Ten’s To See: ‘The Mannequin’ at Tutu’s Theatre, a New Play by Sam Kindon
‘The Mannequin’ is a new play written and directed by Sam Kindon and presented by Das Stück theatre company. It is currently being previewed at King’s College in London (April 26th and 27th) with more London previews to be announced.The play will also be heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 at the Fleming Theatre, Surgeon’s Hall, August 19th-24th. Celebrating this opening, we asked the brain behind the play (and a contributing member of Ten Towers) Sam Kindon to tell us all about his major theatrical debut.
The play itself follows seven artists living in and around London. Models, designers, lovers and writers who all desire attention and validation in their lives, only to be left feeling inadequate and alone at the end of the day. The play explores the queer body, ego, sexism and co-dependency. Over two acts, one day on the streets of our dear Soho and an evening in the drag bars of Montmartre the frantic lives of these artists all revolve around The Mannequin. Ultimately, they learn to find solace in each other leading to some sense of closure.
While I was waiting for my morning coffee in Soho the barista asked me: “Why do people want to look glam?” I think he was equal parts genuinely interested and generally confused at my gold eyeliner and chunky earrings. If he wanted a serious answer he should’ve waited until I’d been given my coffee but it led me into thinking about the people I’ve met and worked with who are involved in the arts and culture industry here in London.
There are so many reasons we enter these jobs and I wanted to write a play exploring the relationships within the industry and the problems they encounter – both personal and professional. The script became a hybrid of my own new writing with narratives infused with verbatim and quotation from figures such as Warhol and Quentin Crisp.
The Mannequin quickly became a multimedia extravaganza when I began involving producers, designers, actors and make up artists. Original film by Alex Matraxia will be blaring across two screens in a carefully crafted cacophony while actors do their thing below. We have an original dress designed by Brian de Carvalho – a ruby red beauty winched with a chain link from which an antique golden pearl broach hangs – Gucci doesn’t get to have allllll the fun. Not to forget that Gabriel Thomson gives us his best Berlin boy in a corset and PVC heels higher than any gothic spire. In Act II he’ll debut his lip sync performance to our beloved Kate Bush.
Through a fury of a bright colours and gothic goodness the play comes to a close under projections of the magnificent stained glass windows of Saint Chapelle. With the horrific burning of Notre Dame last week it is the ideal time to reacquaint yourselves with the treasures that Paris still has to offer.
‘The Mannequin’ is holding previews on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of April at Tutu’s Theatre in London. Tickets are available to book here.
Photographs by Alex Matraxia and Jai Hooshmand.