Christabel [Drama On 3]


20200927Part of Contains Strong Language, the BBC's poetry and spoken word festival taking place in Cumbria and online this weekend.

In Coleridge's original poem Christabel started in 1797, a young girl meets a mysterious woman and invites her in to her castle, though all portents – dog, water, bell – strike against her. Inside, in bed, something mysterious and unmistakably sexual happens...

Siblings Sam and Bella, in lockdown in the Lake District in spring 2020 decide to make a podcast of a text being studied for exams, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished poem Christabel. Sam, a young performance poet, like Coleridge at the same age, has an interest in drugs and what they make you see. Bella - forthright, precious, anxious – like Christabel, has a dog, though rather a small one, and the ghost of a mother.

Sam and Bella take their podcast outside, into woods and a graveyard and encounter another mysterious, Romantic element – the lake and the landscape around it. In this play, the hills and waters have a voice, the Choir of St Leoline, there to tell Sam and Bella something about themselves – though also to have some fun on the way.

Both Sam and Bella are in thrall to a third, mysterious character, Taylor, a musician who Sam found beside a lake and brought home for lockdown. Who she might be, or what, is the recurrent question of the play, just as ‘who is Geraldine’ is the central question of Christabel.

Sam.... Luke Wright
Bella.... Phia Saban
Taylor.... Krissi Bohn

With specially composed music by Katie Chatburn performed by Juice and Bellatrix.

Directed by Susan Roberts
A BBC Drama North production

Poet Kate Clanchy's contemporary re-working of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Christabel

Series of drama performances, ranging from experimental works to the Classics