Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Brenton Clutterbuck on the Illuminatus! play
Brenton Clutterbuck has posted another episode of his "Chasing Eris" Odyssey, his ongoing worldwide quest to discover the intersection of Discordianism and popular culture, which he plans to turn into a book.
The new episode discussed the young Australian's trip to Brighton and London, where he nosed around for information about Ken Campbell's theatrical production of Illuminatus! back in the 1970s. He sheds new light on a story that will be familiar to many who read this blog, rummaging around in the National Theatre Archive's collection of documents about the production to find nuggets like these:
I pulled out several newspaper articles. Most were reviews, but a small number stood out in particular as bizarre oddities that contributed an additional layer of weirdness to the already larger than life Illuminatus! saga.
One article was titled “Horror Mission of an Actor Obsessed with the Occult” from the Daily Mail, dated September 7, 1982 about Illuminatus! cast member Chris Taynton whose roles included the pimp Carmel and Robert Putney Drake, the head of the American Crime Syndicate. The article told of how Taynton, believing he had been overcome by alien forces, attacked Adrena Smith, a 57-year-old lady, by stabbing her multiple times. He blinded her in one eye, and killed her pets, including cutting the ears off her dog. Taynton’s involvement in the Illuminatus! play was raised in court by his defense lawyer, Patricia May, specifically in regard to the play’s supernatural and occult themes.
“Having taken an extremely exciting part in a somewhat bizarre play he became more and more involved in the principles that were propounded in that play,” said May.
There are other strange anecdotes, with balancing information about performers who went on to a better fate.