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The Mouse, The Bird, The Sausage

A tale adapted from the Grimm Brother’s collection

nce, three unlikely friends lived in the hollow of a tree – a mouse, a bird and a sausage. They lived happily in their home, each with their own tasks to keep their home happy.

It was Bird’s job to fetch the twigs for their small fire. It was Mouse’s job to keep their home swept and clear of spiders and cobwebs. It was Sausage’s job to make their dinner. He would stir the pot and then he would go for a swim through the dinner to add flavour.

One day, Bird got to thinking about the different jobs that they all did. Mouse only had to sweep the floor once a day and all Sausage did was go for a swim through the pot and stand there stirring. Meanwhile the bird had to fly through the forest all day to collect twigs and carry them home. It didn’t seem fair that she had to constantly come and go while the others did very little.

Bird complained to her housemates that she felt she worked harder then the others. Mouse and Sausage did not want their friend to be unhappy. They agreed to swap jobs. Sausage would go and fetch the twigs, Mouse would make the dinner and Bird would sweep the floor.

Bird was happy this. She felt she had gone from the hardest job to the easiest.At the start of a new day she swept the floor. Seeing that her job was done she decided to go for a nap. It wold seem that frustrations had taken its toll and she slept all day.

Meanwhile Sausage, had headed out of there hollow and into the woods. He felt great to be away from the host stove and he enjoyed looking at the forest and all of its wonders. He smelt great. So great that his smell filled the forest and snuck into the nose of a nearby fox. The fox followed the scent trial over and under logs until Sausage came in sight. As Sausage bent down to pick up a fallen twig, the fox leapt out from behind a bush and swallowed Sausage down in one noise gulp. That was the end of Sausage.

Meanwhile back at home Mouse had been making the dinner, just as she had seen Sausage do. She chopped up the vegetables, just as she had seen Sausage do. She slid the vegetables into the boiling pot of water, just as she had seen Sausage do. She stirred and stirred all day long, enjoying making food for her friends, just as she had seen Sausage do. And just like Sausage, she dived into the boiling pot to add flavour. Unlike Sausage, she could not swim and the heat was too much for her small fragile body. She drowned in the dinner. That was the end of Mouse.

When Bird woke it was dark and the house was quiet. The fire had gone out and the dinner was cold. She scoffed. Clearly Sausage and Mouse were not up to the tasks that they had taken on. She waited. A long time. The whole night through. And as the night wore on, she started to worry. Why was the home in the tree hollow so empty? So quiet? So friendless? Where were Mouse and Sausage?

Bird decided to clean up. After all that was her job now and it turned out that a lot of spiders wanted to make the Hollow the home so she swept the cobwebs away and shooed the spiders back outside. Sh thought she had better clean up after dinner. So she went to empty the pot and there curled up in a little ball was her dear friend mouse. Bird understood what had happened. Then she worried about Sausage where was he? Why wasn’t he home?

So now she flies from tree to tree searching for her friend Sausage, skittish and cross with herself for being such an ungrateful fool.

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Directing – Just Add Water Theatre – Bobby

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I have been directing Just Add Water’s production of Bobby for the last month and this is what I have learned…

Last year’s Just Add Water performance of ‘Bobby’ at Buxton Fringe seems along way away. We knew we would be performing in a low ceiling, cramped space and that it would create an intensity in the story for the actors and the audience in which there is no escape. People sang praises after the show for the intimacy of the the performances.

 I watched a show in the Lowry studio, where we will be performing Bobby this Thursday, and had a wave of nerves. The space seemed vast and the audience further away than I remembered from watching shows previously. While the space is clearly a studio, it didn’t feel that it had the intimacy that we had had in previous venues performing the show.

After a few sleepless nights about how we were going to make the piece ‘bigger’, I had an awakening. We could do so much more. The actors could take up more space, there could be dynamism in the aesthetic of the movement sequences, our 6 ft 7 actor would be able to stand up straight and stretch his arms up in the air, and our designer, Helen Ashbrook Billinge would be able to do more to facilitate the story. The size of the space instantly became a gift, enabling us as a company to push ourselves further.

This last month not only has Bobby gone up a few gears, but so has the way we have been working in the rehearsal room. I have been training the actors every morning to build up their physical strength and stamina and to create this sense of Ensemble. I think we have really pushed ourselves and each other to be truly collaborative, forgoing our egos, building our humility so we can tell Bobby’s story as a true collective. As a result, the actors Ben Moores, Tom Barry, Niven Ganner and Jennifer Campbell fly through emotions, landing on each state solidly and with a great depth of honesty. They pounce between emotional states, hungry to tell you this story. The language flies between them like a game of tennis, but the ball never drops. They move as one, all individuals creating a great mechanism of human truth.

Bobby will be performed at the Studio space in the Lowry, Salford on Thursday 11th April, 2013 at 8pm.Image