No enigma…no dignity, nothing classical or poetic…only this.
Lately I’m researching expressionism for my work. The turn of the twentieth century saw some of the most incredible advances in the arts, sciences and technologies. At the peak of the industrial revolution, with the convergence of breakthroughs in communication and social evolution, suddenly the world was not such a big place. Instead of the global stage being dominated by Western progress and exploration, trans-oceanic cross-fertilisation inspired a fusion of worldwide knowledge and appreciation.
Mercutio: I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind
Romeo & Juliet, Act 1, Scene 4
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Romeo & Juliet. I was young, and despite knowing the outcome of the tragic love story I was unprepared for the realness of the characters, the truth of their emotions, and the stark, gut-wrenching inevitability of the climactic scene which left me breathless and shaken to my core, unearthing emotions I hadn’t encountered in my short life but which, somehow, I understood.
So, have you heard the news?
Maybe not. I stumbled across it accidentally on Twitter just this morning, but publishers and marketing departments the world over are scrambling to declare that this hitherto unexpected event has broken the internet and set millions, if not billions, of hearts a-flutter right across the known muggle universe.
Literature and philosophy have been inseparably entwined in the thoughts of humankind since we first had such thoughts about such things. Almost all our modern thinking about narrative structure and form has its foundations, at least in part, in Aristotle’s famous examination of story, Poetics, which itself was a product of centuries of development of dramatic art and narrative experimentation.
A review of documentary Now: In the Wings on a World Stage
At first the idea of Hollywood denizen Kevin Spacey helming a world Shakespearean tour seems slightly self-indulgent, if not rather absurd. And few besides Spacey would have the audacity to film the whole experience for a limited-release feature-length documentary. However the result, Now: In the Wings on a World Stage, is more than surprisingly fresh, it’s a moving and, dare I say it, inspirational reminder of why theatre is one of the oldest and most enduring art forms.
In this modern age of open-mindedness, equality and freedom for all (cough), you would think that the ‘feminist movement’, that nasty concept with hairy-armpit connotations, should be well and truly behind us. It isn’t, of course. And it’s not just in the Middle East where having a vagina makes you a second-rate person, it’s sadly still a mindset that women the world over must tackle on a daily basis as they get sidelined in work promotions, condemned for choosing career over family, or leered at for wearing high heels. Yes, even after Hermione Grainger’s stirring UN address, the problem of gender discrimination persists.