Carlo Goldoni’s Il Servitore di due padroni (The servant of two masters) rewritten by Ken Ponzio (Teatro Bonci, Cesena)
Spot the difference! The classic Harlequin and Roberto Latini in the post-modern version.
Prepositions have never been my strong point. The consequence of this is that I failed to appreciate the significance of the fact that this Venetian theatre company’s production was ‘da’ and not ‘di’ Carlo Goldoni. The first means ‘from’ the second means ‘by’.
The distinction is crucial because the only connection Ken Ponzio’s version had to the original play from 1743 is in the character names and token references to the plot.
In the programme notes Ponzio seeks to justify his presumptions act of literary terrorism: “Our way of perceiving comedies and tragedies has changed. Today’s expressive methods are radically different from those of Goldoni since we have experienced two world wars, been to the moon and we’ve read Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Heiner Müller; our way of seeing has fundamentally changed”.
When the curtain drew my heart sank. The set was a characterless hotel hall with three doors on each side. A pot plant, some chairs, a telephone and a TV (tuned to American shows) are the only props. View full article »
A TO Z STORIES OF LIFE AND DEATH by D.Biswas (A Smashwords e-book, 2011)
There can be freedom in constraint and our short life span is the biggest constraint of all.
Embracing these restrictions, can be liberating but is undeniably challenging. It means accepting endings rather than fighting against them.
Writing is, like all forms of creative expression, a discipline. Imagination and inspiration are useful too but these aren’t much good without application.
A quote, generally ascribed to William Faulkner, makes the case for less sexy prerequisites like dedication and perspiration: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired ar 9 o’clock every morning”.
Organization and a well-defined framework is invaluable for writers and is also good for readers.
Several movies by Peter Greenaway use the alphabet as a structural device and Walter Abish’s experimental debut novel Alphabetical Africa was even more rigorous with the first chapter containing only words starting with the letter ‘a’ and the next 25 chapters introducing words starting with each letter in turn before doing the same thing in reverse for the remaining 26 chapters.
Damyanti Biswas’s book is practically disencumbered by comparison. The only rule she is bound by is that each of each 26 short chapters must begin with a different letter of the alphabet, taking us from A for Aquarium to Z for Zone.
The collection of micro-fiction is drawn from her own blog and was in response to challenge posed by Arlee Bird to write 26 posts on 26 days of April with a day of rest allowed only Sundays. View full article »
WAGING HEAVY PEACE by Neil Young (Penguin Books, 2012)
Be honest, you didn’t really expect this to be a straightforward autobiography, did you?
Neil Young has always done things his own way and having just turned 68, you’d hardly expect him to change a habit of a lifetime now.
I don’t think you could call him truly avant-garde but his singular quality definitely sets him apart from his peers. His style is that of a loner and a hard task master, but this is what makes him such a unique artist.
He writes as he sings, with a disarming simplicity and openness. He continually admits his own limitations and recognises his idiosyncratic approach: “There is a lot to cover and I have never done this before. Also, I am not interested in form for form’s sake”.
By rights, there should be a footnote to say that no editor has interfered with any aspect of this book. The publishers appear to have accepted the finished work on trust, warts and all. “Today, my past is a huge thing”, Young states with a vagueness you quickly become accustomed to. Some chapters have titles while, for no obvious reason, others don’t and you will look in vain for any coherent narrative thread. View full article »
Caffe Pascucci, Piazza Trattati di Roma, 1, Savignano del Rubicone, Italy
From the outside this looks like another typical café/ bar in Italy – it has the kind of smart, stylish understated elegance that citizens take for granted. It is in a run of the mill location, situated in the Savignano sul Rubicone shopping mall near the small coastal town of Cesenatico.
The green plant logo is the only thing that gives a clue that this is something different. Caffe Pascucci is the first 100% vegan bar in Italy! Three cheers for them! It officially opened in September this year and hopefully will give others the courage to follow suit.
A lot of restaurants, shops and cafés are responding to the rising number of customers seeking humane alternatives to the standard carnivore diet. These, however, only take a half way house approach by providing veggie friendly food without entirely sacrificing the ubiquitous ham and salami options.
After 17 years of living in Emilia-Romagna, it is a relief to finally find a place where there are no such compromises. All the drinks, snacks and light lunches at Pascucci are unapologetically 100% vegan. View full article »