Category Archives: One Flea Spare

(Re)Action to FLEA: “Contagion and Quarantine”

As part of our Naomi Wallace (Re)Acts event on February 28, Company Member Jesse Terrill composed this piece, as a reaction to One Flea Spare. For the performance, we asked writers and composers to create work that was in reaction to Wallace’s poetry and theatre.

Jesse described the composition as “a piece influenced by One Flea Spare, musicalizing a shift from one’s once vibrant, cultivated lifestyle in mid-17th Century London to a lonely, uncertain quarantine from the Bubonic Plague.”

Check out what Jesse composed, plus images from the production, all by Melissa Blackall:

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Open Thread: your responses to ONE FLEA SPARE

As we move into our final three (wow, already???) performances of One Flea Spare, we wanted to share some of the responses we’ve received about the story.

Gathered from twitter (some sent from our lobby twitter-box!) and facebook, we’ve been asking what moments, images, and words have stood out and stuck with you all, after seeing the show. If you’ve been able to catch a performance, let us know what things you are left with and what questions have been turning over in your brain since leaving the theatre! Leave your comments in this post or post them via twitter and include @forumtheatre or #OneFleaSpare.

@estone22 Mrs. Snelgrave’s hand, Morse cooly sitcking her leg out for Kabe… Have to see this again to answer all my questions!
p
@nevieb definitely morse checking with her hand for her “leaks” – didn’t even need to see the leak to experience her mortification
and
“and then he vomited up his stomach” is SOME kind of pillow talk
p
@sadcypress A bathroom break during the interval at One Flea Spare is a lot more self-conscious an act than anticipated. Just sayin. @forumtheatre
p
@futureworld84 I feel awkward and dirty. #onefleaspare
p
thegrimripa One Flea Spare is a wonderful show. Act one done so far and I am excited for act two. Great concept and sensual experience!
p

One Flea Spare Cast/Crew Bios

If you weren’t able to read up on all the amazing artists and crew members who are making One Flea Spare, you can read their bio’s here: One Flea Spare Bios

More TBD.com Coverage of FLEA

Maura Judkis over at TBD.com is continuing her backstage, “sneak peek” coverage of One Flea Spare with a new post on one of our favorite props used in the show.

“In a show filled with a lot of icky liquids — the perimeter of the stage is covered in “filth texture,” the actors are covered in dirt, and there’s also brief appearances of blood and spit — the bucket of fake urine is by far, the grossest-looking thing backstage at One Flea Spare.”

(WARNING: article contains both plot and ….urm, appetite spoilers)

THE FLEA by John Donne

Naomi Wallace derived the title of One Flea Spare from John Donne’s poem, The Flea:

Woman Catching Fleas. c.1630. Georges de la Tour.

THE FLEA.
by John Donne

MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is ;
It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two ;
And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we’re met,
And cloister’d in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck’d from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
‘Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

Source:
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 1-2.

 

Tony Kushner on Naomi Wallace

“Naomi Wallace commits the unpardonable sin of being partisan, and, the darkness and harshness of her work notwithstanding, outrageously optimistic. She seems to believe the world can change. She certainly writes as if she intends to set it on fire.”

—Tony Kushner

 

“I sat in a theater at the Humana Festival last year, after the closing monologue of ONE FLEA SPARE, unable to move. I had known Naomi Wallace’s work well, having directed an earlier play, and I knew she had tremendous talent and promised to great things. Nothing had prepared me–not my admiration for her plays and for her beautiful, harsh, moving, brilliantly political poetry–for the experience of watching this play, which is in my opinion one of the finest works of dramatic literature written here or in England in the last two decades. Utterly without sentiment but possessed of a very great human heart, ONE FLEA SPARE touches upon many things, class and gender and the pressures of a plague upon internal and external human constructs; and, as I read it, most devastatingly it addresses a tragedy of almost inexpressible dimensions: the consequences of the horrors of biology and Capital on the young. As the play draws to its shattering close I was filled with thoughts of the children of Sarajevo and Rwanda and the slums of America. `Almost’ inexpressible except in the hands of a true poet, and Naomi Wallace so magnificently proves herself to be. Her ability to articulate the inarticulable, grief and loss and suffering beyond endurance, is a source of hope; as is the resilience and passion of the marvelous characters she’s assembled. Everyone who loves the theater should read this play. It has made me INTENSELY envious and very full of joy.”
Tony Kushner

Flea OpenForum: Podcast Trading

We at Forum are BIG podcast listeners and were starting to find that we’d often reference a podcast we’d heard in rehearsal or when talking about a show. So, we decided that this can be a natural extension of OpenForum as we want to share our findings with you and hopefully get some suggestions for continued listening FROM you.

So, with One Flea Spare in our minds, we’ll kick things off with some lovely Plague-casting. In this podcast from The English Programme, Daniel Defoe discusses The Great Plague and its effects on 1665 London, where Flea takes place.

(Perfect for being cooped up at home with this snow storm)