A Mystery Play for Our Time

The Artel Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Baize Bound Beauty, a major work by the writer and composer Michael Higgins.

Taking the form in essence of a play, the work skilfully interweaves a performance cycle based on the medieval mystery play tradition and draws on an astonishing range of religious, literary and cultural traditions to create a masterwork volume reflecting 20 years of creative exploration.

Accompanying the text of the play is a set of detailed stage directions, a unique index and over one hundred illustrations by the author combining to produce a highly complex work, but one with remarkable clarity that also retains a sense of its single conception.

A separate performance volume with the scores and libretti for the fifty five pieces of music accompanying Baize Bound Beauty will be published concurrently.

The work’s title takes its cue from the game of billiards, as the author explains:

‘Even, as a child, there was something within the playing of the game that kindled associations and resonances in me. Each of the balls seemed, in my mind, to have been transformed into a costumed actor, – and I conceived, in a moment, a cycle of plays exploring the character and musical emanations of these mysterious personages at greater length.’

Baize Bound Beauty is the first in a planned cycle of mystery plays of which we publish the first volume ‘In Search of the Missing Orrery’ whose story unfolds around thirteen diverse characters on a morning of February 2nd across 26 acts, 10 intervals and with a performance duration of 15 hours.

The book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in contemporary music and performance, or to adventurers in experimental theatre, visual arts, mysticism – or billiards.

Michael Higgins studied Music at the University of East Anglia before a career in teaching as a Steiner Waldorf educator. His works have been performed across the UK with recent concerts for ensemble in Norwich.

‘rain rain, rain 43 – annunciation: shekinah. enitharmon. gabriel’
– Michael higgins, manuscript version. Reproduced by permission.

A performance of Annunciation: Shekinah. Enitharmon. Gabriel. – rain rain, rain 43 for two pianos, harp and voice – featured in the play and published in the companion score, will be made in the Liverpool Parish Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in the autumn of 2020 for the official book launch. Tickets will be available shortly via www.theartelpress.co.uk

by Michael Higgins
ISBN 978-0-9926035-4-0
Publication date: June 2020
235pp paperback, 210x297mm
Printed black and white throughout with illustrations by the author.
£20 RRP

Trade and academic enquiries welcome. For a review copy please email The Artel Press by 30 May 2020