The Sun, the Mountain, and Me

In an unlikely melding of three disparate stories, Jack Fairey finds common ground in his moving play The Sun, The Mountain, and Me for Bedivere Arts at the Jack Studio Theatre, in which he also plays the solo character.

Intricately interwoven and sensitively related stories

The setting is unmistakably that of an artist’s studio, but also where Arthur lives, the cluttered circumference of the room littered with all the paraphernalia and more that such a creative possesses, yet a set designed by Joe Malyan in such a way that Fairey at one stage can literally spread his wings. There are works in progress and a couple of significant portraits of two people in his life that occupy four easels. These make the troubled relationship with his brother and the issues he has with his girlfriend ever-present and haunting. It’s modern-day Egham, which sounds very much at odds when placed beside Ancient Greece and Kenya where the other two stories are set, but it serves to root them all in one man’s troubled existence.

Arthur is a young man whose declining mental health constantly hinders him from finishing the work he has to do. His mind wanders from the job in hand to the practicalities of moving into a flat with his girlfriend, packing the boxes, deciding what to take and what can be thrown; beset by the insecurities of change and a hesitant move to a new lifestyle. In between the times he picks up his brush he relates the two stories that say something about his own life. From the confines of his flat we are taken to the tower in which Icarus and his father, Daedalus are imprisoned. Here, hope, of sorts, is found as Daedalus constructs the wings that will will enable them to fly to freedom. But they come with a caveat. Fly too close to the sun and the heat will melt them. Icarus overwhelmed by his freedom loses control, ignores the warning and plunges to his death on the sea.

Meanwhile in Kenya, Felice Benuzzi is dying of boredom, but can see the souring peaks of Mount Kenya. He vows to climb the mountain with fellow prisoner of war Dr. Giovanni (Giuàn) Balletto. They escape the camp and after several setbacks they accept reaching a lower peak rather than the highest as the culmination of their ambition. Then they decided to return to the camp and give themselves up along with their freedom, though they were repatriated after the war ended.

The Sun, The Mountain, and Me has a sound accompaniment by George Jennings that adds further depth to this cleverly constructed work. On hearing the intricately interwoven and sensitively related stories told by Fairey it becomes increasingly clear how the delicate mind of the artist can identify with them, find hope and inspiration tinged with hardship and reality and in so doing add his own search for mental release and freedom to them.

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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

In Ancient Greece, Icarus has never left the tower that imprisons him and his father. But every day he wakes, and stares at the sun, desperate to join it in the sky.

In World War Two Kenya, prisoner of war, Felice Benuzzi, is dying of boredom. But then the rain clears, and he sees the stunning peak of Mount Kenya, and he makes a vow to climb it.

And in modern-day Egham, a young man named Arthur – caught in the grip of his declining mental health – is just trying to finish a painting.

The Sun, The Mountain, and Me is a new solo show that melds ancient myth and historical anecdote with emotive storytelling to explore art, freedom, and the mistakes we make when searching for escape.

Bedivere Arts creates high production value, studio-scale theatre that reimagines classic stories in new and exciting ways. They combine cinematic aesthetics and soundtracks with exciting theatrical staging to make shows that, while intimate in size, still manage to feel epic.

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