Saturday, 17 December 2011

Welcome to the Great Mogul's Company of Comedians

In 1990 we performed Fielding’s Historical Register – as far as we know, for the first time since it was banned in 1737 (we would be delighted to be proved wrong if anyone can furnish us with evidence of other productions). The play was billed as “HC Productions presents the Great Mogul’s Company in Henry Fielding’s Historical Register for the year 1736”. It was a right rollicking romp and it was difficult to persuade audiences that we hadn’t changed Fielding’s script, such was the contemporary nature of its subject matter (war in the desert, corrupt politicians, celebrities courting fame) and its treatment of it -  a play structured as a review with short, sharp sketches, some knockabout comedy and some songs .  The script is only 45 minutes long so the “intervals” provided the perfect vehicle for additional material that reflected the comedic and musical skills of individual performers. We assembled a relatively large team (13), struggled to get funding and, consequently, performed it only 3 times – we have wanted to revive it ever since. Who knows, perhaps we will one day.  We were a relatively new company at the time and have since honed the house style in a dozen or so  subsequent productions that have been built around 2 – 6 actors and 2 musicians.  In the meantime, our intention is to rekindle the spirit of the Great Mogul by generating some heat and light via this blog. Future subjects will include: the economics of theatre and development of new business models;  the role of social enterprise;  Laurence Sterne; the 18th Century “Afterpiece” and any other subjects that emerge along the way.

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