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King Lear at Wandlebury



I persuaded Greg and Bryan to accompany me to a walkaround performance of King Lear at Wandlebury Country Park.

After a very showery day we were treated to a beautiful midsummer’s evening. The cast of seven made wonderful use of space and all inhabited their roles with convincing and physical madness and tragedy. They took turns to invite us to accompany them to the next setting.

The programme says:
The play will not be performed in anything like its entirety, nor will each role be played by any particular actor. Instead we’ve imagined a group of people who, perhaps as a result of some social or personal trauma, are attempting a reenactment of a tragedy the details of which they can barely remember. It is full of gaps, jumps, repetitions, amnesias and improvisations.

This was very true. Effective up to a point, but I felt there was too little narrative thread left for the audience to hang onto.

None-the-less there were some spine-tingling set pieces making perfect use of various settings in the park. Two stand out: the three women demanding the barrenness of Cordelia whilst slowly walking backwards through the gloomy ring fort ditch; and the ensemble wandering sightlessly through a glade of young birches as they narrate the blinding of Gloucester.

Narrative aside the cumulative effect was a harrowing sense of loss, madness and grief. An evening well – if strangely – spent.

in situ:

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Curry & Beer

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Leaving do at Selwyn

Lunchtime saw our group Christmas lunch at Selwyn which doubled as my leaving do. I’m feeling quite emotional writing about it now. My colleagues had been most generous and gave me:Goodies

  • a pair of lightweight gore-tex walking boots, insoles, and socks
  • two bottles of German Riesling Auslese (James says it’s not his speciality but seems to have found an excellent wine – I’ll report back!)
  • Hotel Chocolat chocolate-covered madeira-soaked prunes
  • and still a little something left over for my pre-trip shopping!
  • a lovely card full of signatures and well-wishes

Big thanks to everybody, but especially to James for organising the party, Caroline for her very successful subterfuge and gift arrangements, and Graham for conspiring in the subterfuge and for turning up at the party to my complete amazement. A great send-off!Balancing act

On my return to the office, waiting for me were presents from Vicki and the Teaching Office: a good-luck teddy and a chocolate message. Thank you!More goodies

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Cooling by the river

A whole week of evenings by and in the river. What better way to end a hot sweaty day than by swimming in and sunbathing by the river, without a stitch on? I just hope the river swimming wasn’t the cause of my day in bed on Saturday, feeling nauseous and achey.

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A Scanner Darkly

Saturday’s festival film for us was A Scanner Darkly, based on work by Philip K. Dick. Animated on top of live action and featuring a star cast, the film has a great look and suitably paranoid atmosphere, but my attention wandered in the middle and the developments at the climax seemed compressed.

Later we went to Parker’s Piece to catch the end of The Big Day Out, especially the acrobatic theatre piece by exponential, The House of Sleeping Souls. It started too slowly for some of the audience – some of whom seemed to have been drinking all afternoon – but developed into a very exciting combination of video, movement, live and recorded song, and excellent acrobatics.

The fireworks followed as soon as the performance had ended, to finish the evening and the lovely sunny day.

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I forgot about the fireworks last night. Excellent, the best Midsummer Common show for quite a few years. We took mulled wine in a thermos, so starting the night’s boozing. The sponsor is the Grand Arcade, and hence my pension!

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A rather tiring day was lifted by this gorgeous sunset on the way home. Sorry about the low quality phone-cam pics.

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