Tag Archives: journalism

Published: Revolting Women @ Bad Reputation

I have promised myself I will NOT BLOG until this chapter plan is finished, but I did just want to share my  – belated – glee at being published with the fabulous feminist website Bad Reputation. I was unable to make their anniversary party in Camden on Oct 7 (having, on Oct 6, hosted a certain amount of wassail myself) but am delighted to call myself a contributor, even on the strength of one article.

I wrote on French LGBT activist Genevieve Pastre for their Revolting Women series (available under this tag).

To read the article, click here, but in any case, I hope you enjoy this picture of the first big French gay rights protest, which might usefully be subtitled “dear god, French gays are so much cooler/more stylish and generally better than the rest of us”. There’s an intensity of leather and cheekbone to which one can only aspire.

Before I head back to Cymbeline and my dead Shakespearean girlfriends, however,  here are three BadRep posts for your consideration:

Happy FRIDAY.

Call To Register: Oxford English Graduate Conference “The Famed and The Forgotten”

Registration is now open for The Famed and The Forgotten, taking place on 10th June in Oxford University’s English Faculty.

45 student speakers from Oxford and around the UK will be delivering papers on the concepts of ‘famed’ and ‘forgotten’, interrogated in the broadest possible terms across genres and periods encompassing Old English to the literature of the present day.

A panel discussion on “The Future of Reading” featuring representatives from Oxford University Press, SHM Productions consultancy and the Oxford English Faculty will take place, and we will hear a keynote address from Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively.

The £15 attendance fee covers lunch, snacks and all conference materials. Please register via our website – http://graduate-conference.english.ox.ac.uk/ – or with an email to claire [dot] waters [at] ell [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk.

Then, confirm your place by sending a cheque or postal order for £15 made out to the University of Oxford to Claire Waters, St Catherine’s College, Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UJ.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

[REVIEW] CUPPERS 2010

Last week, I was lucky enough to be a judge for OUDS Cuppers 2010, the first-years’ college drama festival. This involved gazing into the tiny, uplifted faces of fresh thespy youth and then brutally marking them out of 10 in a variety of categories including acting, design and marketing. As in 2007 (the last time I judged), the process was accompanied by a lot of moaning, whinging, averted eyes and tears, chiefly from the panel. Onstage, the Freshers were relatively restrained, stopping at fellatio and the odd anal rape. As in 2007, I actually really enjoyed the process – especially running the feedback sessions for competing teams –  and hope that OTR sends me back again next year.

I haven’t seen the final awards list, but my Oxford names-to-watch would be Matthew Brooks and Frankie Goodwin as directors; and Rhiannon Kelly, Charlotte Lennon, Emily Norris and Claire Taylor as performers (hey, guys? If you’re reading, be awesome, it’ll make me seem clairvoyant).

Anyway, for posterity’s sake, my reviews:

Wednesday 17th November

2.30 p.m. The Wizard of Argoz, St. Peters College

“Warmly appreciated by a large College audience, which, after all, is one purpose of Cuppers” Sophie Duncan ★★

3:00 p.m. Phaedra’s Love, Wadham College

If Michael Brooks develops this version of Phaedra’s Love into a more nuanced but no less intense production, he’ll be the director to watch.” Sophie Duncan ★★★

3:30 p.m. Comic Potential, Jesus College

“I rather lost my heart to this engaging cast” Sophie Duncan ★★★★

4:30 p.m. The Choice, Corpus Christi

“His unexpected intensity made Choice, for a moment, a completely different play.” Sophie Duncan ★★★

5:05 p.m., Love of the Nightingale, Somerville College

“Claire Taylor as Procne gave the performance of the day.” Sophie Duncan ★★★★

ARTICLE: Nushu @ Dimsum

NUSHU: A secret code of the sisterhood

I’m really excited to be writing for Dimsum, the British Chinese community website. The idea for this article came about during last-but-one weekend’s visit to London, and I’m impressed by how quick the turnaround’s been. I’d love to work for these guys again in the near future – I’m enjoying articles by their columnist, Suzie Wong, and this thought-provoking piece on theatrical yellowface by Anna Chen (especially as it eviscerates a playwright I’ve previously enjoyed).

