Theatre Review: "The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable" (Punchdrunk)

Hey Readers!

 What would you do if you were invisible for a day? Well last night, my Mum and I went up to London to give it a try in the coolest theatre experience ever.

 Punchdrunk is a groundbreaking theatre company  that works within the emerging theatre genre "immersive theatre" in which the audience is given the ability to run free around the set and explore the story as much or as little as they like. Sounds confusing? It is. Sounds fun? It definitely is. Their latest production "The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable" works with National Theatre and recreates Temple Studios, Hollywood's London outpost until it closed for unknown reasons in the 1950s. Inspired by Buchner's "Woyzeck", Punchdrunk combines (limited) dialogue, (stunning) dance
and a (masterful) sound design.

 I first heard about the company in a Radio 4 documentary "It's Fun, But Is It Theatre?" and so it was a no brainer when the collaboration was announced that we would get tickets. They were expensive, about £50 each, but it was worth it.

 From the beginning the experience was great. I mean, those loos! And because I'm under 18 I got to wear a visitors pass and feel super special. But then we went in, and were immediately confront with a pitch black corridor, which my Mum had serious trouble navigating, before we encountered other audience members (who I thought were actors originally). From there, we were given masks and shown into an old school lift with the doors that were opened manually by an actress. Inside the scene was set: it was the 1950s. We were going on a tour of Temple Studios after they had just finished filming their latest film. We had been given complete access to the studios but were advised to not go into the surrounding neighbor hoods. The door was opened by the actress and we were guided out. When I say we I mean my Mum and I, because the door was immediately slammed, and the rest of the group continued up, whilst we were left to explore on our own.

 I now encounter a problem writing this review as I don't really want to write about what happened. Even though I know my readers are strewn across the globe, and therefore won't be going to see this production, it's as if it a secret. Because everybody really does have different experiences (some scenes are performed to just one audience member) it feels like an exam. You can talk about the things that everyone had (in this metaphor, the questions), like the amazing set, which no matter how hard I tried, I could not find a fault with, but you must never talk about what happened to you (answering the questions) as it will leave other people questioning themselves and worrying they did it wrong.

 What I can say is that I don't think it was supposed to end for me like it did. I think the visitors pass meant that actors couldn't take me off by myself, but one did. Was that slightly illegal?

 If you ever find yourself at one Punchdrunk's productions (they are currently running Sleep No More in New York) don't hold back. Go everywhere, follow whoever you like (I would have liked to focus on the story slightly more as I became a bit too excited by my independence and flitted from character to character, floor to floor) and enjoy it, because you will never have the same experience again.


My experience: 4*
Set: 5*
Performance: 5*
Technical: 5*
Overall: 5*



I think I should be Education Secretary.

Hey Readers!

 As you may have been aware from my last post, or if you live in England and have any exposure to the news/facebook, you will know that on Thursday many teenagers got there GCSE results. I'm pretty happy with mine.
Stereotypical happy, smiling, pretty blonde girl receiving results. [source]

 But of course, the Government isn't happy. Which isn't surprising considering that the GCSE curriculum is often mind-numbingly dull and patronising, filled with exam technique and little room for learning really great and interesting things for the sake of learning. It really is time for a re-think in regards to what we're learning. But hold up – this is the Government. They don't care that school is a place for learning and exploring knowledge, they're obviously exam factories where the only mark of how good they are is the number of A*s  achieved, and if this number isn't at some target imposed by people who left school long, long ago and don't what it's like to be a teenager in the 21st Century, then clearly something is very wrong. Naturally, the only way to deal with this catastrophe is a continual fiddling with exam system and grade boundaries.

 I'm not saying that grades aren't important – they definitely are. But how much does that A* I achieved in Drama really tell you? Does it tell you about my passion for the subject? All the hours I put in reading drama books and plays? Does it tell you about how my political beliefs and understanding of world was slightly altered? At the end of the day, does it even tell you if act or do lighting? The majority of the population will have no idea about what is involved in doing GCSE drama and so realistically an A* will mean nothing, other than that I reasonably good at the subject; a subject which most people don't take seriously, nor understand the sheer amount of hardwork and commitment involved.

 Contrastingly, my "useful" A* in ICT will tell them almost nothing about what I actually know about computers. Does that A* say that I can write a line of code, or design a half decent looking page on a website, or do an IF statement in excel? I would love it if I could. Instead that A* means that I am fully qualified in taking screenshots. I can honestly hardly remember anything I learned, meaning that I realistically I am no better a candidate than somebody without GCSE IT in applying for a job. And what if I could remember something? How about I put it like this: if science is supposed to inspire us to become astrophysicists or chemical engineers, then the ICT course is clearly designed for us to spend our lives in an office doing admin.

 I'll admit that in the sciences we do usually learn useful things. However when you look closer and compare to other subjects you begin to realise that there is a political agenda at play. We have to learn almost continuously about the environment. I understand and completely agree that the environment is one of the most important issues we face as a species, but by the time we have had it shoved down our throats in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Languages and even Religious Studies (all of which are compulsory or highly popular subjects), it just becomes boring, and my mind switches off the moment it is mentioned. We're just going to loose interest. It will loose it's power to shock. And while I sit there writing about how a Muslim would feel about recycling, I look towards our politicians and see very little action being taken. It's time we stop learning the theory, and start implementing it.

