January 20th, 2012

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A Concert for Winter, Globe Education, Globe

Today (Thursday 19 January 2012 at 1pm), Shakespeare's Globe hosted A Concert for Winter.

Cut and pasted from the Globe Website:

A Concert for Winter is an annual, seasonal celebration of the Southwark community through music and song. Groups from the local community will be joined by local nursery, primary and secondary schools, colleges, and schools for students with SEN to perform as part of a seasonal concert on the Globe stage.

Full details here:

Raks's Review

This is the first time I have been able to attend the Concert for Winter because I am usually working. And I have to say that I absolutely loved it!

It brought together all the different elements of the Southwark Community - nurseries, schools, older people's groups, Southwark Cathedral Choir, Borough Market traders, and the Globe Choir, in one concert, which was a festival of music, song and dance.

I liked the fact that it was a community event, bringing different elements of the community together, in one place at one time, in a shared activity. I liked the fact that they gave the mighty Globe stage over to the community, to ordinary members of the public (children, young people, and adults). I liked the fact that most of the groups were mixed ability. I liked the fact that the Globe was packed to the rafters with local children.

In terms of the children and young people there, I would hope it showed them quite a few things. That they are good enough to be on the Globe stage, and that they can aspire to being a performer there when they grow up. That this was their theatre, where they can come along and have fun and enjoy themselves. That the theatre is for everyone and can be fun. And finally, that they are a part of a thriving and vibrant community, who are made up of all different types of people, and working together can be fun and fulfilling.

I want to give a shout out to a few groups who were brilliant:
- Dulwich Wood Nursery School "The More We Come Together", a traditional South African Welcome Song
- Learn to Uke
- Pilgrims' Way Primary School Choir "Bassez Down", a traditional song
- Borough Market Warblers "Twelve Days of Borough"; this group was brilliant; they were ALL born performers!
- English Martyrs' Catholic Primary School Choir "Singing All Together"
- St Peter's C of E Primary School, Walworth "Samba Performance" This was just excellent and completely raised the roof!
- Globe Choir "Higher and Higher".

Finally, a shout out to the two excellent hosts, Ann Ogbomo and Woody Murray, who were enthusiasm and fun and frolics personified, and made everyone feel very welcome and right at home.

Having been once, I would definitely go again; it was pretty amazing!

And finally,

My feature on the Globe is here:

My feature on the Globe's planned Indoor Jacobean Theatre is here:
The Globe receives no public funding or subsidy of any kind, yet it is THE most amazing theatre, and does innovative and ground-breaking work, both in terms of the productions it puts on, and in terms of its education programme. If you do have money, and are looking to use it for Arts patronage, please consider supporting the development of their Indoor Jacobean Theatre - it will be money well spent!
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Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, out in cinemas across the UK today

Photo credit: http://www.flicksandbits.com/2011/11/11/new-uk-poster-for-ralph-fiennes-coriolanus/17936/

Cut and pasted from the BFI website:

A clever contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's play of political power and intrigue, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes.

An impressive, muscular version of Shakespeare's sometimes overlooked play about power and political pragmatism. The setting - 'a place calling itself Rome' - is a recognisably modern Balkan warzone, and writer John Logan skilfully adapts the Bard's words for more contemporary phrasing. Fiennes takes the role of Coriolanus, the war hero turned politician whose abrasive and autocratic personality does not endear him to the masses. Striking a fine balance between action and political intrigue, Coriolanus is a clever contemporary adaptation, and a most accomplished debut.

Raks's Review

I have been championing this film ever since I saw it as part of the London Film Festival. And I saw it again this Tuesday when the BFI held a special preview screening.

This film is MIND-BLOWING and it is truly exceptional. It comes highly highly highly recommended by me. For this reason, this is the only story I will be running on the blog today. So I am posting this and then stopping my blog!

Embarassingly, for someone who claims to know a bit about Shakespeare, I have only ever seen two versions of Coriolanus, and that includes this one. Both versions have had Ralph Fiennes in the title role! The last time I saw Coriolanus was when Ralph Fiennes played the title role in the Almeida's "Shakespeare in Shoreditch" Season, way back in 2000.

Of the two versions (one I am clearly recollecting from over a decade ago) I much much much prefer this film version. Having it set in contemporary Serbia, really brought the play alive for me and I connected with the play in a way that I had not done the last time. Bringing Shakespeare up to date and placing it in a contemporary setting can really make it very powerful indeed IF it is done correctly, and you stay true to the text's intentions. You know that when Ralph Fiennes is in charge (this is his Directorial debut) Shakespeare is in very safe hands. Ralph Fiennes, for me, is by far and away the leading Shakespearian actor of his generation. No contest! This film is a masterclass in how to set Shakespeare in the contemporary world, to fully convey its power and meaning, without compromising at all on artistic integrity.

Ralph's verse speaking is, as always, exceptional. You can easily follow the meaning of the text, and the verse is so beautiful when he speaks it, he really brings out the poetry in it to the full. The verse speaking across the whole of the cast is outstanding. A surpise for me was James Nesbitt. I have never seen him do Shakespeare before and he really was excellent - off the back of this, I would now love to see him as the lead in a Shakespeare play, either on stage, on film, or on the telly.

I loved some of the Directorial choices in this. The close-ups on people's faces at key points really worked. The use of handheld cameras in some scenes to convey the chaos of war, or crowds getting out of control, really worked. To set some scenes in a television studio to convey the power and influence of the media in today's political world really worked. To have Jon Snow in the film, on Newsnight, and narrating the changing political events, really worked. The war and combat scenes, both the epic grand scale war scenes, and the one-on-one combat scenes, really worked. Some of the violence of the war and the fight scenes were effectively and powerfully portrayed and captured. In fact, everything about this film really worked - I just loved it!

For me, one of the key learning points, was how easy it can be to manipulate a mob. They may start off believing one thing, but all it takes is a few strategically and tactically placed phrases, and you can turn the mob and make them believe the complete opposite. And then when the mob have turned and are baying for blood, even the most respected and rational person cannot make them change their minds. That is how easy it is to turn the mob against someone, so that they go from being an admired and revered leader to a hated and detested dictator. Yes, Coriolanus is arrogant, but he by no means, and in no way whatsoever, deserves to be humiliated and banished in the way that happens in the play.

To summarise, I loved this and took it straight to my heart.

The official UK poster is the one I have posted above. However, I actually prefer the poster and the branding below - which just goes to show that you can't please all of the people all of the time!

Photo credit: http://www.flicksandbits.com/tag/coriolanus/