All 3 entries tagged Performance

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May 05, 2010

The Little Angel Theatre's Venus and Adonis

Unfortunately there's no video footage available of this, but the RSC hosted a wonderful production of Venus and Adonis some years ago, which I've included some photos of below. It was a puppet production, performed by the Little Angel Theatre, London's premier puppet theatre company.

What was particularly wonderful was the characterisation of the two main characters. Venus was utterly flamboyant, manipulative and sexually aggressive (this puppet show, incidentally, had an age recommendation of 16+). This picture is a great image of Lines 589-94:

"The boar!" quoth she, whereat a sudden pale,
Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose,
Usurps her cheek; she trembles at his tale,
And on his neck her yoking arms she throw.
She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck,
He on his belly falls, she on her back.

Little Angel Theatre

While the cause of her anguish is real (as real as anything is with Venus), she's also using the opportunity to faint to great advantage. Here, the puppet thrust her breasts into Venus' face and grabbed him forcibly as she fell to the ground, pulling him on top of her. The expressionless face of Adonis, of course, was particularly funny at this moment. It's a useful image and passage to pull out, too, to remind us of the physicality of Shakespeare's depiction of the two: the poetry is incredibly visual and continually evokes the sense of physical space between the two.

This picture gives you a more direct view of the two puppets.

Little Angel Theatre

Note what they've captured in Adonis' expression: that slight petulance, which when he looks away from the goddess reads as proud disdain. He's clearly a boy, but the long hair and smooth skin goes some way towards feminising him (as, indeed, was the case with Leander). Considering what I mentioned in the last seminar about ideas of classical beauty and sculpted images, a puppet is perhaps the best vessel for capturing Adonis: frozen in time and moulded in a fashion too perfectly constructed to be human, the puppet Adonis perfectly evokes, for me, that idea of the boy as object of desire, unchanging and unmoved.


January 19, 2010

Songs

I'll be playing some recordings of Renaissance songs in the seminar, but here are a few useful links in case you want to have a listen yourself first:

Campion: "When to her lute Corinna sings" (p.1229) performed by Andreas Seibert and Michael Ernst (original setting)

Campion: "Fain would I wed" (p. 1231) performed by Goldoolins (original setting)

Jonson: "Song to Celia" (p. 1436) performed by Duke Special

Jonson: "Song to Celia" (p. 1436) performed by Johnny Cash (both of these are the famous, anonymous, 18th century setting)

Wyatt: "Blame not my lute" (p. 602) performed by "Blake12000" (original setting, instrumental only)

Happy listening!


January 13, 2010

Canterbury Tales tour dates

Writing about web page http://www.northern-broadsides.co.uk/PAGES/currentproduction.htm

Tour dates for the Northern Broadsides production of Canterbury Tales are now available, all below in case it's coming anywhere near you. Unfortunately there aren't resources to organise a mass Med/Ren trip, but do try to go under your own steam if you can! In particular, the London dates (Rose Theatre) are quite close to the exam period, so it might be a useful revision aid!

New Vic Theatre , Newcastle-under-Lyme 
26th Feb - 20th March
Box office: 01782 717 962
www.newvictheatre.org.uk

Liverpool Playhouse
23 - 27 March
Box office: 0151 709 4776
www.everymanplayhouse.com

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
30 March – 17 April
Box office: 0113 213 7700
www.wyp.org.uk

Stephen
Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
20 – 24 April
Box office: 01723 370541www.sjt.uk.com

The Nuffield, Southampton
27 Apr – 1 May
Box office: 023 8067 1771
www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk

Palace Theatre, Mansfield
4 – 8 May
Box office: 01623 633 133
www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre

Theatre Royal, Windsor
11 – 15 May
Box office: 01753 853 888
www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

The Lowry
18 – 22 May
Box office: 0870 787 5780
www.thelowry.com

The Rose, Kingston
25 – 29 May
Box office 0871 230 1552
www.rosetheatrekingston.org

The Viaduct, Halifax
Dates to be confirmed


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This blog is a resource for students in Peter Kirwan’s seminar groups for Medieval to Renaissance English Literature.

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