Tag Archives: Life

Zoo Story – Review

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Zoo Story – Review

On Tuesday night I saw Edward Albee’s Zoo Story brought to life by Meerkat Productions as part of the Liverpool Fringe Festival.

A simple set consisting only of a park bench and some grass brought a secluded corner of Central Park into the theatre at the Casa.  Peter and Jerry muse about life, love and loss in what appears to be a friendly conversation but the different levels of the actors, Peter sitting, Jerry standing, subtly showed that Jerry had power in the situation.  The performance became increasingly uncomfortable while Jerry talked about wrestling with a black dog, a common metaphor for depression, and it seemed that Peter had become some form of hostage while Jerry’s stories rapidly became darker and more surreal.  When Jerry sits down next to Peter it seems that the tension is resolving and the sunny Sunday afternoon will end peacefully, but what happens at the zoo will not stay at the zoo.

What begins a simple stroll through the park quickly spirals into a horrifying climax that leaves the audience open mouthed and silent.  Masterfully performed by Stephen O’Toole and David Crosby Zoo Story is the captivating story of life in the urban zoo of the big city, the cages we put ourselves in and what can happen when we break down those bars.

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

Franca Rame/Dario Fo Monologues: Review

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Franca Rame/Dario Fo Monologues: Review

Two actresses, two monologues, two stories, two outcomes, one struggle.

Last night Maggi Green and Mikyla Jane Durkan of Burjesta Theatre, Liverpool performed two very different monologues on the theme of the struggle of women in society.  Grotesque comedies from Italian dramatists Dario Fo and Franca Rame Rise and Shine and A Woman Alone invite you into the personal lives of two women: both obedient to their husbands, both comforting babies and both so tired and sick of everything.

Rise and Shine was skillfully performed by Maggie Green.  A stressed out mother wakes up from one nightmare straight into another one.  Relieved to find her fingers still on her hands, those hands become full as soon as her feet touch the floor.  The baby in one hand, her handbag in another and the key, where is the key?  Squeezing her way around imaginary furniture, with very few props and an invisible baby, keeping up the mime of struggling to search the small cramped house for keys while narrating her life, her husband’s life and talking to baby was done beautifully.  We never see the husband but the change in stance and expression when his dialogue was recited brought to life the domestic struggles this woman is going through.  The clock is ticking, the panic is growing, no-one is coming to help, baby’s filled his nappy, again, and the key is nowhere to be found.  The panic in this claustrophobic house with nothing in the right place was tangible.

The atmosphere grew thicker again during Mikyla Jane Durkan’s accomplished portrayal of A Woman Alone.  The stage now filled with props (this lady’s husband buys her everything) a wife has been locked up in her flat after indulging in an affair with her young Italian teacher.  She is caring for her brother-in-law, who is in a (almost) full body cast in another room with just one hand and that free for groping around and her baby who is crying of often.  Music plays in every room to stop her feeling alone, the phone constantly rings – nuisance calls, checks up from her husband and begging from her young lover – and then the banging on the door starts.  There’s so much noise!  What can you do when all you want is a quiet conversation with the new neighbour?  You need to stay calm.  Very very calm.  Bright welcoming smiles and laughter gave way to wide eyed desperation dissolving into an eerie sense of calm as a woman alone welcomed everyone back into the house and tried to regain control.

Where are the keys?  The men have them.

Burjesta Theatre are a fringe theatre company based at The Casa, Hope Street, Liverpool.  Further information can be found on their Facebook page.

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

Against all Odds

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Against all Odds

This is a flash fiction based on an exercise in writing group where we wrote stories based on song titles.  I chose a song I actually don’t like very much, just because I think the title transfers over to creating a story well!

Just a word of warning, the story contains content that some people may find distressing.

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Against all Odds

Early menopause. The words had echoed in her head every day since they’d been said. She’d been 32 years old. They’d been trying for a baby for six long unsuccessful years. Early menopause were the words that shattered the last of her splintered spirit. She gave up then. Curled under the blankets naked and shivering she had nothing left in her to produce tears. He couldn’t let it go. There were still options. They could still try. He stroked her hair trying to reach her but she was gone. Robotically she began injecting herself daily. They were still trying. The injections made her sick. Every morning kneeling on the bathroom floor. For years she had longed to be sick every morning. It worked. The doctor’s smile was wide when he told them. It worked. Two months later the same doctor held her hand after the miscarriage. He was so sorry. There are still options. You can still try. She gave up hope. There are still options. We can still try. Her husband’s hand felt strong in hers. Tears were streaming from her tired eyes. The doctor said it was a boy and placed her slick crying baby on her chest. It worked. She was 34 years old. They’d been trying for a baby for eight long years but it worked. It worked.

