Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eighteen is a magic number associated with both conflict and stories in Hinduism, so perhaps there's extra significance for The Three Snake Leaves now it has been performed by the same trio of storytellers for eighteen years. There was certainly something magical about driving into the snow-bleached Welsh mountains for these 'fairytales grownups from the Grimm forest' performed by Hugh Lupton, Sally Pomme Clayton and Ben Haggarty, supported by two musicians and a score of instruments ranging from a water-warbler bird whistle to a four-tiered rack of bells. The tales are all fantastical, word-pictures swirling like dark robes glinting with gold, but lies like beauty are only skin deep and when every twisted thread is finally woven into place the message is redemptive.
This was the piece, I learned from my story-teller friend Lisa, which reintroduced the classic oral tradition into performance: as Hugh told us at the start, behind every story-teller are the shadows of those who through the ages told these stories before.  I can't find an image that evokes in any way this extraordinarily powerful presentation so here's a picture of Abergavenny, where we were transported deep into the extraordinary and often painful psyche of humanity in the Borough Theatre while the world outside froze.

Frome Library, which has been closed for a month, reopened on Wednesday with cakes and a speech explaining that Frome has now been Are-eff-eye-deed, which meant very little to those of us unfamiliar with Radio-Frequency Identification use of electro-magnetic fields to transfer data for the purpose of automatically tracking tags attached to objects.  (thanks, Wiki.) After some strummed Wordsworth and an excellent taster workshop on Writing for Wellbeing led by David Goldstein, it all began to feel more like the Frome Library we know and love, despite the reader-focussed kiosks in the entry which have replaced the book-borrowing-focussed desk.

Is every art work an expression of its artist? How do characters arrive on canvas, or in scripts? Christopher Bucklow was talking about his Talking about Painting exhibition with Steve Hennessy at Black Swan Arts  on Wednesday. Chris wanted to explore the similarities in their creative process, as painter and playwright, and reflect on a shared perceptions of their characters as part self & part myth. 'Part of creating anything is to make ourselves well,' as Steve succinctly said.  Dreams and metaphors are 'part of the cats-cradle' too, and Chris's idea of art as belonging to 'the theatre beyond the paintings'. Fascinating stuff ~ though not for the audience member who used the Q&A to opine "It's a flat surface, get used to it." Brecht might have agreed.

Frome Scriptwriters have been working on monologues for actress Becky Baxter to perform at The Cornerhouse as a fringe event for Celebrating the Imagination, and the chosen scripts were announced at our meeting this week. Becky, who picked the pieces she felt had most theatrical scope for her,  was wowed by the writing standard of our fledgling group and we were wowed by her brilliant read-through, so after an exciting evening we're all looking forward to When She Imagines... on May 16th. By which time ~ we hope ~ Frome Festival brochure will be on the streets, crammed with amazing and quirky events. Nevertheless Pub Theatre has award-winning contemporary drama with What's the Time Mr Wolf?, there's no less than THREE unmissable poetry nights, there's a book quiz, workshops, talks from publishers & meetings with agents, in fact everything's unmissable so clear July 5th-14th for one of the top 5 small festivals in one of the top 10 small towns!

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