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‘Flipcharts and Phillip Schofield’

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Originally written for The Other Room ‘SEEN’on March 1st 2020.  

I was writing the start of this when Phillip Schofield came out and it turned into something more…I never wrote about Schofield at the time so it feels like this is my verison of that blog/article.

 

(Also I’m looking to develop this piece, should any directors/performers want to slide into my DMS)

Jen enters carrying an array of charts. She delivers this as a lecture/TEDTalk style monologue.

 

Jen: I feel like there’s aspects of my species that need explaining. I sometimes wonder if I’m a totally alien species even in the places and spaces I’m supposed to feel at home in. Like I walk into a Lesbian Women’s comedy night and I feel like a 150-year-old relic who should be wearing a 1950s dress.

 

Ok, I’m often wearing a 1950s dress, but it’s like the 25-year-old uber-cool lesbians can smell my 35-year-old bisexual self coming, and I suddenly feel like an uptight ultra heterosexual by comparison. Meanwhile in my oh-so-straight office where the only gays they know are ‘that Graham Norton fella’ and they hadn’t even heard of Queer eye the first time around…well, I look and feel like lesbian 101. I’m still old there. Because over 30 and unmarried is very much ‘Lesbian or Bridget Jones’ territory.

 

Which leads me on neatly to lesson number 1:

 

Bisexual women are attracted to ALL women and 5 very specific men.

 

Who has seen that tweet and felt ‘seen’ as the kids say? Raise your hands?

 

I didn’t think it was true. I set out to disprove it. No, I’m a TRUE bisexual, I would say, I am attracted to a WIDE variety of humans. And some scumbags who challenge the definition of humanity.

 

But no turns out its 100% true.

 

For the record here are the 5 male humans I am attracted to. And I can guarantee almost all 30-something-ish bisexuals from my demographic are also or some variation thereof. Yes, I said thereof. This is science.

 

I brought charts. Because in trying to work out my sexual and gender identity in 2020 I feel like I need charts. To go with all my labels.

 

She reveals charts

 

Maybe it’s because I’m old? I’m in my 30s, which in Queer years is practically dead right? But I look around at the community I’m in. Allegedly in. And I think…I can’t find my place. Is there a map? Did I miss a seminar and so lose all the information that was on the final exam?

 

Of course, I’m old as balls so it’s been a very long time since I sat an exam. Maybe they’ve changed the criteria. We have changed the criteria since I was in school. That’s when I first said the words ‘I’m bisexual’ things have changed labels have changed and multiplied, our numbers have grown…maybe we do need a geography lesson or a maths lesson to work out exactly where in this jigsaw of Queerness we fit in. This is handy because I brought charts!

 

I love a spreadsheet. Practically get off on one. But you know what a spreadsheet doesn’t give you…context. Is this starting to sound like your GCSE lessons? Good. Are they even still called GCSE’s? I’m old and the Tories have been in power a long time, they could be called ‘You’re not at Eton so it doesn’t matter’ levels now.

 

Anyway. Long long ago some very clever Queers developed an equation- that’s what we did before algorithms and Buzzfeed polls, that dictated the five men you were allowed to fancy as a bisexual woman. I will warn you there are some historic references to the 1990s coming up. References will be provided later.

 

So. Here goes.

 

  1. Colin Firth she reveals a picture of Colin Firth

It is a truth universally acknowledged that anyone who was a child during the BBC Pride and Prejudice era, and then was of University age during the Bridget Jones era is fundamentally in love with Colin Firth. Yes, we know he’s a bit of a posh twat, but we’ve all got a bit of a thing for a posh twat now and then. Again, I call that the University years. Mr Darcy. Posh. Aloof. Unattainable. With in real-life rock-solid marriage that made him seem like that perfect older man in your life….

 

Until they divorced last year. I’m not saying I want them to divorce but I AM saying that if he needs a Mrs Firth again, I’m available.

 

But man number 1. Aloof in fiction. Unavailable in real life. A safe choice.

