Out of Her Mind: Margery Kempe the Wife of Lynn's Tale
“A captivating performance…adeptly managed…” - Lynn News: see entire article at this link).
Out of Her Mind is a 45-minute one woman show I have created with author Gareth Calway and composer Thomas Conway.
Margery Kempe is a real character from mediaeval Norfolk history and one of the few strong non-aristocratic female voices we have from that period.
A C15th burgess’s wife and mother of 14 living the life of a nun in self-appointed white robes and accused all her life of heresy, not to mention thoroughly unorthodox holy visions, Margery Kempe was notorious for her floods of holy tears at any mention of Christ’s suffering.
Nationwide, archbishops, bishops and city mayors called her visions deceptions but small-fry regional friars like Aleyn of Lynn and the Vicar of Sedgeford supported her and helped her record her visions. Locally to Norwich, Mother Julian of Norwich, who Margery visited in her cell and spent much time with endorsed her and called her ‘sister’.
Margery was always eccentric, utterly original, possibly mad and certainly never dull.
In the show, this extraordinary woman centuries ahead of her time tells her own story direct to the modern audience allowing it to decide for itself whether she was mad, visionary or both. Comic and moving by turns, the production uses physical theatre and iconic props to tell the story and evokes the demons, devils and holy visitations of Margery's soul with graphic power and volume (as well as lighter moments). Tom Conway's beautiful music counterparts this throughout.
The show can be divided into two short acts of 25 and 20 minutes respectively, or performed as one single act of 45 minutes in total, making the show best suited to a lunchtime setting, a cabaret setting or as part of a double bill or showcase.
“Margery Kempe of Lynn” premiered to a large audience in Lynn Minster (her own beloved parish church) at the Lynn Festival fringe on 24 July 2015. Further touring dates are planned for 2016.