Latest Work: The Owl Man
‘The Owl Man’ is a celebration of two Walters…
Walter Strachan, an English public school master, published poet, francophile, and connoisseur of French book illustration (Le Livre d’Artiste), who, while working on behalf of the V&A, befriended many struggling artists in Paris following WW2.
Walter Spitzer, a Polish/Jewish artist, who survived the ghetto, Auschwitz, the Death March & Buchenwald, and went on to illustrate the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Andre Malraux.
The play takes as its theme, Spitzer’s obsession with the schism between man’s extreme cruelty and innate humanity, and Strachan’s extraordinary and holistic approach to life and education (‘I don’t teach French, I teach France’).
The story is told through the eyes of Strachan’s young student, whose imagination is sparked by a staircase hung with images of owls by artists from all over the world. Each a ‘thank you’ to Strachan for his help in promoting their work. A gift from Strachan, a lithograph by Spitzer, connects the boy to the magic and colour of the circus, and the despair of the concentration camps.
The relationships the boy makes now, with his teacher, with art, with artists, and the values he learns, will inspire him for a lifetime…
‘I want to explore ways of bringing together my three passions – theatre, music, visual art – to reflect the different languages that would be used across this piece (English, French, German, Polish, Yiddish), and create a sort of synaesthesia (a part of the make-up of my own bipolar disorder) with words evoking images, evoking sounds – a single touch of a picture transporting us through time & space to a different scene entirely’
Richard Crowe – March 2021
Photo credit: Paul Blakemore
OVER THE WALL CIC
7 Shapwick Road Westhay Glastonbury BA6 9TU
Company Number: 13270726
Registered in England and Wales
Directors: Richard Crowe and Pauline Burr
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Photo credit Paul Blakemore