Acting Again…


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So… I’ve gone back to acting.

Well, not really. It’s not that I’m going to take up acting again. Rather, I’ve acted again after… what, twenty years? It goes like this: as a teenager I decided that I wanted to be an actress, and began to take drama classes when I was sixteen. I happened to find a very, very good teacher – one who had the patience to draw me out and drill me hard. With rather good results, if I say so myself. I worked hard at it for four or five years, thinking that I’d go on with it, and go professional… Continue reading


The Real Sea and I


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For some reason, my family and friends seem to believe that my health would greatly benefit from sea air. This translates in endless cajoling/pushing to go to the sea, followed by berating because I didn’t go, and then we start again.

And mostly I don’t go, because… well. You see, in theory, I love the sea.

I love to read nautical fiction, love seaside towns and cities, love the sight of a tall ship, love sea storms, love the scent of salt in the wind, love nautical museums, love the notion of writing weeks by the sea… Continue reading

What Amateur Historians are made of


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Oh dear: the Amateur Local Historian is back. He of the portable river. The man who could not see why he should support his theories – and was soundly trounced for it by the real historians. He is back. Or perhaps not quite back?

The fact is, the man called me – a sufficient cause for alarm in itself, seeing that he hadn’t really sought contact since the Moving River Massacre. He called, and told me that perhaps, maybe, perchance, he might be sort of kind of writing another book. Continue reading

Go and Catch a Falling Star



Because it is Saint Lawrence today – San Lorenzo in my corner of the world – a night to go stargazing, to “catch” Perseids, to recite star-themed poetry…

And I know, John Donne’s Song isn’t exactly star-themed – but I like the string of impossibilities, the playful sense of quest with a falling star on the lid…

Go and catch a falling star,
    Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
    Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
            And find
            What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights,
    Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
    Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
            And swear,
            No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know,
    Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
    Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
            Yet she
            Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
Hm, yes. Perhaps I like it better before the last stanza – when it all turns sour and misogynistic… I’m always wary or reading too much autobiography in poems (unless I have to adapt them for the stage), but I think I’d rather imagine Donne writing this after a spat with a woman, rather than out of cold theory. “I’ve written you a song, dearest…”
Ah well, never mind. This is meant to be about the stars, not a poet’s fits of jealous misogyny. Let’s leave out the last stanza and go stargazing, shall we?


Just in case you wonder…


How did Shakespeare in the Jungle go, after all?

The answer is: surprisingly well.

Well, the mosquitoes were many, Chinook-sized, and hungry, and the heat murderous – but, in spite of that – and of and the lack of advertising – the garden filled up to capacity… And let me tell you this: few things galvanize a performance like an unexpected audience. Continue reading

Patchwork Oedipus


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I don’t know whether I told you that I was formally adopted into the Other Company – Nina’s people – last April. I was already their resident author, and now am a full member, and will start teaching play-writing in the Company’s school next October. Also – possibly the most thrilling aspect of my change of status – I’ll get to direct my own Lunedì this year… Continue reading

A Matter of Dancing Madness


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Hooray: the #Swashathon, Movies Silently’s “blogathon of swashbuckling adventure“, is back! Four days of cloaks and daggers, swords and sails, fops (or not) and farthingales, derring-do and damsels not-quite-in-distress… Does it get more fun than that?

Let’s get dancing, then – and discuss my favourite swashbuckler of all times: Stevenson’s Alan Breck Stewart. Alan  is a wonderful character – the most perfect one in English literature, according to Henry James, no less – but how has he fared on the screen? Ah now, this is a tricky question – so be warned: it’s going to be a long, long post. Continue reading