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Perfect Show for Rachel
Accessible Introduction

Downloadable Introduction:

Welcome to this introduction to Perfect Show for Rachel, created by Zoo Co with Improbable.


Step into Rachel's world in this experimental show as a learning disabled artist has the power to lead the creation of her very own ‘Perfect Show’.


Sitting on-stage with her custom-built tech desk, Rachel takes charge as the director of every unique performance in real-time. A touch of a button can trigger music, lighting, theatrical scenes or choreography, brought to life instantly by a company of performers.


Perfect Show for Rachel is one hour long with no interval. What happens in the show is up to Rachel, so much of the through-description will be improvised as the performance develops. The show will very likely involve water pistols, so be aware you may get a little bit wet, especially if you're on the front rows!


Perfect Show for Rachel takes place in a fantasy version of Rachel's living room - her favourite room. A rear wall about 6 metres wide is joined by a right and left wall set at wide angles to create a false-perspective view of the room, as if it is opening out to welcome us in. The room is open above to the lighting rig, and the floor is the bare black floor of the stage.


The walls are painted mottled blue and white, with bright, multi-coloured paint splat and speckle effect over the top and bottom sections. Rachel's name is graffitied here and there, and two special patches of colourful scribbly painting were done by Rachel herself.


On the right and left walls, platforms run the length of the wall. These are about half a metre high, and a metre deep. They are each accessed by four steps on the front ends. On the left side, the platform holds a keyboard, guitar, saxophone, flute and drum kit, along with chairs for the musicians. The platform on the right hand wall is clear apart from a pink standard lamp and a small armchair placed in the corner against the back wall.


The back wall has shelves and cupboard built in on both sides, at platform level. On the left, the shelves hold two tv screens and a pink and white frosted birthday cake.


On the right hand side the shelves hold a variety of props and items that the cast might grab for scenes, such bowling pin-shaped woolly hats, and a table lamp.


In the centre of the rear wall is a doorway with a glass panel top half, and two more window panels on either side. Through these windows is a backdrop of blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Cast members sometimes get sent outside, and can peer in at us through the windows, watching the rest of the cast continue the performance.


The only other furniture in this part of the set is a couple of plastic chairs and two sturdy square tables which sometimes get stood on and used as portable mini platforms. These are all painted the same as the walls.


Near the front of the performance space, on the right hand side, is Rachel's special tech desk. This is a large curving table rather like a spaceship captain's control desk. Painted with the same multicoloured effect as the rest of the set, the surface of the desk is covered with 39 big push buttons. Each button has a sticker on it showing an image of a different scene or performer in the show. When Rachel pushes a button, it triggers a sound and video cue that tells the performers what scene Rachel would like them to perform. Rachel sits behind the desk throughout the show, along with a companion. This is often her mum Wendy but sometimes Flo, Lee or other performers join Rachel if Wendy is in a scene.


Rachel talks throughout the show, and her words are displayed on two of the TV screens on the set. They are transcribed by a live scribe who sits at a smaller desk near Rachel. You'll hear Rachel's words amplified through the audio description channel.


Captions and videos are projected onto the walls throughout the show. The videos are a mix of home videos of Rachel's life, and animated titles of the different scenes. One of the TV screens on the back wall shows Rachel live-streamed from her desk, so that the audience can enjoy Rachel's reactions. Rachel also likes watching herself on the TV.


The cast all perform multiple roles throughout, as well as being present as themselves. All the cast members integrate BSL at points in the show, with some cast members using BSL as their principle language throughout, and interpreting the other performers. When any member of the company is not in a scene, they stay onstage, sitting casually around on the set and reacting to whatever's happening. There's often a pause between scenes while Rachel decides what she wants to happen next, and in these moments the company lounge around, watching her and waiting for instructions.


Here are the company to introduce themselves (if you listen to the MP3 version of these intro notes, you'll get to hear them all):


Flo: I'm a performer in the show and Rachel's sister. I'm a 5 foot 5 slim built white person with a scruffy brunette bob and a round expressive face and freckles. In the show and wearing electric blue cargo pants, a black crop top and a bright pink Adidas jacket with dark pink stripes down the sleeves. I sometimes wear glasses during the show, but they do tend to fall off with all the movement fighting and general enthusiasm. I'm on stage with Rachel - my sister, and Wendy - my mum, and we all share trademark O'Mahony expressive dark eyebrows and round cheeks.


Rachel is a short 32 year old woman with dark brown hair usually worn in two space buns during the show. She's wearing skinny blue jeans, converse shoes, and a dark pink jacket which says 'Director' on the back in sequin letters. Rachel has a serious expression that occasionally breaks into a huge grin. When she laughs, she holds her hands up to her mouth in a cheeky way. She likes sitting at her spinny director's chair at her tech desk. Her movements are relatively small but she presses each button in the show with great intention and concentration.


