Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Irish mysteries

Actor Brian Kennedy who plays The Lover, Bassanio in the Fringe Benefits Theatre production of The Merchant of Venice. That'sBelfast City Hall he's posing in. This version of the play is set in 1912

I’m just back from an intriguing week in Ireland. (Where I met some people you may know – more on that below – with a pic.) But the whole place was unexpectedly mysterious.

I’m not talking about leprechauns or the absence of snakes. These are modern mysteries.

1. Fat people. Where are they all hiding? Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under life, theatre

Rediscovered comforts

Cate Blanchett as Charlotte Gray in the eponymous film, flaunting her beret.

“There are times when familiar, reassuring thoughts come back as comforts.” So says Ian Poulton. He’s a Church of Ireland vicar who writes the For The Fainthearted blog.

I’m stealing his thoughts for this post for the Loose Bloggers Consortium. Ian’s a reflective wide-ranging wonderer and storyteller. He was one of the first to encourage me with this here internet writing. And he’s talking about sleep – which is something I want to rediscover for myself – before the bags under my eyes become haversacks.

This is some of what he says about rediscovery:

There is the line in Sebastian Faulks’ moving novel Charlotte Gray, where Miss Gray is about to be parachuted into Nazi-Occupied France as a spy. An RAF bomber is flying her through the night, deep into occupied territory, and one of the bomber crew announces to her that they are just passing over one of the French cities.

It was a reassuring moment to me, the image of an aeroplane moving through a clouded night sky, almost as though it was tiptoeing so as not to wake anyone. The city below was a place I knew from summer holidays, but it was more than that; there is a feeling of safety, of security, in a community asleep below in the deep darkness. Is it perhaps that sleeping people are unthreatening people, or is it that sleep represents a refuge from all the worries of the world?

I remember reading Father Niall O’Brien’s story of his ministry on the Philippine island of Negros, a tale of struggling against violence and oppression. Many of the sugar workers led miserable lives as day labourers, yet there was one moment where Niall O’Brien describes stepping into a hut late at night to be met with darkness in which he could make out the sleeping figures of itinerant workers. Sleep seemed a moment of relief, a few brief hours of respite from the grinding poverty in which they lived.

The late great Pete Postlethwaite as Prospero

For Prospero, in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, life itself is a Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

My great disappearing act

That's me dying the first time - on stage.

My great disappearing act took place at the height of my professional theatrical fame. For the princely sum of £5 and a bottle of Fanta (a night? or was the £5 for a week?) I trod the same boards the feet of Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds and Adrian Dunbar had before me. I played the eldest of Macduff’s sons in Shakespeare’s Scottish play at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

My main role was to die defending my Mum against the king’s hired killers – a bit of dramatic struggling and swooning after being stabbed. But it wasn’t all action. Oh no – I had lines too. A couple of Yeses and then that immortal exclamation.

Thou liest, thou shag-hair’d villain!

That’s what everyone remembers from that play, isn’t it? Never mind all that hubble bubble toil and trouble or being steeped so far in blood. Oh yes.

On the final night of the run, the usual murder happened. (Obviously I could have beaten the killers if I’d wanted, but I had to let them get away with it for the sake of the play. Just wanted to make that clear.)  The murderers fled, leaving the bodies of me and my mother and brother strewn across the stage. Then the lights went down completely, leaving the stage in complete darkness to allow us to drag our carcasses off stage.

As usual, I quickly nipped through the side drapes, but Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

The Day I Met… Met HER

Welcome to the latest episode of the The Day I Met… contest. Bit different this Wednesday. We’ve had a world leader, a film star, a singer, a celebrity beardster, a best selling writer, military top brass – and now someone very well known in certain circles.

This encounter comes from Helen. I can’t link to her because she doesn’t have a blog. (I know. Me too. I thought everyone had a blog. Perhaps those rumours about life existing offline are actually true.)

She emailed in her story with this caveat: 

So, it is not exactly within the guidelines of your competition, but it was the nearest to a celebrity moment that i could imagine myself writing about.

Good enough for me. So here’s Helen’s story about…

The Day I Met… Met HER. And she came home with me! Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Guest Posts, The Day I Met... Competition

Confession time: I deface books

C.mon, who can resist adding a moustache and specs? (From - Wreck My Journal)It’s a cardinal sin to scribble in a book – for some people. I used to feel this way, but now I see them (the ones I own) as more interactive templates. I’m allowed to take notes, highlight, dog ear the pages if I find something wonderful.

Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Jane Austen did it too. They annotated, or engaged in marginalia. Often gossip it seems in the case of Twain. But also comment on the text.

I’d want to read that marginalia. But it won’t exist in future once/if e-books kill off paper copies.

You see? You see! Bet you didn’t think of that in your headlong rush to the future all you developers. (Unless you in fact have already developed features to let us carry on with our marginal doodlings after all. In which case, drat, you’ve outsmarted me again.)

The defaced page, by the way, is from Lari Fari‘s charming and imaginative Wreck My Journal idea.

Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times article by Dirk Johnson on the romance of marginalia:

Some lovers of literature even conjure dreamy notions about those who have left marginalia for them to find. In his poem “Marginalia,” Billy Collins, the former American poet laureate, wrote about how a previous reader had stirred the passions of a boy just beginning high school and reading “The Catcher in the Rye.”

As the poem describes it, he noticed “a few greasy smears in the margin” and a message that was written “in soft pencil — by a beautiful girl, I could tell.” It read, “Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.” Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under art, life, media

Shot Through the Sacred Heart

If anyone can find an image that better matches the title of this blog post, preferably something with Jesus in it, please put a link to it in the comments.

I have an identity crisis looming.

It’s all my mate Andrie’s fault.

She says I should consider changing the name of the book.

Panic!

But am I over-reacting?

.

The case for the prosecution: Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under art, friends, Music, My Writing