Who is this Kitty Bridges? – Common Ground Theatre’s performance at Fairfax House, 7th March 2015.
Cats are said to be the perfect pet for translators, sitting all day long on our lap. However, this Kitty may not be that easy to tame.
Chapter I – in which the audience is introduced to the artists.
Hannah Davies, as Kitty, as Monsieur Le Quiff, as Emilia, as Doctor Zupan and many more, gave each of the characters their own voice and personality.
Members of Over the Yardam, Paul Baldwin on the mandolin, the banjo and many more, and Moira Clarke on the concertina, the melodeon and many more, accompanied the narration with joyful tunes.
Chapter II – in which the audience is introduced to Kitty Bridges.
Nobody knows whether she was the author of the book or the muse who inspired it. But the storyteller tells us, Kitty Bridges is a foundling, a feisty young lass from Yorkshire who goes on an incredible adventure.
Chapter III – in which the audience knows more about Kitty’s adventures
From Yorkshire to London, from a tavern to a mansion, working, travelling on carriages, singing, dancing, inspiring, helping, escaping danger, making good friends and not so good friends, stealing, running away, going back home and finally leaving again; this is how Kitty’s life occurs. Her story is a chant to freedom, a play about music, greed and ownership.
Chapter IV – in which the audience learns about music and dances in the Pocket Book of Tunes
The Book of Tunes is a small pocket book from 1745 found a couple of decades ago with 21 tunes and dances to go along. We know it actually belonged to Kitty Bridges thanks to a poem on the first page, which has her name spelt out as the first letter of each verse.
Kind cupid now a swain inspire
In softest numbers tell my care
Touch me to paint my soul’s desire
To sigh the absence of the fair
Ye birds that wanton in the air
Bear me to Windsors’ happy shade
Restored from noise oh let me there
In raptures view my lovely maid
Dispelled shall be each gloomy thought
Gay in her presence shall I prove
Each purling spring each mossy glade
Shall echo our how fond I love
After the play, some of us had the opportunity to stand up and dance a bit to the beat of folk music. Following Hannah’s and Moira’s instructions we performed two dances from the period in pairs, and according to the company, our group was one of the most skilled ones.
And you can see that we learnt, indeed!
Chapter V – in which the few YTI members wished more colleagues would have joined.
And this Chapter speaks for itself.