Theatre Education

The Noh sentiment of poetry and love

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Matsukaze written by Kan’ami is a play from the Noh repertoire, a type of traditional Japanese drama that developed from ‘Shinto rites’, a religion dating back to prehistoric times. The faith worships spirits of nature and ancestors and in the sixth century incorporated Buddhist beliefs.

Visiting Suma Bay, a travelling monk comes across a pine tree. Learning that the tree marks the grave of two sisters Matsukaze and Murasame, the monk prays for their souls. Needing somewhere to stay for the night, he asks two young women if he could lodge at their salt-making hut. It is here that he…


Poetry of a pandemic

Poor old Boris

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Something approaching causing much dread.
Cobra meets missed were you out of your head?
Scientists worried…you, not a care in the world.
People would be dying and could not be held.
Poor old Boris.

Why didn’t you look to over the sea?
Realise mistakes would affect both you, them, and me.
Proudly announcing you shook hands today.
Then soon the country was in disarray.
Poor old Boris.

Locked down too late let the virus take hold. For most only mild, no worries we were told. The numbers were rising but why can’t you see. The mistakes will affect both you…


Lifes Education

How I turned despair into creativity

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I suppose I’m actually sorry for once…

But you see…

Creativity tired of me long ago as did

That highly sought after flair… – Owari

Life throws us challenges, it is how you approach them and what you learn that is important.

I was studying for my degree at university, a creative course in drama, theatre, performance, and dance studies.

Life at the time was hard. Really hard. Being a mature student and surrounded by youngsters who were blissfully unaware of the challenges life can throw at you, I was faced with the task of devising and performing a solo choreography.

Feeling like I had about as much creativity as a stone, and at first, sinking into…


Literature

The eternal damnation of Doctor Faustus

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Written by Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604 and thought to have been performed, prior to publication in 1588.

Studying medicine and theology the doomed protagonist John Faustus gives up his scholarly studies to delve into the world of magic instead. Selling his soul to Lucifer for twenty-four years of supreme power, he soon realises the deal he made with the demon Mephistopheles, did not quell his thirst for knowledge.

Although Faustus did find fame through his magic, as his end of the deal draws ever closer, he still fails to repent his sins to God. As…


Fiction

Is it not marvelous to be forgetful?

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Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. — Samuel Beckett.

A poorly lit room, the only source of light, is a small dull lamp. A dusty square table stage right, with a single chair, upon the chair, sits B, age, and sex unimportant. Slightly stage left of center is a large wooden crate with the words ‘This way up’ stamped on the side in large red lettering. Inside the crate is A, ambiguity surrounds A, it is merely ‘something’ inside a…


Fiction

A diary entry by Crooks, Of Mice and Men

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“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”
― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

This fictional diary entry is written from the perspective of ‘Crooks’ the only black man on the ranch. He is named Crooks because his back is bent after an accident where he was kicked by a horse. …


Dance Education

Cunningham, the first pioneer of dance technology

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The Concept

Merce Cunningham’s choreographic concept relied on neither design nor music, instead, he believed that all art forms could exist independently of each other yet occupy the same space (Copeland and Cohen, 1983, 232).

Cunningham thought, however, that music and dance did have a common factor, ‘Time’, for they could cohabit the same space, at the same time. Therefore, his philosophy was that none of these arts needs the other for inspiration and frequently meet for the first time in the performance.

Early Career

Cunningham originally started his training with Bonnie Bird, from the ‘Graham Company’ at the Cornish School in Seattle. In…


Life

Your loved ones are just waiting in the next room

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An angel visited me in my sleep, she told me I had to stop fighting with my Mum, life was short and we should love instead.

That angel was my dear departed Grandmother when she died I was scared to go to bed in case she ‘visited’ me, Mum would stroke my head and tell me that if Gran came to visit it would be because she loved me and wanted to see me, the thought terrified me, I don’t think I fully understood death.

Some years later Mum and I fell out, we fell out big-time, what ensued was…


Dance Education

The hidden mystery behind Anna Sokolow

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I felt a deep social sense about what I wanted to express, and the things that affected me deeply personally [are] what I did, and commented on. — Anna Sokolow, Choreographer, prod. and dir.

Sokolow’s early works focused on appealing to her audience’s social and political conscience and later dealt with themes of alienation and isolation. Seeing dance as an opportunity to change thinking in society, Sokolow often took a revolutionary approach inspired by current events.

Worried about the depression in the States and synchronically the rising danger of fascism, Sokolow believed that by performing the social, economic, and political…


Black Dance History

Revealing black dance to the world

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I used to want the words ‘She tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want ‘She did it.’ — Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham passed away in May 2006 at the age of 96 and quite rightly ‘did it’ for black dancers of the day, who deserved equal dignity and respect and should not be confined to ‘shake’ and ‘tap’ dance.

A truly inspirational dancer reaching the height of her career through the 1940s to the 50s Katherine Dunham was dubbed the matriarch and queen mother of black dance. …

Drama Llama

Theatre, performing & literature, sharing stories through the art of expression. U.K. BA (Hons) 1st Class Drama, Theatre, Performance & Dance Studies.

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