This intensely personal show is a fascinating performance with hints of a lecture about it and a suggestion that it is really an audience, in this case with Simeon Morris, as he invites us to share his space and life.
Conversational, laid back, reflective and understated
Morris says of the show, “Essentially, Square Peg is an ouroboros, a snake eating its tail. It charts the story of my life, really, since coming out of a fairly traumatising childhood, how I set about trying to get love and attention through making beautiful objects and then trying to get people to love me through those objects”. His creations are mostly in the forms of dresses, several of which adorn the stage on mannequins, and some leather handbags, a material he discovered later in life and which he found to have a special appeal and that required a different method of working.
He demonstrates a small part of his skill when cutting a square of muslin that is dramatically transformed into the basis of a flowing dress, with the deft use of a pair of giant scissors. He explains the important art of cutting on the bias, that give dresses the ability to stretch yet hold their shape. Depending on your upbringing, (mine was with a dress-making mother), there are potentially many moments in the show that will revive often fond memories of childhood. Morris’ early years and several decades that followed were not so happy. They were characterised by trauma, abuse and loneliness that left him yearning for love and belonging; for being part of family and for enjoying the intimacy it might bring; for finding a situation that would quell the heartfelt craving to be seen and cherished.
But these were not forthcoming and so the image of the ouroboros enters his mind; the realisation that perhaps the answer lies not in others but within himself and the power of poetry. He learns Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush that talks of ‘blessed Hope’; something which another knew, but of which the writer was unaware and Morris seeks.
His style is conversational, laid back, reflective and understated; perhaps even too underplayed for a show, but the openness he has in sharing so much of his life is captivating.