A True Story

Domenic Lippa's poster design for The Playing Place, an art exhibit in Cornwall

Sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest of places! I just finished Andrew Shaughnessy’s chapter on the creative process in How to be a Graphic Design without Losing your Soul, and this further proves my initial reaction to his equation for creativity. He said inspiration is either there or not there, and basically irrelevant to creative success. But I couldn’t disagree more.

Domenic Lippa, of Pentagram, pulled one line from the following story by James Henry, a scriptwriter for BBC, and used it as inspiration for the design of this poster. Guess which line! (When you give up, here’s the post on Pentagram’s blog).

I find the story absolutely hilarious for some reason.

A True Story.

The first play I ever saw was at the Minack Theatre, an adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was eleven, and fell in love with the girl playing a fox. She had a wonderful bushy red tail, and had devised a way of twitching it to punctuate her lines. I couldn’t work out how.

During the White Witch’s most dramatic exit, her sleigh toppled over accidentally. The audience gasped, but the White Witch retrieved the situation by enthusiastically whipping the dwarf driver until he righted the vehicle and dragged it off the stage by himself. The audience murmured in approval, and I realised at that moment there was almost no hole you couldn’t dig yourself out of, as long as you were prepared to publicly and physically rebuke the nearest sufferer of achondroplasia.

I know now that this was wrong, but after a lifetime of monstrous dwarf abuse, combined with a series of doomed relationships with red-haired women, I fear it is too late to change, and so I write from my prison cell in order to urge all parents to consider very carefully the first theatrical entertainment to which they subject their innocent, and perhaps too-easily-influenced offspring.

Sometimes I think the tail was real.

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