Sunday, March 24, 2013

Talking About Painting by Christopher Bucklow is the current exhibition at Black Swan Arts, and at Friday’s opening Chris was talking about painting and dreaming and psychoanalysis, and confirming my suspicion that theatre at its best is about creative interaction and doesn’t necessarily need a script. “The unconscious is a hidden language ~ a whole universe of things we don’t have access to," Chris says,  "I paint a room and I wait for the characters to appear. It’s like a séance."  Consistent characters in the dream-dramas of his paintings are Clement Greenberg and Mandy Rice-Davis, metaphors for the struggle within the artist's psyche:Clement an art critic who "wanted a painting to be itself, not a 'window into the world'," and Mandy the call-girl who, when the Foreign Secretary denied sleeping with her, challenged the entire establishment edifice by her calm response Well he would say that, wouldn’t he.  “She opened the skin that was closed," says Chris, "That’s the dialogue in the pictures – between the open and the closed. I didn’t set out to use these characters, I discovered them.. It’s day dreaming.  I dip in, then I sit back and think about what I’ve done. That's the pattern.” Sounds just like writing a script...

Back within the cave of these huge canvases on Sunday,  Kim's cake replaced the wine as Words at the Black Swan writing group met for our second session, this time with poet Rose Flint, who skilfully steered us away from fore-knowledge into a personal place of 'receiving' the paintings, as "both the physicality of the art and the image within the art are ways we view the world." With the challenge to 'write about the canvas that appeals or repulses you most', here's Mandy Mourning: 
Sliding through time
piece by shining piece 
folded like a deckchair,
your lives hanging by a thread,
How can you crawl away in those shoes?
Who will paint your struggle now 
that bloodied stump is floored?

Box of Tricks is touring Wordplay: six new short plays inspired by “Division” with a a subtext suggestion NW/SW divide may be involved, especially as this is a collaboration between Octagon Theatre Bolton and Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre. Connections with the theme seemed somewhat tenuous but that didn’t matter at all in a production which included some very strong writing brought to life by four absolutely cracking actors: Rachel Austin, David Judge, Helen Carter and Matthew Ganley. Best of the writers were Bea Roberts and Ella Greenhill, whose sibling drama was sensitively poised emotionally and extremely moving, and Luke Barnes’ Goldilocks spoof despite not really going anywhere did make me giggle. A good piece to end an event that deserved a bigger audience.
 My account of the Cosmic Walk Annabelle & I went on last year is in the spring issue of Green Spirit ~ thanks Ian Mowll for digging it out from these postings virtually verbatim, apart from the jaunty conclusion of Monty Python's Galaxy Song: Let's hope that there's intelligent life in Outer Space, 'cos there's bugger-all here on earth.
And finally... this week's headline in the doughty Somerset Standard brags that Frome ‘according to a national newspaper’ is Sixth coolest place to live in UK. I couldn't find confirmation online but here's Sam & Paula’s party before serious dancing began... hotting up & cooling down.

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