A see and eye shotgun tale
This article is from 2008.
Poet, playwright, actor and former judo champion Lynn Manning knows all about loss. Raised in penury in California, Manning lost his parents to the bottle and his siblings to the foster care system. Then in 1978, aged 23, Manning lost his sight in a shooting incident in a Hollywood bar full of 'tourists, punks, junkies and juicers'.
Having spent 20-odd years creating Weights, Manning performs catharsis by monologue on these events and those that followed. Alone on a minimally furnished stage, Manning freeform scats his way through what he has called his 'interminable memoir'. Funk and jazz guides him through the memories, from 'days of sour plums and pixie straws', before his parents 'climbed inside a wine bottle' to that fateful night and beyond. Taking his lead from the first person autobiographical narratives of Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Gil Scott Heron, Ray Shell and Claude Brown Jr among others, this is moving, witty and all too raw, Manning laying out a powerful mandate of self-reliance and hope. It's a captivating journey, one that you will not forget in a hurry.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 11), 12.45pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).