London bird news update


This video from London, England is called Birds I’ve Seen: Podcast 6 Wanstead Flats.

From the London Bird Club, on Twitter today:

Wanstead Park (1): Bullfinch, Water Rail, Kingfisher, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 14 Gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 3 Redwing.

and also:

Wanstead Park (2): 5 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Argentine military dictatorship in London theatre


This video from Britain says about itself:

These Trees Are Made of Blood – Minidoc (Client: Lucy Jackson Productions)

2 March 2014

1978. With the world watching, Argentina has won the World Cup and patriotism is running riot.

After some development time at BAC, director Amy Draper continues exploring her cabaret style show about Argentina’s Disappeared, which intertwines live music and narrative.

By Michal Boncza in England:

Theatre: War crimes caught in the acts

Wednesday 25th March 2015

MICHAL BONCZA recommends a cabaret exposing the long night of fascism in Argentina; These Trees Are Made of Blood, Southwark Playhouse, London SW1 4/5

THE THOUGHT of a play dealing with the “dirty war” in Argentina during the 1970s and ’80s might fill anyone familiar with that grim period with trepidation.

The appalling enormity of the crimes instigated by the US beggars belief to this very day. But These Trees Are Made of Blood by Amy Draper, Paul Jenkins and Darren Clark rapidly dispels such misgivings.

In the theatre’s small C-shaped auditorium, the crowded intimacy of a cabaret is recreated as the quartet of musicians in the corner play The Boy from Buenos Aires.

The “hosts” for the night are the 1976 putschists, the supreme commanders of the three branches of the armed forces, whose rationalisation of their odious deeds is subjected by the authors to biting ridicule — the targeting of the nazis in the musical Cabaret comes to mind — yet the hint of menace and foreboding is never far away.

To the authors’ credit, the combination of slapstick and song is an effective device — bar some ancient jokes — in advancing the narrative in which Greg Barnett is suitably slimy as The General while Alexander Luttley as the air force chief emanates egotism and duplicity.

So far, so satirical, but in an unexpected development one of the guests of the show Gloria Benitez (Val Jones) sees her daughter disappear when invited on stage to join the naval chief (Neil Kelso) in his magic tricks.

This tragedy, and her evolution from housewife to protester with the legendary Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, is charted with unassuming mastery by Jones.

After the interval the mood changes and, in a series of rapid vignettes, the historical blanks are filled in.

Everything from CIA involvement, the torture chambers at the school of naval mechanics, the Malvinas war and finally the trial of the military chiefs comes under scrutiny.

There’s a fair degree of disconcerting detail, some loose ends and short cuts that may baffle some in what occasionally comes across as over-elaborate. But it remains a riveting production, directed by Amy Draper with panache, with a cast that is as gifted as it is passionate. The songs by Darren Clark effectively catch the nuances of mood and, Greek chorus-style, comment on the action.

That culminates in a powerful theatrical moment at the conclusion when the curtains around the auditorium are drawn back, revealing walls filled top-to-bottom with the faces of the disappeared to a shell-shocked audience.

This video is called Amy Draper: These Trees Are Made Of Blood; rehearsal.

These video from London says about itself:

These Trees are Made of Blood Trailer

16 March 2015

At Southwark Playhouse from 18 March – 11 April 2015

#TheseTreesShow

Call 020 7407 0234 or click here to buy tickets.

And for our next act …

The Magical Military Junta …
Will make 30,000 people disappear before your very eyes.

During the 70s and 80s, Argentina was locked in a period of state terrorism, with a military dictatorship waging war on suspected left-wing political sympathizers. Thousands of citizens were “disappeared”; seized by the authorities and rarely heard from again.

Set in a timeless Buenos Aires cabaret club before, during and after Argentina’s Dirty War, These Trees are Made of Blood tells the story of one Mother’s search for her daughter. Blending original live music and exciting cabaret acts with an urgent narrative, this is a new piece of political theatre which promises to be an unforgettable audience experience.

So come on in. The club’s open all hours and history can always be rewritten after one too many.

This video says about itself:

These Trees are Made of Blood: How to make empanadas

5 March 2015

The team behind These Trees are Made of Blood give you a taste of what’s to come from this new production.

Turkish author warns against British nationalism


This video says about itself:

Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

19 July 2010

Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism

“What worries me is that we haven’t learnt anything from history”

Nick Clark

Thursday 05 March 2015

Turkey’s best-selling woman writer has warned against the rise of nationalism in Britain, saying that London’s “precious” multicultural scene was one of the main reasons she moved to the capital four years ago.

Elif Shafak spoke out against the rise of Ukip in Britain after witnessing the “bruising” effect of nationalism on the culture of her home country.

She told a packed audience at The Independent Bath Literature Festival that she was “very worried” about the rise of nationalism in the UK and added that she would like to share a platform with Nigel Farage to debate with him.

“Some of my English friends in the literary world say: ‘Don’t take it seriously’. But I do take it seriously,” the novelist said. “One of the precious things that Turkey has lost is cosmopolitanism. Many minorities have left, or had to leave, and we have lost a lot.”

Politicians across Europe belittling multiculturalism and targeting minorities “make me very sad”, she said. “What worries me is that we haven’t learnt anything from history. Not a long time ago, I’m talking about 70 years.”

The desire for uniformity and people who look the same was disturbing, she added. “The illusion that similarity will bring safety worries me very much. It’s nothing more than an illusion.

“There are few cities in the world now where there is true diversity. This is precious; philosophy, creativity and true democracy always thrive on diversity. In places where it’s not appreciated, democracy is bruised badly. This is what has happened in Turkey.”

Shafak, author of 13 works, said: “I am very fond of London; intellectually I find it very inspiring. The multicultural aspect … is very precious.” She is the best-read female novelist in Turkey, and her work has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Shafak was born in Strasbourg and raised in Ankara, before moving to London in 2010 with her children.

“We won’t learn anything from people who look and speak exactly like us,” she insisted. “Others will challenge us and teach us and we can teach them in return.”

The writer has won numerous literary awards, including France’s prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Letters, and has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

She has long spoken out over the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doing “nothing to further gender issues and equality. We have a big problem of gender violence”. This, she said, had risen 1,400 per cent over the past decade. The issue was highlighted last month after demonstrations broke out across the country following the rape and murder of student Ozgecan Aslan.

Shafak said she did not “have the luxury” of being apolitical as a writer, and criticised Turkey, saying freedom of speech was “going backwards”.

“Turkey is a very patriarchal, sexist and homophobic society,” she said. “The literary world is no different. When you are a woman writer you are treated differently.”