Yesterday I met up with the Midnight Café crew in the evening. They had their tech rehearsal at Paradise in the Vault. While the tech team was rigging lights I got a change to photograph the cast outside, which was great fun. We then went back inside for the cue to cue run. As time was running out we got news that the tech run after was cancelled, so there was time for a proper dress rehearsal. Anyway, here are the photos! Enjoy the preview of this great play with photos both from the cue-to-cue and dress rehearsals sorted together and captioned with quotes from the play courtesy of Anna Clart.
The café existed for 18 months and 3 days before it was closed down. 180 different people visited my café. 159 of them made a purchase. 80 of them spoke to me about something other than what they wanted to drink.
There was Sari de Mendoz, sitting alone.
Bea Crossley and Tom Dawson, meanwhile, sat at a table together.
Tom: “The soul…is created by circumstance.”
Bea: “Imagine if we talked like this when Rick was around.”
Tom: “Nah, imagine that. He’d have ripped us to shreds.”
Waitress: “What do you want me to do?”
Frizzy-haired woman: “I want you to show me some ID.”
On the 16th December, 1998, Bea Crossley sat alone in the meeting room, clicking a pen with her right thumb and looking through the window into the reception almost every 70 seconds…
Ab: “What’s the meaning of life?”
Tom: “Uh – ”
Ab: “The answer is money. You ain’t nothing till you’ve got money in this world.”
Tom: “Is Woolworth’s somewhere you want to work for the rest of your life?”
Ab: “So yeah, nearly killed a baby. Think it might have been yours, Rick?”
Rick: “You say another word about my daughter and I’ll – “
Twells: “When the voices went silent, it was like death to me. Because they are me. I hate them sometimes, but they show me things. They’re what I was and who I am and what I could be.”
When Tom visited Bea’s house on Saturday 4th December, 1999, they sat on an inflatable sofa in the living room, passing a tetrahydrocannabinol cigarette and occasionally reaching into a box on the floor in front of them.
Tom: “That’s so weird.”
Bea: “It’s good though, isn’t it? Feels like your walking on air or something.”
Bea: “I’m Bea, in case you don’t remember – “
Sari: “This is going to sound crazy, but Sally w- Sally is my twin sister. I’m Sari.”
Sari: “I just can’t believe she’s gone.”
Waitress: “I like to collect people’s stories.”
One portion of this air pocket, around 4 centimetres cubed in volume, had once circulated in an English classroom at Sir Frank Markham Comprehensive school, when a then 17 year-old Rick Pilgrim talked to a then 30 year-old Maureen Guernsley.
Sari was killed at the start of the new millennium by a frizzy-haired woman who then turned to point at a spot 1.3cm above my eyeline.
Frizzy-haired woman: “And all those lines join up, and they all lead back to one building. To this café. To you. You’re the one controlling it all.”
Frizzy-haired woman: “And then I realised, of course. I’m your enemy. I’m here to destroy you.”
Frizzy-haired woman: “TELL ME MY GODDAMNED NAME.”
Waitress: “I don’t know who you are.”
Tom: “I think she’s dead.”
Waitress: “I thought she was going to shoot me.”
The police found all of the notes I had taken about my 34 regular customers. They found the tape recordings I had made. I was finally charged with “exploitation of the mentally ill”. I wasn’t arrested, but I’ve been made to move out of the city, into a more controlled environment. I take drugs to reduce my obsessive tendencies and a therapist visits me once a week to help me empathise.
“I like to think that now and then, some of my customers felt like they were the most important people in the world, like the stars themselves had stopped to hear what they had to say as they sat for the night at Midnight Café.”
Waitress – Anna Clart
Sari / Shirley – Jemma Cleary
Tom – Ronald Prokes
Saiorse / Frizzy-Haired Woman – Emma Veares
Twells – Patrick Brooks
Rick – Bret Cameron
Maureen – Léa de Garnier des Garets
Ab – Rhodri Hughes
Bea – Posey Mehta
Director – Amelia Oakley
Writer – Jamie Rycroft
Director – Marissa Green
Producer – Jamie Rycroft
Technical Director – Mark Danciger
Stage Manager – Saskia Baylis
Publicity Designer – Hannah Taylor
Photographer – Johannes Hjorth
Original Frizzy-Haired Woman – Isa Bonachera