Copyright D M Day, 2017

GloPoWriMo: Day 21

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GloPoWriMo: Day 21

The Day 21 prompt was to write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. It could be something I’d heard on the radio, or a phrase I remember from childhood, even something I overheard a coworker say!  The poem should use the overheard speech as a springboard from which to launch the poem.  The poem could comment directly on the overheard phrase or simply use it as illustration or tone-setting material.  I have written a poem about a conversation I heard staff having about me in a hospital, that I probably wasn’t supposed to hear, but there wasn’t much chance of me not hearing it…  Information about developmental hip dysplasia and the consequences of it being diagnosed in adulthood can be found here.

Bones

There’s hardly any bone left
The radiographer said
As she stared at the x-ray
Glowing on the screen
No wonder she’s in pain

It’s a wonder she can walk at all
The nurse replied, holding a pen
A black plastic cigarette
Between her lips

Later the doctor told me
It was psychosomatic
And tried to force me to take pills
That would make me forget

One day not long after
I would be sat down and told
They were really very sorry
But it was too late
Nothing could be done now

There’s hardly any bone left
It’s a wonder she can walk at all

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

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GloPoWriMo: Day 17

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GloPoWriMo: Day 17

The Day 17 prompt was to write a nocturne.  In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound.  One of history’s most famous nocturnes is Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2.  The poem should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form.  I have written a combination of monosyllabic and multi-syllabic stanzas in my poem to give the impression of the rises and falls piano music, while staying on a nostalgic melancholic theme.

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Time will not stand still for us

The day is done
We have had joy
We can look back and smile
On this day when we are old
It is dark out now

The day is done
It is time to go
We wish each other well
And hug and wave

We now have a beautiful memory
And tomorrow the sun will rise
And we may make more
Tomorrow or another day
But there will be more
Because that is what life is about
Making beautiful memories

But for now the day is done
We have had joy
We can look back and smile
On this day when we are old

You cannot make memories
Unless time passes you by

Time will not stand still for us

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

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GloPoWriMo: Day 16

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GloPoWriMo: Day 16

The Day 16 prompt was to write a poem inspired by the act of letter-writing.  The poem could be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.

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An Affair to Forget

Dear Steve

I wanted to say how sorry I was
And I knew you’d never see me
After everything I’ve done

Some friends said I should put it in a letter
Hopefully you can find it in your heart to read it
All the way through

I am truly sorry for all the pain I’ve caused
All the hurt I’ve brought to you and the children
All the trouble

It all just got out of hand
I never meant for it to start in the first place
Never mind end in this way
With so many people hurt

No-one was more surprised than me
When she arrived at my door suitcases in hand
For months my friends had been telling me she’d never leave you
They all say that

Of course I felt guilty
But I was enjoying the affair
I’m sorry

When she stood in my doorway
With everything she owned piled around her
I knew then that I didn’t love her
That I’d never loved her at all

Steve please I’m begging you
Please, please fight for her
Take her back
Please

Your friend

Jonathan

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

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GloPoWriMo: Day 13

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GloPoWriMo: Day 13

So this is a day late, because the prompt went up late and yesterday was insanely busy so never had a chance to look at it.  I’ll post the actual one for today later.  The Day 13 prompt was to write a ghazal.  The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularised by poets including Agha Shahid Ali.  A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement.  Both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrase or word, and that end phrase or word is also repeated at the end of each couplet.  I could also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to my own name in the final couplet.  I have written a ghazal about fireflies, because I’ve been wanting to write a poem about them for a while.  The first line is true and I managed to get the reference to my name in at the end.

Fireflies

When I was a child I read a book about matches played with by fireflies
I remembered it when he left and I stared at the night sparkling with fireflies

The stars were sparkling in the inky blue enveloping the world around me
They seemed so still and endless when compared with moving fireflies

I got the ice cream out of the freezer not because I wanted it or was hungry
But because that’s what you’re supposed to do, not stare at shimmering fireflies

I sat staring out the window, the dairy filled tub wet in my now cold hands
Until the sun came up and they were all gone, not one, no more fireflies

And then I forgot all out him, because I am what I am, a lady of the day
And mourning for something that never was is for the night, like fireflies

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

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