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Young Vic: Some things which make this theatre special

The Young Vic stands out from other theatres in London, if not the UK as far as I can see, for these things and probably much more which I don't know of or have forgotten:

i) its commitment to being a global window on the world. If you are going to see it anywhere in London it most likely will be at the Young Vic. If you are going to dream it or think about it, it most likely will be at the Young Vic sometime soon (if you are thinking about the world locally, nationally and internationally). It imagines collaborations between unlikely people from all walks of life from across the world in ways that nowhere else does. It puts on shows you might otherwise not see or might otherwise never exist (Man of Good Hope, Why it's Kicking off Everywhere, Yerma, Wild Swans, the forth-coming Jungle etc). It is a treasure trove of hidden gems from everywhere. It liberates people's minds and expands their experiences, therefore.

ii) its commitment to directors, both established, emerging or…
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TWT 2017 discussion on political theatre

All theatre is political
One group member said she still felt she could not walk into certain venues- because of how people looked at her, spoke to  her
Does political theatre (now everyone was mixing up what political theatre is, or some had some clear ideas about what it is) - or activist theatre (as people started talking about the two in the same breath)- only have a role in going out to communities? Here people were talking about communities as if they exist only in the regions- i.e. away from London. That somehow it can't go on our mainstages. That somehow it does not belong to those audiences. But some people are not realising how audience demographics ARE changing.

And also perhaps people don't realise that some communities in London are not being included despite the complaint that is often made- that a lot of arts money goes to London.

There seemed from some to be a fear of the well acted show. Which also probably works the other way round. A dislike of the more famous a…

Brief thoughts from listening to Peter Brook talk

Silence. There is silence before he answers any question. He takes his time to answer.  So he is a doubter as well: i.e he does not think he has the answer immediately and rushes to explain without consideration first.

All questions are answered with stories from his own life. They hide nuggets of wisdom. But the stories entertain whilst connecting the questioner in a personal way to the answerer.  No question is answered in an abstract way.

Yet one question brings forth a million different answers from Peter Brook. Using association he starts at one point and ends up at the other side of the world. One feels one has lived a life listening to an answer. There is a universality of thought contained within his answers or parables.

He is interested in other people and their stories, no matter who these people are.

He won't be told how to think.

He projects an intense quietness. A mystic in some senses. There is a light in his eyes- the light of curiosity and need to communicate.


Cat on A Hot Tin Roof- notes

I don't know the play very well.
I only know the filmed white washed version that makes it thematically more palatable and acceptable to a Hollywood audience

Undeniably-at least for me- the acting in that film is first rate. Paul Neuman to me seems in touch with his angry and turned against himself self. Liz Taylor can't  half act. 

The problem is that the film is an awful reinterpretation of TW's play and does audiences a disservice if they wish to see the play as TW intended.

I spent 45 minutes watching Benedict Andrew's production unable to let go of Richard Brooks' interpretation and Liz Taylor's Maggie before I could understand where Sienna Miller was coming from. Before I could understand why Brick was exactly that, a brick wall in absolutely every way possible. SM has to hoist so much of it for an hour, getting nothing from Jack O'Connell so that one cannot understand how this Brick and this Maggie could ever get together. There is not even any kind of p…

Anatomy of a Suicide- Royal Court

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is 100%” said R D Laing. He also said “Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be a breakthrough.” Alice Birch seems to explore these not quite perfect opposite attitudes to mental ill health in her new play Anatomy of a Suicide.   During two hours of relentless dialogue and repetitions of life cycles we see three generations of women lurch back and forth between a kind of sanity and suicidal depression before one of them seemingly finds some sort of resolution. It is a massive attempt by Birch and director Katie Mitchell to paint a picture of clarity over a much misunderstood subject. Death much more than life haunts the stage complimented by Alex Eales’ stark morgue like set (the stage directions describe a hospital, but this is more morgue in feel). Three tall white doors are set in a white back wall through which the actors glide in slow-motion as if bodies being pulled slowly out of a morgue freezer.   The three pr…

Royal Festival Hall

At the Royal Festival Hall today kids play. Kids of 2, 5, 8 years. They collaborate happily. They look Jamaican, Japanese, White anglo saxon. They mix fine.
Their parents sit or stand apart, watching anxiously.
This is Great Britain.

Opinion Piece: Belarus Free Theatre’s Kitchen Revolutions- where the audience are actor citizens and the writer offers a critique of her own performance

With change or revolution comes a breakdown in convention and relationships between things have to be re-established and new narratives invented. I get this from reading journalist and broadcaster Paul Mason’s Wtf is Eleni Haifa? inspired by Viginia Woolf’s argument with Arnold Bennett who believed that after WW1 writers could not author good novels because they could no longer create characters. Woolf of course argued against this notion and modern literature was born. It struck me after attending Belarus Free Theatre’s pilot for their Kitchen Revolution series (KR) that this is also a breakdown where relationships with audiences who are “actors of society” (says Natalia Koliada, co- director of BFT) have to be re established. KR has sprung out of a similar strand performed in secret away from the prying eyes of the KGB back in the theatre company’s dictatorship Belarus (a piece on the banned Belarusian work The Master Had a Talking Sparrow by Zmitser Bartosik) and is inspired by Ko…