Refugees Welcome at The Story Sessions Asylum -videos


A video of me reading at The Story Sessions, I am also reading TONIGHT at Story Fridays at Burdalls Yard 7a Anglo Terrace in Walcott, Bath 7.30 for 8.

Arachne Press

It’s taken a while to get these up, sorry – here are videos of the three stories from The Refugees Welcome Anthology read at our Asylum themed The Story Sessions for Brockley Max.

Cherry Potts, Queues

More of Cherry’s writing can be heard live TONIGHT at Liars’ League London and on Friday at Story Fridays in Bath.

Snipets from the other two stories, as we have no claim on the copyright:

Jane Roberts, The Etymology of Happiness read by Katy Darby

and Oscar Windsor-SmithThis England read by Alix Adams

more videos to come from our two Brockley Max events…

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How Idomeneo looks from here


The audience are never going to experience an opera the way the chorus does. Even though performance in the round gives them some idea, as they peer through the crowds to catch a glimpse of th action, but actually, the action is what they are peering round.

Our chorus experience is  sweaty, loud and partial – we never get to see the whole show, but the bits we do experience are visceral.

Idomeneo - Mozart - Blackheath Halls Community Opera - 14th July 2015 Musical Director - Nicholas Jenkins Director - James Hurley Designer - Rachel Szmukler Lighting Designer - Ben Pickersgill Idomeneo - Mark Wilde Idamante - Sam Furness Ilia - Rebecca Bottone Electra - Kirstin Sharpin Arbace - William Johnston Davies Pupils from Charlton Park Academy, Greenvale School, Year 5 from Beecroft Garden Primary School and Year 5 from Mulgrave Primary School Blackheath Halls Chorus and Blackheath Halls Orchestra

escaping the monster IdomeneoBH copyright Robert Workman

This is quite a physical show, and we are very glad that the carrying corpses off stage was cut, and we weren’t convinced we’d manage it without injury, to us or the ‘corpse’. The costumes are very hot (winter weight flying jackets with 2 inches of wadding in them, gas masks…) but at least there are no quick changes – last year’s nun-to soldier-in-3-mins is mercifully not challenged for award for fastest change. The emotions change faster, one minute a concerned civil servant,

concerned civil servants copyright Robert Wiseman

concerned civil servants IdomeneoBH
copyright Robert Workman

the next an anxious guard,

Anxious Guards - IdomeneoBH copyright Robert Workman

Anxious Guards – IdomeneoBH copyright Robert Workman

then a cheery well-wisher (although an imagined one!)

Imagined well- copyright Robert Workman

Imagined well-wishers IdomeneoBH
copyright Robert Workman

and finally a zealous follower of Poseidon turned vigilante – (no photos of this, will have to see what we can do in the dressing room!)  but there is a lot of anger throughout, I just have to remember what I’m being angry about and ‘on whom rest the blame’.

If you would like to discover who is to blame, we are performing again tonight at 7pm and on Sunday at 2pm. tickets and info here

Orchestral Manoeuvres


One of the delights of being involved in the community opera at Blackheath Halls is working with the Blackheath Halls Community Orchestra. We don’t get to hear what they are up to until the sitz probe, when we run through the entire opera and work out the corners. This is one of my favourite sessions, because we rarely hear the whole work. Then we get two stage & orchestra rehearsals and a couple of dress rehearsals (two of everything because of the split between the schools we are working with) to get used to what the music sounds like full on, before the first night.

Sitz Probe

Sitz Probe

And very necessary it is too, when we’ve been working with a piano accompaniment up until then. Jeremy, our assistant musical director plays a cut down version of the orchestral score magnificently, and it doesn’t always seem possible that he has enough fingers.

I wonder how much attention the audience pay to the orchestra, there is so much going on in an opera, although they are at least visible in our production.

I know I listen differently as a performer to how I would as an audience member – ear tuned to the instrument that will play the note I need a bar and a half before I have to sing it, that sort of thing; making it hard to take in the whole, but two things really struck me last night during the first performance of Idomeneo.

One was how very full and brassy the sound is considering how little brass there is playing – Mozart makes fantastic use of horns, but that’s about it.

The other was during a brief interlude when the tenors & basses are up with the orchestra for our ‘off stage’ chorus of drowning mariners during the storm. We all creep on and lurk at the side and wait for our cue. This gives us an unusual ‘conductor’s eye view’ of the orchestra. I can’t imagine the concentration and eye for detail it takes to conduct an opera, with orchestra soloists and chorus to pay attention to – I couldn’t even begin to make sense of the full score. Nick Jenkins, I salute you! Anyway while waiting for the music to cue us in,  I noticed these waves of movement going through; not the documentary film cliché of the bows all moving at the same time (although of course they do), but for example, a point at which all the violins put down their bows as one, and plucked the strings instead. It was an incredibly elegant little movement, which delighted me – and then I had to get on with singing and had no thought for anything but coming in correctly on the tricky bit…

 

Aimee Bender, The Color Master – review by Cherry Potts


My Review on The Short Review of Aimee Bender’s The Colour Master.

The title story of this collection is a clever prequel to a well-known fairy tale which gives you no inkling of where it is going until close to the end, dressed up as it is with fantastical touches such as invoices sent by pigeon, and so on. It has a bitter core for all its surface frivolity, entirely appropriate to its partner tale.

At some point I will review (though not on Short Review obviously) her novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake which I ADORED.

buy The Colour Master

The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 29th


louisa lumsdenNo particular birthday today so let’s celebrate

Louisa Lumsden CBE (1840-1935), the first prominent female figure at the University of St Andrews.
Louisa was one of the original students of Girton College Cambridge.  She taught classics there and later at Cheltenham. In 1877 she became Head of St Leonard’s school in St Andrews. In 1895 she was warden of a new university hall of residence,  but resigned in 1900.
Although her initial energies were put into women’s education, she was a strong proponent of women’s suffrage  In 1908 she was president of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association. She had a horse-drawn caravan, which was used for campaign tours. although never a militant herself, she admitted to fellow-feeling.

One has a mean feeling when one is quietly enjoying the good things of life and others are in prison for their convictions.

The Historical Birthday-Tea Party 26th March


Louise Honorine Crozat du ChâtelNo Birthday today so looking forward a couple of days, let’s celebrate

Louise-Honorine Crozat Du Châtel, Duchesse de Choiseul, 28th March 1737-1801 ‘A charming little fairy born out of a magical egg’ Her husband was a chief minister to Louis XIV, eventually discredited. Louise-Honorine was arrested during the Terror but seems to have survived it as she died seven years later. She was great friends with Marie du Deffand, writing to her

You think I love you from Complaisance and ask you to visit me from politeness. I don’t. I love you because I love you… You know you love me, but you do not feel it.