Graeme Rose – The Hand That Feeds – Wake Up Call
The Hand That Feeds
by Graeme Rose
It was while planning the first of the New Optimists’ Narrativium performances, ‘Food Futures’, in the summer of 2014, that Kate Cooper started talking about what she called her “Mad Opera” – inspired by the Horsemeat Scandal which had precipitated a media and ministerial storm back in 2013.
This picture shows a remarkable carving on the outside of St.Martin In the Bullring, where we will be performing on 14th May. It is this which inspired the title of the show.
Talking to Kate woke me up to the fact that adulteration in the food industry is so pervasive and global that we can never completely know whether we are being duped by the products we buy and consume. But is this the inevitable result of a culture that is ever-striving for economies of scale and increased profit-margins? Or is it the determination of criminals taking advantage of our ignorance at distant stages of commerce?
We all face daily decisions which weigh up perceived quality against its affordability, and we make those decisions not just for ourselves but our kids and loved ones. We scan the list of ingredients on packaging, and put our faith in our instinct or habit. But if a frozen pizza contains as many as 35 different ingredients from 60 different countries, how truly daunting is the task of monitoring the provenance of the food we consume? Faced with the obsessive scrutiny of sources and contents, it might seem a simpler choice to remain ignorant.
The Hand That Feeds – a Musical about Food Crime, is approaching rehearsal stage. All the research and thinking has translated into something very tangible. Mez and Sara have done a wonderful job of translating complex ideas into an impressive piece of work that will be realised at the Bullring on the 14th May.
My job, as director, is to put their writing onto its feet. I am thrilled to say we have Anthony Miles and Sam ‘Frankie’ Fox as our two principle actor-singers! Al Gurr on keyboard and Xhosa Cole on reed instruments. Plus, the vocal talents of the Castle Vale Community Choir, who have been hard at work learning some of the numbers over the past months.
The songs are written in a range of musical styles and swing from infectiously catchy pop, through urban sensibilities to witty satirical narrative song, to serenely beautiful ballad. With just two live performances on the 14th May I know these pieces will have an immediate impact on an audience and I do hope that you will be able to join us on the day for a unique event; the World Premiere of “The Hand That Feeds” – a musical about Food Crime.
Graeme Rose – Narrativium Engineer – Director
More The Hand That Feeds… team posts
“The Hand That Feeds – a musical about food crime” is being staged on the steps of St Martin in the Bullring, Birmingham city centre – Saturday 14th May at 12 noon and again at 2.30pm.
Those that register for #StopFoodCrime-fighter goodie bags can collect them before and after the performances.