 

  1. David Tennant. She reveals a picture of David Tennant Very specifically David Tennant as the 10th Not just because he’s played a whole lot of murderers since (spoilers)

 

Now I’m not saying there’s a connection between bisexuality and a skinny slightly camp sexless alien in a pinstripe suit and converse with floppy hair but….it’s a mood.

 

  1. Brad Pitt. The Jennifer Aniston years. Reveals a picture. Specifically, possibly the episode of Friends with Brad in. That was peak 90s. We were allowed to say Jennifer Aniston was ‘like so pretty’ too and pretend that we didn’t fancy her a little bit. (For the record, Lisa Kudrow was always the hottest). But Brad has always been a little bit girly. Metrosexual before it was a thing. Girly…again not saying there’s a connection here but…

 

  1. Idris Elba reveals a picture of Idris. Look I don’t make the rules, the man is hot, I’d have to be dead not to see it.

 

 

  1. Phillip Schofield.

I thought I was being so clever with this one. Not just the one everyone fancies. Not the pretty boy or sexless alien. A real honest to goodness attractive heterosexual male.

 

Oh. Wait.

 

I had whole theories Phillip. I had theories about ‘yes I like non-threatening sexless men, and unattainable pretty boys’ But then there’s you. Constant from the Broom Cupboard in the 90s. Ahem we’ll come back to that. To the This Morning Sofa. Constant of University life and sick days. My silver fox and his Technicolor Dreamcoat. The reason I sneak a look at Dancing on Ice but pretend I don’t. The reason I can feel TRULY bisexual watching This Morning is I can imagine a perfect heterosexual life with Phillip while ogling Holly’s chest. It’s the dream Phillip. And now what?

 

Well to be honest I’m still going to be looking at Holly’s chest I’m only human. But what about you? Should I be joining the legions on twitter lamenting my childhood crush?

 

No. I’m getting the glitter and banners out and saying WELCOME TO THE CLUB.

 

But on a personal level my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for you and for me. Saying why couldn’t we have done this 20 years ago.

 

I understand that there are some strange humans out there who feel betrayed by Phillip. The fact that he like Gordon the Gopher has leapt out of the closet (come on tell me Gordon isn’t gay). Wait for those who don’t know what a Gordon is here she reveals a picture of Gordon. Gopher. Gordon. Back in the 90s we had men with their hands up puppet’s arses for entertainment and we were all the better for it.

 

Anyway Phillip. Welcome. He’s not gay, Trevor from finance, because he’s spent too long with ‘that Barrowman fella and the figure skaters’ he’s just…gay.

 

And I’m happy. I really am.

 

But it got me thinking. How different would my life have been if I’d had Phillip, the real Phillip in the 90s. Bursting out with his Technicolor Dreamcoat. Out and proud and as gay as the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical he was part of. What if we were all allowed to be as out and proud? What if we’d had those 20 years together Phillip?

 

Not together, together. That would be weird. And you had Gordon. Then Holly.

 

 

 

 

You see there’s two lost generations, that older one, in their 50s and 60s now. And the ones underneath, the ones who should have been looking up to them. Who should have had them to ask directions from? And we all ended up hidden. And a bit lost.

 

You lot, all you lot asking why we care about some older white dude who may or may not be mates with the Tories, and don’t want him in the club. You grew up different. You found each other on the internet, came out on Instagram.

 

 

 

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out where the 30-something bisexual female fits in. I even made a chart. She reveals a chart and draws as she speaks.

 

You see up here we have a BIG OLD BUBBLE OF MEN. Because that’s the way of the world right? So, the cis gender gay male. Usually white, but we make the odd exception. They take up ALL THIS SPACE. The straight world notices that one. They’re older, more assured. Louder. More male. You get ahead. I get that. I’m a woman. I’ve lived in this world.

 

Over here are the lesbians. You know the ‘proper’ lesbians. We’re talking Doc Martin wearing, mechanics or whatever lesbians are supposed to do. I don’t know what we? They? Are supposed to do…I tried wearing Doc Martins. I look ridiculous. Nobody told me there was a dress code for this shit. Also this lot, they’ve proudly never touched a penis. They don’t even like to SAY penis. If you whisper it too loud they revoke your membership.

