It Sifts From Leaden Sieves

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This is not the post I had in mind for today – but we’re having a true snowfall for the fist time in… oh, I don’t know: years, I rather believe.

It started last night, just as I drove home – which was, if you ask me, absolutely perfect, as far as sentimental fallacy goes – and it’s been snowing through the whole night, and still snowing cats and dogs. Past beautiful, that’s what it is. Continue reading

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Portrait of Unknown Man

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I’ve always found the idea rather sad: commissioning a portrait, getting a wonder made by the right painter, having it admired and treasured through the centuries, ending in some world-renown gallery… as a masterpiece of the author – with the sitter unknown, and not terribly important, either.

Well, do you know what the saddest portrait of unknown is to me? Not a painting, but a word-portrait: the Fair Youth of the Sonnets… Continue reading

The Tale of the Trunk-Hose

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Once upon a time, I was in church, attending a funeral. I may as well confess beforehand that I’m not much of a church-goer and, when I can’t help going, I have this tendency to wander off in my head…

But this time I’m telling you about was the funeral of a dear friend’s father, and I’d resolved to pay attention – at least a little. Only, I was late, so in the end I found myself standing in the back of a very crowded church, one I’d never entered before, trying hard to listen to the parson.  Well, after a while I happened to notice some saint’s statue standing by the altar, all the way across the church. It was not an especially beautiful, or even old statue – but it was peculiar: the saint, whoever he was, wore a flimsy, short-sleeved shirt, and… trunk hose? Continue reading

Mother and The Contraption

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This has little to do with history, books or theatre – though it is, in its own way, a story. I might stretch it, and say it has to do with communication – but the fact is, it’s a story without and ending (yet) and it baffles me. Now, you see, my mother is in her early seventies, quite smart, and in full possession of all her marbles. Also, she used to love technology and innovation, and grew up in a household of enthusiastic engineers and tinkerers.

Hardly one to be overwhelmed by a new kind of cellphone, right? Continue reading

Speaking of diversity…

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Is this going to be a little awkward? I don’t know – but let us try. I’ve been discussing the new course at the Globe quite a bit, this past week, and one of the things that turned up more than once is the diversity policy, and…

Confession: I’m never entirely comfortable with the notion of diversity policies. “Which is a little odd,” I’ve been told. “As a woman, you should know how hard it is at times.” And yes, I do know. Not because of my stage experiences, I must say: I’ve been very lucky in that, and in fact, I think I’ve worked with more women than men, both as directors and artistic directors – and not because of any diversity policy. Only once have I been told – and this during an online workshop with an American instructor – that, as a woman playwright, I should write female characters. It was slightly disconcerting, but on the whole my experience in the theatre allows me to consider that as the odd bizarre incident. Continue reading

Michelle Terry’s Democratic Globe

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Last night, a friend asked me what do I think of the Globe’s new policy of letting the audience choose the play they’ll see…

My friend says I perked up, all hare-like – which is a gross exaggeration, but still I won’t deny I was fascinated and perplexed in equal measure: “What? The Globe? Have they announced the new season? Did the new artistic director say that? But how are they going to do that? What does it mean, letting the audience choose? In advance? By voting? And what if the audiences always choose the same play? And what of those who wanted to see something else? What if there’s a tie?” Continue reading

Another (Lady) Ghost

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So on New Year’s Eve Canterville went very well – or so I believe, because I spent a good chunk of it in the green room, discussing Emma Rice’s tenure at the Globe with Nina and her husband… From there we could hear the audience laughing heartily through the intercom, though, and there were no funny stories afterwards, so I’m pretty sure that all went well… Continue reading

The Man Who Invented Christmas

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I emerged from my Reading Days last night, for a trip to town to see The Man Who Invented Christmas – and, unlike the rest of my party, quite loved it.

I admit I’d been wondering a little as I watched: the film is as lovely as a vintage illustration or a Christmas card, and Dan Stevens is vividly endearing as the overimaginative, struggling, high-strung writer – but there are two aspects of the writing that, while very, very appealing to me, are perhaps not made to click with an Italian audience… Continue reading