Director Peter Evans has set this latest HAMLET in the 1960’s . The only indicators that it is the 1960’s are the clothes, large ‘space age’ lamps, a cocktail serving tray and a shag carpet.
I don’t know why Evans has set the play in the 1960’s because as I recall that decade, it was a great period of hope and optimism.. I. could not detect any of these qualities in this production. Quite the opposite.
This year’s Bell Shakespeare Company season began with the ribald farce THE MISER marking its 29th year. At the opening night after party Gill Perkins, Executive Director of Bell Shakespeare, outlined an ambitious program for this year and the next.
The most exciting project to celebrate the 30th year is a proposed move to Pier 2-3 in Sydney’s Walsh BayEarlier this year the John Bell Scholarships were awarded to winners from Hamilton, New South Wales, South Yunderup, Western Australia and Darwin, Northern Territory. It involved a week of intensive performance training and mentorship in Sydney. Bell Shakespeare will train 30 teachers from all over Australia to receive specialist training in exciting and involving ways to teach Shakespeare with ongoing support throughout the year.
There will also be a tour of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING visiting 28 venues nationwide as well as master classes, workshops and seminars across the country which reach more than 140,000 people annually.
The program for YOU GOT OLDER speaks of love and grief but, for me, the richest part of the work is about courage. When someone, and their family, suddenly joins ‘cancer club’ nothing stays as it was. It’s the courage not to be bowed by the experience, physical, emotional and spiritual. The courage to let some things slide and let some get away and take some on full tilt. It might not feel like bravery at the time but for so many us, it is being able to continue a tradition with undiminished joy, not broken down by the overwhelming grief of loss. That’s where we do honour, when we come to together to dance like no-one else is watching. And this family has done it twice.
Mae is home. In Wenatchee, driving distance to Seattle. She has the luxury of being with her widowed Dad as he takes on his battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer because she has been dumped, and fired, by her boyfriend boss. When Dad goes in for an aggressive treatment the other siblings gather. Jenny, little sister, Mathew, middle brother and Hannah, older sister. The play, though, is really the story of Mae and Dad. And Mae’s psychosexual debasement fantasy intruder-cowboy who seems to be appearing to her, waking and sleeping. There’s a real-life man too, local and available, Mac. And he and Mae have tit-for-tat fetishes which may well make them ideal for each other. Continue reading YOU GOT OLDER: GRACE AND COURAGE TO INSPIRE→
‘To really get to know a person you have got to get inside a person’s skin and walk around a while.’ Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
This famous quote holds as true as ever. We need to step outside of ourselves and into the ‘shoes’ of another human being to truly understand and accept them.
This is what British playwright Diane Samuels does with her play which explores what it was like to be a Kindertransport survivor. These were the Jewish children who the British Government rescued from the clutches of Nazism. Between the end of 1938 and the end of 1939 the British Government issued 10,000 permits to get children out, minus their parents, and provide them with safe passage to England, where they were taken in by foster parents who were ‘charged with’ trying to bring order and stability back into their lives.
The play follows the journey of Eva from the time she leaves Germany for England to her own middle-age as a long established British resident with an inquisitive grown-up daughter who is demanding to know more about her long ago past., Samuels’ play also includes a non-naturalistic, symbolic level with the use of extracts from an an eerie children’s story, ‘The Rat Catcher’.