I want you to tell me a story

I want you to tell me a story

To the London Olympics and the York Mystery Plays on the same evening, although both only virtually. I spent Saturday night somewhere between 2012 and the medieval world, as I watched athletics and diving on the BBC and Pilot Theatre’s transmission of the Christian Creation on The Space. Each in its way was remarkable and both raised interesting questions about media in a multi-stream world. Only one of them, however, was truly successful in telling me a story.
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‘As good as going to the Games’: London 1948

‘As good as going to the Games’: London 1948

Earlier this week Eric Pfanner for The New York Times celebrated the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics, suggesting- albeit only cautiously – that it was significantly superior to NBC’s offering. This might be the year of Super Hi-Vision and every-minute-of-every-event coverage (and haven’t we loved it!) but Pfanner also noted that

London Olympics have provided a variety of television firsts. The last such Games, in 1948, were the first to be televised to people’s homes, for example.

There was television at the notorious 1936 Berlin Games but the pictures were only shown in collective viewing rooms. So London 1948 was the start of the small-screen Olympics, and as this year’s extravaganza comes to an end I thought it might be interesting to look back to television at the Games sixty-four years ago. (The official Olympics web sit has some vivid colour newsreel from 1948.)
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‘War and lechery’

‘War and lechery’

I snuck away from London over the past two days on a kind of avant-garde Shakespeare mini-break. Last night I was in Stratford to see Troilus and Cressida, a co-pro between the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Wooster Group. Today I drove to Cardiff to see the first performance of Coriolan/us, a National Theatre Wales adaptation after Shakespeare and Brecht staged in a very big aircraft hanger at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan. Neither production is on for long – Troilus is in Stratford until 18 August, then 23 August to 8 September in London, and there are only six more dates for Coriolan/us  before 18 August – but both are essential for anyone interested in contemporary theatre, and in the ever more intimate connections of live performance and media. I’m not sure I’ve yet made sense of either production for myself, but undaunted I thought I’d offer some first notes.
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… and a third ten on Danny’s Britain

… and a third ten on Danny’s Britain

Seven days later. A week on from Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony, and the great writing about that extraordinary vision keeps on coming. So I cannot resist offering links to a third group of ten views. Across the jump you will find political analysis, textual exploration and some fun – what more can you ask of a blog (or indeed an Olympics opening ceremony)? (Warning: contains link to toxic Richard Littlejohn.)

Previously on this:
• Ten thoughts about Danny’s Britain
• Ten more on Danny’s Britain
• Jennings and Powell, thou should’st be living at this hour: Paul Tickell’s dazzling analysis
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