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Live Snakes and Ladders Cast.jpg



Written and directed by Keith Johnstone

I directed the executioners and trained them. I also contributed the character of Death to the show. Keith had asked me if there were any other characters that might be good for the play, I reminded him of the Death Prologue that he had shown me when he was writing a version of Doctor Faustus. Death was played by me, on stilts. I had a clear idea of how the costume could be made and the designer Gavin Semple agreed. He gave me the costume at the end! The ‘show’ is a Live TV broadcast of a game show with Giant Live Snakes that contestants must slide through should they land on the head of the snake. The Executioners would ‘insert’ the contestants into the snakes mouth and the contestant would have to crawl through it to the other end. A lot of blood bags and snake shit were required of the Make Up department. The ladders led up of course. There was a medical unit to stich up injured contestants. There was an elite seating section served by a waiter in rubber boots. A live TV crew on set complete with commentator and a roaming reporter and camera crew. Sumo wrestlers to toss the giant dice and executioners, snake handlers, groupie and the contestants, (one of which I also played). We follow the hopes of the young to win their futures in a sadistic and unfair world. The winner beams victorious but Death closes the show with an epilogue and a promise to return.

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