The Collier Leaf


, , , ,

massacre-at-parisIt’s hard to read the Massacre at Paris without wondering a little at the slightly corner-cutting feel of it. It seems hastily done in its violence and gore, and there is the fact that it is considerably shorter than the average Marlowe play. So it has long be assumed that the Octavo edition we have must be the result of some actor’s imperfect memory.

And then there is the Collier Leaf. Continue reading

The Surrender of Ad Alta Voce


, ,

aavsurrenderSo, we give up.

It makes me a little  sad to tell you that Ad Alta Voce, our not-quite-book-club, is no more.

It goes out without the least fuss. The meetings used to begin again in october, and this year they just do not. Maybe we’ll have one last reading-dinner with the very small group, but that’s it. End of the story.

And the smallness of the group is one reason why we are giving up. There’s seven of us, eight on good nights – out of which only five read. Always the same five, one being my mother, who only reads because of emotional blackmail. Other than that, we have had little or no response in the village. Oh, we had a few more people at the beginning, but almost no one read at all, and they quickly dropped out… Continue reading

Bad King John


, , , , , ,

johnbwExactly eight hundred years ago, King John of England lay dying in a bed in Newark Castle. He would die in the night, among rumours of poison, or “a surfeit of peaches” – while in truth it was a bad case of dysentery. Then again, most contemporary biographers would be eager to give him a death that was the product of either retribution or gluttony…

Poor John. Continue reading

Noises Off: a crash course in backstage mayhem


, , , , , , ,

moviesblogathonThis post is my contribution to the Things I Learned From The Movies Bloghathon, hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings – and, lo and behold! it has to do with theatre.

Backstage, precisely – and the accurate – if hilarious – portrait of onstage and backstage life that is Peter Bogdanovich‘s Noises Off, based on Michael Frayn‘s play of the same name. I must have been all of thirteen or fourteen, when I was first introduced to the vicissitudes of the troupe of Nothing On, and found them a hoot. Jaded director Lloyd Fellowes and his cast and crew are less than twenty-four hours from first night, and desperately trying to hammer in shape their new farce imported from London. Except, Nothing On is dismal fare, the actors are not, but not ready, doors won’t stay open, sardines are never where they should be, cues are missed, lines forgotten…¬† Continue reading

If I taught history…

Sketch of unknown woman and children, probably...I was not born to be a teacher. No patience – at all.

Oh yes, I teach writing to adults, and some sort of drama classes to middle-graders – or rather a kind of semi-curricular program combining history, writing and drama. It’s a nice little thing, and it usually works well enough, and yet, while the final outcome has always been quite satisfactory so far, each time I arrive to the end confirmed in my certainty that I was not born to be a teacher. Continue reading

Fourth Draft


, , ,

untitled-13So, October is here, a full month has passed – and here we go.

Fourth draft, bearing in mind what I learned in Oxford. Mostly, that I need to trim the language…

“I’m not saying you make it easy for the reader,” I was told. “Just don’t make it so hard that they’ll give up.”

Sound advice. Not that I was deliberately trying to make it hard, mind you – only it seems that my grasp of what is “too hard” may need some adjusting. Also, I may have let myself be carried away with Elizabethan English. A little.

So now that’s what I’m aiming for: Elizabethan colour – just not too much.

I’ll let you know.


Pleasant Things


, , , , ,

ibabwA quick, off-schedule post to let you know that Scribblings received the International Bloggers Association’s Award of Excellence for writing and design. You can see the badge down left, and I’ll say that I’m more than a little proud of it.

Also, the dramatized reading of Virgil’s Will/Of Men and Poets in the Biblioteca Teresiana – Mantua’s magnificent 18th Century library – went like a charm. Continue reading

Wandering About


, , ,

mazeI get lost. Easily. It’s a joke among friends and family how easily I get lost. At times I manage to get lost in town – and I’ve been living around here all my life, although I have a private theory that Mantua at times must stretch, curl or uncurl this or that street, and move gardens and squares and palaces – for either comfort or fun… Continue reading