Manumission means freedom from slavery, and once in our party you were free to do whatever you pleased as long as you didn’t harm anyone else. One midsummers night completely unannounced P.Diddy stepped onto the Manumission stage as part of the nights performance. Much to the delight of the 50 fabulous Manumission Girls, and the audience.
We were also extremely lucky to learn set design working with the great Mark Fisher, who designed this stage based on our original concept. After the birth of our children there was a transformation in our work which reflected our love of the big Hollywood musicals. We replaced the more scandalous performance with aerial acrobatics and opulent stage shows, inspired by different controversies. Stories told by new performers; Cuban dancers and acrobats – hand selected in dusty gymnasiums on the outskirts of Havana, where a young acrobat would be launched high into the air, and as he yelled ‘voy!’ his compatriot would fling a mattress into the anticipated spot for his landing. We also bought in half the De La Guarda team from the London Round House show. We introduced the island to The Manumission Girls. On the once iconic fountain where we had scuffed our knees and dented our flesh now stood the DJ, dwarfed by the gargantuan stage where we played out The Phantasmagorical Manumission Mystery.
Mike was consumed with thoughts about cause and effect. ‘How even things that didn’t seem to be connected, one action would cause an effect in a seemingly unrelated area. How you couldn’t do anything without effecting everything’. A theory that led us on a search of bookstores. ‘I am looking for a book on the interconnectedness of everything. Y’know how you can’t make a move, anything you do effects everything else’. Unfortunately, there were no books on the subject, until we reached the top floor of Foyles, on the Charing Cross Road. ‘I do have this little book, that you might be interested in.’ With that he dug around and found a small blue paperback, ‘The Little Earth Book’ by James Bruges, that would become the source material for the seasons concept.
The Little Earth Book planted the seeds in our brains and became:
The Phantasmagorical Manumission Mystery. A shadowy Hitchcockian thriller… An Hilarious Benny Hill whodunit… A Helmut Newtonesque Scandal on the brink of exposure. A breathtakingly twisted adventure, based on a true story. Crimes against humanity were investigated, given a quasi-sexual twist. And they were all blamed on one man: Vile Tificceaapoli 2nd. Whose name was an anagram for Evil 2 faced politician.
And through the Manumission doors stepped Puff Daddy. Introduced to Ibiza by the legend Fab 5 Freddy who called him from Carry On one Tuesday morning whilst shooting a scene for Manumission the Movie in the summer of 1997. But that’s another story…
Sean Combs aka P. Diddy alighting the Manumission stage and taking his stand.
Vile Tificceaapoli 2nd. Whose name was an anagram for Evil 2 faced politician.