Saturday, May 23, 2015

Looking forward, looking back, and looking down...

This week several projects which were bubbling along nicely have started coming to the boil, which means I've now got various fabulous flyers and posters to distribute. Muffin Man is returning to the Cornerhouse for two nights in June with a sequel devised with impro from the cast: talented twosome Ross Scott and Fleur Hanby-Holmes. The show comprises a reprise of the original short play ~ which gave me the title Bard of Frome 2014 in the Frome Festival comedy play contest, a title I hand on in July to the next winning contestant ~  and an original song and stand-up comedy routine as well as the new play The Morning After.   
Looking ahead to the festival, as we do now the box office is open and tickets selling fast, our guest at the Poetry Café, hotfoot from Hackney's Hammer & Tongue, is 'Angry Sam' Berkson and a special open-mic on that Monday night will include selection of 'Festival Poet Laureate'. That's at the Garden Cafe and we're hoping, if it's a fine night, to be actually in the garden.

Midsummer Dusk is the festival offering from Nevertheless Productions ~ our first site-specific event, directed by Rosie Finnegan with my script and our newly-formed acting company. First read through last week confirmed this quintet of 'Star Players' are well-named: this promises to be a fantastic show and, since it's only on for two nights (Thursday & Friday) we expect to sell out early.

Black Swan is showing paintings by Dan Hampson inspired by the notion of exploration, and it's the most exciting exhibition I've seen for ages. Dan was at the launch and spoke tentatively and intriguingly about these cultural icons ~ Stanley, Livingstone, Captain Cook etc ~ as 'trying to be heroic but things are spiralling out of control because they're incomprehensible.' I can't wait to explore further myself at the Words at the Black Swan writers' workshop on Sunday 7th.

Reverberations of the Independents for Frome recent election success continue with a feature article in The Guardian on 'How Flatpack Democracy beat the old parties in the People's Republic of Frome', with a great picture of our joyful mob rulers and the story of their amazing triumph. And the week ended exuberantly with Frome Street Bandits and Orkestra del Sol in a dance-fest extraordinaire at the Cheese&Grain.

One of the quirks of writing a blog about what's on in and around Frome is the diversity sometimes leads to strange juxtapositions. Here's one of them: We Are Many directed by Amir Amirani ~ on general release from May 22nd  ~ had a special showing at 90 cinemas on Thursday, one of which was the Little Theatre in Bath. I had been one of the thousands who lost hope after that 2003 massive global protest when the largest mobilisation in the history of the world met with derisive dismissal from that reptilian pair of conspirators Bush & Blair. I went with Jill Miller on the march, and we went together a year later to see David Hare's play Stuff Happens expose the lies that were seeping out by now ~ the fait accompli timing, the dodgy dossier, the tricking of Blix. So now we all know this was an illegal war that needlessly killed millions and cost trillions, why does Jon Snow (who led the live Q&A) hail this movie as as 'a huge achievement which has exceeded all expectations"?
I've already seen querulous comments on facebook about the protest being worthless, but I still find it heartening to hear people like Tony Benn, Nelson Mandela, Ken Loach and Mark Rylance speaking so powerfully, and to see the Women for Peace calling out the war criminals and the Iraq veterans hurling their medals, and to know unequivocally that history shows 'the "deranged lefties" were absolutely right and the governments were wrong.'
But this movie offers more hope than Auden's lament Time will say nothing but I told you so.  There's been a seismic shift since the day 35 million people in 789 cities in 72 countries across the world said together 'Not In My Name.'  When Cameron in 2013 tried the same old rhetoric, his call to war was, for the first time ever in an English parliament, defeated. And in Egypt the seeds of the democracy movement that became know as the Arab Spring were sown.

A lighter end to this posting: I've yearned to go up in a balloon since watching Ashton Court fiesta, and my sons gave me a trip which for reasons mainly climatic was delayed until today. So at 7a.m. here I am floating over the fields beyond Bath on a champagne flight with Bristol Balloons.  A stunningly beautiful tapestry of sunny fields and dramatic shadows scrolls below a sky of searing blue as the Royal Crescent dwindles and for a delicious hour we watch field patterns unfold, deer running & cows meandering, ending after 14 miles at 2000 feet in a field in Nunney.  What can I say but Recommended.

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