Click below to read the rest of my article. Turning pure research into features writing was fun & an important learning curve. Now, off to order that MLA handbook – it’s time to start reformatting some more/other work for journal submission…

The story of Nüshu is uniquely fascinating in the history of the Chinese language: yet, for many, the word still means nothing. Now, as a once-secret script becomes a tourism moneyspinner, it’s time for everyone to learn about Nüshu – the two thousand characters that make up the world’s only single-sex writing system.  This secret code has survived for seventeen hundred years, inspiring songs, poetry and journals of the most personal kind. And it was created by women denied the chance to read or write. (read more)…

REVIEW: Much Ado About Nothing, RABID PRODUCTIONS, O’REILLY THEATRE, 12-16 May 2009

(c) Adrian Krajewski

(c) Adrian Krajewski

[review originally published here]
Inspired by avant-garde group The Factory, the ‘rules’ of the Bright-Dukes-Maltby Much Ado are myriad, and their theatrical game enjoyable. There’s promenade, props supplied by the audience, and ‘tasks’ imposed by a bowler-hatted Sam Bright. Conceived and led by Lindsay Dukes as Beatrice, the O’Reilly’s latest experiment deserves much praise.

The cast is strong. The comedians particularly shine, with Joe Eyre’s Borachio, John-Mark Philo’s Dogberry, and Joe McAloon’s Verges thriving on the chaos throughout. I found myself laughing aloud: a rare treat at press previews. Of the lovers, Dukes’s Beatrice has great energy and comic skill; unfortunately, she rather gallops through Beatrice’s psychology. Both the revelation of her reciprocated love for Benedick and her rage against Claudio are taken much too fast. We must remember that speed isn’t passion. However, the originality and talent of Dukes’s performance emerge whenever she slows down.

Conversely, James Corrigan’s Benedick begins weakly but improves; their love scene is the play’s subtlest, mature and melancholic. Isabel Drury is the production’s greatest surprise, creating in Hero an honesty and emotional intensity that indicate Drury’s right to larger and more rewarding roles.

The company could benefit from a firmer hand with the storytelling. Enraptured by the creative process, there are moments when the verse is garbled, the play’s essence reduced to a convenient coathanger for the antics of an improv troupe. Intensive vocal work would help, as would lighter shoes so that one actor’s lines aren’t drowned by the feet of fourteen others.

This ambitious production marries ideas from the best in professional theatre practice with the freshness and idealism on which student theatre thrives. Liberated from the commercial demands of professional theatre, we students can afford experimentation even in a recession. Above all, our theatre allows us to create spaces in which to do what students do best: imagine, endeavour, and learn.

The highlights of my Much Ado were Dukes’s hiding in a hatstand, Philo’s singing from a shopping trolley, and the incredible acrobatics of Eyre. Yours will be different. With all its variations, this Much Ado will be a first rate show, every night of the week.

Four Stars.

This review (minus hyperlinks) appeared in the Stage section of the Cherwell newspaper on 5 May 2009. Read it on the Cherwell website here.

Complicit Press Night becomes a ‘Guest Night’

starring Richard Dreyfuss and David Suchet

COMPLICIT: starring Richard Dreyfuss and David Suchet

The first night of Kevin Spacey’s Complicit has apparently been postponed by nine days.

Well, that’s not completely true: performances will be going ahead completely as scheduled, but Monday’s show – the one I’m seeing – will now be a ‘Guest Night’ instead of a Press Night (…can I still write it up for the OR?). The BBC article, above, suggests it’s problems with Richard Dreyfuss not knowing his lines/struggling to recall them. The Old Vic website shows no official word about the change, except for the word ‘Revised’ that now heads Complicit‘s performance schedule, available here (pdf). Sensibly, the theatre’s silence extends to the rumours about Dreyfuss – which I hope aren’t true; I feel terribly sorry for the whole company. Obviously, though, there are problems and they know what problems they have won’t be fixed by Monday, or that’d be Press Night – sounds as though we could be in for an interesting evening.