Thursday, March 11, 2010

" A Double Helping Of Ayckbourn..."

Playwright Alan Ayckbourn says that from an early age, he was " imbued with a strong female bias" ......and that he's regularly told how well he writes for women.
This past week, I've seen 2 of his plays, which bears this out.

Last Wednesday, to" My Wonderful Day" ( at Theatr Clwyd: ) This is Ayckbourn's latest play, 1st to travel at once to New York after its world premiere.
The play tells of a day in the life of 9 year old Winnie ( Ayesha Antoine) ...and WHAT a day! She's off school ( ill) while her heavily pregnant mum cleans for a TV director and his wife ( and also for his secretary...Hmm, a clue to the action here!)
Antoine ( rather more than 9...) is a STAR....her girly diction is perfect... as are her facial expressions ( bored, worried, curious, disgusted: she's got the lot!) and the shrugging of her shoulders....her ( recognisable!) slopping/slouching about in school her childlike enthusiasm....her melancholy.....her devotion to her mum ( Petra Letang) demonstrated a talent to watch.

Then yesterday to Chester Theatre Club ( ) ) for Jane Barth's production of " Private Fears In Public Places" ( 2005) .... just this title would be enough to get me there...) AND it was quite superb. A strong cast, particularly the primly seductive secretive Charlotte (Jane Ellis) ......A great part, marvellously played....underlining again Ayckbourn's talent in writing for women..
2 Ayckbourns, then: and quite honestly: equally enjoyed.

*** Taking A Break. See You In April*****

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Saturday PM With Simon Armitage"

Poetry can use language as a connective tissue... betwixt ideas....dragging images across concepts... with new and alien thoughts....

One of the ideas generated by Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage at a writing workshop yesterday:part of Flintshire ArtsFest, which is now becoming an annual treat. (see post 18:03:09)

16 writers ( some highly accomplished poets.. some, like myself, dipping their pencil in gingerly) listened to Simon's laidback Yorkshire tones, his crisp and wise advice on the art and craft of contemporary poetry ..

And by 4pm , we'd created and crafted our own they fully formed adults ( already with lives of their own) or merely the whisper of a planned birth at some future date...

An inspiring session with a superb and masterly poet .

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Red-Legged Partridge, Black-Headed Gull...."

This is Kate, Keeper of Natural History at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester, plus some of her many exhibits.

Yesterday Kate talked with my class about an exhibition she's mounting in the museum. It's called " Mountains and Molehills: Habitats in Cheshire" and it includes a vast selection of taxidermy, photographs, pictures, maps etc. Kate hopes that the class, having studied her varied exhibits yesterday, will ( at this very moment...) be creating short poems/prose for her exhibition.

2010 has been declared International Year Of Biodiversity ( the fantastic variety of Life on Earth) by the United Nations. It's something we should celebrate, understand and value. Hopefully, 2010 will go towards doing this...with the help of knowledgable folk like Kate at the Museum ...and ( fingers X) biodiversity will also be placed higher on any political agenda. The Year promises to be an exciting international project.

The Grosvenor Museum's Exhibition is in Gallery One, from May 22nd until August 30th.