Sunday, June 19, 2022

Dragonfly days, gone too soon... and downpour drama

A dramatic start to this week's blog, with A Midsummer Night's Dream as presented on the ECOS open-air stage in Frome by wonderful Illyria outdoor theatre company, uncut despite thunderous rain throughout the second act, and with a stunning rainbow overhead for the finale.  
As Oliver Gray, director and inspirational genius behind these Illyrian creations, notes in the programme, it requires a lot of hard work to create a full production of Shakespeare's triple-layered fantasy with a cast of five, all quick-changing from nobles to fairies to workmen, with complex timing required for the hi-energy physical interaction and slapstick humour of the staging.  The cast are all excellent: Sarah Coyne as a Scots Puck as well as a delightful Hermia, Lily Carter proving 6 ft 3 is no impediment to playing queen of the fairies, with Chris Laishley, Nathan Richard Smith and Richard Blackman also effectively multitasking.  Wonderful to see again this great drama about love winning through despite folly and confusion, in these destructive days when it can seem Puck's words will be humanity's epitaph: What fools these mortals be. 

Music next, with the return of fabulous Rosco Shakes to Bar Lotte, creating something of a street party with the spillage of their sensational boogie-woogie R&B sounds -  Josh, Dom, Ned, and Tim all on top form, with Dom adding a touch of flamenco to the blues from time to time. (Steve on sax joined later too.) The lads are playing Glastonbury, at the Croissant Neuf - where Cut Capers are headlining so definitely the venue to head for if you're going.

Now poetry: And, with due sympathy for anyone who suffered, those lockdowns did encourage - as well as less pollution, increased wildlife, and time for personal creativity - the connection facility of zoom for poetry workshops and performances.  This week, Bristol-based  Flight of the Dragonflies on Tuesday evening hosted an excellent poetry event featuring guest poet John McCullough 
John's collection Reckless Paper Birds won not only the Hawthornden prize for literature but also their award for best UK book of the year, so quite a large group joined host Darren J Beaney to enjoy this session.  The poems weren't Spoken Word as a slam poet would know it, so it was helpful to have the shared screen facility giving a view of the text during the poet's reading.  Among the excellent contributing poets I especially enjoyed Michael Sindler zooming in from the USA (screenshot), and Damien Donnelly in Ireland.
As this was the week that summer made a brief appearance, before quitting abruptly at the weekend, I'm treasuring the memory with a couple of snaps taken on those idyllic hot midweek days: the pantheon at Stourhead and some of the myriad pyramid orchids in the long grass...

 ... and Friday afternoon at Marston pond - no swans, but a large brood of baby ducklings, out with mama. Hopefully summer will return next week.

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