Ideas Are Animals

Company: Crystal Theatre of the Saint
Year: 1976
Devised: Paul B. Davies, John Schofield
Written: Paul B. Davies
Directed: Crystal Theatre of the Saint
Lighting: Dixon Howe
Cast: Paul B Davies, John Schofield
Performed in London, Bristol, Bath. Toured Holland

‘Ideas, philosophies, notions, religions, concepts, theories systems – all are born, like us, with he principle of survival as their only motive. All are self-perpetuating, self-justifying, and exist at the expense of all other matter. All have long yellow teeth and are dangerous. Ideas are Animals is a brief history of the world seen through the eyes of a tape recorder and performed by a decadent cricket team’ (Crystal Theatre of the Saint publicity, 1976)
‘A great pyramid was discovered. From miles around they came to gaze at it. No one believed that life could have survived such a descent, but while they watched something stirred in the dullness. It hunched and shuffled. They strained to make it out, then recoiled in Astonishment. It was clutching a cricket ball’ (Crystal Theatre of the Saint, 1976)

While the original script was written by Paul B Davies, the production was devised with a major collaborative input from John Schofield. The lighting and sound design was also a crucial contribution.

. ‘The Crystal theatre of the Saint have produced a piece of theatre which is impossible to define … arising from a script by Paul B. Davies, … and emerging in its final form as result of company experiment, Ideas are Animals involves a number of different concepts. If there is a main theme running through it, is that of manipulation and there are some theatrically astonishing moments. … It is not a good idea to go along to this production with any preconceived notion of what experimental theatre is. But be prepared for something exceptional’ (Rowena Goldman, The Scotsman, 24th August 1979). ‘Their finely finished ensemble work, their discontinuos combination of surreal farce and existential horror, prompted in the people around me … the bewilderd notion that something important had happened for which nothing in the recent insular British theatre had prepared them. At least those spectators and those performers were willing to make a beginning. But a £ 1,000 pound a year and a couple of weeks in London for five of the wall men of talent won’t compensate for season after season of regimentation’ (Letitia Dace, Harpers & Queen May 1978).

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