The most remarkable play staged on Planet Earth
March 14, 2012 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Ken Campbell with more stories about the original production of The Illuminatus back in the 1970s - Video, may show you advertising featuring Richard Branson.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2012

So, not Glen Campbell as I originally read. Damn 60’s experimental reading education.
posted by bongo_x at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2012

On one hand, I tend to take a bit of a dim view towards "experimental" theater as it seems many practicioners seem to sacrifice a work's coherance for the sake of spectacle.

On the other hand - oh my god i want to try being in the audience for an underground performance thing that seriously sounds way cool for serious
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

[Changed post text per OP request, carry on]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2012

Damn. An underWATER performance thing I mean.

It sounded so cool I messed up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

The War With the Newts sounds like it must have been fabulous.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2012

Dey do dat dough dough don't dey dough?
posted by lalochezia at 12:30 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh I wish I wish I wish I wish...
posted by Theta States at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2012

Damn, I never knew about that, thanks for the link. I once saw Ken Campbell in Amsterdam, where he just walked onstage and started telling stories. It was all more or less improvised, but they were such incredibly well told stories. I've been looking for more nights like that in the theatre ever since.
posted by ouke at 12:55 PM on March 14, 2012

A frog's arsehole? Sounds pretty tight.
posted by orme at 1:21 PM on March 14, 2012

Campbell is one of my heroes. Total genius. I never got to see The Warp (although I know some of the people who were in Daisy Campbell's late 90s revival and it sounds less like a show and more like a Major Life Experience), and I do wish I'd met him (I realise i could just have walked up after any of the performances I saw and said hello, but I never felt I had anything interesting enough to justify the intrusion). I realise his shows sound Dead Experimental, but his main principle was that audiences should be challenged, astounded and amazed, but above all entertained.

He took the opportunity, while visiting CERN during the making of Reality on the Rocks for Channel 4, to visit Damanhur just around the corner, and the scientific rubs shoulders with the Fortean throughout his ... I don't want to say "work" ... his stuff. Violin Time is partly about realising he's far to old to date a Vietnamese violinist, partly about attending EST in the seventies and deciding Werner Ehrhardt had invented a whole new form of comedy, partly about being the part-reincarnation of a Cathar parfait, partly about Newfoundland and a bunch of other things, and it jitters gloriously between the almost certainly true and the almost certainly - well, completely certainly, I suppose - made up. And this is just one of his shows. And it's not even one of the most well-known.

Ken Campbell - the man who made the implausible not only possible but, in many cases, actual.
posted by Grangousier at 2:15 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

And now he's dead. Coincidence?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:56 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe worth noting that this production seems to have indirectly spawned the KLF?
posted by with hidden noise at 4:00 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maybe worth noting that this production seems to have indirectly spawned the KLF?

That’s why this sounded familiar.
posted by bongo_x at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2012

Maybe worth noting that this production seems to have indirectly spawned the KLF?

Not only did I see the production, you couldn't avoid the fucking thing. For weeks before they actually mounted it, they used to use the coffee bar in that virtually derelict building as a rehearsal space. Every time you'd go in there, there'd be a bunch of losers from the Everyman, stamping round, hopefully scantily clad.

I was really surprised when all those losers from the Everyman eventually hit it big.

I knew Drummond peripherally -- mostly through Pete Wylie -- so I knew he was involved, but I've no idea what he was doing there. A year or two later, I started working at a photography gallery across the road, and he was running the studio upstairs, cutting the first tracks by bands like Orchestral Maneuvers and Echo and the Bunnymen.

That was a terrible album. Him going on to make great records was another real surprise to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:44 PM on March 14, 2012

I knew Drummond peripherally...

Thanks for this. I’m a little too interested in the subject.
posted by bongo_x at 6:03 PM on March 14, 2012

Illuminatus! is a book that really needed a post 9/11 sequel.
posted by empath at 7:56 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Illuminatus! is one of those books that I am terrified to revisit now that I am no longer a teenager. I don't want to ruin the magic with my more-critical analysis...
posted by Theta States at 7:35 AM on March 15, 2012

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