Does where we write colour what we write? Do our surroundings impact on our work without us truly realising? And how about the weather – or the quality and intensity of sunlight? These are the questions I was asking myself on my morning walk today, beside the River Glomma, in Norway. One month ago I […]
Andrea Stephenson’s writing and photography are grounded in place, and in her deep and abiding sense of spirituality. In this post, February’s Doubts, she considers the light and shadow that is February, and reflects on creativity in difficult times. I am grateful to her for allowing me to share it with you.
February is the fag end of winter. Though I love this season, this is the point when I’m ready for spring, for light, for warmth. This is the point at which the cold and dark tires me and I trudge through the days simply surviving. When it is no longer as easy to connect with that self I find in the rich, dark dreaming. I have woken up, but rudely. February is the alarm that wakes me when I’m not ready to wake, interrupting a peaceful sleep. It is the truculent moment when I haul myself out of bed before I’m ready, to a day that I’m not looking forward to. A transition time, but not the lazy transition of summer into autumn, or the barely perceptible change from autumn to winter. February is hard work. Read more!
Back in December Gaele Sobott published an interview with Amit Sharma on her blog, Gaele Sobott:Writing, Culture, Social Justice and….
The post was entitled:
The conversation is about a play he recently directed, The Solid Life of Sugar Water. The play centers on relationship, sexuality, and disability, hot topics for most of us. I hope you will visit Gaele’s blog and read the entire interview.
Sobott introduced the director thusly:
Amit Sharma has been the Associate Director of Graeae Theatre Company, London, since 2011. He recently directed The Solid Life of Sugar Water, a Graeae Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Plymouth production, gaining unanimous acclaim at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, leading to a 2016 UK tour including a run at the National Theatre…..
Here is a brief excerpt from the interview:
GS: The audience are looking down on the bed but they are also being spoken to directly by the characters. It is not possible for the audience to position themselves as just observers. They have to participate. What are your thoughts on this?
AS: That’s the good thing about theatre. You can set up a convention and then just totally break it. So whenever the characters were on the floor, that was like the wall of their bedroom but it became less about the bedroom, it was the post office, the bridge, even though the bed was always present. As a creative team we wanted it to be subtle, so yes the bed was always in the background because there was always that big question of them trying to have sex.
GS: There are many disabled artists and directors who feel there is a need to explore sex and disability, for various reasons including societal attitudes, the infantilisation of disabled people. What is the importance of sex in disabled art? What is the relation of this play to the exploration of sex and disability?
AS: The most interesting thing coming out of Sugar Water is that question has not been asked. It has not been unpacked. What the play does is almost normalise that very question of sex and disability. It is such a huge topic for so many different reasons. Perhaps it is because of the performers, one performer is Deaf and one performer has a physical impairment, but not to the extent where it impacts on their sex lives. What I mean by that is that if, say, one of the characters was a wheelchair user who had 24 hour personal care then that dynamic shifts. I was reading an article today about the Independent Living Fund and this guy saying how it can be difficult to live independently for example to go out and chat up girls because you’ve got someone else there all the time. So you have to negotiate that relationship. This play doesn’t go there. People have picked up on the element of communication between the couple, but the sex element not so. I also think it is because of how Jack as a writer was playing with the idea of sex. There’s a lot of comedy with some really graphic descriptions.
GS: Well yes there is comedy and there are very serious moments, a fine line.
This morning I read the following post from Juliana Farha, posted on her blog, Two Worlds: Notes and Observations. The post, Why Music? Notes on Reciprocity, struck a deep note within me. Juliana writes:
Although she dreamt of learning the cello, my sister never played an instrument. She loved to sing but her voice wasn’t especially good: our annual duet of The Boar’s Head Carol at Christmas was as close to choral performance as she ever got. And yet Darya’s connection with music was so profound, her sense of the musicality of life with its singular and idiosyncratic rhythms so innate, she was one of the most musical people I’ve known.
Darya died of breast cancer more than three years ago, and in less than a month’s time The Forge in central London will host the premiere of Reciprocity, a half-hour chamber work based on her poetry which I commissioned from the exciting young composer Daniel Patrick Cohen……
Here is a moving post from Kaiteoreilly. In dark times such as ours, the arts, services to marginalized folks, and basic human kindness often go out the proverbial window. Yet, somehow we keep making art. Maybe this has something to do with the needs of the soul.
In praise of theatre and collaboration
Making theatre can be life affirming, Sometimes when I collaborate with others, I realise how remarkable humans can be. At the great risk of sounding like some evangelising naïf who has just undergone a religious conversion, or taken too much MDMA, I have to say working with Gaitkrash, The Llanarth Group and Theatre P’Yut has been one of the most rich, harmonious and satisfying experiences of my working life
I am honored to introduce our guest blogger, Naomi Baltuck. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and a marvelous story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com.
A Gift to be Shared…
by Naomi Baltuck, © 2002
For every story that a storyteller gives voice to, be it folktale, literary, or historical, there is an untold story running just beneath the surface.
My mother, Aunt Loena, and Grandma Rhea would sit at the kitchen table and drink coffee, telling stories of our family hardships, courtships, scandals, jokes, and joys. They were passing down our history. Their stories were chosen carefully, I realize now, to impart values, wisdom, and warnings. Of a cousin who never married because of her dictatorial mother, my own mother began, “You can get too tangled up in an apron string…” Mom concluded another story, “You’ll find you have something in common with everyone you meet, even if it’s only that your feet hurt.” Continue reading
When I awoke at 6:30 it was snowing! Now it is raining lightly. The temperature is in the mid-thirties and the snow is melting! Fog shrouds the lake. Where the fog lifts the lake’s surface appears pitted and there is standing water atop the ice.
Journeys take many forms. Lately I have been submerged in reading, each book exploring unique territory. Often I find myself reading books that share common themes, even as they explore differing landscapes. The books I write about below share themes of travel, community, and the search for meaning. Continue reading
We are in that week between my birthday and Thanksgiving. Next week is all about family. The past week has been focused on the arts, particularly Playback Theatre, as Jennie hosted this years board retreat for the Centre. Friday night I finally attended a concert by Ethel. What a delightful way to spend an evening! This week we see a new puppetry work by Sandglass Theater, and host an evening of shared storytelling.
Any number of conversations arose out of these events, reminding me how hungry I am for rich connection and deeply shared thought. Most of the conversations explored issues of representation; several focusing on problems that arise as a result of misrepresentation. Continue reading
Last Sunday we traveled down to Shelburne Farms for the world premiere of the Emergent Universe Oratorio, composed by Sam Guarnaccia. The Oratorio is a work that re-imagines the dominant culture’s physics-based creation narrative, and seeks to universalize the story. Before the Oratorio we were treated to the playing of Eugene Friesen, of Paul Winter Consort fame. New Paintings, created for the event, by our friend, the marvelous artist, Cameron Davis, graced the walls in the remarkable, “cathedral-like” Breeding Barn. Continue reading