David Bowie spent much of December 1967 preparing for his role in Lindsay Kemp’s stage production Pierrot In Turquoise. The musical opened at Oxford’s New Theatre on 28 December 1967.
Kemp was a formative influence on Bowie, who learned mime and other forms of stagecraft from him. Bowie also collaborated with costume designer Natasha Kornilof, who would work with him on several occasions throughout the 1970s. Bowie became the lover of both Kemp and Kornilof during his time working on Pierrot In Turquoise.
There were just three performers in Pierrot In Turquoise: Lindsay Kemp in the title role, David Bowie as Cloud, and Jack Birkett (a blind performer also known as the Great Orlando) as Harlequin. The play told the story of Pierrot’s attempts to win the love of Cloud. However, Cloud fell for Harlequin, and was killed by the jealous Pierrot.
Kemp made his entrance by descending in a white hammock that represented the moon, while David, as Cloud, flitted about him. David wore a papier-mâché mask modelled on Kemp’s face, and the Great Orlando held up the frame of a mirror so that Kemp could paint himself with moonbeams.
Peter and Leni Gillman
Pierrot In Turquoise had just one showing at the New Theatre before moving to Whitehaven in Cumbria from 3-5 January 1968.
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