 

Look ladies there’s lots of penis I wish I hadn’t touched.  She draws one. Believe me. Lots of hours wasted when I could have got there a lot quicker without if you see what I mean. A penis is not the be all and end all. With sincere apologies to the gay men in the room. You do you. But I happen to have, very unfortunately fallen in love or sometimes lust with the owner of one. Again, the gay guys know what I mean. We got this right? Right. But that means I will never have access to this exclusive ladies’ club over here.

 

And I’m mad jealous. I love women. Like I LOVE women. She draws a heart. But the ladies who love ladies…they don’t always love me. I’m not one of them. I don’t dress like them they say. I don’t act like them. I touched a penis 10 years ago and apparently that bars me for life.

 

Now now not ALL lesbians. Some of my best friends are lesbians. Some of the women I’ve loved are lesbians. Some of the women I’ve lost are lesbians.

 

My problem is I’m also old. I’m over that magical age of….25. Where apparently life falls off a cliff and your should be retired never to be heard from again.

 

I’m 35. My 25-year-old little brother (our parents had some issues to work out clearly) is also a raging Queer (at least our parents did something right). And he had to google section 28. He googles it. I lived it. And there’s the difference.

 

I grew up in a time when who I was wasn’t spoken of. I didn’t learn the word bisexual until University. It’s no wonder I’m resistant to labels if it took me 20 years of my life to find out what they were. If it took me 20 years not to hear the word ‘gay’ in hushed tones or hurled insults. I had it better than most. I grew up in a time when my friends weren’t dying. In a time they weren’t being arrested.

 

But I also grew up in a hinterland. Where my history had been taken from me and erased. And before any of you had chance to start writing some new history. I look back further than you do because I’m trying to reclaim what was lost. I tell my little brother weekly to ‘know your history’ because with my generation it was in danger of being lost.

 

We moved away from the love that does not speak its name. To not being spoken about at all. Erased from the curriculum was erased from a generation in a way. And it took growing up for us to reclaim it.

 

Our internet was full of dark corners, discovering things- things we probably shouldn’t. Covert conversations, not unlike the offline conversations of the generations before that. We hid our narratives in plain site- a chaste kiss on a soap that made headline news, that Channel 4 show that saved our lives hidden away and watched in secret on bedroom TVs as teenagers. It was knowing looks not pronouns in twitter bios and emjoi rainbow flags. It was going to Pride ‘for a laugh’ and finding you belonged. Or running away scared.

 

I look at my little brother and I’m proud he’s grown up in a world where he’s not whispered about.

 

It’s far from perfect. We all know. Hate crime. Violence. It’s still a harsh world.

 

And I’m grateful. To my sisters and brothers before me. Who marched for me. Who died for me.

 

But there’s this weird lost generation. The generation who didn’t have anyone to look up to.

 

I’m not woke enough for the club. I’m not young and hip enough. They speak a language I don’t understand. And that’s brilliant, and beautiful and how it should be. Evolution. That used to be a club in Cardiff. For the straights. So we don’t speak of it.

 

Gay-volution. Gay revolution. But sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

 

There are 100 new labels. And even a well-meaning Millennial like me gets it wrong sometimes. And cancel culture and internet trolls. And the way we talk about ourselves is wrong somehow…and we somehow don’t know who we are anymore despite all the labels.

 

And so, I come back to Phillip. I look at him and I look at the younger generation. Who would tell me as a woman I shouldn’t be looking to a cis, white man as my inspiration? And they’re right. I maybe shouldn’t. I shouldn’t HAVE TO. But I look at my diagrams. And I think how I don’t fit into a neat circle. Queerness doesn’t have a gender right? Maybe my role models don’t either.

 

Because who we have, and who we had to look to matters. And maybe I should be wishing on a nice lesbian role model. But actually, I’d settle for anyone in that gap at all.

 

But to them I say, you don’t remember how it was. You don’t have the same need to reclaim your childhood through Queerness. That’s what Phillip represents to me.

