A group of us were preparing for some shows at the Royal Court Theatre when Ken became seized by a vision – we could present a version of Edward Bond’s classic play Saved, with all the dialogue taken out and replaced with Irish Diddling.
We looked at him blankly. ‘What do you mean, Ken?’
‘You know – Irish diddling.’ (singing) ‘Ah-diddle-aye-oh, ah-diddle-aye-eh.’
We tried. We really tried.
After a week of blind experimentation, Ken exploded with fury:
‘In my head this was fucking extraordinary!’ he roared.
But we couldn’t find a way to realise what was in Ken’s head. He eventually relented, grumbling ‘Okay then. We’ll have to come up with a plan B.’
Plan B went down very well at The Royal Court.
I am still haunted by what Ken thought he could see in the rehearsal room that week, and I have longed to perform Saved with diddling instead of dialogue ever since.
Ken’s hobbies included Tuvan throat singing, ventriloquism, Jackie Chan movies, training rescue dogs, and time travel.
We shall not see his like again.