Thursday, July 16, 2015

as the glitter-dust settles

So how do you avoid that post-production comedown? A trip to London's Globe, of course! I've had the groundling tickets for months, and on Tuesday Rosie and I headed off to see Richard II with Charles Edwards as the fatally flawed hero-king. This play was a dangerous one for Shakespeare, as it raised the notion that monarchy has no 'divine right' and an unpopular ruler can be deposed without the wrath of God ~ a radical idea that his patron Elizabeth detested even more than our current leaders dislike any opposition to imposed austerity: it was easier to grab power from abusers in those days.
Richard II has long been my favourite play: as an emo teen I related totally to the rejected king's self-pitying speeches ~ I still have my tear-stained 1955 Penguin edition ~  and I've seen some brilliant productions. This one was the best. From the marvellous opening, when the child king is promised unimpeachable power amid showers of golden glitter, to the fantastic ending of ultimate betrayal (a bold decision to change his murderer to the one he most loved) the performance was superb. Every line seemed thought in that moment, and the traumatic meltdown as the king realises his delusion is unforgettably shocking in its quiet understatement.
So when Rosie & I noticed, while sharing a veggie platter & bottle of wine after the show, that the cast were in the same bar similarly refreshing themselves, I accosted the mufti king with camera and stammering groupie speech, and this snap is the result. Taken I think by the Earl of Mowbray. And I can report the actors are as lovely as their characters are duplicitous. Awesome day all round.

Back home, the review is out for Midsummer Dusk ~ you can read it on our Nevertheless Theatre webpage or the Frome Standard website. Thanks John Payne for your appreciative words (brilliantly crafted... magical... unexpected gem of the festival...) and thanks to official photographer David Chedgy for yours too ~  and for sharing the 'Last Letter Home' as your personal favourite picture of the festival.
Photographer Alan Denison sent me this picture of the Short Story Competition winners, with organisers Brenda Bannister and Alison Clink, to supplement my images on the Words at Frome Festival page. There will be details of their names & winning stories, eventually, on their Festival Short Story page here.

And over in Bath there's a Canaletto exhibition at Holburne Museum: a small but fascinating & informatively displayed collection of the 18th century Venetian landscape artist's perception of London ~ including the promenade in Vauxhall Gardens with its 'supper booths' and public entertainment, showing that pop-up bars & open-air theatre have long been part of our culture.
Canaletto was in London on a commission to promote Waterloo Bridge, newly opened in 1750. His images were used for guidebooks, although the manipulated perspective, with buildings shifted to enhance views, gave an idealised version of reality. But then I suppose so did Wordsworth, with his eulogy to Westminster Bridge... which brings me nicely back to London bridges, and crossing the new Millennium Bridge to come home after our big Day Out.

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