A dynamic, absurd and uplifting theatre piece about forgery, castration and blind drunkenness, there's a wealth of articles on Fire Exit's website about Long Live the Little Knife, the art world, the nature of forgeries and the inspiration for the play.
|Long Live the Little Knife publicity image by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan|
The question of what is real and what is fake, what is feigned, feinted or counterfeited is always present in Long Live The Little Knife. It is there from the outset in the suggestion that the story, in the tradition of verbatim theatre, was told to the author. And, indeed, it is there from the set: some loosely hung dust sheets, some building materials and lighting gear which has come, not as expected from the props department or a lighting hire company, but from a builder’s yard.
But if this material provides a veneer of authenticity, that veneer is cracked at best. There’s the stage manager who is also a character in the play and whose actions may be technically necessary or merely a scripted performance. A real stage manager who acts is not a real actor, but does that mean he is a fake?
|Neil McCormack and Wendy Seager in Long Live the Little Knife. Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan|
Wendy and Neil are actors. Liz and Jim are characters. As all four are performers, it’s a little hard to tell them apart. Liz and Jim are counterfeiters who live in splendour and precariousness, a world of “pleather”, a fake labradoodle, and acquired identities.
LIZ: Italian renaissance grandeur JIM: But on a budget. LIZ: Botticelli! JIM: Meets Argos.
They make a living faking vintage goods and counterfeiting Gucci, Fendi, and “Pravda” handbags, mistaking an Italian luxury label for a Soviet propaganda sheet whose title means “truth”. But the truth is, of course, elusive.
|Long live the Little Knife designer Ali Maclaurin's set design|
If it turns out that everything except violence, and perhaps true love, is a sham, what measure might be the difference between truth and fiction, between authenticity and invention?
LIZ: [concentration] Mini. Minimal. Minute. Mini-a-ture.... Midget.
Visit Fire Exit's website for more about Long Live the Little Knife.