Thursday, June 28, 2012

Final meeting of Frome Scriptwriters before our festival debut event Flaming Voices, last readthrough of some cracking pieces. Bristol's Stepping Out Theatre Company stepped in to supply professional actors & direction for this rehearsed read-through ~ a fantastic & exciting support for our fledgling group. As Rosie says,"New writing is always exciting because you just don't know what gems are hidden there." All that glitters will be revealed 8pm Friday 13 July at the Cornerhouse, and it's FREE so come early for a seat!

Still on the subject of new writing: Short Shrifts is the collective title of twelve short plays by Peter Oswald ~ we're talking really short here, 90 minutes for the full dozen with an interval thrown in ~ which are bizarre and often beautiful. The writing is superb, both real and surreal: clever, lyrical, and often savagely funny. Meet the couple who discover when meeting on holiday they share the same town.. street... house... name.. ("small world!") and the husband who reads out crazy newspaper items that reflect his own broken relationship, the wife who taunts her husband with his inability to do anything ("you can forget about death Donald you're not up to it, death is a leap in the dark and you've never been able to leap.")...a ventriloquist, a trumpet player, cannibals, and Medusa. And more. Despite the disparity, these pieces hold together through an enchanting discordancy: however absurd or baffling the situation there's always a thread of uneasy but palpable connection with human feelings of frustration and longing, hope and disappointment. I absolutely loved the cadence of language and the theatricality of form in this boundary-pushing writing, and the actors ~ Josephine Larsen, musician Nemo Jones and the writer himself ~ are stunningly good. It's on till July 7th at the Brewery in Bristol, go!

Scoring poetry is arbitrary bullshit, says Jack Dean in his introduction to the National Slam Final at the Bierkeller on Thursday: the poetry is the thing. And, with teams from Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Cardiff and London, the thing was mostly brilliant. There were a few new-wave formulaic recitations with fluttering hands and heart-stopping pauses, a couple of William Burroughs-stylee rants, but most were funny, funky, and original. Bath's poets, including and especially Robbie Vane and Liv Tork, did themselves proud but despite the judges' sometimes baffling corroboration of Jack Dean's thesis, no-one could deny team London deserved their first place. Fantastic stuff Keith Jarrett and the rest of the trio!

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