Thursday, July 11, 2013

Midweek at Frome Festival: poems and performances...

Summer spits guts and blood and rage like sunshine.
The days are slick-slipping away
at the melting ice cream edges. 
You know those days
whenthe sight of the sun setting over Pizza Hut
is enough to make you cry?
Those days when you could just 
pluck out your own eye
to feel something else.
Sally Jenkinson came to our Poetry Cafe on Monday, hottest night of the year, and shared her 'sensuous, surreal, bold and beautiful' words with us in the sultry garden as dusk fell.  'Weaving the lyrical with the everyday' is another comment on her fabulous collection Sweat-borne Secrets and Sally showed how true in her facebook posting earlier in the day:
"Frome! Its hot as hell, I've slept for a grand total of around 4 hours all weekend, and I've got a nice frock on.
TONIGHT, The Garden Cafe, 7.30pm. I'M COMING TO DO POEMS AT YOU."

~ though she nearly didn't, finding Frome harder to reach than Mordor and losing her way tearfully in the wolds and orcs of rural Somerset for an hour, but her performance set was no less fantastic for the ordeal. A full-garden audience used the interim to enjoy a splendid Open-Mic event featuring fourteen local poets competing for the title of Frome Festival Poet Laureate. 
We used a demure version of slam scoring: numbers are held aloft, but quietly, and nobody takes much notice of them, and enjoyed some marvellous poems: powerful, profound, witty, reflective ~ with Norman Andrews, Anna Groves, and Mell Oliver equal on the (discrete) leader-board until an exciting recall round gave Mell Oliver a stonking triple 9 (now it can be known) to take the title. 
A wonderful poetic evening at the Garden Cafe ~ Andrew Hardy, reviewer
Great poetry and a wonderful atmosphere - Ann Harrison-Broninski, poet 
Frome is indeed a magnificent poetry place... John Seagrave, poet

Poetry was featured too among the workshops at the Writeathon event on Wednesday, with Rose Flint leading a session inspired by Edwina Bridgeman's exhibition The Place Beyond at  Black Swan Arts.  Art touches the heart, Rose tells us, our own emotions matter more than aesthetic value so work with the boundaries of yourself to find your own 'place beyond'.  Some of the responses evoked will be on display with the exhibition and posted on the Words at the Black Swan facebook page soon.

And Wednesday was the long-awaited, by Rosie and me anyway, opening night of WHAT'S THE TIME MR WOLF? ~ a co-production between our Nevertheless Pub Theatre with Doggett & Ephgrave, peformed by Ben Tinniswood.(Thanks Ian Drake for the image of Rosie with Ben, in role, before the show.)  'A darkly comic one-man play exploring a society where justice must be seen to be done, whatever the price' warn the flyers, not deterring around forty people from braving the Death Valley temperatures of our Cornerhouse venue for an extraordinary hour of unforgettable theatre.Writer Vincent Cassar was there to watch his award-winning script performed in an intimate room where sweat evaporated before it hit the carpet ~ oh no that's Death Valley again but we were, as one feedback form put it, 'Very Cosy.'
So what did the audience make of it? Here's a quick sample ~ full feedback on Nevertheless facebook page, and it's all BRILLIANT!!!!!
~ It was an amazingly powerful‘tour-de-force’. Brilliant actor. For one man to be able to explore such strong emotions was incredible. The wit balanced the dark energy. It should make us all think on how we judge each other. Thank you so much. 
 ~ Funny, brave, clever, well-written 
~ Fantastic. Provocative and compelling and just so real
And there's three more chances to see it, so don your thinnest garb and hurry along! Bottles of iced water will be thoughtfully provided free of charge by Cornerhouse host Martin Earley for the rest of the run.

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