Friday, 29 June 2012

The Just Price of Flowers

Earlier this week I skipped over to our TROVE neighbours, A E Harris, to see the latest Birmingham REP production - The Just Price of Flowers.  I really enjoyed the Rembrandt imagery within each scene and the gorgeous origami pieces by Brian Duffy (!), here's the blurb >

A play about the 2008 financial collapse, set in 17th Century Netherlands, looking like a Rembrandt, featuring origami and paying homage to the great theatre maker Bertolt Brecht.
Tulips were imported into Europe in the early 17th Century at a time when merchants were generating wealth through trade. Collecting exotic items was a fashion. A passion developed for tulips, their price rose rapidly and created the possibility of making profit through speculative buying. For a brief time certain tulip bulbs were sold for prices equivalent to those of a house, or three years of a craftsman’s wage. In 1637 this financial bubble burst.
Using Tulipmania as its inspiration, The Just Price of Flowers finds the Van Leasings buying a tulip from Van Eek, using money borrowed from Van Hire. It follows them as they chase their dream of wealth through the growing complexities of futures trading, credit ratings, sub-primes, credit default swaps, and the horror of short selling.
This is a simple, playful production, which explains the complexities of high finance with great humour, in a remarkably straightforward way, whilst steadily setting you up for the inevitable heartbreaking finale. There are also two songs and an origami peacock.

In addition to the play Birmingham Central Library Photography Archives had lent A E Harris some beautiful John Blakemore photographs of tulips taken in the 1980's.



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