 

I didn’t know who Ellen was as a kid, and anyway she’s cancelled anyway now. But what if the nice man on children’s TV had proudly had a boyfriend. What if my Mum could have turned to me and told me ‘that nice man with the Gopher married another nice man’ how different would both our lives have been? Would I need a flipchart to try and work out who I was if the government hadn’t told a generation we couldn’t say the names of what we were in the classroom? If a generation before hadn’t been wiped out by a virus nobody was willing to put on the news? Or killed by the shame and the fear? What if the headlines had been ‘TV presenter has lavish wedding’ not ‘scandalous soap kiss’ or ‘Actor and husband adopt babies’ not ‘Filthy gays spread death’. What if…what if Godon the fucking Gopher had burst out in a feather boa shouting ‘I am what I am’ What a different life Phillips Schofield and I might have led.

 

Don’t take Phillip Schofield away just because he waited this long. Don’t take my identity away just because I needed some charts and 30 something years to figure it out.

 

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Decade Review: Musicals

  1. Hamilton

Decade Review: The Musicals

And so here it is…my top 10 musicals of the decade. It turned out to be a slightly emotional journey.  As a ‘Dr of musicals’ (in part) that probably isn’t surprising as this decade coincided with that chapter in my life. But it turns out musicals meant a lot in that time. And I’ll fight anyone who says musicals aren’t a serious artform.

I don’t normally condone the separation of musicals and plays, to me all things are equal in theatre (except for mime). But for the purposes of keeping these lists under control two lists made sense. They are for once ranked as well.

I’ve gone for ‘productions’ that moved me, that I will remember rather than sticking to new works on both lists- for me this is about personal memory, impact and what I take with me as the world spins into a new decade. And so, the musicals….

There’s also a playlist to accompany this one here

  1. Hamilton

Yes alright it’s in here…in fact back in the far off land that is 2016 I was quite the Hamilton fan. I just now have Hamil-fatigue. Or more accurately Lin Manuel Miranda fatigue (less is more darling, less is more). That said, it is clearly one of the musicals of the decade. It is utterly brilliant- and the storytelling through choreography doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Also I saw the original cast for $10 ‘cos I won the lottery. Which makes me the smuggest theatre-wanker of the decade.

  1. The Great Comet of 1812

This musical is totally out of its tree. The tree is in Russia and frozen. And they’re fighting over whether to cut down the tree…oh wait that’s another Russian play. Anyway, this musical was madness, and I adored it. And I want to camp out at the National Theatre until they agree to stage it (because nobody else will). Also, Josh Groban belting at the top of his lungs feet away from you is a bucket list moment.

  1. Groundhog Day

Justice for the Hog! Nope still not over Broadway not appreciating the Hog while we sold it out and that I never got a Groundhog Plushy. Anyway. This show…was just the perfect contemporary musical. Yes it was a film adaptation but it was one made with heart and wit (and Tim Minchin). And Andy Karl. The last number had me ripped in two feeling hopeful and heartbroken all at once. It was beautiful.

  1. Fun Home

Another for the ‘know your history’ pile perhaps. But also, a rite of passage for many- you could glance around the audience and know who was feeling the same thing as you at a given moment. And maybe that’s why it didn’t ‘work’ for everyone- perhaps its one you have to have ‘lived’ some aspect of to truly love. And that’s ok, not every musical can be for everyone. But isn’t it beautiful that Fun Home can exist for those who needed it and didn’t know?

  1. Eugenius

If someone asked my most joyous musical theatre moment of the decade it would be seeing an audience join in with the dance moves at the end of Eugenius. That show felt like a meeting of worlds- my super nerd world with my musical theatre super nerd- and it was beautiful. This whole musical in fact was beautiful- an endearing story of high school love, layered with nerd references, what’s not to love? In the face of far bigger musicals, with bigger budgets, starry casts and yes ‘highbrow’ themes, Eugenius is the one that brings me the purest joy.

