There is a particular atmosphere in films that depict the victims of the Holocaust, and I found it incredibly disturbing to sense that same atmosphere in this excellent documentary recently aired on the SBS.
Monthly Archives: May 2009
The Road to Guantanamo
All Shook Up
Iain Sinclair says in his director’s note for The Seedthat it is “one of those special pieces that help us see with fresh eyes”. I will assume he is right, but for someone who has had little contact with Vietnam veterans or the IRA, fresh eyes are a given. And in these wars, which are both in a way secreted failures, some of us still need more information.
It’s a good sign when all a performer has to do is stand on stage to elicit a hearty laugh from her audience. And although it seemed that much of Shortis and Simpson’s fan club were sharing the auditorium with me, their laughter, tears and raucous applause were well-deserved.
“Whenever people hear that I started singing at age thirty-five, there is always the same astonishment. What I find astonishing is how many people have been stopped from doing something that I truly believe is a natural expression of creativity. It’s mostly a family member or a teacher that has intervened at a critical stage, made a judgement on a voice, and effectively silenced the flow, often for ever.”
It took a while, I think, for both the cast and the audience to warm up to The Alchemist on Monday night. Maybe it was the day, or maybe it was not quite what the audience was expecting from Bell Shakespeare, or maybe it was simply the language.
There are a lot of people who find Shakespeare’s language difficult to understand. I have always found that the more I am working with the language, the easier it is to understand. It took some warming up, but I found Ben Jonson’s dialogue less dense, and more accessible for my 20th century ears, than I usually find with Shakespeare. Maybe it has something to do with the nature of the humour, which is more pithy than Shakespeare’s, and perhaps, as such, more akin to an Australian’s sense of humour. The interpretation of Lovewit, performed by Russell Keifel, certainly played this up, with his use of a laugh and accent reminiscent of Bob Hawke.
Whatever it was, Bell Shakespeare’s production of The Alchemistmet my expectations. It was thoughtful, intelligent, imaginative, unencumbered by preconceptions, and thoroughly entertaining.