THE PREACHER


Photos courtesy of Stacey

1986

Written by Peter Barnes
from the series
Revolutionary Witness

Reviewed by Georgiana, September, 1999

The Preacher is part of a series of monologues by Peter Barnes called "Revolutionary Witness," It is the last sermon of Mad Jacques Rioux, an active participant in the French Revolution. It is delivered in a ruined church in the Parish of St. Nicholas at summer's end. He will the following day commit suicide to avoid the reformist revolution.

In her unofficial biography, Maureen Paton states this is Rickman's finest work. Recognizing his reservations about "that book" and his having said that each role is so different as to make comparisons spurious--it is.

It begins with "God created rich people firrsssst," and spans horror, passion, restraint, excess, reason, honor and compassion--all in the name of liberty. Medicine, philosophy and religion are dammed to a ditty ("The rich will gobble up, tra li, tra la..") From stings to harps to boneyards to toe rags, it is a roller coaster ride through revolution. Phrases are delivered so exquisitely as to catch the breath and resonate the heartóno matter how often heard: "I love a harp", "I was a dead man walking", "And move on." "We poor clumsy men and women turned the world inside out, upside down..."

The Preacher is available from Coronet, released as an instructional video. There can be no more impassioned educational tool. The zeal of author and actor become by the end that of the audience. Exquisitely written. Amazingly acted. But, most notable in this performance is a naked introspective sadness rarely seen from Mr. Rickman. He has never been more wholly attractive, thoughtful, plaintive. It is a precious piece

Fausta thanks Georgiana for her review.