Sir Trevor Nunn introduces V&A Hamlet screening and studying Ben Whishaw's performance a second time
That was January for Stan in theatre-land

These are a few of our favourite theatre things: @pocketful's not so Trivial Pursuit

Written by @pocketful

IMG00042-20120206-2209My name is Chris and I’m a kleptomaniac.

Please, put away your outdated misconceptions for a moment – you’ll not find me shuffling out of Tesco with frozen turkey between my thighs or anything remotely so kitchen-sink. I am a THEATRICAL kleptomaniac.

Props, my friends. Props. Nothing crucial to the plot or anything like that – you won’t see me bolting out of a theatre clutching Jean Valjean’s candlesticks or find me spectacularly missing the point and clambering onstage to try and make off with Macbeth’s illusionary dagger. That said, if it’s not nailed down, I’ll have it. If it IS nailed down, then pass the claw hammer.

It all began with being handed a juicebox for my turn in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (now centre-stage on my mantelpiece), and somehow escalated to plain old theft at Inadmissible Evidence, rifling through the boxes littered around the office set, and stuffing sheaves of letters into my bag.

I’m not proud of this. But I’m not ashamed, either. I think they make for far better souvenirs than, say, tickets – a pile of which has been gathering steam on my chest of drawers and is now legally a fire hazard and will remain so 'til the day I choose to fashion them into some kind of tapestry/quilt/Technicolor Dreamcoat.

And yes, it makes me look like some kind of extreme hoarder, poised to be evicted while Channel 4 watches on, but I do love my little collection of objets. I’m basically The Little Mermaid.

There is one item among my haul which I cherish most of all. Those of you lucky or plucky enough to have seen Jerusalem will have borne witness to one of the most blistering stage performances in recent memory, and a play that calls out to the numb disillusionment of a nation, all the while conjuring memories of pastoral sunsets and the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. There will quite frankly never be another like it - it fuses tales of tall giants with tall tales of Girls Aloud. Oh and Trivial Pursuit.

There is a scene in the play in which the protagonist, Jonny ‘Rooster’ Byron, answers a diverse series of Trivial Pursuit questions so quickly he can only either be a polymath or have every answer memorised. As his questioner discards each card quicker than the last, they fall to the floor of the stage. OR DO THEY. One landed right at my feet in the front row (well worth the 5am rise for the day queue and Mark Rylance soaking me every time he dunked his head in water).

It was a sign. It was also a sign that the man next to me moved far too slowly to be in with a shot of picking it up, which meant the inadvertent elbow to the septum he received from me was merely adding injury to insult. As an added bonus, it’s my first acquisition to teach me something – it of course has six little questions and answers printed on it.

Out of interest, do YOU know which US state has sagebrush as its state flower? I bet Rooster would.


This is the second in a series of guest posts, published roughly monthly, about theatre related objects theatre fans have collected over the years and what they mean to them. If you have an object, with a story attached that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear from you. Think of me as a curator in a virtual theatre museum.

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