|National Portrait Gallery, London, early 1900's|
I have to tell you, I'm really excited about the LAMPLIGHTER'S INVOCATION, this Saturday at 7:10 pm. This particular performance has been in the works for a while, and the research that I've been conducting about lamplighters, their lost profession, and the metaphorical power of their actions has been rich and inspiring - to say the least.
Looking into the structure of the lamps from lamplighters' era, I learned that the lamp poles were constructed with cross bars for the lighter's ladder to rest upon while they lit the lamps (hello tonguetwister...). The ladder would almost always be hardwood, often round-rung, and made by the lamplighter themselves, as they had to provide their own working equipment. As lamps moved from fuel and wick to gas power, many lamplighter's abandoned their ladders and match boxes in favour of long lighting sticks (as seen below).
One of my favourite new facts about lamplighters is that they would gather as groups in larger areas of cities, these gatherings were called a MUSTER. Survival training and drills also use the term MUSTER to describing the head count required in emergency situations. If you've been checking out the park performances, you know that I love it when history and survival practice collide!
As Charles Dickens said of lamplighters: "lamplighters are a strange people; that they rigidly adhere to old ceremonies and customs which have been handed down among them", which makes them my kind of strange people. Please read below for INVOCATION details, I hope to see you in the park on Saturday night!