Show Programme > They Called Her Vivaldi

“A show that leaves nothing unconsidered. (Even its show programme, a witty continuation of the performance by Kate Heffernan, is a work of art.)”

Irish Times

The 4th in my series of show programmes for Theatre Lovett went into circulation this week – for the opening of They Called Her Vivaldi and its month-long run at the Abbey Theatre (if you’re reading this before December 23rd, you can book tickets here.)

For this series of special show programmes, I start by sitting down with the script and, with the production design aesthetic in mind, I imagine each world to its fullest.

From this I write a full text before designing it into a programme-sized publication (have a look at the 3 previous programmes here.)

Written by Louis Lovett, They Called her Vivaldi is set in the imagined city of Triste, a metropolis carefully controlled by its cobble washers. The main characters (Cecilia Maria and her father) run a haberdashery, with buckets a large part of their trade. Throughout the play, things start to go missing, and Cecilia Maria sets out to find who is responsible.

So I pitched this 12-page show programme as a vintage tourist magazine, an official publication of The Cobble Washers Guild. The Guild sets about trying to encourage visitors to visit their city which may in recent years have acquired a reputation for robberies. The city’s slogan – “Triste: Leave Lighter” becomes an unfortunate allusion to the tendency of personal property to disappear. 

As always, the programme pokes gentle fun at the format of show programmes and is full of ‘advertisements’ drawn from the world of the play – all for Haberdashers of Triste in this case, and many trying to sell buckets and bucket-related paraphernalia.

There’s a Bucket List for the Grand Big Bucket Sale; the Dear Liza Bucket Puncture Repair Kit; the Dear Henry Vessel Replacement Scheme. There’s an ad for Gambas & Mermaid Organic Seaweed Detox Baths, Squeaky Feet Shoes, Auroara Oarealis Oars. 

Voiceless characters are given voices. In his Thimble-Sized Thesaurus, Timmy Thimbles explains the meaning of words from the play. Sebastian Sweep of the Cobble Washers Guild details the awards the city has won (including a Bronze Medal in Synchronised Street Sweeping at the 2014 Cobblewealth Games). 

 

And in a rare dialogue, the Narrator discusses the loneliness of narration. 

Elsewhere, there’s a pizza recipe (sponsored by Vesuvio’s Bucket-Fired Pizza). There’s a Word Search for all the items beginning with B for sale at Haberdashers (sponsored by Haberdashers of Triste). There’s paper folding instructions for the Zephyr Dell Peccadillo Paper Boat Canal Regatta. There’s an 8-step guide to dancing The Fandango (with dance move sketches taken from Louis’ rehearsal notebook). There’s tips on Invisible Sword Fighting. 

And 5 hats from Akram’s Hats of Weird have been hidden throughout the pages. 

This was another fun one to both write and design. 

They Called Her Vivaldi is a theatrical treat. Richly layered, its sheer attention to detail is just staggeringly good, right down to the lovingly detailed programme.”

theartsreview.com