Brief fantasia ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brief fantasia

Those who think it's been a bit quiet here might recall that I temporarily blew up last week, driving a deep hole in my novel schedule. Those fanboys and girls waiting (with appropriate squeeing noises) for The Singing will be glad to hear that I'm making up for it this week, only surfacing from the heart-stopping adventures in Annar for meals. Or perhaps to say "hello" to my family. Yes, I'm afraid I'm well and truly away with the faeries.

But never fear, brave thespianauts: the blogoverse has been humming with industry. Check out my blogroll (which is already sadly out of date) or the new must-have theatre blog aggregator Theatreforte, which is pretty comprehensive on US blogs, even if the Rest of the World is kinda down the bottom there (and thanks guys for the link...) Then you can catch up on the Mike Daisey fracas that has been entertaining our American friends; or if you feel like some meaty conversation, have a look at Superfluities where George Hunka has a great vid of John Cage on a game show (!!) and is discussing Mac Davies' deeply interesting new book, Art and Politics. More on that when I reach the end of the book, which is now in my hot little hands. Closer to home, Nicholas Pickard waxes indignant about the state of arts discourse, and David Williams has a couple of valuable posts about arts funding.

And don't miss this wonderful post on the Steppenwolf blog from actor Tracy Letts, which hilariously dissects a certain percentage of the audience - mobile phoners, coughers, psychos - which all of us will recognise. (We are - for once - in the majority - we know we're the lovable 99 per cent.)

Meanwhile back in fantasyland - indulge me, guys - I got a letter today enclosing the rather gorgeous bookmarks that will come free with the US paperback edition of The Riddle, due out around now, I guess; and I saw with a certain thrill that Candlewick Press is advertising the domain name Nothing there yet - it just reverts to Candlewick - but could it be that there will be a website for the Pellinor books designed - well - not by me, but by a real web designer? Something like this gorgeous thing done for Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy would be cool, no? (Ok, maybe I'll have to wait for the movie for that kind of production. Still...)

I'm thinking about Pullman, in fact, because rather foolishly I said I'd write an essay on His Dark Materials and its relationship to Milton and Blake for an upcoming anthology that Borders is putting out in the States to celebrate the release of the movie. So I got my Daemon (Myron?! But look what a lovely, softly spoken osprey he is) from said cool website. Admire below and, if the fancy takes you, get your own.


Nicholas Pickard said...

Well.... apparently, my daemon is this:

Anonymous said...

Just played around with the daemon thing. Those 20 question personality tests are hilarious, no? I got a snow leopard, then with more consideration a gibbon. Answering neutral to every question elicited a ladybird (a very rare daemon, and frankly you'd be a bit pissed if that was what you got I reckon).

I read the first two books of the trilogy when I was younger, and saw the National Theatre production when I was in London in 04, which despite its dodgy expansiveness (large 'choruses' onstage, each with inanimate stuffed-toy daemons pinned onto rather dull costumes) led me to weep on the balcony overlooking the Thames. Strange confused young thing that I was. (Am.)

I loved the books and would relish some time to return to them and read the third one. Pullman's physicalisation of a concept of the true self/soul is quite fascinating, particularly when I think back to the harrowing scenes of the childrens' daemons being cut off from them in the Arctic, resulting in hollowed eyes and lifeless bodies. A beautiful and terrifying imagining of inhumanity I think.

Has Pullman written 'adult' stuff (loathe as I am to make that bumbling distinction, but you know what I mean - poetry, theory etc.)?

Ben H.

Alison Croggon said...

I love questionaires. It amounts to a personality flaw, I fear, I'm always the one filling out the census...

Pullman has only written fiction for young people, as far as I know - and whatever that means. (Most children's fiction authors maintain that they are just writing books.) There's another rather good series set in a kind of parallel Victorian London and a book called How T Be Cool, but that's all I've read.

The amputated daemons really stuck with me too. One thing that bothered me was that I never found out what happened to those children. I do think the whole idea of daemons a brilliant invention.

I couldn't imagine how HDM was to be made into a stage production - I was very curious - but I guess a ton of money helped. One thing that's sadly missing in this culture is a serious theatre culture for children - there are some truly wonderful playwrights writing for young people, Mike Kenny and David Almond for instance, whose work I'd love to see on stage.

Little Willow said...

Congratulations on being a part of the Philip Pullman Borders anthology! Does the anthology have a title yet? A release date?