IT sounds potty, but Fangfoss potter Gerry Grant is making pots expressly to be broken.
“I’ve just landed my most unusual job yet,” he says. “I’ve been commissioned by York company Pick Me Up Theatre to make some props for next week’s production of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?.
“What’s so unusual about this request is that they’ve asked me to make a selection of very large pots that will be smashed to pieces on the stage.”
Presented by Pick Me Up at the John Cooper Studio, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, from February 25 to 29, Edward Albee’s American play centres around Martin Gray, a successful, middle-aged architect who has just turned 50 and leads an ostensibly ideal life with his loving wife, Stevie, and gay teenage son, Billy.
However, when he confides to his best friend that he also is in love with a goat named Sylvia, he sets in motion events that will destroy his family and leave his life in tatters.
Albee’s domestic drama ponders the limits of an ostensibly liberal society, showing a family in crisis to challenge audience members to question their own moral judgment of social taboos.
Director Mark Hird says: “The pottery plates, vases and bowls are an integral part of the show. They represent wealth, prosperity and order in a seemingly perfect household.
“They are expensive works of art collected by world-famous architect Martin Gray to furnish the living room of the family’s New York home – and they’re smashed when Stevie confronts Martin after discovering his affair with Sylvia, the goat.”
Gerry has run Fangfoss Pottery for 43 years with wife Lyn Grant at The Old School, Fangfoss, near York, and never before has he received such a destructive commission.
“I’ve tried for more than 40 years to produce pots that are sturdy and not easily broken. Now I’ve been asked to do the opposite! The pots have been specially made and fired to break easily. I do hope they perform the task well.”
The Goat caused controversy but was a big hit – much like the pottery breaking – with Broadway audiences when it opened in 2002. So much so, it won the Tony Award for best play, 40 years after writer Albee won the same prize for Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf.
Next week marks its York premiere, when Gerry will witness his pots being broken on the 41 Monkgate stage. “I’m looking forward to seeing the play,” he says. “I’m sure it will be a smashing production”.
Tickets for the 7.30pm performances are on sale at pickmeuptheatre.com and on 01904 623568.