Friday, April 27, 2012

This week was, allegedly, Shakespeare's 448th birthday and Frome joined the dramatic celebrations with a slightly off-the-wall party at the Library for World Book Night, organised by ever-enterprising Wendy Miller-Williams. Around sixty people, chortling gratifyingly, viewed the screen projection of text-talk versions of Shakespeare plays as conceived by me and Alison Clink, followed by a gruelling "Bard or Not Bard?" quiz on Shakespeare quotes in common usage. Brenda Bannister won with an impressive 39 out of 60 correct.

Over in Bristol, production of my play Mascara at the Alma Tavern is now taxiing on the runway...
I sat in on the auditions on Tuesday, and was literally awed - it means respect & wonder inspired by authority, sublimity, & might - by the interpretations brought to their readings by all 8 of the actors under consideration. I'm absolutely delighted that the final choice was Oliver Millingham and Olivia Dennis, and am now avidly looking forward to watching them at rehearsal...

Happy families are all alike: every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, Tolstoy famously said, and Common Wealth took this principle to heart for their new devised show Our Glass House, ‘based on interviews with real-life women and men who have experienced domestic violence’. This is a site-specific piece and the venue, in the St George area of Bristol, is an ordinary house adapted to convey the theme and to contain six disparate stories of abuse. In a similar formula to Beyond, it’s impossible to see all aspects of the action taking place simultaneously in different rooms, and we're invited to witness "your own version". This means it’s quite hard to connect emotionally with all the disparate case studies, though there are several set-pieces to show the parallels between these trapped situations. There are some scenes of touching poignancy – the little boy’s shadow puppet theatre in his bedroom – some moments of troubling despair, and an imaginary court case to challenge current social norms, all of which worked really well in this brave and truthful production, but the sense of looking through glass at zoo animals is as disturbing as the events they relive and reimagine.

And to end this mainly theatrical posting, a wonderful night at Hip Yak Shack in Frome, the Archangel's upstairs room transformed by the magic of fairy lights & a funky sound system into a great venue for performance poetry. Liv Torc, Chris Redmond, Jonny Fluffypunk, and Anna Freeman all on fantastic form, and a great slam rightly won by Robbie Vane. Robbie's guesting at Frome Poetry Cafe on June 13th, so if you haven't heard her yet, don't miss out. If you have, you'll be there anyway.

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