wed 15/08/2018

Theatre Features

Keeping up with the Joneses

Jasper Rees

Gruff Rhys has called it the Great Welsh Media Gang-Bang. This year everyone who is anyone (who can get funding) has hopped on a plane for Argentina to follow in the footsteps of the 150 Welsh men, women and children who emigrated to Patagonia 150 years ago – broadcasters, musicians, politicians, journalists, comedians.

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Arise, Sir Van, Sir Lenny and Sir Kevin. Dame who?

Jasper Rees

If the honours system is used to award deserving individuals, its other job is to provide an aspirational marker for the country as a whole. This, it tells us twice a year, is who we want to be: inclusive, non-sexist, colour-blind. From the look of the awards dished out in the arts for the Queen’s birthday honours list, in the summer of 2015 it looks very much as if we want to be a society which favours male privilege. Don’t hold the front page.

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'You must accept that muscle is machinery'

theartsdesk

Basketball doesn’t often stray onto the arts pages. Cinema pays the occasional visit. White Men Can’t Jump starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of slamdunking hustlers. Hoop Dreams followed two inner-city college kids in Chicago as they tried to turn pro. The hero of Almodovar’s Live Flesh was a wheelchair-bound basketball player embodied by Javier Bardem. But what about theatre?

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First Person: Learning the lessons

Jonathan Lewis

A Level Playing Field is the first play in my trilogy Education Education Education. The trilogy is my response to the black cloud of exams which has arrived in our household every spring for the last nine years – just as the sun was beginning to shine.

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Brighton Festival: The Locations That Make the Festival

thomas H Green

Andrew Comben, CEO of the Brighton Festival, chooses ten locations that have resonance with the annual event. He talks about their past and future but, most particularly, what will be happening this May

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Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

Jasper Rees

One night in Cape Town, I was caught in a power cut. Like an untenanted theatre, the city went utterly dark, darker than perhaps it had been since settlers first arrived three centuries earlier. Street lamps, restaurants, car showrooms, offices were all plunged into Stygian gloom.

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First Person: The Meaning of Mermaids

Polly Teale

As a child I was bewitched by the tale of The Little Mermaid. I had it on a record and would play it and sit and sob on the settee, much to the bewilderment of my brothers. It wasn’t until years later that I found myself wondering what it was about this dark coming of age story, about a mermaid who had her tongue cut out, that spoke to me so powerfully.

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'I'm the photographer. Any nudity? Any fighting?'

Bill Knight

We are sitting in the lobby of the National Theatre in the early afternoon waiting for the photocall for Dara to begin. Six or seven photographers, one woman, all dressed in jeans and dark jackets with large camera bags, some on wheels. There is not much conversation. As a relative newcomer I don't normally speak, but on this occasion I venture a remark.

“I have seen this play.”

After a pause one of the company says, “You're keen.”

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theartsdesk in Moscow: A Bewitching Eugene Onegin

Fisun Güner

As Shakespeare is to these native isles, so Pushkin is to Russia. And Eugene Onegin, Alexander Puskin’s enduring verse novel first published in serial form in 1825, is the most honoured and beloved of all Russian classics. Outside Russia, the story is, of course, most familiar to us through Tchaikovsky’s great opera. We also have John Cranko’s 1965 ballet, set to other music by Tchaikovsky, a production of which is currently selling out at the Royal Opera House.

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First Person: Finding Oppenheimer

Tom Morton-Smith

That the truth will always be so much bigger than we can comprehend is something I had to accept as I started to write Oppenheimer. There are so many sources, so much information, so many hundreds of books, declassified files, interviews and history. One biography of the man took its authors 25 years to write. And there are still the hidden thoughts that were never written down, conversations long forgotten by people now long dead.

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