Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Its all getting very busy at this end at the moment so you must forgive me for the lack of consistent reports and feedback!

However I can report on a £5000 gift coming in which is sorely needed and as we speak I am preparing for a meeting to secure an £8000 loan. So fingers are kept tightly crossed at the moment.

Recently I have been running a series of workshops for 10-15 year olds on Twelfth Night which at the end of an intensive period of just two days they put on a production of it- of sorts. It has been a fascinating experience- kids/teenagers have such a raw response to drama- one minute they can be dead to the world and the next minute and something ticks the play unfolds before their eyes and they just light up. It was a humbling experience to see some (not all) of these young people really getting under the skin of the language and the characters-

Anyway the point being here that they got me thinking- further to a conversation with Paul (Malvolio) last night we highlighted the importance of mood and athmosphere in this production . The Edwardians- at least the British Edwardians believed that the British be the centre of the worlds and like the Pope seemingly at one with the incarnate trinity; Cecil Rhodes that vile Edwardian war monger once wrote,

"If there be a God, It think that what he would like me to do is to paint as much of Africa British- red as possible and to do what I can elsewhere to extend the influence of the English-speaking race"

It is somwhat ironic that in an age where the British empire covered nearly a third of the globe, the era is characterised by the claustrophic smog of etiquette and manners and expectation and class. Which combined led the majority to lifes spent in a proximity not dissimiliar to their medievel ancestors.

Olivia for example is outwardly living the life of decadence- in the sun of Illyria riding the wave of the empire- and yet this wave has so smothered her that even breathing seems fraught. It would seem that her escape is her veil, her mourning clothes and the shut windows of the house in which she isolates herself as a seemingly pointed tribute to the former Queen Victoria who spent the second half of her life mourning.

The freedom from which she explodes- must be visible and the mood and athmosphere must be seen to lift, we are painting a series of moments and the shift from dark to light to dark to light and back again must feature inherently. This protracted point is just concurring with Gemma on her study of manners- if this athmosphere is to be seen by an audience it must first be learned- ideally you would all go away to an Edwardian boot camp-


in fact now I mention it-


the idea has been planted-

more later!


Blogger Angelo said...

I really like this idea of a claustrophobic smog of etiquette. and the idea of how you are "supposed" to act. And this is where i feel the comedy of this play really becomes prevalent. I was reading an analysis of Tw. Ni. and the author made a very good statement, he said that twelfth night has been criticized for not being a just representation of real life but it has been praised because it is a just representation of human behavior.

31 May 2005 at 17:48  

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