The year is 1533. England is rife with rumours. Henry VIII has sent his first wife Catherine of Aragon away and may well have already married Anne Boleyn in secret. The break with Rome and the Church of England are in their infancy. Is the Lady Anne going to be Queen? How far will the King's thirst for power go? Will his nephew Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor send in the troops to stop him? Is there a civil war on the cards?
Baited Hooks illustrates these elements of Tudor history for Key Stage 2 schools parties via characters with tangible dilemmas. Alice Carter, a barmaid who is learning to read and wishes to read illegal religious texts, Thomas Dacre, a man collecting money for the King who has lost a good deal of it while gambling, Lady Helena Knyvett, a member of the King's court who thinks it will foreign troops to keep the King in line but who also knows that he will not be the one to suffer and Geerhardt Schoeler, a merchant from overseas who simply wants to make a bit of cash and instead finds himself accused of stirring up all manner of trouble.
I'm playing Schoeler, the German merchant selling silks, spices, medicines, books and most bizarrely mermaid's hair. He's also carrying a provocative letter from within the Holy Roman Empire which is a reply to Lady Knyvett's call for troops from abroad.
The show involves a great deal of interraction with the children in the audience and dealing with some of the non sequiturs they throw back at you. Strangest discourse this week:
Child: "Did you know that Michael Jackson is dead?"
Me: "I'm not aware of the gentleman, but my thoughts are with his family."