VALERIE & VALERIE: SOLUBLE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
Join Valerie and Valerie, business partners and part-time lovers, as they reveal the secrets to success in the thriving and brutal world of small business development. As these two masters of communication reveal the foolproof tricks of the trade in a flurry of florid prose and convoluted metaphors, the audience may snatch glimpses of the current state of the 'part time lovers' own relationship. The comedy is so fast paced, high octane and linguistically unrelenting, you can literally taste their life lessons. At least the front row can.
From its humble beginnings as a sketch written extremely last minute for the Happy Clap Trap opening night by Ulysses Black and Annie Brooks, the 15minute piece has found opportunity to appear again at the Ludicrous Allsorts comedy night, and as featured in some of the photographs, the 'TAVA21' event which commemorated 21 years of the existence of the Theatre and Visual Arts degree that Black and Brooks both graduated from in 2009.
Ulysses had had the initial idea for a short performance piece involving profiteroles launched from a catapult at a blindfolded man. A few years later, following a brain-storming session with Annie Brooks regarding participation in the Happy Clap Trap absurdist night the following day, the idea was seized upon.
For a while both performers thought it was going to be an abstract dance piece. Ulysses still harboured ideas about it being a complex political piece about consumerism and death-by-sugar-firing-squad. Eventually, we settled on the lecture-presentation format, and most specifically the jargon filled nonsense of the business motivation presentations.
Knowing that the culmination would involve pastry projectiles, it was simple a matter of working backwards to a position that might be extremely 'straight' but that would hint, through misdirection, of going in an entirely different comic direction.
Added to this was a very specific script packed with profit-erole related puns, and for which the performers strove to make both as outrageous as possible while seemingly carrying a genuine rationale. This latter point would serve to engage the audience as much as bamboozle them, but perhaps most importantly allow the performers to act congruently with the subject matter by genuinely understanding exactly what all of the complex metaphors were trying to say.
The result of the performance both at the Happy Clap Trap and years later at the Ludicrous Allsorts is regarded by Ulysses Black as his finest comedic moments.
Both artists were elated to see throughout the performances people literally falling off their seats with laughter. When it works that well, there is no doubt that the audience has been utterly nailed by the piece. Superb.
Outdoor images from the TAVA21 2014 celebration at the University of Brighton. Photography by Jordan Chandler.