And on the Thousandth Night…

Created 2000

And on the Thousandth Night… was created in September 2000 for Festival Ayloul in Beirut and draws on one section from Forced Entertainment’s epic twenty-four-hour performance Who Can Sing A Song to Unfrighten Me? (1999)

Taking its title and part of its inspiration from One Thousand and One Nights, And on … explores the live relationship between a story and its public, a story and its tellers.

A story is told, made up live, dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns. It is a long, mutating and endlessly self-cancelling story. It is a story which somehow, in its many dips and turns, seems to include many — if not all — of the stories in the world. Moving from the extraordinary to the banal, it mixes everything from film plots, religious stories, children’s stories, traditional tales, jokes and modern myths, to scary stories, love stories and sex stories.

The Kings and Queens compete, interrupting, exaggerating, taking over each other’s narratives and incorporating stolen bits into their own tales. Their storytelling moves between tiredness and hysteria, between absurd vulgarity and surprising tenderness. At times, some of the Kings and Queens take a break to sleep on the floor at the back of the space whilst their colleagues continue. At ten at night, perhaps, there are only two Kings left speaking, pushing on the tale, as one by one, the others come forward to rejoin the line.

"An incredible, improvisational storytelling tour de force."
Hour
"Seldom has one seen performers on the stage give off such a sense of esprit with such lightness and evident pleasure. With a sure feeling for dynamic and rhythm, they navigate our journey through the night. And On the Thousandth Night... is big, lively, intelligent theatre, made with the simplest of tools."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

credits

Conceived and devised by the company


Performers Robin Arthur, Tim Etchells, Jerry Killick, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor
Guest Performers Tamzin Griffin, Tobias Lange, John Rowley, Ruth Ben-Tovim, Bruno Roubicek, Phil Hayes
Direction Tim Etchells

Text Tim Etchells and the company

Design and Lighting Design Richard Lowdon

And on the Thousandth Night… is a Forced Entertainment production

Commissioned by Festival Ayloul Beirut