I was lucky to see the production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Stratford, directed by Howard Davies who, sadly,has just died.
I returned Stratford a week later having persuaded the Irish paper for which I was then freelancing that it should be reviewed, pitching it to the paper as something that should be covered since the set designer was Irish, from Cork.
Bob Crowley was his name. Still is. And it was his set that mesmerised me: a larger than life chest of drawers out of which was spilling an array of white, gauzy female underwear.
Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson were in the lead but I couldn’t take my eyes off that chest of drawers. Brilliant.
Today of all days
No one wishes to stifle individual creativity but some things are sacred so Elizabeth, aged 6, is told no, you can’t colour Ireland’s flag purple. Well, you just can’t. Well, because it’s green, white and orange for a reason.
The James Joyce Italian Foundation will hold its 8th Conference in Rome from February 2-3 of 2015. The conference invites unpublished and in-progress essays and asks for 250-500 word abstracts with a short biography by November 15, 2014. Because this year’s conference coincides with the Yeats’ 150th birthday, organizers are encouraging paper proposals to engage with Joyce, Yeats, and topics focusing on the Irish Revival. They provide a list of possible paper topics but encourage others as well:
– Joyce and/vs Yeats
– Joyce and/vs Synge
– Joyce and/vs A.E.
– Joyce and/vs Lady Gregory
– Joyce as a revivalist
– Joyce’s drama/Yeats’s theatre
– Joyce’s poetry and the Revival
– Rewriting the Revival in Joyce’s notebooks, drafts, and completed works
– Joyce, genetic studies and the Revival
– Joyce’s Triestine journalism and the Revival
– Joyce’s writings as Revivals/Counter-revivals
– The Revival and autobiography: Writing the self/writing the nation
– Joyce’s translations of Synge and Yeats in Trieste
– Yeats’ Joyce
– The state and status of Yeats and Joyce Studies 60 years after their deaths
– Writing “Irishness”
– Joyce and the Irish Language
– Yeats, Joyce, and the idea of the Irish “race”
– Yeats, Joyce and Irish alterities
– Mangan or Ferguson? Who to revive from the nineteenth century.
The conference has confirmed several speakers including Matthew Campbell, Erik Bindervoet, Robbert-Jan Henkes, Fritz Senn, and Carla Marengo Vaglio. Some papers delivered at the conference will be invited for publication at a later date. Direct abstracts and questions to email@example.com
Fascinating news about John O Keefe’s Nobel Prize. His research looked at the way rats’ brains worked out a sort of GPS system which told them where they were. It’s neuroscience stuff…
Here’s a game we used to play at children’s parties: one person goes outside while something is hidden – behind the sofa, on top of a shelf etc. Everyone knows where it is except the outsider. When they enter, everyone starts to sing: “Have you seen the mocking bird, the mocking bird, the mocking bird? Have you seen the mocking bird that lives in yonder tree?”
(The tune is similar to Here we go round the mulberry bush.)
The singing starts loudly while the outsider begins to search for the hidden treasure. When they get near it, the singing goes very quiet.If they move away, the singing gets louder.If the outsider moves very far away, say to the other side of the room, the singing gets very loud and close to shouting. ( This is a children’s party, don’t forget.) That way, the outsider gets an idea of where the treasure is hidden. In other sords, they’re mapping the room. Then, when the singing is down to a whisper, they’re know they’re very hot until – Bingo!
Clearly, either John O Keefe played this game as a child ( his parents were Irish) or we have a lot in common with rats.