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Index: Dance & Performance

Keeping in step.

Alan Price: ‘Anthony Howell has chosen to write in a deliberately discursive style – he says so on the book’s back cover. Yet I did feel that his own “omelette” contained an excess of ingredients. The book begins to develop itchy feet.’

Modern Nō theatre.

Oswald Sickert: ‘Every subsidiary detail of the performance possesses, I don’t know how to say, but a solidity. It’s there God knows how it came there; but there it is, and it’s not a contrivance, not an “idea.”‘

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.’

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.

Watching ‘Einstein on the Beach’ through a periscope.

Anthony Howell: Backwards clocks and crazed compasses dangle before our eyes, and I notice that everyone in the cast is wearing a watch. Time is Wilson’s essential subject. Things happen at different speeds yet ruthlessly conform to the order of brittleness. The stage is steeped in cloud, and a text on a drop curtain depicting a hydrogen bomb explosion reminds us of molecules of dust generating further terrible heat. We are judged by an elderly black man and a white child; by age and by race. As they consult with each other, a black circle covers a white disk. The cast open their paper bags. It’s okay, we’re not doomed. We’re only on our lunch break.

Story of a song.

Anthony Howell: I hugely appreciate the way Marianne Faithfull has re-invented herself, a process that began with ‘Broken English’. This album is a milestone in UK music history. Every track is a revelation; she really comes into her own as a songwriter, and even to the cover versions of songs such as Working Class Hero she imparts a sort of heroism. The voice is no longer the wistful voice of the sixties singer; instead it has a smoky depth, a husky edge that conveys raw emotion.

Tango star Andrea Missé, 1976-2012.

In Memoriam. By Anthony Howell. THE WORLD OF ARGENTINE tango has lost one of its brightest proponents. Andrea Missé, who reintroduced traditional close-embrace tango to the world, was known for her fluidity, her beautiful adornments and her perfectly musical technique. Slim, trim, impeccably groomed, with the neatest footwork in the business, Andrea was a member […]

· Being authentically in the world of Baroque opera.

BEMF seeks to recreate how operas would have been staged at the time of their original performances, not just how they would have been sung and played.

The Life and Death of Marina Abramović.

Anthony Howell: It is suggested that Marina’s love-life has been as devastating as her relationship with her mother – and finally a transfigured Marina, Christ-like, ascends into the flies. Well, it’s all a bit mawkish, frankly, and in general I feel that in the second half the spectacle runs out of inspiration.

· Event: WILCO’s Solid Sound in the Berkshires, 24-26 June 2011.

At the heart of Solid Sound is a sense of collaboration, where a band can join forces with a museum, a comedian can perform against a backdrop of boundary-pushing works of art, and festival attendees of all ages can be entertained and inspired by three days of exciting, eclectic artistic expression.

· Talent’s got Britain. Cowell’s got the world.

Michele Wandor: Cowell reminded us that, along with the £100,000 and a spot at the Royal Variety Performance, the winner’s career is assured. We know this from other talent shows, but the performing dog is now well out of the bag after Susan Boyle.

· Cello, bow, Bach, Bailey, brief.

The cellist’s not playing the repeats tonight, and who could blame him? He dances us through each suite’s sturdy allemande, each suite’s svelte and arrogant courante, each suite’s sultry forbidden sarabande.