Monday, 23 April 2012

THE STAGE | REVIEW | CLYTEMNESTRA @ SHERMAN CYMRU


Clytemnestra

Published Monday 23 April 2012 at 11:00 by Susie Wild
A former National Poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis has also made a name for herself as a librettist and writer of factual prose. Clytemnestra is her first theatre play. As with her recent novel The Meat Tree, a retelling of the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion, Lewis has once again re-imagined an old text in the near future; reflecting her interest in the contemporary parallels of myths and legends.
Nia Gwynne and Jaye Griffiths in Clytemnestra at the Sherman Cymru, Cardiff
Nia Gwynne and Jaye Griffiths in Clytemnestra at the Sherman Cymru, CardiffPhoto: Toby Farrow
For Clytemnestra, her makeover of Aeschylus’s fifth century BCE Greek trilogy The Oresteia, Lewis has set the story at a time when oil has run out and the world fights for food. Agamemnon is fighting a food war, and sacrifices his daughter to save his people. In his absence, Clytemnestra unravels with the grief and fury of a mother betrayed. The only character not to have her death avenged in the classic Greek version, here Lewis gives the grieving yet difficult protagonist her day in court.
Taking on such a well known Greek trilogy is a brave move for a first foray into a new medium, and one that took Lewis three and a half years to finish. In 1998 Ted Hughes wrote a new translation of the trilogy for Faber and Faber to much critical acclaim. Lewis is not a scholar, hence her decision to re-imagine rather than translate. However, in attempting to write her version simplistically enough for her young grandchildren to be able to understand it she has distilled too much of the story’s core essence for it to pack the punch it should, and neither the cast nor set shine brightly enough to overcome this.

Production information

Sherman Cymru, Cardiff, April 20-May 5
Author:
Gwyneth Lewis
Director:
Amy Hodge
Producer:
Sherman Cymru
Cast includes:
Jaye Griffiths, Nia Gwynne, Kezrena James, Nick Moss, Jonah Russell, Matthew Bulgo
Running time:
1hr 30mins
Production information can change over the run of the show.

Pecha Kucha Cardiff | 24 April

Tomorrow I'll be putting on my Parthian work hat and doing  a mini presentation on women writers in Wales at Pecha Kucha in Chapter.

More info about Pecha Kucha Cardiff:


PechaKucha Night Cardiff is a free event which is part of a worldwide phenomena now showing in 400 cities worldwide, with over 1000 events each year.


Drawing it’s name from the Japanese term for the sound of ‘chit chat’, PechaKucha invites selected speakers to share their knowledge through 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds. It's a format that makes presentations concise and keeps things moving at a rapid pace, creating tempo, story, tension, show and tell.


PechaKucha Night Cardiff is launched and hosted by Louisa Cameron and is supported by Chapter; Cardiff School of Art & Design, UWIC; Design Wales; Orangutan Studio; Inkling Creative and Culture Colony – Y Wladfa Newydd.


PechaKucha Night is trademarked, devised and shared by Klein Dytham architecture.


Free entry: please reserve free tickets at Chapter or from www.inklingcreative.co.uk

