VISION - SYNOPSIS
On a quiet road in southern France, two teenage hitchhikers are attempting, unsuccessfully, to hitch a ride to the coast. Instead, they stumble on the town of Lourdes and are forced to spend a night there. They are stunned by the buzz of the place. They make enquiries at a local bar and are soon embroiled in the powerful story of Bernadette Soubirous, the fourteen-year old girl who is the source of the town’s success.
The Barman Narrator then persuades his clientele to play out the various roles in
the story. All the action takes place within the setting of a modern Lourdes café
as the chairs and tables are moved to one side, the pianist starts a thumping rock
riff on the piano and the Barman - now Narrator - launches into his first song.
The Narrator’s approach is direct, street-wise and impartial. He is there to tell the story, without “spin”. With few adjustments his bar becomes Lourdes in 1858 and the audience is now on the way to understanding more about the girl who changed the town and France forever.
Bria Crouch stars as an unsuspecting Bernadette in the Stonyhurst 2002 VISION premiere.
The dramatic and tragic life of Bernadette is played out in front of the hitchhikers through 17 rock/pop songs, taking the audience on an exciting journey that incorporates ballads and jazz, comedy and pathos.
The central story is that of the relationship between Peyramale and Bernadette. His personal crisis and eventual “conversion” to Bernadette’s cause is highlighted through the vastly contrasting musical styles of the songs “Don’t You Bernadette” and “Peyramale’s Conscience”. Bernadette’s strong and enigmatic personality is evoked in the song “Blue” and her tragic young death, with its echoes of Christ’s suffering, is powerfully portrayed in the haunting ballad “Stone”. The worldliness of the other characters also provides a contrast with Bernadette’s simple integrity and leaves the audience with a picture of Bernadette as a highly exceptional spiritual person.
At the end of the show, the Narrator brings the audience back to the modern-day reality of Lourdes. As the hitchhikers decide how to deal with the story they have just heard, the Narrator gives them a helping hand, revealing that he is not simply a materialist or a humanist philosopher. Singing his signature for one final time, he concludes: “The Apparition, some will never accept it / They say it’s just a facet of our psychology / The world admires an intelligent sceptic / But life is more than biology!”
Is seeing believing?
She never played a part
But her message rang in every heart.
VISION debued in 2002 and was followed by a professional CD launch at Drury Lane in London, sponsored by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group.
Steve Balsamo, who reduced Webber to tears by his portrayal of Jesus in the West End performance of JCS, sings two of the tracks on the VISION CD.
VISION has been performed all over the UK and in 2008 played in the National Theatre in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2009 VISION took centre stage at the Edinburgh Festival with the largest cast of 45 in the whole Festival.
The next public performances of VISION could be in Nigeria in 2014 - more information on this when we have it.