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Performance Arts Can Be Either High Art or Just Having a Laugh

This art-form is an event by an individual or group, who create something approximating to art, but as a living performance, as pure fun or with a message. Not sculpture, painting, nor pure theatre performance, it’s a mixture, of no fixed time, in an unusual or unexpected place. It might play to a random audience, like shoppers, or people in a park, and the relationship between performers and audience is crucial to make the event. Mime artists on little boxes in summer resorts or festival fringes heavily made-up like robots or characters from movies or sci-fi fantasies, constitute performance art. Falk Richwien from Germany beheaded two rabbits at a gallery in 2006, claiming he wanted people to break from a supermarket culture … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Do Opinion Polls Reflect or Drive Voters’ Intentions?

Are people’s viewpoint snapshots more reliable predictors of election outcome than horoscopes or reading tea leaves? Should they be allowed in elections? In the run-up to elections and in between, the public is bombarded with surveys and polls revealing views of random samples of voters, snapshot opinions of think-tanks, focus groups and ordinary men and women in their guises as social types, income earners, marrieds, homeowners, benefit recipients, taxpayers, consumers. This is a regular marketing tool, but in elections, the real question is: do poll findings drive public opinion or accurately reflect it? If on a given day, say, 79% of single mothers answer the voting intention question by saying it’ll be Party A, does that influence other single mothers to believe … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Ideas, Plans, Themes for Drama Teaching

After many years of drama teaching to British high school students (Key Stages 3-5), I have started to put together some of the ideas, themes, warm-ups, games, productions that I have worked through with students. Some are articles published at Suite 101. Some will be unique articles published here. Eventually, some teenage performance/production ideas will be available to download from here. These are the Suite 101 articles on drama teaching, so far: Using Masks as a Creative Teenage Drama Tool  First published on Suite 101, 24 September 2011     The mask as a device to support teaching of theatre history, culture diversity and improvisation techniques in Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16), is second to none. The mask is a versatile object. For protection (industry; fencing), for prevention (infection), for disguise or grotesque effect (to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drama Teaching

Writing Online, Writing On Paper

Writing Online, Writing On Paper

As well as publishing articles online, I have published work in magazines and papers, have written a complete English correspondence course for Bankers, plays, sketches and drama teaching materials. I can express what you need to say, and help business staff to do likewise. Writing Online My articles at Suite 101 began in April 2010, and as the articles reach a year old, I am republishing them on this site, in the Articles at Suite 101 category. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Writing

Once Seen as Sinister, Left-Handedness is Now All Right

US President Obama, is the world’s most prominent current sinistral writer. Centuries ago, left-hand writing was frowned upon and discouraged. Sinister, (evil or menacing), comes from the Latin word sinestra, meaning left. It was therefore a short step for people to believe left-handedness was devilish.Today, there are many derogatory terms to describe left-handedness, from southpaw (often in sport) to goofy in the US and cack-handed in Britain. To describe someone as ‘out-in-left-field’ (from the world of baseball) is to mean they come out with something unrelated to what is happening around them; a bit crazy. The implication of clumsiness can be hurtful, although people who use their left hand as the stronger one do live in a world filled with right-handed machines, gadgets … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Merseybeat Sound and Poetry Rocked the 1960s

Liverpool, on the banks of the Mersey, made an artistic contribution to the 1960s’ ethos, unmatched by any other UK city. It’s still the home of culture. Over 200 miles from UK capital, London, Liverpool was relatively isolated as it grew into what was known as The Port of a Thousand Ships, with vital industrial and commercial lifeblood supporting a huge labour force of rich cultural diversity. From across the waters US influence was enormous, especially in music. As the 1960s got under way, new technologies plus youngsters’ changing attitudes to cultural values, authority, drugs, entertainment, self-expression and equal rights caught on. Liverpool had a distinctiveness that set it apart. There was a buzzing nightlife and a vibrant club and music scene. The Beatles The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

USA and UK, Two Countries Divided by the Same Language

While American-English & British-English are similar but different in spellings and shades of meaning, text-speak could render all differences academic. It seems that nobody agrees who first said that England and America are two countries separated by the same language. The 1951 Treasury of Humorous Quotations quotes Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, as saying it, but not necessarily originating it. An earlier candidate is Oscar Wilde, who wrote in The Canterville Ghost (1887), ‘We really have everything in common with America now except, of course, language”. Although later, war time Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill is sometimes also cited as the originator. Philosopher Bertrand Russell, writing in Saturday Evening Post, June 1944, said: ‘It is a misfortune for Anglo-American friendship that the two countries are supposed to have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

British People Have Become the Most Watched & Recorded on Earth

Big Brother systems watch each UK citizen 3,000 times and record over 3,000 pieces of personal information, every week. These figures were unearthed by the Daily Telegraph in August 2008, and on one level are strangely reassuring – more cameras (one for every 10 people) should mean less crime. Channel 4 News estimated in 2004, Britain had 4 million public and private cameras, 20% of the global total. However, more crime is being committed, so are Brits being watched to meet other agendas? When people feel watched by eyes on posters (like recently at the rail station in Brighton, England), the effect is beneficial. When motorists see a cardboard cut-out of a police car at a roadside, they reduce speed instinctively. Either way, watching eyes, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Aliens and Strange Creatures in Movies, Songs and Literature

Nobody knows what extra-terrestrials from other planets look like, but the earthly creative arts world is happy to speculate wildly and profitably. On April Fools Day 2010, a Jordanian newspaper, Al Ghad, carried a front page story of 10-foot aliens from a flying saucer landing near the desert town of Jafr. The Mayor sent out security services. It was a deliberate hoax from enterprising journalists. The War of the Worlds 1938 incident was unplanned, but had a similar effect. It was broadcast on CBS radio on 30 October as a Halloween episode of Theatre-of-the-Air, adapted from the HG Wells’ 1898 novel, War of the Worlds, directed and narrated by Orson Welles. This kick-started his career. It ran without commercial breaks, opening with simulated live news reports, leading listeners to believe an alien invasion … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Life Cycle

Life Cycle Opera North Projects, Norwich Playhouse Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2011 Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 12 May 2011 Original music with haunting words chimes with mood; captures time, emotion and imagination. We have all been born, but only women have experienced childbirth. This was an evening of old and new music that evoked pain and loss of stillbirth with the tribulations of new live birth. John Reid (piano) and Oliver Coates (cello) opened with a prelude of three pieces on the theme of lullaby (Janacek, Mendelssohn and Messiaen). After an inexplicably long interval, Life Cycle followed. Built round a song cycle, it was an evolving work without finite narrative, but giving us glimpses of being a mother. Toby Litt’s words and Emily Hall’s music dovetailed to create a succession of song fragments that told … Read entire article »

Filed under: Reviews