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Celebrity Worship Syndrome: the New Religion for Many People

Longing to be famous for being famous, to bask in media spotlights, to share celebrity lives: these are the dreams of sufferers of this condition . Celebrity Worship Syndrome was coined in 2003 to describe an obsessive-addictive disorder displayed by individuals who follow the day-to-day life of people in the public eye. Even people from modest, unlikely backgrounds can suddenly become media celebrities. In the past, British people had a fascination for details about the Royal Family, as there was limited information available. By the time the life and death of Diana, Princess of Wales (from marrying Prince Charles in 1981 to her death in 1997), the media coverage led to a national obsession. Even after her death, Princess Diana remains in the … Read entire article »

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What’s So Funny About Political Correctness?

Nowadays virtually everything spoken, said or thought is run through the PC grinder, but has it gone too far? Do people still need some private views? While nobody disputes the need to avoid making racially or gender offensive comments to or about others, individually or collectively, there is a feeling voiced by self-styled British philosopher and on-line publisher Philip Atkinson, and on the US Newsmax, by Agustin Blazquez with Jamus Sutton, that political correctness has become ‘the scourge of our times’. They credit the origins of PC to the Frankfurt School, founded in 1923, a group of thinkers pondering why communism wasn’t spreading fast in Russia. Those scholars concluded that western civilisation was in the way, and the solution was to undermine individual … Read entire article »

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My Mother Said I Never Should

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 11 June 2011. A play about mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, spanning four generations is an ambitious task to make believable. This one is totally absorbing and a masterpiece of writing. The narrative moves effortlessly from the early 20th century when the woman who is to become the grandmother (generation one) is born, to the late, when the baby (generation four) arrives. The tale hangs on the decision of the mother (generation three), single, to give up the baby to be raised by her mother (generation two) to make a career for herself, with the repercussions following as the years take their toll. High energy, superb timing and pace are sustained by the four women throughout. In age order down, Jenny Hobson, Ginny … Read entire article »

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Political Performance Art Can Be a Right Song and Dance

Performing Arts (dance, drama, music) and politics make natural travellers on the same road. Whether they change minds, win hearts, may be another matter. Political arts are about raising awareness of issues, ideas and responses to society. Picasso’s 1937 painting Guernica showing the tragedy of bombing civilians during the Spanish Civil War has become an iconic anti-war artpiece. Visual and performance art is often in the form of protest against a government, a system, an act of war, on stage, in song or on film. People hear Edwin Starr’s Motown song, ‘War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing…. only friend is the undertaker’, and know it’s a political, antiwar pop song. Other classics include Universal Soldier, by Buffy Sainte-Marie (1964), Eve of Destruction … Read entire article »

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Political Theatre is a Major Performance Artform

If politics is the art of the possible and the theatre is about communication, political theatre is one of the strongest weapons a stage activist can have. Political performance traces back to the ancient Greeks. Stage lampooning those in authority was banned in the Greek republic after The Birds and Lysistrata; since when playwrights have used stages to convey messages, demand political action or change government policy and public opinion. Antigone is political: quoted by Aristotle on the loyalties of a citizen, adapted in 1944 by Anouilh setting it in the French resistance against the Nazis, while Brecht in 1948 made it more radically anti-Hitler. Bertolt Brecht, at the Forefront of Political Theatre Political performance is the expression of strongly-held beliefs, protesting at society or promoting a particular belief system. As politics … Read entire article »

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Movie Remakes Are the Golden Goose of the Entertainment Industry

One idea for a single film is a waste. Updating it can be a box-office winner, especially using the latest top stars. In a few years they can do it again. No slouches at reusing old ideas and films about films, showbusiness in general and Hollywood in particular, has created a genre: remaking old movies for a second outing, often with spectacular success. The Prisoner Made for television, The Prisoner was a 1960s cult series starring and partly written by Patrick McGoohan, at that time Britain’s highest paid TV-actor. The prisoner is perhaps a spy, who after resigning is kidnapped and taken to The Village, a mysterious place (actually Portmeiron, an eccentric Welsh Italianate place), where he wakes to find everyone’s names replaced … Read entire article »

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Physical Theatre: Ritual is Key Ingredient in Performance-Making

Life’s rhythms revolve round rituals: daily tasks, birthdays, weddings and funerals. In creating meaning on stage, performers harness the power of rites. Almost everything people do regularly has a ritualistic feel. Getting dressed every morning, preparing/sharing food, anniversaries, courtships, conducting business and great occasions of state – are rituals, patterns of regular human behaviour. Often, social convention rites/rituals dictate further ritual: for example, shaking hands on greeting, waving goodbye. Devisers of performance must reflect that in their creating. Then they have to experiment with it. In psychiatry an action performed obsessively can be interpreted as evidence of compulsive disorder. It is often revealed in manic dance. A ritualistic dance or going through the regular motions of a life with all its … Read entire article »

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