Last night I dreamt about my blog. As far as I can recall it was an all-night dream and proves my anxieties about i) managing this new piece of media and ii) knowing what should be going into it. It terms of research most of my time has been spent attempting to find out how to do Twitter and a blog. I followed a band on Twitter, WolfAlice, (named for Angela Carter‘s story) as the lead singer, Ellie Rowsell, is a past student of mine. She wrote a brilliant, haunting, terrifying song, King of Darkness, for her A level Drama and Theatre Studies practical (a devised piece responding to A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Her reply to me was, “Is that you Ms Fenton?” It was me. This seems to have been re-tweeted and favourited (?) all over the place. Whoops. Apparently Wolf Alice has an album out tomorrow. Perhaps you caught them at Glastonbury last summer or the one before?
Today I have been thinking about tragedy and wondering why some women playwrights (Marina Carr, Timberlake Wertenbaker and April De Angelis, for example) have recently been re-working Greek tragedies. I saw Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats a few weeks ago in Dublin. That was Medea. Now she has a Hecuba opening at the RSC. Just before I left London I saw De Angelis’s After Electra at the Tricycle. Wertenbaker has written lots, but, of course, she was a classicist at university. I recommend her Our Ajax as a visceral piece of theatre. And her Britannicus; recently at the Wilton Music Hall. One of my favourites is Love of a Nightingale, (Philomela) written in the aftermath of the death of her previous partner John Price. Look at the phosphorescence speech in Scene Thirteen which is, I think, as moving as Maurya’s laments at the end of Riders to the Sea (Synge).
And I have been looking at Riders to the Sea in terms of its status as tragedy. T R Henn, writing in his introduction to the Methuen edition of The Complete Plays, 1984, states “it is the only one-act play that can be described as a tragedy in the fullest sense”. This seems quite a bold statement. Has/had he read all the one-act plays ever written. Hats off to him then.
So next to Synge: A Celebration ed. Colm Toibin (2005) in which he collects responses, in any form, to Synge, from writers such as Sebastian Barry, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. I have read a few and recommend Marina Carr’s one-act play (Ha! Mr T. R. Henn – I bet you haven’t read this one) which is called A Glass of Champagne and which depicts the meeting of the recently deceased Synge and less recently deceased Chekhov in a place of “sulphur and vapours … whirling terrors and night sweats” . (Sounds like my blog dream.) Shakespeare’s in it too with Hamnet. It’s a good piece of literary criticism and funny and frightening too.
It would be great to be able to find and then see what my fellow students are reading and blogging about. I think I have managed to find a few sites by following links on Emilio’s page. Thanks Emilio! I also saw the “white hair” blog (sorry forgotten the title) which made me laugh. Only 58! You should try being me…