Theatre: ‘Banksy: The Room in the Elephant’
Shin_LoveLife visits the Tobacco Factory Theatre to check out the touring play ‘Banksy: The Room in the Elephant’
Tachowa Covington took the saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure by force when he came across a water tank that had been abandoned for over 20 years and made it into his hidden palace. Little did he know that Bristol-born artist Banksy shared the same outlook and drew attention to yet another work of art. He sprayed ‘This looks a bit like an elephant’ on Tachowa’s home. He had consent but Tachowa was unaware of Banksy’s status but he was soon to find out. This is the story that inspired the one-man show The Room in the Elephant.
Attending this performance I thought I knew what to expect. How wrong was I? Extremely wrong. If I was wearing socks, they would’ve been blown off. Luckily, I was wearing dolly shoes.
We spend the first hour with Gary Beadle and his execution of Tom Wainwright’s interpretation of the journey Tachowa Covington has gone on. From decorating his new home to his exchange with Banksy and as a result of that being evicted due to his home becoming Banksy’s latest piece of artwork.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster…there are laughs, profanities and tears. Beadle takes us on this journey with him and shared with us his thoughts and beliefs. By the end, I felt like his best friend, he was so open, both spiritually and mentally.
The performance comes to a close when Tachowa is served an eviction notice from his home, moves his belongings to a nearby ‘cave’, where he’s visited and told by an acquaintance that a play is going to be made out his story. ‘It was surprisingly engaging,’ said an audience member. ‘I didn’t think one person could hold your attention for such a length of time’. For me, Beadle was great – to watch his performance was high class.
The play is followed by a screening of ‘Something from Nothing’ directed and filmed by Hal Samples, where we’re introduced the real Tachowa Covington. We learn that he is a kind-hearted, God-fearing explorer. We meet him in 2008 where we’re introduced to his palace. It has decor, carpet and even CCTV… it’s already a work of art. What stood out to me was how carefree Covington is, always joyful and wise, saying ‘it’s easier to be nice than it is to be mean and God doesn’t like ugly’. Characteristics you wouldn’t think a homeless gentleman would have, although he calls himself a self-sufficient man and explorer. In the documentary we meet his mum who sadly passed in 2011 and follow him to the California beaches whilst he rollerblades by the sea in his customized Tachowa armour. The journey goes overseas to the UK where he views Beadle’s performance as him. He even gets to perform as himself on stage. It’s an uplifting and inspiring film that showcases Banksy’s celebrity status internationally as well as introducing us to Tachowa Covington the great. A person we could all learn something from, young and old. Long live Tachowa.
Indulge yourself in a clip of ‘Banksy: The Room in the Elephant’, followed by a Skype chat with Tachowa that took place in Bristol at The Station
Support more young people to have their voices heard
Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.
We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.
In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important.
Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard.