This is just two of a whole selection of pieces provided for Living Record Festival.
First of our two selections that I decided on was the 15 minute monologue A Coward in Love – an almost poetic piece recounting one traveller’s story of his life and how he has got to this point in his life.
Introducing himself to us as Rob, this intimate but with hints of menace monologue explaining about the family business that he was roped into from a relatively early age and how he fell in love with a woman – which offered him a slight redemption from his criminal actions. But it also leads to a situation that he does nothing to help – hence the title.
Written by Dan Horrigan, the writing has a lovely rhythm about it, particularly when Rob describes the cold October morning and the scenery around him. It is all so vivid and makes you believe that you were there with him. But underneath this, there is still elements of the darker side of his character that emerge in the aftermath of an incident that leads him to want to take revenge. It is all understated in terms of the writing but through Jamie Pigott’s performance it is compelling to listen to.
It really feels as though there is more to explored in both this story and the character who somehow still feels like a bit of a mystery to us – is he genuine? Does he really feel that being in love has helped him? Or is it an act?
The whole piece is directly told straight to camera, ensuing that the audience is thoroughly focused on Rob and his story, drawing us further into his world effectively.
The second piece that I selected was a chillingly dark one man monologue Perennial – a story of a man who has lost his soul and direction in life.
Written and performed by Horrigan, the monologue takes the audience into the darkness of a man who is obsessed with the things that he feels as though he is owed. It takes him and the audience on an increasingly dark journey filled with anger and violence, that is chilling to listen to unfolding – particularly when it comes to the violent aspects of some of the stories that he tells us (some may be uncomfortable in particular to one incident of him putting his hands around his sister-in-law’s throat).
Directed with intimacy by Sarah Jennings, this is a character who demands that you are drawn into his world and life that spirals further and further out of control. He is cynical and nasty – with the audience left wondering exactly what has brought him to this point, leaving it open to be developed further.
It is performed in a quiet but threatening manner that captures the character’s darkness and violent nature perfectly. You are never quite sure exactly which direction the story is going to take next.
Chilling and menacing from start to finish, the writing is striking and the way in which it is told almost feels like confession. He is baring his soul and personality in the bleakest way possible, drawing you in whether you want to or not.
Overall, Perennial is a bleak piece of writing but the character has been vividly written to keep the audience’s attention from start to finish. It would be interesting to see how the piece would be developed further.
By Emma Clarendon
Covert Firmament has many pieces available to watch and listen to as part of the Living Record Festival until the 22nd February.