Mr. President, do you have the biscuit?

Accidents happen. For this theatre company, they tend to come right around the time we're trying to name something. The Biscuit Tin Readings, for instance, started with a gun ...

We needed one for our production of "The Writers' Room" at Pick'n'Mix this past June. (Me: "Can't we just borrow someone's?" Richard: "Stupid American.") So our intrepid and methodical artistic director went through all the necessary preparations and precautions for stage weaponry (insurance, training for handing it, permits from the cops for firing blank ammo, getting a locked firearms bag). When he went to pick up the gun we'd be using for the performance, it was handed over in a biscuit tin.

Score one for security.

We like the idea of atypical packaging, a hint of the unexpected, and 'biscuit tin' seemed perfect for a series of quite varied rehearsed readings. Since then, we've dug into 'biscuit' history, and found out the word has associations that aren't as cozy or sweet as your granny thinks ...

NUCLEAR WARFARE: Each U.S. president carries a card with the combination for opening the briefcase that contains the nuclear codes. That card's code word: the biscuit. Lore goes that Clinton let the biscuit go missing for months during his presidency. Jimmy Carter once left his biscuit in a suit that got sent to the cleaners.

STREET SLANG: 'Biscuit' is slang for a handgun, specifically a revolver. (From Urban Dictionary: "You can't hide no biscuit in yo' pants like that!")  'Biscuit' can also mean ugly shoes or a woman's bum. A 'disco biscuit' is an ecstasy pill.

So yeah. The Biscuit Tin Readings: not quite a rave, not exactly warfare, but surely a little something unexpected.

Wednesday night's reading of "Robots in Disguise" by Mike Coleman is on the horizon: James McAnespy plays Howard Chubb, a exec from the Transformation Team. He'll demonstrate how he's whipped the hopelessly inefficient Smith family (Ed Boyd, Emma Little, Kim Moylan and Chris McCurry) into bureaucratic shape. Directed by Gayle Dennison.

I'll leave you with the inimitable words of Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith, in his song "Bacon Biscuit Blues":

Baby ask me no questions
I'll tell you no lies
Put your biscuits in the oven
Honey, watch my dumplin

EmilyComment