This show was developed in collaboration with Paul Bourne, Co-Artistic Director of Menagerie Theatre Company, and a work-in progress performance was given at Cambridge Junction in July 2022 as part of Menagerie's Hotbed Festival. The show is now ready to tour UK venues in spring-summer 2023.
For enquiries about this show please contact the producers 'Menagarie'. The button will take you to their website.
A still from 'What is the Truth but a Lie Agreed upon'.
Meet Chris. Chris is a 54-year-old artist financially trapped in the house where he grew up. The garden shed has become his studio, where he tries to create works of art that will allow him to come to terms with the absurdities of modern living - or else to escape his daily life entirely. In the past, Chris has made full-size vehicles which have taken him on coneptual journeys. Recently, however, he has returned to the toys of his childhood -especially his Scalextric cars, via a glamorous commission with Central Bedfordshire libraries.
In this new show, he shares stories of his latest projects, from his efforts to make friends with Essex taxi drivers to his quest to understand more about his Polish heritage (without speaking a word of Polish). Toy Stories sees Chris dig up some metaphorical ghosts of the past, as well as a real German tank dating from the Second World War, and reminds us how little has changed in populist politics between then and now. Part stand-up comedy, part performance lecture, Toy Stories takes the audience on an irreverent adventure through art, contemporary politics and twentieth century history.
'A NOTE FROM CHRIS' Trying to make sense of the world, one of the things I’m most interested in is authenticity. Picasso describes art as ‘the lie that shows a truth’. A lot of my work has played on this notion of art as an illusion that gives a fresh perspective on the world. In the past I took representations of real objects like plastic toy penguins and other representations of Antarctic things to the real Antarctic; documented them there and brought them back as authentic ‘real pretend’ Antarctic objects.
Currently I find myself living in the house where I grew up; surrounded by some of the actual toys I had as a child. Toy cars and trains; representations of real things they are in a sense pretend objects imbued with a lot of real, special personal resonance.- Keepsakes from a certain time in my personal history when things felt more certain or simple. I use them to go on a journey through our contemporary world; a world of fake news and phoney populist politicians. When the world feels like a really crap, cheap version of the 'Matrix' you’re not sure what to believe,so sometimes familiar things like my toys become an anchor in reality. Trust no-one! (Apart from maybe Wikipedia.)