Feature: A Timeless Place

There’s something inherently timeless about Bertolt Brecht’s monumental play Mother Courage and Her Children, written at the brink of the Second World War and set, with a deliberate distancing, in Central Europe’s Thirty Years’ War. The image of Mother Courage wheeling her cart around a warzone as her children perish is a powerful one, asking questions of those who seek to profit from conflict, and encouraging bystanders to contemplate what there is to be gained from war. Continue reading “Feature: A Timeless Place”

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Fully Booked [a feature on audience interaction in published scripts]

Now let me get this straight right from the start: I’m not afraid of play scripts. As one of the Associate Editors here at Bare Fiction I have the great privilege of reading many plays each week from all across the world. I am in awe of writers who can singlehandedly kick off the collaborative process of theatre with their words, and astounded by the variety of emotions that can be captured and triggered using just pen and ink and a fierce imagination. Play scripts can keep us in touch with our cultural heritage, they make a commute one hundred times more thrilling, and they can tell the stories that need to be told. Armed with a play script, you don’t have to spend over £60 on a West End ticket – and I hear that Samuel Beckett delivers an unrivalled beach read.

So, much as I love going to the theatre, I know that a good play does not need to be staged. But as a keen fan of site-specific, durational, immersive and otherwise barmy performance, I also know that some shows can’t be transferred onto bookshelves. With this in mind, I was incredibly surprised to see a new title from poet Hannah Jane Walker and theatre-maker Chris Thorpe on a specialist theatrical publisher’s website….

[Preview of 1,281 word feature, due to be published by Bare Fiction. More available on request.]

Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting

At the end of the twentieth century Bret Easton Ellis gave us Patrick Bateman, a slickly conceived sociopath, masked behind a sharp suit and artfully-formatted business card. In 2013, down in Florida, Alissa Nutting conjures up a new lawless icon of American modern fiction. In Celeste Price, a remorseless paedophile hidden behind a toned body, red convertible and carefully-applied mascara, we witness the type of conflict that certainly isn’t new in fiction – but as the walls between public persona and private desire gradually fall to fragments, Nutting uses her fearless satire to delve into a form of sexuality that remains very much a taboo. Continue reading “Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting”

Review: Thérèse Raquin

The forces of society and the drives of the individual are not the best bedfellows in this racy take on Émile Zola’s classic, from adapter/director Nona Shepphard. Loyal to the novel’s characteristic naturalism, and faithful to its eagerness to shock, Shepphard gives us an eponymous heroine with a distinct breed of socialised selfishness. Thérèse is, at once, a fiery individual who stubbornly acts as the author of her own fate; in other ways, the production holds its lead character up as an example of society’s power over its subjects, as husband Camille (Jeremy Legat) and his manipulative mother, Madame Raquin (played with a thrillingly egomaniacal zest by Tara Hugo), pull at the puppet strings of Thérèse’s life. Continue reading “Review: Thérèse Raquin”

Review: iTMOi

Accessibility is clearly not Akram Khan’s top priority. The name of this piece alone is a code that refuses to be cracked, a far from obvious acronym that brings a murky tide of mystery to Khan’s stabs at biographical representation. Those brave enough to venture beyond the smug title will not be rewarded with much more clarity. Commissioned to mark the centenary of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Khan’s piece – subtitled ‘in the mind of igor’ – attempts to penetrate and illuminate the imagination of this great composer, and reflect new insights into what is widely held to be his greatest work. Continue reading “Review: iTMOi”