RSC Live from…, ’71 style

RSC Live from…, ’71 style

Today I went, by appointment, to what they call a carrel in Rare Books and Manuscripts at The British Library. My carrel was a little room with a glass wall, rather fierce air-conditioning and some headphones. An immensely helpful librarian explained that I should put on the headphones and she would start the playback I had requested. There had been, she admitted, a bit of a panic earlier when they discovered that the tape had been recorded more than forty years ago on a reel-to-reel machine at a very eccentric speed. But all was well. So I closed my eyes, opened my ears, and was transported back to the Aldwych Theatre on the evening of 2 January 1971. Playing out in my head was an ‘as live’ recording of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
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Hand-held exhibitions

Hand-held exhibitions

At The British Library Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (until 13 March) is an exhibition of medieval bibles and prayer books, histories and genealogies. Many are objects of astounding beauty, as well as being of profound historical significance. Complementing the compelling show there’s an iPad app with multiple images drawn from fifty-eight of the manuscripts. The app does one thing brilliantly well, but in other ways it’s disappointing. Another current exhibition with its own app is Maurizio Cattelan: All at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (until 22 January). Created with the same mobile content system, toura, this app is both more engaging (filmmaker John Waters acts as host) and somehow more substantial. Taken together, they are a good introduction to the state of the app for major exhibitions.
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