History & Instincts

Two weeks ago, Accidental staged Fast & Loose 7 (Belfast edition). Last Saturday – Thanksgiving weekend, in fact – will mark Fast & Loose 43 for Sacred Fools Theatre Co., the project’s grandaddy in LA.

I think of Fast & Loose as the Thanksgiving moment of Accidental’s theatre year: An annual gathering time. Moments of high-stress and hilarity shared among (very suddenly formed!) families. A ton of preparation for a single meal. Lots of upheaval and novelty (who the fcuk will show up this year? what the fcuk will they be doing?) supported by a rock-solid structure and a good helping of tradition. Tiffs and bickering on the avenue to something delectable. Pure stubbornness and unending flux – sort of like Belfast, I guess. I think it’s found a comfy home in this city – and at the Lyric Theatre, where we were warmly hosted for a second year.

The company we choose for our overnight shenanigans is part tradition (those we love to work with) and part chance (those we’ve always wanted to work with – or are ready to take a chance on). This year’s four writers were ones we’ve read but never produced work by. Maybe (and this is *purely* hypothetical) we’d only met one of them for a pint in a pub once ... But all our instincts rightly told us that their instincts as writers were strong. And so Mark Kavanagh, Andrea Montgomery, Finn Kennedy and Jan Carson joined the list of more than 30 writers who’ve made mayhem with us over the past seven years. 

On stages across Belfast, past Fast & Loose writers have made their characters:

- smash porcelain elephants

- drink bleach 

- have an extended conversation with a Barbie doll during their own wedding speech

- compete to go to the moon

- imagine they’re Captain Cook

- kiss their own cousin (but only after the apocalypse)

- fall in love with a transvestite in a fictional version of Belfast where it’s the most liberal city in the UK

- fight a sock puppet for a pineapple

This year’s creations were no less hilarious, or heartbreaking. Now we’ve seen:

     - extreme penance for smoking menthol cigarettes (‘The Wish’, by Mark Kavanagh)

     - Mary Shelley freeing herself from a lustful, literary hell (‘Frankenstein’s Daemon’ by Andrea Montgomery)

     - two boys (one of whom almost idolises a wind-up duck toy) share a tin of pineapple (‘Hatch’ by Finn Kennedy)

     - a man threaten his son with a bottle of water and sniff Pringles on the wind (‘Boat’ by Jan Carson)

Each one is tiny, but every play is a long story – made overnight, but hardly disposable. We’re thinking of ways to revisit / remake or maybe even publish past scripts. Watch this space for more ideas about keeping the project alive – and let us know what you’d like to see revived and how. 

We’re thankful this year for the 2013 company (behind the scenes and on stage), and for everyone who came to the table. Till next we feast ...