  1. Falsettos – William Finn and James Lapine- directed by Tara Wilkinson- the Other Palace (2019) /James Lapine- Walter Kerr Theatre (2016)

Is it cheating to include this twice? Maybe but it’s my list I’m making the rules here. The first time I saw it Falsettos blindsided me. I haven’t cried like that at anything in the theatre, ever. You’d think then I’d be prepared the next time…wrong. There’s something in this, perhaps similar to Fun Home that speaks to experiences and thoughts that perhaps have to be shared to feel the true resonance. But it’s also quite simply a beautiful piece of work, and a fascinating exercise in musical theatre history to track and analyse its progression over the years. The Broadway and London productions were like night and day in their approach, and while for me London had something ineffable that made it hold a place in my heart forever, both were important moments in a musical theatre decade for me.

  1. Come From Away- David Hein, Irene Sankoff- Directed by Brian Hill- Phoenix Theatre

This show…this show. It sounds ridiculous right? Let’s make a musical about being stranded in Canada on 9/11…utterly ridiculous. But it’s almost perfect. If I had to show a piece of musical theatre to people who think Musicals are all jazz hands and shallowness, I’d show them this and challenge them not to cry. It’s also an act of shared catharsis, whether you remember 9/11 or not. Whether that event touched you or it was a distant thing, this show brings humanity to the recent past, to politics, to news headlines…it’s in part sitting in the dark crying with strangers, but more than that, emerging with a sense of hope about what humanity can be. And lord knows we all could do with more of that.

  1. Company- Stephen Sondheim- Directed by Marianne Elliott- Gielgud Theatre

Sometimes the show you need comes along at precisely the moment you need it. Getting to see Company with a female Bobbie, in the year I was 34 going on 35 was an act of musical theatre serendipity. The fact that Marianne Elliott directed it made it pretty darn perfect naturally. While the Sondheim Bros continue to argue about its validity, the production proved them wrong by existing, and connecting- in a way I’d bet the ‘real’ version no longer does. On a personal level, seeing yourself reflected back at you is always a powerful thing, and feeling a little less alone in the world is why we do this right?

  1. Next to Normal – Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt- Directed by Michael Grief- Booth Theatre New York

I still get goosebumps thinking of this show 10 years on. And it’s only pipped to the number 1 spot because of …well what the show in the number 1 spot means.

Next to Normal took me by surprise. I went because of the Rent link and because one of my nerdy goals is to see all the Pulitzer Prize winning musicals (nerd alert).  Somehow I managed to avoid knowing anything else. And it was one of those shows where I looked at my Mum at the interval and said ‘It’s so good’. And now it’s been 10 years I think I’m ok in saying, whenever I think of the moment Dan said ‘Why didn’t you go with her’ I still gasp internally (or am I dense? Did everyone else know?) and then cry when he says ‘Gabe, Gabriel’. As I’ve grown older, it’s a musical that has grown with me. I saw it and I felt Natalie’s rage against the world, her frustration at trying to escape. I now feel Diana’s confusion, her grief and Dan’s frustration at being helpless. It’s a musical that feels like its become part of me.

The other part of Next to Normal that feels so special to me is that I saw Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley play Diana and Dan. At the time I didn’t know who either of them were, but I remember being utterly floored by Marin’s performance, and wondering how as husband and wife they could do that night after night- while also knowing I’d seen something special. When Marin died in 2018, it was the first ‘celebrity’ death that I cried over in a long time. Even now, I feel incredibly sad she is no longer here. I saw her perform only once but she left such a mark.

  1. Rent – Jonathan Larson- Directed by Bruce Guthrie- The Other Palace/Tour.

As with the plays list there was never really any doubt what number 1 would be? Predicable but also I spent most of this decade with these plays, of course they are my top two.

I first saw Bruce Guthrie direct Rent at RWCMD in 2013, and that was something special. Three years into my Ph.D. it was a gift to spur me on to see a production with a director who ‘got’ it (and frankly actors the right age!). When Guthrie came back to Rent for the 20th Anniversary tour (we’ll quibble about dates later) at the St James’ Theatre (ah remember when it had a good name) I knew it was going to be something special.

And it was. From the front row it was…intense…but it was special. As someone who hadn’t known Rent before Guthrie directed it like any other piece, rather than the time capsule piece most directors have approached it as. It felt like any good revival should be- created again for the moment it was staged in. And free from the previous productions, it felt more honest, more real and certainly more visceral. It was like seeing an old friend grown up.

