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with Ben Bazell about the life and works of John Clare.
The stage at the Etcetera is set with just a table and chair. Ben Bazell as John Clare walks in clutching a plant.
“They say I’m in a state of lunacy from years of prosing,” he tells us. Although others say it is from consorting with ladies of the night.
The story of John Clare, the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet (1793–1864) is told in his own words, gleaned from his journal and punctuated with his songs and poems as he sits in the madhouse where he spent more than 23 years of his life.
His love for Mary Joyce is illustrated with a ballad; time spent living with the gypsies and collecting folk tunes, with a ‘scrape’ on the fiddle. Things take a bawdy turn with a song extolling the delights of a woman’s “cuckoo’s nest” – never heard it called that before!
We learn of his excitement at becoming famous and meeting his literary heroes, and his despair when the public lose interest. There is anger at the ‘enlosures’ of public land and most of all there is his love of nature as evidenced in his poetry.
There has been a renewal of interest in John Clare since the late 20th century and this is a timely celebration of the poet and his work by Patti Holloway and Ben Bazell. The latter’s portrayal of Clare does not ignore the more difficult aspects of his character but places them in context and invests him with dignity despite his human frailties.
“Fame blazed upon me like a comet’s glare
Fame waned and left me like a fallen star”
by Sylvia Plath movingly explores in verse the very different experiences of the three women waiting in a maternity clinic.
with Patti Holloway. An exploration of the relationship between Eliza (Emma) Emmerson and John Clare explored through her letters to him. This is an accompanying piece to ‘Reflections from the Madhouse’.
Being a Faithful and Humorous Re-Enactment of the Theatrical Episodes
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
by Charles Dickens
Mansel David’s own
adaptation of the Charles Dickens Classic
as a Solo Dramatic Reading of Nicholas’s Adventures and Misadventures with The Vincent Crummles Provincial Touring Theatre Company
A Celebration of Life in the Theatre
and the Theatre in Life!
Crummles premiered with an American Tour in Autumn 2000, and has since toured to the States annually, including a presentation Off-Broadway. Crummles has also visited Canada, Germany, England, Wales, Austria, Croatia, as well as appearing mid-Atlantic on board both the QE2 and QM2. UK presentations also include The Centenary Conference of The Dickens Fellowship at University College London in 2002, the Rochester and Broadstairs Dickens Festivals in Kent and The Cedric Dickens Evening at Gad’s Hill Place (Dickens’s last home).
An exploration of the queer sensibility of A. E. Housman
in his own words.
He would not stay for me; and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand and tore my heart in sunder
And went with half my life about my ways.
Conceived and Presented by
The clues are there in the poetry — if you know where to look.
A 25 minute presentation by
It was written for him by Richard Morley
and directed by Keith Hutton.