Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happenings in Frome, including some 'Wow!'s.

The appeal of writing a blog for me is that, unlike articles, there's no need to target a market, keep to word-count, or even stay on theme.  Mine aims to commend and recommend events in and around Frome, but this doesn't preclude random musings on other stuff. Jottings about stage shows ~ tidied later for my bimonthly theatre magazine column ~ jostle with local entertainment and chat about trips and TV.  For a writer this form is fantastic, an opportunity to process experience to share with no constraint except awareness (thanks Blogger overview graph) that people do read them. So with appropriate humility, here's the latest patchwork of Things That Happened since last posting:
Local drama this week as TicTacToe returned to The Cornerhouse with their second Play in a Day which, in contrast to last autumn's surreal farce, dealt with serious issues. Inspiration came, sort of, from Frankenstein and Iain Heggie's black comedy about dementia Wiping My Mother's Arse, except the amnesiac (Mike Walker) isn't alzheimic but in denial about something revealed only in the final moment, and the monster may not really be a monster at all... And it's moving rather than black or comic, developing slowly to show the relationship struggle between the old man and his son-in-law (Ross Scott) as told in flashbacks to volunteer Archie (Calum Grant). Fleur Hanby Holmes is superb as the girl, evoking the crux of a horribly plausible dilemma with minimal words. Wow. An amazing achievement in just one day.

Speaking of time, that's what Greg Morter was doing, with some visual and human aids, at the Scout Hut last week. Greg has written a book about The Universe Story in Science and Myth and leads walks paced to scale, from the origin of the universe (not a big bang, more of a flaring forth, he says) to the present day. Annabelle and I went on one of these two day events; we reached the birth of our galaxy during the second day and man appeared in the last two centimeters. Greg had reduced his scale for this fascinating talk to one millimetre = one million years, but as I'm irredeemably earthcentric the bit I really like is when our world blasts into the story and starts to teem with life... Here's our earliest mammalian ancestor, helpfully posing with a paperclip to show how teeny he was. What is really great about Greg's talks, apart from his enthusiasm in sharing his scientific knowledge as a story, is the way he makes it possible to be positive about humanity despite our aggression, greed, and destructiveness. Those qualities, he says, were in the struggle for survival throughout the history of the universe ~  what we also have is a unique ability to care, not just for ourselves and our kin but for others unmet and for the planet itself. We have the ability to remember and to anticipate, which enhances our empathy and our effectiveness. And we can, with our new knowledge, replace 'human-scale chauvinism' with the understanding that we're living in an evolving situation and we too are elements from that fireball, 'We are the universe telling itself its own story.'  Wow.

And of course this being Frome there's been music... and a rendition of Happy Birthday for lovely Griff who runs the Roots Sessions at the Grain Bar each Wednesday, last week with Amelia Orgill and her band. Great vocals from guest Steve Loudoun and pedal steel from Gus Yorke.

February is also the month when our summer festival starts seriously brewing, with brochure entries due in at the end of next week. Nevertheless Productions is moving into new territory with a site-specific, outdoor, production in the Dissenters Cemetery... Midsummer Dusk will be performed, at dusk, by our newly formed company the Star Players. I forgot to take a photo of this amazingly talented trio when we met this morning so here's a picture of the venue... wow. Can you even wait????

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