  When students are still leaving school without achieving "5 A*-Cs including Maths and English" it is clear that the priority should not be on how hard it is to gain certain grades, but creating a curriculum that is more engaging than mobile phones or bunking off school. One which can engage teenagers no matter what their background is. One that can challenge and stretch every pupil, top and bottom. One which is worth more than an A*.



Good Luck!

Hey UK Readers with results tomorrow!

 I want to wish good luck to anyone getting results tomorrow. This is most likely to be GCSEs, but it could your driving test... Or an STD test.

 I find with these types of things its best to go in with a negative mind set so your bound to be happy with how well you have. Or very prepared to deal with the fact that your future is looking iffy to say the least. So as the fantastic blogging friend I am, I have decided to take inspiration from the Romans and install a "prevention not sure" way to deal with your on coming depression due to said results. I suggest that when you open your results letter and realise your life is completely screwed, before the first tear even leaves your eyes I suggest you watch this [see below]. It may not start off as funny. But the second time you watch it you should be giggling like a giggly thing. Eventually you shall reach my unfortunate state where it is not funny, but hey.

 And remember: no matter what happens, your results can't be as bad as the current layout.

 P.S. For a song that is genuinely uplifting, I suggest you head right on over here



To my wondeful blogging friends: can anyone give me a CSS code to make the background semi-transparent that works? Nothing I can find seems to :( Or a possible reason as to why this may be the case?



Hey Readers!

 I'm feeling rather emotionally, physically and mentally drained at the moment, so sorry for the lack of activity.



Coffee, books and Capaldi.

Hey Readers!

 You find me at midday, in a cafe and writing this post in a very old school way, a.k.a. on paper. Being up at my Granny's and having limited access to the internet has made me confront that fact that despite the short time I have done it, blogging really does play a large role in my life, and when it is withdrawn a resort to just making posts up in my head.

 I love spending a week with my Granny every summer (although this year looks like the last) purely for that I can go down into town (think stereotypical small, affluent, very middle class town on the Thames) for a hour or two by myself in the mornings. I always start in a small local cafe with a regular Americano, plus room for milk (the volume of which seems to vary every day [but at least they know my order now {which is such a good feeling}]) before moving onto the highstreet to poke about in the same old shops. Sometimes I will walk upon the Thames*.

 However this morning my routine was interrupted by a lack of reading material, which caused me to frequent the Oxfam bookshop. This is by far my favourite shop, and it would be a rare occasion indeed to find me leaving there without something (all Penguin books 99p – who could resist?). I was hoping to find "Brighton Rock" and "A Clockwork Orange" (In preparation for next year for next year may I add, I'm not some psychopath with a sick interest in rape [Dear Lord, what does that say about the school I'm going to next year though?]) as well as Cecily's leaving present (the name of which shall not be revealed for obvious reasons). I did leave with three books, however the only planned one was Cecily's present. Apparently they usually have the other two, but today they didn't (clearly this small middle class town is full of psychopaths who have a sick interest in rape). This meant I could enjoy some guilt free browsing and ended up with "The Grass is Sining" by Doris Lessing (just for the cover, books about racism and farming are usually not my thing) and a collection of poems called "Touchpiece" by Elizabeth Whyman. I am yet to read any of the poems, but I have started "The Grass is Singing". As Lessing's first novel, there is something immature and un-formed about her writing, that rather gives the lovely feeling she is across the table talking to me.

 To finish, I shall focus on the big news: Peter Capaldi is to be the new Doctor. I think this is a f****** brilliant decision and should bring some f****** darkness to the f****** show. I have also been lucky enough to see him live on the f****** stage in the Lady-f******-killers; he's a f****** fantsatic actor.

 Hopefully anyone f****** old enough to watch The F****** Thick of It will get my change in tone.


*Like Jesus, some may say.


(The Final) Music Monday! WOMAD

Hey Readers!

 As you may have gathered, this will be our final Music Monday. Now before you start rioting on the streets and stalking down my house in the middle of the night with torches and forks etc. I feel I should let you know that this is Cecily's doing and not mine. I did try to protest, however she says we should stop it because she always forgets. However this now means I can subject you to my uber cool music taste without being restricted by theme or days of the week! What fun!

 In last weeks post, Cecily pointed out that I was absent due to being of at a music festival in South-West England called WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance). I would love to tell you all about my experiences but for this post it's going to just be about the music due to lack of time.

I'll start with my favourite band just to make you sure that you actually listen to it. This was also the final band I saw, and they are soooooooo good live. They also happened to be the soundtrack to Obama's re-election campaign.

"What Makes a Good Man" by The Heavy

"Edge of Earth"by Syd Arthur

 These guys were recommended to us by a friend, and then when we saw them we became all protective because they come from a city just up the road.


 I have no idea what this video is going to be like, but they did this wedding song, and it was the most depressing thing in the world.