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The Pirates of Circumstance
By Alan Morrison

ISBN: 9781847477293
Published: 2008
Pages: 88
Key Themes: play script, homelessness, drug abuse, humour, poetry


In 2000, Morrison first performed his play for voices, Picaresque, which was based on his mainly bitter experiences working in a Brighton night shelter that same year. The piece took its stylistic inspiration from Dylan Thomass play for voices, Under Milk Wood, as well as from TS Eliots modernist epic, The Wasteland. The play juxtaposed the residents of the homeless shelter with piratical alter egos whose names were based loosely on those of characters from Robert Louis Stevensons Treasure Island. The original piece was written as an epic narrative with the ubiquitous Midshipman describing the various homeless inmates he worked for. But by its second public performance, the piece had evolved into a proper play for voices, the various characters being brought more to life through voicing their own stories in monologues and through dialogue.

Picaresque has gone on to endure through the years, having been performed a total of eight times to date, as well as an excerpt being broadcast on Londons Resonance fm. It has collected much critical acclaim along its course, and was also given notice in an article in the Guardian Review supplement in 2005.

This is a newly re-edited version of the piece, with some recently added sections and characters, as well as extensive footnotes on phrases and allusions, provided for the first time in print.

Morrison is founder and editor of the new radical literary ezine, the Recusant, and is currently Poet in Residence at Aldrington Mental Health Day Hospital and Mill View Hospital, both in Hove. His epic poem on the theme of his Obsessive Disorder, O, is forthcoming from Chipmunkapublishing in 2008.

About the Author

Alan Morrison was born in Brighton 1974. He grew up in Sussex and then Cornwall, where he started writing stories, plays, and in particular, poetry, partly as a creative response to the harsh policies of the Thatcher period, which had indirectly kept his parents in the poverty trap for the entire late Eighties. During this difficult period in his life, Morrison developed nervous problems vaguely labelled as intrusive thoughts by a child psychiatrist he was taken to for problems attending school. It was advised by the psychiatrist to keep him off school for several months due to the extreme stress it seemed to cause him which exacerbated his neuroses. Subsequently Morrison missed virtually his entire first year in secondary education, but was eventually forced back to attending through pressure from the school inspectorate. His attendance at school was never considered fully satisfactory thereafter, but was just enough to escape being sent to a special school away from his family.


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