Tag Archives: History

GloPoWriMo: Day 26

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GloPoWriMo: Day 26

The Day 26 prompt was to write a poetic answer to the question of what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilisation, would make of humans.  The poem should explore a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist.  The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.  I have written the thoughts a member of an alien race might have while studying the artwork we have produced across the ages.

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Artwork on Planet 24684, Uninhabited

The earliest examples
Are scratches and smudges
On the planet’s rocky surfaces
Fairly consistent
Two legged creatures
Thought to be the dominant species
Throwing sharpened sticks into four legged creatures

Other ancient examples include
Elaborate colourful images
Within buildings, often triangular
The two legged creatures in more detail
Many with heads similar to the four legged creatures
With bodies mostly covered in cloth
And complex groups of symbols
Possibly some form of primitive record keeping
To be studied further by an expert
In the Alien Savage Communications Department

Later works are large solid woven fabric boards
Covered in a thick oily substance
Which appears to have been applied in liquid form
With a heavily textured device
Images include this planet, or others
Though the dominant species appears too primitive for travel
And many instances of the two legged creatures
Again with bodies mostly covered in cloth

The most modern examples we have found
Are thin flimsy images printed on plant material
High quality shiny pictures, similar content to the above
But far superior in quality
We are unsure how these were produced
But dating shows that the last ones
Were created approximately fifty years
Before the annihilation of the dominant species
Which the Alien Savage History Department
Believes to have been self inflicted

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

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Refugee – Review

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Refugee – Review

Last night I saw Potentially Brilliant Productions’ second show Refugee at The Casa, Liverpool.  It was a collaborative play devised over 12 weeks of drama workshops.  The show was based on the group’s own experiences and viewpoints and made use of elements found in Greek theatre such as the Chorus and the Messenger as Storyteller.  The material developed in the workshops was amended, fleshed out and put together by talented director and facilitator, Mikyla Jane Durkan.

The cast who formed this play were all dressed in black clothing will slight variations in style, subtly alluding to the viewpoint that everyone involved the refugee crisis, whether they be refugees themselves, aid workers, politicians or whoever, slot into groups of people who are seen to be all the same, whilst also nodding to the reality of their actual differences.  As well as the usual sound effects use was made of the actors’ own voices to provide eerie surround sound leaving the audience surrounded by wind, rain and tears.

There were a number of monologues and performance poetry incorporated into the disjointed and often disorientating story of loss and hope against hope, with many of the actors remaining on stage forming various tableaus, with and without props, cleverly alluding to the fact that people are often asking, begging, shouting for help, but the people around them don’t hear, don’t move, don’t see – just stand there are carry on with their own lives.

The play explored happiness and what it is to be happy.  For some people being happy is having the latest iPhone in their hand and the most popular status on Facebook.  Other people only hope to have a life without pain and fear.  Fear for themselves, fear for their loved ones, fear for their children.  What it is to have, want, desire and not have, need, and crave was shown intelligently and sensitively.

As one of the actors was violently bullied on stage, after speaking happily with his British friends, I was reminded of the story of David Oluwale.  Almost half a century has passed since this man was hounded on the streets of Leeds and it seems that sadly very little has changed in that time.  Whether or not the level of hatred of people coming into this country has lessened or increased over time was something touched upon in the lively Q&A with the cast and director following the show.

Dehumanisation and desperation.  Hate and fate.  Brutality and compassion.  These were all explored with the intensity and understanding needed to show people with everything what it is to have nothing.  While each cast member contributed fully to the quality and emotion of the production, I do feel that special mention should be given to Helen Jackson, George Melling and Martin Zopa for being particularly memorable in a particularly memorable performance.

This was a story of individuals who are among millions of people.  By seeing the person in a problem which is seen by many as too big and too widely spread to do anything about, it becomes clear that we can all do just that one small thing today, and maybe things won’t be as bad tomorrow.  Because “everyone at least should have somewhere to go”.

Refugee was a one night only showing, however you can see a revised version at the inaugural Liverpool Fringe Festival on 22 June.  Potentially Brilliant’s next project will begin with a 12 week programme of workshops exploring mental illness through some of Shakespeare’s characters.

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

Katherine Howard – Review

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Katherine Howard – Review

Some historical figures, Cleopatra, Van Gogh, Henry VIII, have become the stuff of legends, so famous for a certain quirk, a love affair, their temperament, particular incidents, that it has become easy to forget that they were real people just like you and me and had everyday lives and conversations just like you and me.  Bebington Dramatic Society‘s production of Katherine Howard showed the everyday life in Henry Tudor’s court and also showed his lesser known faults – the lonely little boy who was afraid of the dark and only wanted to be seen as a person and loved for who he was.  A very funny production that often left the theatre laughing out loud it quickly dissolved into the tragic circumstances that ended Katherine’s life.  Henry’s vicious and unpredictable temper was not dwelt upon, but this added to this little known story of Henry’s fifth wife.  While not entirely historically accurate, the play is a beautiful portrayal of love, longing, jealousy, manipulation, the powerful and the powerless.  The final scene was particularly haunting, and while none of the cast could be criticised, Mark Prescott and Charlotte Cumming performed brilliantly as the ill fated husband and wife.

Katherine Howard closes tonight at 7:30 at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight.

Copyright, D M Day, 2017