Wallace Shawn’s Obie Award winning The Fever examines the human condition in our subjective world dominated by a privileged few. Though the work directs its attention towards the middle classes – their privileges and narrow world view – the issues raised speak to everyone but the very poorest and powerless in the world.

Wallace Shawn first performed the Fever in January 1990. He originally conceived it as a monologue that could be performed in people’s homes, to small groups by performers of any age or sex. Shawn himself has performed the piece many times for audiences ranging in size from 3 to 800 strong. Though normally performed as a monologue, we allowed ourselves to interpret Shawn’s word’s from his ‘Notes on performance’ – “It can be done by a man or a woman of more or less any age or type”, and staged a reading around  an oversized dinning table with 5 performers. The audience were served a desert course, and wine.

saltpeter played to a full house at the People Show Studios, London, on 30th December 2010. Our second staging at Brighton Fringe 2011, drew inspiration from the gallery we performed in and was set at a private view. Both events tested different aspects of the piece and employed a different ensemble. Our third investigation was a performance in a private residence, hosting Maurice Lord’s one-man American production in London.

“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the performance last night – really wonderful…I came to the play on a whim, after seeing the advert in Arts News, and am really glad I did. I left the performance on buzz, and will thinking about the subject of the text for many days I’m sure. I found the whole experience very powerful” – audience member, on The Fever, 30th Dec 2010