Adventures in the Park

Decided that today would be a good opportunity to take in another of this city's amazing parks. Since S has been itching to play with other kids, we decided upon Kensington, the home of the Diana Memorial Playground. This might well be the coolest playground I have ever seen; designed after Peter Pan's Neverland, the playground includes a giant wooden pirate ship (including ropes and masts!), a tipi village, a tree fort, and tropical looking trees and plants. Part of me wished it wasn't so busy so I could play too (without trampling a toddler here or there, that is).

Continued to walk around the park, took in the grounds of Kensington palace, and the flower walk. Also walked for a bit within the borough, and found a great sandwich shop. There isn't nearly enough food talk in this blog, so that was your tidbit.

All the while the massive amounts of reading continues. Some non-plays I have read on the course so far include Aristotle's poetics, Peter Brook's The Empty Stage, and Cecily Berry's The Actor and the Text.

Despite having read the Poetics countless times before, what really struck me this time was the hard emphasis on imitation. Perhaps it is because of distance from my last read, but this really struck a chord this time. As well, it made me really think of the basic tenets of Brecht and of the Absurdists, and even of physical theatre; representation is what we are doing, not living on stage. The play, actor and director cannot get caught up in what is real, for if they do they miss the opportunity to represent that which is universally true.

Brook's book was a great read, i found myself plowing right through it, and simultaneously wondering why I hadn't read it before. His harsh criticism of what he calls the Deadly Theatre is a reminder that so often it misses the mark, "as a whole, the theatre not only fails to elevate or instruct, it hardly even entertains" (pg 12). It really rang true with my feelings about so much theatre work that is created (and attended!) just for the sake of it, never really evaluating its goals or accomplishment to those goals. Brook's focus on the Berliner Ensemble's work in the middle part of the last century intrigues me; I am going to do some digging to look at reviews and accounts of performances from this time, and also from earlier Brook productions.

Berry's The Actor and the Text was a brilliant reminder of why I find voice work so important for actors. I came across some new exercises too, which I can't wait to try.

More reading....Othello for our Theorizing class, Hamlet for our Scene Study class....and some Ionesco for fun.