Welcome all to the Belfast Mystery Players’ Blog 2.0. As I explained in my farewell post on good old Blog 1.0, the original page was set up, named, and laden with logos and widgets back when we were referring to our amateur dramatic ambitions as ‘The Belfast Mystery Plays Project’, and when we had only vague suspicions of the endeavour being anything other than a transient diversion. However, as we put together our début production, the mini modern mystery cycle If I Should Fall From Grace With God, we came to call ourselves ‘The Belfast Mystery Players’ - a much snappier title. Moreover, the fact that said production went off without any serious injuries or lawsuits sowed the seeds of the ambition to make the endeavour a more permanent one. And so, in honour of the name change, the troupe's stay of execution (our next production, after all, has the potential for both injury and litigation), and to eliminate the jarring incongruity of the team’s name being distinct by two letters from all website and email addresses, here is Blog 2.0, complete with shiny new logo and shiny new everything else (apart from all the old articles we brought from our last digs to our swanky new one).
Speaking of shiny newness, perhaps the most important motivating factor in putting our internet-house in order is the news that the Belfast Mystery Players are back. Well, we never really went away, but those vague ambitions of last summer are now slowly being realised, and we are 100% back to work on putting together a new production. Things are very much still in the early stages, but I am happy to announce that our next production, to be staged in the summer of 2010 will be...drumroll...an interpretation of the Croxton Play of the Sacrament.
Marvellous. Er, what’s a Croxton Play of the Sacrament when it’s at home? Said sacramental stage show is a thoroughly insane and (by modern standards) outrageously offensive drama dating from the mid 1400s, in which a group of wealthy Jews pay off a Christian merchant to steal a communion wafer from his local church while the priest enjoys a snooze. Thereafter, said Semites set out to test the Christian belief that the bread is the body of Christ by subjecting it to a series of tortures - a “new paynfull passioun” as the play has it - tortures which result in a hand being chopped off and Jesus emerging from an exploding oven. I won’t say any more lest I spoil the show, but for those of you who have either already read it or, upon reading this, intend to (a rather handy online version may be found here: http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama/comedy/sacrament.html), you will know that it is absolutely bonkers, but marvellously so.
The task of adapting this spectacle for a modern audience is, as you can imagine, a difficult one. Luckily we have some nifty ideas up our dramaturgical sleeves. Last night I finished the first draft of the script, which is essentially no more than a literal linguistic update, but it is slowly taking shape. Writing, and casting, will most likely occupy most of February, after which we will have plenty of time to rehearse the hell out of the thing. Oh, and build an exploding oven.
And so on that bombshell I shall call a close to Blog 2.0’s inaugural address. Via our shiny new Twitter account I hope to furnish you eager readers with some more frequent musings via tweets and, just maybe, twitpics. Until that time, to make up for the radio silence since last summer may I wish you a belated Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, oh, and sorry I missed your birthday, your card’s in the post.