That production of Rent reminded me what I loved about the musical. It also reminded me that the musical had so much more to give me as an academic, as a writer. Still, I’m waiting to properly write about it. Also, there’s something about being able to truly ‘grow up’ with a piece and revisit it, finding you’re still as much as in love as when you were a teenager.

How do you measure a decade in musicals then? Measure in love it seems…

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Decade Round Up

So on looking at my spreadsheet (yes of course there’s a spreadsheet) of the decade, I saw 428 shows that I recorded. Foolish me did not record the shows that I saw while ushering at two theatres over three years. We’ll call that 20 more shows I saw in that time (and to allow for others I know I’ve missed) and so we’re looking at 450 shows give or take this decade.

I started this blog (the previous incarnation of it) in 2011. My PhD supervisors tried to stop me from having a blog, but writing here has led to lots more opportunities over the past decade, so it’s worth marking that.

I’ve got a top 10 musicals and top 10 plays, but in going through I realised there were a few highlights that won’t make the top cut…but are worthy of note. And so…year by year here we go.

2010

Holding the Man-Tommy Murphy- Trafalgar Studios

This book is one of my favourites ever, and as I was just beginning my PhD on AIDS theatre, this was a significant one this decade.

Hair- Gerome Ragni and James Rado- Gielguld Theatre

I danced with Hippies on stage (those damn Hippies get everywhere) and finally seeing this great American musical in London again was a joy.

2011

La Cage Aux Folles- Jerry Herman/Harvey Fierstein

This is a classic of a musical, and a joy of one. And sometimes John Barrowman in drag comes along when you need it to lift an otherwise drab year.

War Horse-Nick Stafford/Michael Morpurgo New London

You never forget your first Joey right? I spent the next 3 years arguing with my PhD supervisor over it.

2012

Lwyth – Dafydd James- Sherman Theatre

This glorious bilingual piece was the first Welsh language theatre I saw. And it brought me joy. I’m thrilled its sequel will be starting the new decade too.

Bring It On- Jeff Whitty, Amanda Green, Lin Manuel Miranda-  St James’ Theatre NY

Cheerleaders, kick ass routines, lesbian undertones and some bloke called Lin Manuel Miranda. He’ll go far one day that lad I’m sure.

2013

This House- James Graham- NT Olivier

Look when Graham gets it right he really gets it right ok? Also when the NT do immersive properly, or audience interaction properly they nail it too. T

Merrily We Roll Along- Stephen Sondheim- Comedy Theatre

Jenna Russell and Sondheim are like music to my ears. And this was bittersweet and beautiful.

2014

The Crucible- Arthur Miller- The Old Vic

Richard Armitage was a powerhouse in this. Otherwise a just sold production of an incredible play. That apparently I still have memorised from school.

My Night With Reg- Kevin Elyot- Donmar Warehouse

A play I’d longed to see as the only ‘British AIDS play’ (it’s niche). Honourable mention to Mr Julian Ovenden. Ahem.

2015

Meet Fred- Hijinx Theatre

Look I love me a filthy puppet ok? And this show was innovative, challenging and all round brilliant.

Hello/Goodbye- Peter Souter- Hampstead Theatre

A sweet little play that probably didn’t light everyone’s world on fire, but I adore a well told relationship drama and this was brilliantly executed. And Shaun Evans will never cease to be a delight to watch.

2016

The Dazzle-Richard Greenberg Found 111

Andrew Scott giving a typical tour de force performance in the attic of an abandoned shop.

A Good Clean Heart-Alun Saunders- WMC Weston Studio

Alun Saunders debut play is a sweet one of love, lost and family. It’s also one that leaves its mark long after you’ve left it.

2017

The Busy World is Hushed-Keith Bunin-  Finborough Theatre

Sometimes you see the play you need to see at the time you need to see it. And something in this study of grief and love hit me at the right time.

Yank! -David Zellnick/Joseph Zellnick- Charing Cross Theatre

This musical about gay American soldiers in World War 2 is more joyous than the subject matter might indicate. Also, obviously heart wrenching.

