'Queen of the Bath' is a parable about climate change. The main characters are a spider and a fly who have fallen into a bath. The bath acts as both the setting and the conflict in the drama. The bath is a man-made, surreal, empty, reflective, slippery land with no beginning or end. To an insect, a bath would appear utterly alien and against the expected forms of nature. It would be like an existential limbo or an otherworldly plane of reality.
The play is purposefully mythological and could be described as Aesop's Fables meets Waiting for Godot. The design of the spider and the fly were based on Gods and mythical creatures from different pantheons.
QUEEN OF THE BATH
a radio play about the perception of climate change
The primary influence for the spider is the Hindu God Kali - a powerful, striking and beautiful image that suits the majesty of the spider queen. Additionally, characters like The Queen of the Night in Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' and Carabosse in Petipa and Tchaikovsky's 'Sleeping Beauty' were important references.
The fly was based on characters such as Papageno from 'The Magic Flute' and the fairytale archetype of the journeyman who has travelled to the four corners of the Earth and has become world-wise and world-weary.
Juxtaposed with the heightened fable-like tone of the story, are very basic, natural animal instincts. The spider wants to eat the fly and the fly wants to escape the spider's web. What the two characters do not fully realise is that they have a bigger problem to deal with - namely the filling of the bath and the inevitability of getting washed down the drain.
Preliminary sketch of spider and fly characters by Hamish Muir
The Hindu God Kali
Preparatory photographs of bath surfaces by Hamish Muir