Filed under drama

Censorship in Charleston 1787

Censorship in Charleston 1787

In Shakespeare’s time, travelling players were considered akin to rogues and vagabonds so needed the protection and patronage of a noble to survive. In 1727 England passed the Chamberlain’s Act requiring theatres to be licensed to perform plays, to prevent the vicious satires against prime minister Robert Walpole. Life for travelling players was also hard … Continue reading

A Lecture on Heads

A Lecture on Heads

There were a lot of theatrical companies in London and the provinces, but when I heard of The Lecture on Heads I was intrigued and confused. What heads? And why? Gerald Kahan in his book George Alexander Stevens & The Lecture on Heads has done a great job researching the show in its many forms … Continue reading

Words and Image of a Nobody

Words and Image of a Nobody

There are a lot of images from our history that suggest there was some heavy drug taking happening – disproportioned people, strange animals etc. These are often accepted as elements of folklore but there may have been a more straightforward explanation, as a mans of insulting the rich and powerful without getting arrested. This was … Continue reading

Ill Manors

This gritty urban film came out in 2012 by rapper Plan B aka Ben Drew. It was highly praised at the time as being far from a predictable pop star vanity project. It’s a grim, fast paced but at times touching and even humorous view of the lives of young people on east London’s housing … Continue reading

In Praise of Dr Katterfelto

Dr Katterfelto is one of the most fascinating characters from late 18th/early 19th century England. He was called the King of Puff, and his claims to have cured Londoners of the flu epidemic helped sell his remedies. He demonstrated solar microscopes, and danced either side of the divide between science and magic with a big … Continue reading

Funding Jan Svankmaer’s Last Film

Svankmaer has been called a genius by Terry Gillam, so that makes him rather special. His animation is like nobody else’s and this film will be based on a play by the Capek brothers, who are also extraordinary talents from the country that has thrown up more than its fair share of strangely talented artists. … Continue reading

Widdecombe Fair

I recently made a wonderful purchase from an antiques store – this fine pottery mug, of indeterminate age, which came from a dealer in Burton on the Water, Gloucestershire. But the fair it refers to is on wildest Dartmoor, about half way between Buckfastleigh and Moretonhampstead, and now found in atlases as Widecombe in the … Continue reading

The Origin of the Mayday Call

Between The Ears: Seelonce, Seelonce :This was a fascinating broadcast on BBC Radio3 by musician Tim van Eyken, dramatist Joseph Wilde and producer Juilan May on the history of the distress call. They began with the origins of distress calls; when the telegraph was invented, they used SOS, the initials of Save Our Souls, but … Continue reading

Antony Sher on Falstaff

Sher is one of our finest and most knowledgeable Shakespearean actors, and was featured in the i’s series on the Bard’s plays. I saw him play Falstaff in the RSC production. He makes some very good points not just on the subject but much wider aspects of characters: Falstaff is an astonishing Lord of Misrule. … Continue reading