Friday, April 22, 2011

SOMEONE LIKE YOU



SOMEONE LIKE YOU

As I back out the car over yellow stones, left shoulder turning to watch for the gate, I wonder when you stopped being what I remember. No music, no crosswords, no political debate; only eyes staring at something through a frosted gaze. Eyes that grew angry once, when you caught me smoking; eyes that admired the beauty once of a station platform; eyes that once smiled with tales of army days; once ... eyes that painted a woman’s breasts. How I love someone like you!





Check out the link below. Adele 22 years old. What a voice! What a performer!






Ciao for now!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SPAM ... ALOT




Just back from a long weekend with my darling Dad in the UK. There aren't too many things that the Brits do better than the Irish, not even the cricket these days, but I just can't resist their cod, chips and mushy peas, home-made dairy ice-cream and delicious gut-lining steak and ale pie, which brings me nicely to SPAM. A tin of Spam lucheon meat was something of a luxury when we were growing up, but a veritable must for the blackened frying pan, alongside a battered pot of boiling new potatoes on the gas, during our annual camping holiday. That brings me to the other kind of inedible, intangible brand of SPAM!





Last Wednesday, the Gmail hierarchy advised me to change my password, as there had been some unusual activity on my account; someone from China apparently!?!? So, as a woman who frequently does as she's told ... I complied. However, when I tried to get into my blog some two hours later, I was horrified to discover that my blog had DISAPPEARED. I was absolutely HORRIFIED! All my blogs were gone! My poetry, my short stories, my political rants had vanished from the face of the earth. I felt utterly devastated, but yet foolish and somewhat shallow at the same time, that I should feel such a sense of loss. After all it was only a blog and no-one had died, but it was as if part of me had never really existed; that I had only dreamt those thoughts; those words. I spent five hours until the early hours of Thursday trying to sort it and for someone who is allergic to smallprint, I was nearly cracking up. I got onto a helpline website called NiteCruzer that seemed to be giving all sorts of invaluable help and advice to hundreds, if not thousands of fellow bloggers. There was 'A LOT ABOUT SPAM' and other mind-blowing jargon. I really don't understand the whole SPAM concept, only that some emails (quite often of a viagara-related orientation!) go into a file called SPAM.




Bevy of Beautiful Maidens - Spamalot the Musical

Suddenly they're talking about pornographic and unsuitable content, and I'm racking my brains as to what I might have written that could have rocked the establishment, apart from calling the Priests in Jesus Christ Superstar ...Bastards ... but did I? This felt like seeing the guards in the distance ahead, and running through the checklist of 'Is my insurance and tax up to date; shit my NCT is out of date; my back tyre is a wee bit threadbare!' I hardly slept that night and I was going to the UK the following evening, knowing full well that I hadn't any more time to spend on this. When I finished teaching in the Gaelscoil in Clonmel the following lunch-time, I dashed into an internet cafe to check-in online, because I was out of ink at home. Opening my emails, I spotted something from a follower of NiteCruzer, who said all was not lost, that my blog was there!





Not sure what to think and suspecting some kind of well-meant mistake, I typed in the URL address of my blog as I had done the previous night, and then, holding my breath, clicked onto the domain. Lo and behold, there it was! I was overjoyed and left for the UK later that evening, somehow settled and restored. I'm not at all certain how the situation rectified itself; whether my pleas on various sites, including NiteCruzer had been instrumental or whether it was down to the simple act of reverting back to my old password. I thought about my car again. I thought about how I just get into it every day and hope that it gets me from A to B; knowing absolutely nothing about its mechanics. I felt somewhat irresponsible ... a bit of a joke really!

And finally from SPAM to SPAMALOT the Monty Python musical spoof about King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Haven't seen it yet, but hope to later this year. Only recently saw their movie 'The Life of Brian' and found myself aching with laughter. Grew into the whole 'Cleese humour' relatively late in life. SPAMALOT would appear to be a piss-take off my very, very favourite musical, Camelot, which I sincerely hope to direct and produce one day in the not too distant future!



Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave) and Lancelot (Franco Nero)

One of Limerick's most famous sons starred as King Arthur in the movie version and no-one sings 'How to Handle A Woman' quite like Richard Harris. Please check it out on the link below. What a performer! In fact, if you haven't watched the movie yet, or you are a fan of Tennyson's Idylls of King Arthur, then please DO watch it, it's quite stunning with powerhouse performances from Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero!



King Arthur (Richard Harris)


http://youtu.be/z7ZUibOUX28


Keeping my fingers crossed! Not unlike Richard Harris, I've made a pact with myself to learn how to handle my computer and my car a little better!



Ciao for now!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - MAN'S IMPERFECTION




My first blog in over three weeks! My production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar with St. Mary's Choral Society in Clonmel has only three of a nine nights left to run. Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera and therefore the story is told entirely through music and song. From a technical point of view, this can prove quite difficult for those who are not extremely familiar with the music of the piece, and therefore demands that I, as the director, am holed up every evening in the lighting box with both lighting and sound operators to give cues for changes that occur sometimes on a single note or chord of music. Whilst rehearsing for this production, I suggested that the cast should read the words of the songs and choruses out loud as if they were rehearsing the text from a play, because there is often a tendency to concentrate on 'singing' rather than 'performing'.

The White Memorial theatre is a small, cosy venue which seats approximately 220 people. The stage is relatively small, which raises immediate difficulties for a set designer and director, particularly when dealing with a cast of almost 70. I have always maintained and will continue to do so as long as I draw breath, that the chorus of ANY Musical production, 'make or break' a show. I have attended productions, where it is patently obvious, that the director has concentrated purely on the front line performers and stuck the chorus on here and there almost as an afterthought. In such cases, the director has probably just asked the ladies and gentlemen of the chorus to enter Downstage Stage Left or Right without explaining what their role is within the plot.... 'Just stand there now lads and give us a rousing Give Me Some Men, Who Are Stouthearted Men' for example! If one thinks back to Greek Theatre, where it all began, the CHORUS were the barometer and conscience of social behaviour. In other words, they played a hugely IMPORTANT, if not the most INTEGRAL part of the whole piece.





Whether you believe in God or even Jesus, Jesus Christ Superstar is an adaptation of one of the greatest stories ever told. What is truly fascinating about the whole story is MAN'S ability to CHANGE his/her affiliations so rapidly and so violently; moving from a festive flock of followers into a menacing, murdering mob! If a chorus is not made aware of how important it is to get a handle on this, an audience is left with a concert performance, not a riveting spectacle of human frailty. Of course, a hanging or crucifixion is going to be unpleasant, but it is the reaction of the chorus ... MAN: the sheer adoration of Jesus in ACT I; their squeezing of Pontius Pilate into the excruciating predicament of dreadul decision-making, that culminates in Jesus's crucifixion at the end of ACT II, that makes the piece so harrowing!

I can empathize with all the characters (even Herod, who is insane!), apart from the Priests, who are only interested in keeping the populus down and their coffers full. One might be forgiven for thinking that little has changed in 2000 years. The AIMS critic attended the show last Tuesday night, and her post show comments were most encouraging. Her plaudits re. the reactions; the 'turning' of the Chorus excited me most. To see the their faces following her remarks after all their months of hard work and trust, was an absolute joy!



The Musical Director, Laura Cotter and myself were extremely fortunate to be able to cast this show from within the rank and file of St. Mary's Choral Society, with no requirement, for example, to seek a Jesus or a Judas, which are both extremely demanding roles, both vocally and dramatically, from 'outside'. We have a front line and chorus that any musical society in the country would give their hind teeth for. The set designed and built by Judas (Diarmuid Vaughan) is a spectacular tour de force, allowing for glorious pictures, which are lit beautifully by Gerry Taylor's lighting design. Three more nights to go. The show is booked out .... ne'er a ticket to be had. That's success ... isn't it!?! The audience are the REAL critics surely.

At a time, where there is so much unrest and unease across the world, Jesus Christ Superstar reminds us that even Jesus wasn't perfect! Man by his very nature is imperfect! Complicated aren't we!

Have eaten, drank and slept JC Superstar for the last three months. Actually returned to research for my first novel during the week. Very excited!!!






Ciao for now!