2018

10 Plagues- Mark Ravenhill- Sherman Theatre

Just some intricate, brilliant storytelling around how we think of illness. Basically my total bag.

Unexploded Ordnances Split Britches- WMC

I’ve fangirled Split Britches from afar for years, so to see them was incredible. To have them call my review ‘one of our favourites’ was brilliant.

2019

Percy Jackson- Joe Tracz and Rob Rokicki- Longacre Theatre NY.

Sometimes you need a demi-God covering you in toilet paper. And also a musical for young people reminding you theatre is fun.

Seared- Theresa Rebeck- MCC Theatre

There’s a reason she’s the most produced female playwright on Broadway…a well-made play is a well-made play. And this was simply a well-made piece of dramatic storytelling.

So that’s a decade year by year…of course what would a round up be without the ‘top 10s’ …

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4 * Review for Don’t Send Flowers

Buzz Magazine gave ‘Don’t Send Flowers’ four stars read it here

 

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News: Don’t Send Flowers

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News!

I’m excited to share that my play ‘Don’t Send Flowers’ is being produced by Clock Tower Theatre Company, and will be performed at The Gate in Cardiff in September.

 

Grace is in therapy because her Father is dying and she’s not handling it very well. John is in therapy because he’s dying, and also not handling it too well. Louis is in therapy because his work told him he has to be. None of them want to talk to a stranger about the fact this doesn’t make them happy. So, they strike up a friendship with each other. Largely dysfunctional from the outside, it turns out to be exactly what they all need.

‘Don’t send Flowers’ is a darkly funny look at life and death and living with both. And how cake if not a cure for cancer, is a pretty effective placebo .

 

For tickets see The Gate Website here

And for further updates follow @clocktower_tc for updates

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Language and Identity in the Welsh-Turkish Play Y Brain/Kargalar

 

y-brain-kargalar

In a longer more reflective post on this production for Howlround  I examine the questions of language and culture and the difficulties of interpretation. 

“I felt that these lands were always wrapped around me like a mother, in the most difficult times of my life. And that they were healing me.” These words, spoken by Mel—one half of the Turkish refugee, Meltem, who settled in Wales—form the essence of Y Brain/Kargalar.

Full article is here.

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Review: Y Brain/Kargalar

y-brain-kargalar

Writer Meltem Arikam was forced to flee Turkey after accusations against her and start a new life in Wales. While starting her new life, her husband unexpectedly died and she was left once again re-examining her place in the world, her sense of identity and where and how to belong.

In Y Brain/Kargalar, she examines the two parts of herself ‘Mel’ and ‘Tem’ her Welsh and Turkish alter-egos. The two performers deliver the script in their respective languages, sometimes to each other, sometimes at each other, sometimes into the ether, and there’s a distinct sense of the exploration of language, the exploration of identity and the struggle

Full article at Nation Cymru 

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New Review: 12 Cabins 12 Vacancies

In life we are used to the intersection of personal and public events. But there’s an interesting kind of personal/public dynamic with the cultural events that come to mean something beyond themselves, because of the moment we encountered them. Nobody would look at Psycho for a tender exploration of love and loss, but for Chris Durnall the intersection of seeing this movie on TV as a youngster and his father’s death have made it exactly that.

Full review at Wales Arts Review 

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New Article: Years And Years

Years and Years

 

This article contains spoilers.

Episode one of Russell T Davies’ Years and Years ends with Russell Tovey fucking a man as the world ends. That seems a flippant summary, but for gay men sex has always been, and still is, a political act. Seemingly apt from the writer who brought the world Queer as Folk and caused much clutching of pearls when gay characters showed up in his Doctor Who. However, the story of gay characters Daniel and Viktor in Years and Years is as much a political act as any of the broader politics of the story. And a gay man fucking an illegal immigrant as the world edges towards nuclear disaster is the opening gambit of one of the most important gay stories on television in recent years. Being gay is after all still a political act. Simply existing in the world becomes a political act. And that’s what insidiously the Viktor/Daniel storyline in Years and Years does.

 

For Wales Arts Review 

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The Generation of Rent Remixed, and now Rent Live

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My piece for Miro magazine on Rent Live can be found here