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15 January 2018 @ 07:20 pm
Found via Twitter: a BBC radio production of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, starring Jessie Buckley (Miranda to Roger Allam's Prospero at the Globe) and Damien Molony (and Indira Varma):


I have exams to grade, so I can't listen to it now, but there are still 21 days left!
14 January 2018 @ 10:18 pm
Oh, I wish I could go to this exhibition at the National Gallery in London:

Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites

(also, apparently I can't type the word "reflections" without singing the Supremes, so that is a thing I just learned about myself.)

Anyway. The exhibition is on until April 2, if you are anywhere nearby and enjoy the PRB or the Arnolfini Portrait.
13 January 2018 @ 12:49 pm
I haven't been able to bring myself to read Ian Mortimer's and Matt Haig's recent books about immortal people, for personal reasons (there was a story I started once that I thought I might finish, and though that's clearly never going to happen, it's still a tender spot), but under other circumstances, I would be utterly into this.

Here is another book I just found out about:

The 1,000-Year Old Boy by Ross Welford:

Alfie Monk is like any other nearly teenage boy - except he's 1,000 years old and can remember the last Viking invasion of England.

Obviously no one believes him.

So when everything Alfie knows and loves is destroyed in a fire, and the modern world comes crashing in, Alfie embarks on a mission to find friendship, acceptance, and a different way to live...

... which means finding a way to make sure he will eventually die.
20 December 2017 @ 02:19 am
From the Pepys diary feed, 19 December 1664:

Going to bed betimes last night we waked betimes, and from our people’s being forced to take the key to go out to light a candle, I was very angry and begun to find fault with my wife for not commanding her servants as she ought. Thereupon she giving me some cross answer I did strike her over her left eye such a blow as the poor wretch did cry out and was in great pain, but yet her spirit was such as to endeavour to bite and scratch me. But I coying —[stroking or caressing]— with her made her leave crying, and sent for butter and parsley, and friends presently one with another, and I up, vexed at my heart to think what I had done, for she was forced to lay a poultice or something to her eye all day, and is black, and the people of the house observed it.

18 December 2017 @ 11:57 pm
Emma Rice, on her being hired as artistic director, from this Telegraph article:

She behaved “like a kid in a playbox” by installing lights and radio microphones. “The Globe is the most exciting venue on the planet… I was electrified by the experience and absolutely I turned up the volume.

“Now I can look back and go, of course that was inflammatory. And I don’t think I had explained that to them, so I completely take responsibility for that.”

Did she discuss her modernisation plans with the board when she interviewed for the job? “No, is the honest answer to that, but neither was I asked,” she said.



Why would they think to themselves, "You know, we should find out if candidates for the job plan on changing the main thing that sets our theater apart from all the other theaters in London, without telling us that's a part of their vision? Just in case, I don't know, they don't understand what the venue is about, at all, or something? And don't think it would be a big deal to have to drill holes in the stage?"

18 December 2017 @ 05:49 pm
...is now on display at Keats House, as part of an exhibition called "Keats and Milton: Paradise Lost" (running from December 6, 2017 to October 14, 2018).


You can see photos of some of his annotations in the article.
26 November 2017 @ 12:16 pm
I wound up doing a bit of early Christmas shopping this weekend, but as I did that shopping in a bookstore, I didn’t escape without also buying something for myself: Balancing Acts, Nicholas Hytner’s new memoir about being artistic director of the National Theatre in London (which came out in the UK earlier in the year, but has just come out here). For someone who has only actually set foot inside the National Theatre once,* and never seen a play within its walls, I am quite fond of the place – largely because of the NT Live cinema screenings, of course, which have allowed me to see more productions from the National Theatre than any other theater except the Globe; but also because it gave me my History Boys: the play premiered there, of course, and several of the original cast had worked there before The History Boys.

I’m only about 70 pages in so far, but it’s been entertaining. It’s already cleared up one odd misunderstanding I’ve been carrying around in my head for years: shortly after the film Shakespeare in Love came out, I happened to read that Daniel Brocklebank (who plays Sam, the boy actress whose voice breaks just as he’s supposed to play Juliet) was in a play where he also played a boy actress – which tickled me, of course, but as time went by, I must have accidentally conflated this play with Compleat Female Stage Beauty, and was subsequently confused when I couldn’t find any reference to him being in the play. But it turns out that the play Daniel Brocklebank was in was actually Cressida by Nicholas Wright, which Hytner directed at the Almeida.

And then there’s this paragraph about the National Theatre production of The Golden Compass (which Sam Barnett, Dominic Cooper, and Russell Tovey were all in - as well as Anna Maxwell Martin; it's basically "my favorite actors bingo"), the last sentence of which made me burst out laughing:

Meanwhile, every time there was a break, the young actor playing Brother Jasper came quietly to the front of the stage to run through his long, sinister address to the Magisterium. He was straight out of RADA, and there was nothing I hadn’t thrown at him: he was a stolen child, a gyptian, an armoured bear, a daemon goose, a witch in a long black wig and silk skirt. Brother Jasper was his big moment, and I’d hardly had time to notice how good he was. “This kid is mesmerising,” I whispered to Aletta, who already knew. Not long afterwards he told me that he’d been asked by Trevor Nunn to play Hamlet at the Old Vic. Trevor’s not lost his touch, I thought, and Ben Whishaw won’t be playing any more bears.

Nicely played, Nick Hytner; nicely played.

*I wound up spending most of a day there, the last time I was in London: my mom and I arrived early for the theater tour I'd booked (the London Eye, which my mom really wanted to do, took less time than I'd thought, despite the crowds), so we had tea and treats - in my case, a lemon bar - in their cafe while we waited, and did some people-watching; I loved the fact that people who didn't seem to have theater tickets were still making use of the space, like it belonged to them. Then we did the tour, which was thorough and engrossing; then I spent a long time in the gift shop/bookstore trying to determine how many books I was going to buy; then we gave up on trying to find another place to eat lunch, and just ate in the cafe. It was a really lovely day.
22 November 2017 @ 10:26 pm
From the Pepys diary feed, a bit I'd not seen before:

Dined at home very well, and spent all the afternoon with my wife within doors, and getting a speech out of Hamlett, “To bee or not to bee,” without book.


I wonder what the earliest reference we have to the fame of this speech is?
12 November 2017 @ 05:22 pm

I think Sacha Dhawan is the most frustrating of the History Boys to follow from America, because he's been in loads of things, but very few of them have made it across the pond. (I mean, I had to go back to watching Mr. Selfridge for him! This is how starved I am!) I have no hopes that this new drama will, either, but I'm always happy to see him - even if only in print and trailers.

You all may have seen this already, but somehow it had never come across my radar - a video podcast with Greg Doran from 2013 (possibly - that's the upload date, anyway), where he takes some actors from the Oxford University Drama Society through the prologue of Romeo and Juliet:

Acting Masterclass: 'Pyramus, you begin'