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House Mother Normal

A digital installation inspired by BS Johnson’s celebrated novel and performed at Brighton Festival, May 2021

adapted from the book by BS Johnson
Produced by New Perspectives 
Realised and directed by Tim Crouch
Filmed by Giles Thacker
Sound by Thor McKintyre Burnie

Photo credit: Giles Thacker

Clockwise from top left:
Vivien Bridson, Tyrone Huggins, Tim Barlow, Cleo Sylvestre, Margaret Jackson, Pip Donaghy, Marsha Miller, Sharon Morgan. Centre: Amedla Brown.

Friend (if I may call you friend), these are also our friends. 

Ron, Rosetta, Ivy, Charlie, Gloria, Sarah, Sioned and George. Under the watchful eye of House Mother, eight residents of the strangest care home recall their pasts and narrate their terrifying present: the twitcher, the song, the Christmas Crackers, the Pass the Parcel, and Ralphie’s ‘long, probing, red tongue’. Nine faces. Nine voices orchestrated into a spoken-word symphony of old age and absurdism. 

In the early 1970s, BS Johnson was at the forefront of the English literary avant-garde. Marking its fiftieth anniversary this year, his celebrated novel House Mother Normal is given the equivalent of a digital remastering by Brighton artist and ‘the country’s pre-eminent experimental playwright’ (The Stage), Tim Crouch.

This piece was designed to be heard with headphones.