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Index: Film, Television, Video & Theatre

Roeg elements: innovation and risk.

Anthony Howell: ‘The millennium seems to be wishing upon us the restoration of mawkish and short-sighted values – perhaps not the values of patriotism, fidelity, grace and tradition that preoccupied swathes of nineteenth century verse, but in many ways the appeal is the same. It’s an appeal to the emotions.’

Somewhere else.

Simon Collings: ‘Basildon, or ‘Baz’ as it’s referred to by locals, wasn’t meant to be like this. The vision for Britain’s post-war ‘New Towns’ described prosperous and happy communities – places of architectural and natural beauty which would, it was hoped, create a better type of person. The gap between the political vision, and the reality as recounted by local residents, is huge. This is the focus of New Town Utopia, a new documentary feature by Christopher Ian Smith. ‘

Doing silly on the equinox.

Nigel Wheale: ‘The Faction’s Dream is a dream, because each element is as compelling as another. But there is an angle. Tamarin McGinley’s Hippolyta gives ‘I was with Hercules and Cadmus once’ with a winky glance to audience. ‘

Ibsen’s new drama.

By JAMES A. JOYCE. TWENTY YEARS HAVE passed since Henrik Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House, thereby almost marking an epoch in the history of drama. During those years his name has gone abroad through the length and breadth of two continents, and has provoked more discussion and criticism than that of any other living man. […]

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.

Anthony Howell: ‘The play is like a comb, dripping with the honey of Nigeria, offering us a characteristic love of proverbs and turns of phrase…’

Dead heads.

Bram Stoker: ‘May I say, inasmuch as I was Henry Irving’s manager during the whole period of his occupancy of the Lyceum Theatre, and therefore, lest anyone should attribute to him directly or indirectly any of the practices I have mentioned, that at the old Lyceum we did not have a claque, though certain individuals were perpetually importuning us to engage one; and, further, that we had no need for dead-heads to fill empty seats. Of course in all managements there are “lean” as well as “fat” times; but when the lean time showed signs of approach we took care to “put on” the play always ready for presentation on the stage, and by so doing did away with all necessity or temptation to produce an extraneous appearance of public desire.’

Writing to Shakespeare.

Bonnefoy: ‘…you’re standing in a corner of the theatre. It’s cold, and a wind seems to be blowing. You’re talking to several men, young and old. One of them will be Hamlet; another, Ophelia. Do you have an idea to explain to them? No. Hamlet is being written here, at this very moment, in the sentences that come to you, that take you by surprise. It’s virtually an improvisation, over several days divided between your table—I don’t know where—and the stage: a text, certainly, but one you cross out off-the-cuff, as when you understand—for example, at this very instant—that your future Hamlet doesn’t grasp all that well what you’re trying to tell him.’

Three essays on ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Hoyt Rogers: ‘The heart of the play—the “heartless” heart—is the final scene of Act IV. Ill-assorted, often omitted, it takes on its full meaning only in retrospect. The House of Capulet is in mourning: the Nurse babbles her sorrow, Juliet’s parents are repentant, and Paris joins them in their laments, flat as his platitudes may sound. The concluding vignette leaves all that behind, looping back to the comic vein of the play’s first half.’

Out of the past.

Alana Shilling: ‘Even the most creative of past productions do not sever ties with the values of the masque. One of the greatest innovations in the definitive 1970 Midsummer, is the aforementioned doubling of roles, which brings Titania/Hippolyta and Oberon/Theseus together. The inevitable emphasis on the parallels of the human and fairy lands that this pairing entails is a gesture not unlike the identification between allegorical fantasy and earthly reality so dear to courtly masques. Moreover, Brook aimed to capture the imagination by eroding the boundary between stage and audience. These are principles dear to the masque.’

Zero Dark Uncertainty.

A. Jay Adler: ‘Because some critics of Zero Dark Thirty come to the film seeking in it the simplicity of an ideological stance rather than the human complexity of art, they seek to tally factual representations as politics on an abacus of acts. They lose interest in the behavior of humans.’

A pataphysical education.

Paul Cohen: ”Pataphysics presents a challenge to reality, most characteristically, though not always, carried out through humor. Unfortunately, as Andrew Hugill notes in his new book on the subject, “the word is often used quite loosely to invoke anything that seems wacky, weird, or bizarrely incomprehensible,” much as the word “surreal” is often used to refer to anything strange.’

Mrs Dalloway. Episode two.

It is so nice to be out in the air. If I stand quite still, I can be a poplar tree in early dawn. Hyacinths, fawns. Running water and garden lilies. London is so dreary, compared with being in the country with my father and the dogs. I am a pirate, reckless, unscrupulous, riding on the omnibus up Whitehall, all sails spread. I am free…’

Mrs Dalloway. Episode one.

You have such a command of language. You can put things as editors like them to be put. If you, Richard, advise me, and Hugh writes for me, I am sure of getting it right. I already have a selection of choice phrases use – such ‘we are of the opinion that the times are ripe’. Something about ‘the superfluous youth of our ever-increasing population’. A phrase about ‘what we owe to the dead’. That sort of thing.

Dramatising Mrs Dalloway.

Michelene Wandor: One must engage with the rhythms and the style of the original, so that the dramatising process remains faithful to these, as well as to the more obvious issues of story, etc. The consummate dramatiser is also a consummate critical reader, for whom part of the dramatisation is the challenge of including not only elements within the prose, but also, in a sense, re-reading the imperfections, the contradictions, the lacunae, even, in the text. This is essential because, of course, one is reading from the present, with one’s critical insights, whatever they are.

Dickens in the details at Downton.

There are gaps in narratives. Viewers use these gaps in instalment publication to imagine what happened, to fill in. Characters themselves may change a great deal and also have new relationships to one another: so not that character-dominated, an ensemble with a lack of overall narrative closure, complicated and slowly evolving network of character relationships.