Cardiff Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/227147517301585/

www.pecha-kucha.org

@pkn_cardiff

Friday, 20 April 2012

Sabotage Reviews: 'Across The Water' and 'Swamp Area' by Alistair Noon



‘Across The Water’ and ‘Swamp Area’ by Alistair Noon

In Pamphlets on April 16, 2012 at 10:28 am
- reviewed by Susie Wild -
Noon invites us to experience life seen as ‘A matinee at the Theatre of Water’ in these two pamphlets, plunging hidden depths and murky shallows. His chosen forms both follow rules and break rank. A pleasing, readable rhythm pulses through these slim volumes, ebbs and flows like the tide.
In Across The Water we glimpse fragments that have captured Noon’s attention. His poems blend fleeting flitting thoughts with snapshot word sketches to give us a sense of those moments. The 20-part title sequence is a good example of this brevity of style and expression, using little to say much. His sharp pen portraits capture the city and her people with mica glimmers of tongue in cheek humour. Sun shines, saplings grow and bubbles blow as failings are confessed, skies sag, rubbish is bagged and the dark is disturbed:
’15
A half-built
tower,
windowless
in the rain, as if
towelless
in a bathroom,
I walk in on it.’
Noon’s poems chart the liminal and the littoral, dot-to-dot points along horizon, coastline and tideline, as ‘Revocable gusts / design the dunes: we write / our footnotes on their sides’. Across the Water was originally published as joint winner of the Mimesis Digital Chapbook Initiative in 2008 and an earlier version of Swamp Area appeared online through Intercapillary Editions in 2009, however both pamphlets have been revised and expanded for 2012 publication with Longbarrow Press.
From saltwater surf and sailors we move to the marshy, watery terrain of Noon’s second and more promising pamphlet collection Swamp Area, an astute examination of the sinking motions of modern life whether at a Media Studies conference or by ‘the vanished cliffs of the Berlin Wall.’ In ‘Filling the Triangle’ suits stagnate in the daily commute, a people freight chain who live by the tracks:
‘Three lines disperse us
on zigzag seats;
our overalls and suits
make a daily diaspora.
The terminally bored
have grooved the glass.’
The turning of pages moves us from the bare skin, Cold War air and graffitied thoughts of track and station to the squatters’ breath of the street. Sequences depict the vascular networks that guide vehicles and vendors across the urban terrain. A land scattered with expired permits and echoes through history. 10 in this series describes two tenements: ‘On one, disrepair has skimmed first letters / off reamutter and ilk.’ The other offers a peachy, glowing future. It’s sign is: ‘the floating seaweed that predicts the shore: / Events,ConsultancyDesign.’ Life moves with the times, against the tide.
In Swamp Area the land that shifts and crumbles, shape-shifting and pooling around the jetsam and flotsam scars of half-remembered times where ‘New towers berlinned on the banks,/ and new banks berlinned in the towers.’ and:
‘We hurtle across the surface
on the lines of its changing face,
through the napped-out terrain.
We are the talking trains.’
Where Across The Water allows us to tuck ourselves into the gaps between Noon’s thoughts, providing us with people watching fodder from afar – across shore, or horizon –Swamp Area allows us to draw closer, to dig deeper and to snoop through holes in the fence, or a twitch of the net curtain. Like city life it strips its subjects of personal space, and gives us a head-full of eavesdroppings to mull over.



Read the review over on the Sabotage site: http://sabotagereviews.com/2012/04/16/across-the-water-and-swamp-area-by-alistair-noon/

Gigs and Giggles


You can catch me hosting The Cardiff Literary Salon w/ Gwyneth Lewis at Sherman Cymru on 21 May 2012. Join the group for Cardiff Literary Salon for all event updates.

I also have some poetry and flash fiction gigs coming up:

1. Mini Presentation on Women Writers in Wales @ Pecha Kucha, 24 April 2012, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff 6.30 - 8pm

2. I am writing a new piece based on a work of art to read at National Flash Fiction Day, 16 May 2012 at WMC.

3. I am supporting the fab poet Rhian Edwards on her Clueless Dogs book launch tour on these dates:


  • The Crunch/ Skye, Sunday 6 May, Mozart's, Swansea 7pm
  • Launch Proper, Sunday 20 May, Gwdihw, Cardiff 6.30pm - I shall be hosting this too.
  • I shall also read at her gigs at Poets in the Bookshop, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea (31 May) and First Thursday, Chapter (3 May).
Be magic to see your beautiful faces at one or all of them x


Monday, 9 April 2012

Passion in Port Talbot



'you appeared so many times in the passion on the bbc you should have been on the credits girl.. — with Michael Sheen' - Neale Howells


Yes it really is one year since The Passion. Watch it/me on iPlayer again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011wjxs/Passion_in_Port_Talbot_It_Has_Begun/


