On Sunday night, theatre people ( and hopefully others) up and down the country tuned in to BBC Four to watch Battersea Arts Centre and Arts Council England take over the former BBC Television Centre, now a building site for luxury flats. Over two hours, four theatre companies streamed their work for live audiences in the comfort of their homes, to push the boundaries of theatre’s adaptability to the popular small screen and to challenge typical TV programming. I watched in bed and with Twitter open so I could keep half an eye on #livefromTVC; it was a gloriously anarchic experiment that I hope ushers in a new era for telly and theatre even though not every element worked as well as it could have – but that’s the point of experimentation.
The sandman doesn’t throw sand in your eyes to help you sleep, oh no. That’s just what parents want children to believe so they aren’t scared of the real sandman. The real sandman is horrible. If you’re still awake, he steals your eyes and puts them into his little bag and takes them up to his little, bald bird-children who live on the moon. Then they eat them.
Most Shakespeare I see is performed with the actors’ genders matching that of the characters they play. Sometimes I see token cross-gender or gender-blind casting within an own-gender cast, sometimes all-male productions and less often, all-female productions (I wrote about the scarcity of all-female Shakespeare companies in the UK for The Shakespeare Standard last month). […]
Whilst visiting a Caribbean island about 100 years ago, Brutus Jones, an African American train driver, some how ends up emperor of the island’s native tribe. His reign is brutal, so Jones knows it will eventually end. Eugene O’Neill’s 1920 The Emperor Jones begins with Jones’ initially relaxed attempt at escape from the uprising citizens, and inevitable guilty descent into the madness of a Shakespearian villain. The script is entirely spoken by Jones, barring the first and last scenes, with his madness peppered with ghosts that won’t let him rest in the darkness of the island’s woods.