Archive for the ‘theatre’ Category

Alice in Court

July 26, 2010
Off with her head!

Off with her head!

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, called out `Silence!’ and read out from his book, `Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.’ Everybody looked at Alice. `I’m not a mile high,’ said Alice. `You are,’ said the King. `Nearly two miles high,’ added the Queen. `Well, I sha’n’t go, at any rate,’ said Alice: `besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.’ `It’s the oldest rule in the book,’ said the King. `Then it ought to be Number One,’ said Alice.

The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. `Consider your verdict,’ he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice …

— Lewis Carroll

One of the most famous nay infamous trials in English legal history is when Alice is brought before the Court to determine who stole the tarts.

With three blasts on the trumpet, the White Rabbit unfurled his scroll and read out the accusation:

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!

Courtroom Chaos performed by Powerhouse Theatre Company in the Guildhall in Guildford.

A brilliant performance in the Guildhall of Alice in Court, written and directed by Geoff Lawson, adapted from the courtroom scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was unfortunate that the performance did not follow the Lewis Carroll text, a pity it only lasted 15 minutes, but nevertheless brilliant. The characterisation of the characters was spot on. The setting, in the Guildhall, could not have been better.

Seeing it performed rather than read, I was very much reminded of classic Morecombe and Wise. I did wonder, what influence was there?

We too easily forget that Lewis Carroll was writing for children. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written for one particular child, Alice Liddell. We have dry academic studies, leaned journals, societies for the studies of Lewis Carroll. Did not Lewis Carroll satirise pedagogues in his writing, and was that not part of the appeal to children?

I was therefore pleased to see that although the audience for Alice in Court comprised mainly adults, there was a few young folk present. Strange that all the girls looked like Alice. I would have liked to have heard their opinion. If reading what has been written, they are more than welcome to leave their comments.

Curiouser and Curiouser (10 July to 9 October 2010), a series of events – talks, walks, exhibitions and performances – to celebrate the lifetime and legacy of Lewis Carroll. Part of the Guildford Summer Festival (18 June to 1 August 2010).

Lewis Carroll lived in Guildford with his sisters and travelled to Oxford on the train.

Powerhouse Theatre Company is a small, Guildford-based theatre company, founded by Geoff Lawson. The actors who performed Alice in Court were from Acting Craft, a ten-week week course run three times a year by Geoff Lawson at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.

Also see

Life of Lewis Carroll in Guildford

Legacy of Lewis Carroll

Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze

Celebrating Surrey Festival 2010

June 29, 2010
Celebrating Surrey Festival at Loseley Park

Celebrating Surrey Festival at Loseley Park

This was the first of this event, a county-wide initiative celebrating culture in Surrey. It was held at Loseley Park, in the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house built from stones looted from Waverley Abbey.

Loseley Park is located halfway between Compton and Guildford. Out of the way if you lack a car. I got there by walking along the River Way, along the North Downs Way, then dropping down to Losely Park. Quite a trek, but a very pleasant walk.

I was actually there for the Ambient Picnic, normally held in Shalford Park in Guildford.

The Ambient Green Picnic in Guildford was once a fantastic free festival, well worth attending. And attend they did, down from London, up from Brighton. Then the last few years has seen a sorry decline, entrance fee for what was a free festival, security fencing, over-the-top heavy-handed security, smelly burger vans, local brewery beer tent, too commercialised. Last year was an unmitigated disaster, a small fenced-off corner of Shalford Park. It lacked atmosphere. The festival had lost its way, if not its soul, necessitating a complete rethink. At least that is what should have happened

This year they occupied a small sliver on the edge of the site, and that was it. Eden People were there, but where were all the stalls? I did not think it could get any worse than last year, but sadly it had got a whole lot worse.

But it was just a small part of the Celebrating Surrey Festival. The overall impression I got was a festival organized by the local Womens Institute, though no jam. The surrey Middle Class having a day out. Nothing wrong with that, but it lacked the atmosphere of past Ambient Picnics.

Highlight of the day was in the evening Big Bands playing at two of the stages.

It was quite a mixed bag. Brass bands playing, dance and theatre, Mongolian wrestling and a Mongolian Ger. I loved the Mongolian book of calligraphy and poetry. I was reminded of Zen poetry. I liked the wood turner using a foot-powered lathe. The Chinese Loving Hut vegan food stall was very good, especially their spring rolls. They told me they have a vegetarian restaurant in Brighton, but in an area of Brighton with which I was not familiar. They were giving away free DVDs on going green. At the top of the site a labyrinth had been cut into the grass.

It was a very hot day, possibly 30C or higher. I spent most of the day in the shade of the trees at the edge of the site. It was good to be able to wander around the site barefoot all day. Water pipes around the site were welcome.

Celebrating Surrey Festival was billed as a celebration of local food and drink. I saw nothing. At the very least I would have expected to see Hunts Hill Farm who run an excellent barbecue at the Guildford Farmers Market (Guildford High Street first Tuesday of the month), Matt from The Deli in North Camp with his Hog Roast.

Loseley Park, or at least the house, is an Elizabethan Manor House built from stone looted from the ruins of Waverley Abbey. It is where the somewhat overrated and overpriced Loseley ice cream come from. It is located half way between Compton and Guildford, just south of the North Downs Way, and if you are going there on foot, that is the best way, along the North Downs Way, then drop down to Loseley Park.

Celebrating Surrey is a county-wide celebration of the best in art, music, culture, food and drink.

Celebrating Surrey Festival was part of the Guildford Summer Festival running from 18 June to 1 August 2010.

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