Artificiality and Authenticity in Long Live the Little Knife

Fire Exit are taking Long Live the Little Knife  by David Leddy on the road again for a fourth time following sell-out success across the country. The show opens its latest tour at the Citizens Theatre from Tue 24 - Sat 28 February in our Circle Studio. Fire Exit were last at the Citizens with Sub Rosa, their site-specific piece revealing some of the secrets backstage of a Victorian theatre.

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
Moira Jeffrey, freelance journalist and Art Critic for the Scotsman on artificiality and authenticity in Long Live the Little Knife:

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 He is real. He does exist. NEIL: But not real acting. WENDY: It’s not imaginary acting. 

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
Victims of a bitter turf war, they aspire to graduate beyond accessories and handbags into what they see as the biggest scam of all: art theft and art forgery. As Liz and Jim’s accents and identities keeping slipping through time and across genders, they force us to ask what makes a woman a woman, a man a real man and what can possibly make a work of art worth it’s price. 

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. 

Long Live the Little Knife

Tue 24 - Sat 28 February