Tuesday, 1 March 2011


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Last Wednesday all the museums in Cambridge stayed open late for an event called Twilight at the Museums. The lights were switched off and children issued with torches in order to see the exhibits in a new light. All except at the Fitzwilliam where torches were distributed but the lights remained resolutely on. The institution remains nervous after the high profile shattering of two Qing dynasty vases by a hapless visitor a few years ago.

The brightness of the lights made the recital of Jabberwocky a challenge. Indefinite Articles had opted to illustrate the Lewis Carol poem with projected sand drawings and shadow play. My role was to set the scene with music and provide an illustrative, and entirely improvised, soundscape between the verses.

The six performances were very well received and no one commented on the reduced impact caused by light falling on the screen. As is often the case with live theatre, I imagine that everyone assumed this was how it was meant to be. And many people watched the show more than once. Having seen it from inside the gallery they came round to the staircase to see it from the other side. Here they could observe Steve, Sally and our vorpal swordsman and 'beamish boy' achieve the effects.

The screen was hung in the doorway at the top of the stairs that lead up from the grand entrance. The landing provided our 'back-stage' area while I soaked up the limelight in the gallery where I could respond to the images.