'Slip/Shot' playwright in London with #tinyshakespeare Project
This has been an incredible week: my friend Jackie Goldfinger spent some time with me here in London, and we both took advantage of the time together to dive into the theatres of London, seeing plays ranging from a 17th Century masque to a verbatim, oral history project created in the moment , today - all in settings which ranged from the massive Olivier Theatre to an intimate upper room of a pub.
Jackie is a playwright and theatre artist, educator and dramaturg - her works work to include authentic, engaging voices of the many communities which make up our country, in plays which look at the humans inside the issues of our times. I am very excited that her play, 'Slip/Shot,' will be onstage this week, presented by the student producers of the West End Student Theatre on Montgomery Community College's Pottstown campus:
SLIP /SHOT by Jacqueline Goldfinger
directed by Samantha Clarke West Campus, South Hall Community Room Thursday, Friday & Saturday November 10-12 @7:00pm special Friday downtime performance Nov 11 @12:30 TIX: $5.00 Student/senior ; $10.00 General admission more info and tix at : www.mc3.edu/arts/student-performance
When racial tensions come to a boiling point in a Florida town, even an accident can have paralyzing consequences. A rookie police officer finds himself face to face with race relations in America today when his gun goes off in an encounter with a young African American man: did his gun slip, or was it shot? A heartbreaking drama about violence, fear, and our need to move forward.
I had this fabulous woman with me for a week, and we had long discussions about the theatre today, London, theatre and community, challenges facing writers, and more. In the weeks to come I'll be blogging more specifically about some of the pieces we saw, but here's a quick look at what we shared:
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, presented at the National Theatre on the Olivier stage. This production was staged in memory of Sir Peter Shaffer, and featured a full, live symphony orchestra on stage and an updated design and staging. When the full resources of the Olivier Stage are brought to bear, it is an incredible experience to see...and the flights of imagination born aloft by Mozart's soaring music were exciting pieces of stage craft.
Comus by John Milton, directed by Lucy Bailey and presented on the Sam Wanamaker stage at Shakespeare's Globe. The Sam Wanamaker is a painstaking replication of an Elizabethan interior stage , based on the Blackfriars stage of Shakespeare's time. Comus is a perfect fit, as it was written to be presented at court as a masque, an elegaic and didactic theatrical presentation in poetic form used to both elevate and educate its court audience. This masque is an allegory on the fight to preserve chastity- and the presentation at the Globe is both faithful to Milton's script and intentions...as well as exciting, fun, and funny. More soon....
The Entertainer by John Osborne, presented by The Kenneth Branaugh Theatre Company at the Garrick Theatre. Many thanks to my friends Rich and Peggy who invited me to join them for this West End show, which we discussed over a dinner afterwards. The Entertainer looks at a failing stand up comic in 1956, dragging out stale jokes and tarted up burlesque girls for an audience which has moved on...even as his own family leaves his way of life and politics behind. This is a timely revival, as England again looks at what kind of country it wishes to be: mired in the past, our facing change. Kenneth Branaugh stars and makes the most of a role written to be soul searing.
Shopping and F***king by Mark Ravenhill is wild ride look at sex and love as commodities in our modern world. Three characters look for love, money, and sex and traffic in drugs, prostitution, roleplay, and fantasies fueled by by ecstasy in both pill form and in embrace. These fantasies explode in vignettes which take the forms of games shows, infomercials, motivational speakers and flood of the media we submerge ourselves in every day, muddling intimacy with acquisition and love with consumption. The Lyric Hammersmith is a gorgeous 19th century theatre in a newly invigorated neighborhood, and with artistic direction which reflects the vibrancy and community about it....More soon...
London Stories Made by Migrants at the Battersea Arts Centre. Jackie and I made and evening with new friends Tim and Iona to experience this theatrical installation, which shares 24 stories of migrants to the city of London. In this site specific work (The Battersea Arts Centre is a huge building, both magnificent and crumbling, which was the town hall for the borough of Battersea in Southwest London. It currently houses visiting artists and arts facilities and is a bustling hub of this borough's night life), viewers are led in small groups ti hear stories shared by men and women who have traveled to create a new life in London. The sapling of stories shared with me included a Polish student who came to London to visit and stayed; and a woman who told of her journey to escape Rwanda and torture to walk free on the streets of an open cosmopolitan city....More soon...
Magnificence by Howard Brenton presented at Finborough Theatre remounts a very telling and prescient play from 1973 about the hopes - and blinnesses - found at the heart of radicalism, and the numbing march of austerity and conservatism. Young idealistic hippies take squatters hold of an abandoned house in a crumbling section of London, liberating it 'for the people...' only to be met with indifference and their own petty squabbles. A tragedy on the site radicalizes some members of the band further, leading to a showdown in the garden of a Right Wing MP, a pair of handcuffs, and four sticks of explosives. Smart, human, searing and witty- all in a space above the Finborough Arms (a pub), and not much larger than a classroom.
Whew. Before Jackie packed off for the 'States (with a suitcase full of new plays), we took a moment to reflect on the week, and our favorite memories: