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Black Watch ...National Theatre of Scotland

 
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Black Watch ...National Theatre of Scotland Reply with quote

Hi there..have been goodness knows where for a while..nice to be back..

The Festival of Sydney is an annual thing in January...tomorrow is my Black Watch day!!!

I knew the tickets would sell out quickly..so found a day that was ok..and booked....now, lo and behold...I will also get to hear both the director of the play and the director of the National Theatre of Scotland interviewed...at a beautiful venue...The (old) Mint.

any latecomers aren't admitted to the play...if you need to leave during the performance you're escorted out..and can't return...methinks it's going to be a night we'll not forget in a hurry...

http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/events/the_mint/eat_drink_talk_art.htm?nav=date&id=88&evid=108&series=0

http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/events/carriageworks/black_watch.htm?nav=date&id=11&evid=43&series=0
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh Madame this sounds like such a hard thing to watch!

Funny, I've just been reading a little about Scotland, some old battles and incidents--bloody--
but this is so current, "could be too intense for some viewers", as TV announcers say.
But have a nice evening--I'm sure you'll report back to us?
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

funny...a ps at the beginning...have just realised how long this post is...however ..this is for anyone interested...the season is sold out...I can easily understand why...more than ever, I wish the world well...I imagine the world and its inhabitants WELLNESS!...in abundance...


'twas breathtaking the play...the lunch time talk...there would have been I reckon about 150..200 people...the guest speakers (including an Australian war photojournalist) couldn't quite believe so many would turn up to hear them talk about Black Watch...I could! I asked if there had been anything in particular that the soldiers whose stories the play is based on...if they'd said anything in particular that knocked the director's socks off....seems one of the soldiers attended a performance with his girlfriend...she said "Now I know why he can't sleep."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzspFkXR_UU&feature=related

hope this gives you a taste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGpeQkzOutU&feature=related

the scene where the soldiers sign their letters still gives me goosebumps..


http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/reviews.cfm?id=1140682006&sid=12959


The play, in Sydney, is being performed at the old railway carriage works..massive buildings..lots of metal....perfect site for this play...before the performance I got into conversation with the woman next to me...I noticed that every so often she would look at me..I sensed, to see my response/reaction to what was happening during that particular scene...it was quite a remarkable thing for me..to be there...I felt I was both THERE and also a bit detached...how to explain it...ok..eg..much much much language of heaviness...now at the beginning it was obvious that it was confronting to some in the audience...I thought a little on this line: "Just what dooooooooo people think happens during a war?????"....normal stuff only with people in different clothing???...anyway...I almost was two people watching it...one drinking in the drama of the performance...marvelling at the acting...the beauty of it..the power...the anger...the charm...the sorrow...the despair...of these lives..and the other me was thinking ...why are we shocked at this...what the hell do we think war is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pretty?

...this from The Guardian:

There are many reasons that Black Watch - which tells the story of Scotland's famous regiment through the words of soldiers serving in Iraq - is so impressive. Its use of documentary "verbatim" material, gleaned from interviews with former soldiers, is handled with sophistication, and the ethics of its use is delicately questioned within the drama itself. It is beautifully acted and directed. Its setting and design - it takes place in a disused drill hall - is brilliantly suited to its content. It has moments of great beauty and emotion when the play moves into glorious sequences of song or movement. (This sounds ghastly; I promise you it is not.)
Some will question the fact that the tale is told so completely from a Scottish perspective, with never the faintest hint of an Iraqi voice. Some will question the notion that the play seems to invite us to lament the passing (given the recent amalgamation of the Scottish regiments) of an institution that should properly be regarded as a brutal killing machine rather than an object of national pride. A character at one point suggests that the Black Watch was made great over 300 years and destroyed over three, "pissing about in the desert in the biggest western foreign-policy disaster ever"; yet surely many of the conflicts in which the Black Watch served down the centuries, in Africa, Crimea and India, were as imperialistic in ideology and as cack-handed in execution as Iraq.

No one, however, will question the drama's deep humanity - and the extraordinary confidence with which it has been presented by the National Theatre of Scotland. For with Black Watch the NTS - still in its first year, and the single cultural creation of the Scottish parliament, which announced its foundation in 2003 - shows that it has arrived. This is a true piece of "national" theatre - telling the urgent contemporary, human stories that lie at the back end of grand politics and the sweep of history - that never looks parochial or narrowly nationalistic. To all the scepticism and debate about Scotland's even needing a national theatre, to all the sometimes self-lacerating, politically fraught recent inquiries into the devolved nation's culture, the new NTS has slapped down the best kind of answer: rather than more words, a most eloquent piece of work.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Madame--it sounds like quite an experience--how awful that exhilarating theatre has such grim subject matter. I guess it's always been so... I guess they can't present "Under Milkwood" every single night..
The phrase "self-lacerating" in the Guardian's review made me wince, it was describing Scotland's national woes, but could apply to the world, yes?

As a practical matter, was the accent hard to understand? I can get Irish and British, but Scottish is too hard. The Scottish (loved it) movie "Red Road" I watched with the English subtitles turned on--had to!
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gingerpale..'tis what I love about theatre/books/art/dance 'n so on...they are all ways in which the business of life can be discussed and explored..

we humans are complex

we do things

from A to Z we do things...

including war and all it entails....

we do things

as to the accent...I ride the waves of it! adore it!

was speaking with a friend this morn..about the play...told her of the scene where one soldier (who came back from the first 'tour' of duty with depression...diagnosed...oh my..they 'lost' his papers and so was sent for a second tour)...was going to break the arm of the man interviewing them...the screaming speech of this actor was almost overwhelming...spat the words...about if you want to know what it's like in Iraq you have to feel pain...I thought his face would explode...and so the almost arm break.....another soldier explains that he had a broken arm and each time it begins to heal he breaks it again...the soldier says you have to understand...break better break better break better...the actor playing the journalist looked speechless..over and over there were such scenes...the play gives a glimpse of shellshock..

this morning while gardening in the rain...clipping daisy plants that seriously needed a prune...I thought of that arm.

I imagined kissing it...all over...soldiers' arms...all arms...

perhaps you, too, could imagine...methinks all arms might like a kiss or two...on this day and other days...

today I imagine peace...coating our planet home...I imagine ploughshares
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"I've never accepted the external appearance of things as the whole truth. The world is much more elaborate than the nerves of our eye can tell us." - James Gleeson
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well first you made me laugh, riding the waves of the Scottish accent,
then you made me cry--a very powerful play for sure.
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