The Gospel of Us premièred in Port Talbot this weekend: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-17596122


The film will also be shown at the cinema each evening from Monday to Thursday before going on UK-wide release from 13 April.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

SABOTAGE REVIEWS | WASTED | KATE TEMPEST



WASTED by Kate Tempest

In Performance Poetry on April 5, 2012 at 11:35 am
- reviewed by Susie Wild -
@Sherman Cymru, Cardiff - 24 March 2012
Tempest: Spoken Word to Stage
Kate Tempest has already made a name for herself on the spoken word scene as a poet, rapper and hip hop artist, but with a surname like hers it seems only right that she should cross over to writing for the stage. It is a successful move. Her debut play takes the best elements of these lyrical influences to tell an engaging, emotive story of three friends knee-deep in weekends and growing too old for the drug-fuelled South London party scene.
Friends raving or stuck in a rut?
The friends have known each other since their teens, and now in their mid-twenties, are finding new concerns, aware that in another decade they don’t want to still be gurning at parties, like the people they used to laugh at. On the ten year anniversary of their friend Tony’s death  they each visit his commemorative tree – which at least changes four times a year with the seasons – and make confessions of stagnation. Charlotte (Lizzy Watts) walks out of her job as a teacher and books a flight, wanting to move on, to make a difference – ‘I’m making a decision. I’m changing things. This is it.’ Danny (Ashley George) has a last chance to get what he wants and struggles to man up to the occasion whilst Ted (Cary Cranson) has a job and steady girlfriend but is resigning himself to growing up and going nowhere.
A slice of shared ‘wasted’ experience
Wasted is a wittily knowing and dynamic production, managing to relate the rave experience to those still enjoying it and those who have grown past it in equal measure – nostalgic winks and weary wising up cocktail-mixed in with the loved up togetherness of the shared experience. They dance in warehouses in Peckham where art students are ‘experiencing ketamine’ and all the people there have ‘adjectives as names’ and they spend ‘life retelling life and it’s getting boring.’ and ‘dropping pills just so that we can smile at each other without looking away.’ Acting drunk on stage is hard enough to do and get right, but here all three actors act perfectly wasted as they hug speakers and each other and make plasticine faces.
The show talks of trying to jolt yourself out of that rut where you do the same things as you have always done, but now going to parties you get fucked just to have something to say to each other, and that something is often nostalgia for those first parties, those times when it was all exciting and fun and new. Originally commissioned for Latitude 2011, it speaks to a festival going audience and mixes between pounding music and those early morning ‘what does it all mean, what are we doing?’ lucid conversations and the ‘I’m-getting-too-old-for-this-shit!’ comedown realisations and resolutions to do something else, something more, or perhaps just pop another pill, have another dab – ‘We forgot our epiphany the minute that we thought it.’
Fresh and innovative theatre
Paines Plough have a reputation for putting on innovative new works and spotting the direction that theatre is moving in ahead of the pack. Here, director James Grieve taps into the rising spoken word scene in the UK and make something fresh. Wasted places Tempest’s lucid words into the mouths of a strong cast, especially the emphatically charming Cary Cranson, and allows them to breathe. The multi-media piece effectively mixes poetry, monologue, music and drama yet falls down with the film background, which adds nothing to the other all production, except occasional unwanted distraction. However this, and the delayed start due to technical hitches – this was the first night of the tour where they were without their full team – were my only grievances with an otherwise exhilarating show. In her mid-twenties also, Tempest writes what she knows here and in doing so makes Wasted a heartfelt call to arms to a lost generation, reminding her peers that it isn’t too late to change track, to go for what you want.
Wasted is currently on tour. For dates and to see the video trailer visit:http://www.painesplough.com/current-programme/by-date/wasted



Read the article on Sabotage (and lots of other great reviews / content) here: http://sabotagereviews.com/2012/04/05/wasted-by-kate-tempest/