Subway.
This story follows the relationship of Wound Man and Shirley.
“There is something so unguarded, almost childlike, about this show that you can’t help
but fall in love with it” (The Guardian)
“It was funny, lovely, tingle inducing, moving, nostalgic, unique and brave. Happy and
sad at the same time” (Daniel Kitson)
“I do just want to mention in passing that November also saw the
first amateur staging of my The Adventures of Wound Man and
Shirley -- which I was particularly pleased about because it was a
secondary school production. Sadly I wasn't able to go and see the
Year 11's at Nunnery Wood High School do their thing, but their
teacher...was kind enough to send me a programme and some
photographs and, I have to say, it looks bloody great. They seem to
have had a good time doing it: and, anyway, it's just incredible to me
that it happened at all. I mean, at base, Wound Man and Shirley is
about a love relationship between a gay fourteen-year-old boy and an
eccentric middle-aged man with a predilection for teenagers and
snazzy pants; for that to be allowed within ten miles of a school is, to
someone like me who spent his own teenage years in the toxic shade
of Section 28, completely mindblowing. I couldn't be more proud of
the whole darn thing” (Chris’ Blog, 2013).
Section 28: local authorities "shall not intentionally promotehomosexuality or publish
material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching
in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended
family relationship“
-This was only repealed in 2003 in England-
Similar to Tim Crouch, Chris Goode presenting us with a story. A solo-performance
concentrated on telling a story.
His non-trained performance has an air of authenticity, even though we know that we
are watching a performance. There is no artsy pretence about the performance.
It’s honest. We are aware we are watching Chris, but it is still captivating.
Similar to Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall.
“Storytelling at its finest” (Scotland on Sunday)
“A tender tale perfectly told” (The Guardian)
The set is minimal in Wound Man.
A table, a chair and a lamp.
This is ideal for Fringe venues where it was first preformed and therefore has the
capability to tour easily. With its small, intimate setting it allows a closer and more
meaningful relationship with the audience – almost as though we are invited into
the bedroom of Shirley and we are being told this account on a one-to-one basis.
- Adds a sense of authenticity. A story being told without unnecessary grandeur.
All the of the text is mediated through Chris. Wound Man, Shirley and all the other
characters are presented through him. He is simply re-animating the story, almost
in a ‘he said, she said’ manner.
We are welcomed to “settle back and I’ll tell you the whole thing” (p. 14).
Mixes the ‘real’ with the fantastical
“Goode's script mixes the suburban and the surreal without blinking, and the piece
above all reminds us that the stars may one day shine again if we can just keep going,
putting one foot in front of the other for as long as it takes” (The Guardian, Online)
Double-ended frame narrative:
The opening –
“Hello. Thanks for being here.
The story I want to tell you this evening is kind of a love story” (p. 13).
The end-
“What he doesn’t know is, just the other side of those limits, that’s where we all are, me
and all of you, all watching him sleep. The lights on his face, the dark, the light.
Wherever he’s going, he’ll get there” (p. 64).