What Next For Come Bargain With Uncanny Things?
Updated: Aug 7
This is a question I have been getting a lot, since the immediate ‘next’ after each show is waiting for my hair to dry after removing an impressive amount of product from it, let’s try and answer:
Option 1: Nothing
This is my least favourite option. But getting Come Bargain With Uncanny Things on its feet for a second run will cost money - likely in the range of £5-10,000.
It’s not unachievable by any means; there are certainly opera patrons for whom that kind of money is insignificant (or goods-in-kind, such as access to unused retail space that can be adapted for performance).
Option 2: Run 2
This is the likely ‘nice’ option. Sales are picking up, and if we can get a few decent reviews, award nominations, and sell out a show, then we could likely persuade investors to bring back the show for a serious-length run of 16+ shows.
After 16 shows, this production would break even (allowing for grants already received etc.), and I’d be very keen to see that.
While I’ll write more on this once the show’s done, and it doesn’t seem like an obnoxious hot take, one of the core principles of Come Bargain is making a show that is a) really fun so that b) it can make money.
If an opera can make money, that’s an opera free of the constant grind of funding applications, and bound to serve its audience to keep that income alive. There’s a lot of benefits to both.
While it’s a bit more complex than that, it’s a fairly decent summary.
Option 3: Come Bargain With Uncanny Things… Forever
This is my utter fantasy. Have a cast of 10-ish, including multiple council representatives and bargainers, and then do a run of the show, performing each night with different roles.
Not, I emphasise, a different cast. But a full world in which one night, Guildmaster McCall invokes, but the next is called upon to lead the offerings, because [Provisional Bargainer John Smith] needs to finally practice invoking.
In which what happens on Tuesday influences what happens on Wednesday - if one group summon a vast tree to devastate the area, the next day’s group must deal with that.
Above all, in which when an audience member comes back, they are a returning member of the community, welcomed by the bargainers.
If one of the major aesthetic charms of Come Bargain has been its stylistic tone of ‘cosy and disconcerting’, its other core statement has been to do with forming communities of strangers to make something bigger collectively. Forming a space for people to return, be welcomed, and make an imagined home seems a valuable artistic option for such work.
It’d need a lot of work. But given what the cast did in merely three days (plus two days’ R&D), I think it could work, and be utterly delightful.
Oh, and for all of the above: if I try to produce this show again, MAKE ME FIND A PRODUCER.