Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Day out on the South Bank

A cold, windy day out on the South Bank with my best friend.  We were very cultural and went to the National Theatre to see 'The Half' exhibition.  We both really liked the photos, which were taken over the years in the half before a performance goes up.  There was a real nostalgia to the exhibition and the actors were incredibly well captured.  

Then it was off to the Tate Modern.  I must admit I am not the most knowledgeable person about art but I do appreciate it I think.  But some of the things in the Tate Modern I did not understand.  Not even when I read the bios.  I felt so ignorant wandering around without clue.  

All in all it was nice to have a wander down The Thames and take nice photos.  We found a great little place where you can get lunch and have coffee and take great pictures!

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Surreal Line

This is an exhibition on at The Oval House Theatre at the moment and it is brilliant!  Some of the images were funny, others disturbing and some I didn't understand at all.  If I could afford the £250 that some of these photos are selling for I would definitely buy one, but I am a poor, struggling student so I guess I will have to wait until I'm rich.  But it was given me a bit of inspiration to go on the London Underground with my own camera and see what I can capture!

The above photo 'Room for more?' was my favourite!

The Surreal Line


The Surreal Line is a series of images taken from an ongoing project, documenting moments of chance on the London Underground where static billboards and posters coalesce with the world around them. 

I'm interested in how these advertisements, specifically designed for delivering one message, can have that story completely hijacked - often by the mere framing of a window - creating an entirely new context. Commuters, who are somewhat static, withdrawn, and locked in their own private routines, are oblivious to these momentary collisions. I'm fascinated by these chance encounters, and needless to say I gave up reading on the tube after my first trip on the surreal line.

Yusuf Ozkizil

Yard Gal

I operated the lights for Yard Gal on Saturday.  I saw the play at St Mary's in February and am so happy its been taken to The Oval House Theatre.  If you didn't see it you missed out!  Stef O'Driscoll is a inspiration to all us undergraduates, as well as Monsey Whitney and Stefanie Di Rubbo.  Its so nice to see that St Mary's students are capable of such amazing theatre.  The play is a hard hitting story about two girls caught up in the life style of drugs, gangs and violence.  The beginning is funny and you aren't quite sure what you have got yourself into.  By the end you have laughed, cried and can really understand Boo and Marie's friendship.  Stef and Monsey really pull of the friendship needed on stage.  There is a real chemistry there and I think O'Driscoll made a really important decision when she focused on their friendship more than the violence.  Hopefully, the play will retuning to our theatres soon for some more great acting and directing!

Love's Labour's Lost

I was very excited about seeing this play.  Its directed by Peter Hall, who obviously has a good reputation for his Shakespeare.  I saw his Uncle Vanya last year at the same theatre; The Rose in Kinsgton and I loved it.  The set, costume, sound, lighting, acting was consistent with eachother and the play made sense to me.  I had never read it before and was expecting it to be a little boring but I was pleasently suprised.  However, when I went to see Hall's Shakespeare I was not very happy.  The acting was wonderful, the play was coming to the end of its run and so the actors were all comfortable with the text and eachother.  But the set, costume and lights were not great and not consistent with eachother.  The set had large iron gates in the centre which looked lovely but on either side of the stage there were two jacob ladders (thats what Al tells me they are called).  I think the jacob ladders are apart of the The 

Rose's stage but they are horrible to look at.  What really annoyed me was that the actors used the ladders which had clearly not been invented in the time the play was set.  The costumes were nice and seemed to add to the world of the play, but there was no set.  You had to rely on the actors completely to give you a picture of what was going on.  The lights did not help this.  There was a blur of red, browns and greens on the back wall which really did not make sense to me.  The first rule of lighting design is lights are for visibility.  These lights were definitely not for visibility and they did not add atmosphere so they were very unnecessary!  
Apart from the set, costume, lights I did think the actors did a marvelous job.  

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Saving Africa's Witch Children

Channel 4 Dispatches aired a programme today about the belief in Niger Delta which says that some children are witches.  Sudden deaths, poor harvests and other ailments are often blamed on small children, who are then abused, abandoned and even killed by their families and communities.  Once a child is stigmatised it is often very difficult for them to be accepted back into their communities.  The documentary is focused on the situation in Akwa Ibom where the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network has the only rescue centre for abandoned children in the area.  Gary Foxton is an englishman who with his charity Stepping Stones Nigeria helps to fund the rescue centre.  He is a regular visitor to the area even though it is very dangerous westerners to go to.  The programme comes to an end with Gary taking the children from the rescue centre to lobby government.  He wants Akwa Ibom to enforce a law which is enacted elsewhere in Nigeria which makes the abuse of children illegal.  

This documentary has really inspired me.  I hope that once I graduate and have made a bit of money I will be able to travel to Africa to work with charities that help disadvantaged communities like the 'witch children'.  I would love to be able to use drama in these situations to help children just have fun and be able to be educated so that they have a brighter future than previous generations!

If you have 4OD I definitely recommend watching the documentary if you haven't seen it already!

Same Same but Different

During the summer I went traveling through Thailand and Malaysia, I had a really wonderful time and met some amazing people  who I will hopefully keep in contact with.  During my time overseas I felt there was a huge backpacker community and wherever you were you always had the ability to meet people and become friends.  Even though the same questions get asked and usually have the same answers you know you can sit on the beach or in a cafe and meet someone who you have something in common with.  The long journeys on small mini buses with crazy drivers who seem to not have the ability to use a brake are scary but you always find people to share food, stories and games with.  

It is completely different in the Western world.  I traveled up to Newcastle a few weeks ago by coach.  On the whole journey I spoke to one person.  I found it so odd that there wasn't that sense of 'we are all in this together'  (it was a 7 hour coach trip).  

I think what I am saying is that I find it so strange that on the other side of the world you can make amazing short term and long life friends but in the UK you have to have school, work or other friends in common to become friends and gain a sense of community.