Wendy: My pronouns are she/her. I'm a white, middle-aged woman with a round smiley face. I have mid-length, dark brown hair with a fringe. I wear it down throughout the show. I am 5' 2"ish with a small build. I'm wearing bright green tracksuit bottoms with white and pink stripes down the sides of the legs, a black top and cropped black sleeveless hoodie. I think of myself as energetic when I move, but I am sat down next to Rachel at her desk for a lot of the show.


Becky: I'm a 5' 6" slim, 41 year old woman. I'm part Icelandic with pale skin and dark eyes and hair. I'm a combination of angular and bouncy, like a spider in clothes. In the show, I wear khaki trousers, a lime green crop top, and Primark's finest leather jacket. My hair is pulled up and back into a bouffant ponytail. I do a lot of the sign language in the show, so you might not hear my voice much, but you might hear me play saxophone and flute - if those buttons are pressed.


Stephen: I'm a bubbly, deaf, white performer. I'm 5' 6" with short brown hair, ginger beard and freckles. In the show I'll be wearing a punkish vibe - green and black, black trousers and trainers. I'll be sometimes signing using British Sign Language, or physical performance, dance, and sometimes I will speak in the play. I play multi roles, like a cop and a sergeant, and I'll be wearing very special blonde hair in one song that you may recognise and hear. Enjoy!


Lee: I'm a tall, thin, white man with floppy hair and big ears. I'm wearing old jeans, and a red and white check shirt, not buttoned up, over a t-shirt. I'm also wearing sneakers. I'm quite a bit older than the other people on stage.


Nick: My pronouns are he/they. I'm a tall, white male with a shaved head hidden under a dark red beanie hat. I have dark eyebrows that compete for prominence on my face with my dark moustache. I'm wearing black pinstripe trousers, cropped above the ankle, a burgundy vest with a sleeveless black denim jacket over the top. There's a thin silver chain necklace around my neck, black eyeliner around my eyes, and cherry red nail varnish on my fingernails. I tend to be very expressive in all the scenes and move with purpose.


Fleur: My pronouns are she/her. I'm a slim-built, tallish 30 year old white woman. I've got long, curly brown hair which bounces when I move and a big smile. I move around energetically, stopping and starting sharply, and have big, exaggerated facial expressions throughout the show. I'm wearing baggy trousers and a boob-tube. I'm half French and speak French in one of the scenes, if it gets chosen


Folarin: He/him pronouns. I am a short king standing at 5 foot seven with a medium build. I am a black man, bald and with a fairly round and expressive face framed by a short chin-strap style beard. I am wearing a pink top, a black tracksuit with green floral patterns - the Nigeria football kit from a few years ago, with black trousers accented with white crosses and circles.


Josh: I'm a 5 foot 10 white man with dark hair and a moustache and clear framed glasses. I'm wearing a silky black shirt with a big sparkly silver pussybow at the neck, ripped jeans, black Cuban heel boots with silver toe caps, and black nail varnish. I'm the musical director as well as performing in the ensemble so I'm often behind a keyboard on the left side platform.


Sara: I use she/her pronouns. I'm a fair-skinned Iraqi woman, I'm 5' 6", plus size, with brown curly hair that is as bouncy as my personality. In the show I wear a black short-sleeve jumpsuit with studs on the shoulders and collar as well as a studded belt. Layered underneath is a pink and black tank top and fishnet sleeves. My outfit's finished off with chunky Doc Martin boots.


Gabriel: My pronouns are he/him. I'm a six foot four dark skinned black man with an athletic build, full beard and waist length dreadlocks. I'm wearing a black T-shirt, khaki cargo pants and dark grey trainers with bright red accents. I move across the stage with big extended movements in most scenes.


Austin: I'm a six foot one East Asian man with shoulder length black hair and glasses. In the show I'm wearing black steel toe boots, rouge trousers, a tank top and a black leather jacket. I sit at a desk next to Rachel and I scribe everything she says onto a screen for everyone to follow along.


Also present, but not seen during the show, is Rachel Sampley, who operates the lighting from the tech box and sometimes gets called on in some scenes.


Perfect Show for Rachel is directed by Rachel O’Mahony 

The company are:

Flo O’Mahony (who also lead artist for Perfect Show, and Artistic Director of Zoo Co)

Wendy O'Mahony

Lee Simpson (co-Artistic Director of Improbable)

Fleur Rooth

Becky Barry

Folarin Akinmade

Sara Dawood

Stephen Collins

Gabriel Akamo

Austin Yang, the live scribe

Joshua Goodman, who is also the musical director

Nick Gilbert, who is also the sound designer


Stella Backman is the Set and Costume Designer

Rachel Sampley the Lighting and Video Designer

Han Sayles the Assistant LX and Video Designer

Simeon Campbell is the Choreographer

Esme Cooper the Fight Director

Sophie Woolley is the Dramaturg, including BSL dramaturgy

Daryl Jackson is the BSL Translator

Audio Description is by Ess Grange

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