Monday School with Half-handed Cloud
Thursday 19th January 2012, 8.00pm
St Barnabas Church, Shacklewell Row,
Dalston, London, E8 2EA
We asked Oakland based Indie musician and artist John Ringhofer (aka Half-handed Cloud of Asthmatic Kitty Records) to join us in making a show as part of the Monday School Project. He brought with him several unreleased songs and his extensive back-catalogue of compositions about Bible stories. We decided to use a recently reopened Modern Romanesque church in Dalston (St. Barnabas) for a processional show.
There were several different layers of revelation, as we took the audience on what was basically a walking tour of the Bible narrative. As the audience arrived in the packed vestry we did the first of two prints on a poster they carried with them throughout the show. It depicts Moses and a group of Londoners crossing the Red Sea in a Red Routemaster Bus. John then played some solo numbers with some audience participation.
A team of cinema ushers (a metaphor for angels guiding human history?) took everyone through the darkened processional spaces to a brightly lit chapel where some of the ushers picked up instruments and joined John to play more songs retelling Old Testament stories.
As the audience left the chapel Moses’ face on their poster glowed in the dark sanctuary. Some more lights went on revealing this section of the building, a third set of music with new usher/players, and then a picnic for the intermission.
During the intermission a second print was added (the bus) opening the New Testament section of the show, and lights came on in the Nave revealing the rest of the church.
By now all the ushers had become a full band and we played out a set of songs based on gospels and epistles.
The response to this show was phenomenal. It sold out twice over, there were people outside trying to persuade us to let them in and even a couple of journalists trying to blag tickets on the phone! We’d love to have taken it on tour, but it was beyond our resources at the time.