Making Harold Pinter’s Art, Truth & Politics

1st October 2018

theatre announcement of Mark Rylance's performance of Art, Truth & Politics

In the early evening on Tuesday and Thursday of this coming week, 2 and 4 October, Mark Rylance performs Harold Pinter’s Nobel Lecture Art, Truth & Politics as part of the excellent ‘Pinter at the Pinter’ season. These charity performances are in aid of the Stop the War coalition, and are directed by Harry Burton. Tickets can be booked here.

Our DVD of Harold Pinter delivering Art, Truth & Politics is available here. Harry Burton’s excellent film Working with Pinter is also available as an Illuminations DVD, which can be ordered here.

Harold Pinter has been very much a part of my life recently. Ten days ago I contributed a keynote lecture to the University of Reading/British Library conference organised by the Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies research project. On Thursday I saw the first of the ‘Pinter at the Pinter’ performances which included a truly powerful staging of One for the Road with Antony Sher and Paapa Essiedu, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and Lia Williams’ remarkable production of Ashes to Ashes, with Paapa again and an astonishing Kate O’Flynn. And with the Art, Truth & Politics performances coming up, Harry Burton has prompted me to compose the following notes about what I recall about producing, with my colleague Linda Zuck, the 2005 recording. read more »

Sunday links

30th September 2018

Today’s links to interesting stuff that has attracted my attention over the past week or so, with thanks to Twitter recommenders. You will doubtless be delighted to see that I have once again worked out how to embed videos.

They Shall Not Grow Old: this is unquestionably remarkable…

Colouring the Past:… but in all the discussion that there’s bound to be about it, take note of this by Luke McKernan, from January, and also his post Monochrome. read more »

Judson Dance Theater at MoMA

29th September 2018

I’m not sure I’m ready – or have time – to return to contributing frequent posts, but I am interested to see if I can occasionally draw together notes and pointers about topics that are engaging me. I want to dive more deeply into certain things than I’m able to do by simply linking to articles on a Sunday. If only for me to learn more about the topics. So here’s a first assembly, which I hope to add to, of some elements linked in this case to Judson Dance Theater.

Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done is a recently opened exhibition and ambitious events programme at MoMA in New York until 3 February. Judson Dance Theater was, as Wikipedia currently tells us, ‘a collective of dancers, composers, and visual artists who performed at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village in Manhattan… between 1962 and 1964. The artists involved were avant garde experimentalists who rejected the confines of Modern dance practice and theory, inventing as they did the precepts of Postmodern dance.’ Among those involved were Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Lucinda Childs, Trisha Brown and Robert Morris. read more »

Sunday links

23rd September 2018

No post last week – apologies – but I’m delighted to offer here a new group of links to stuff that I’ve found interesting over the past week and more. Many thanks to those who alerted me to some, on Twitter and elsewhere.

The plot to subvert an election: a genuinely astonishing feat of reporting – and of presentation – by Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti for The New York Times about the 2016 race and ‘the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.’

A warning from Europe – the worst is yet to come: Anne Appelbaum for The Atlantic is an essential read about Poland and Hungary, and what recent events in both countries portend. read more »

Clowns for BBC Two’s Performance Live

21st September 2018

One of the highlights of the summer was working with Hofesh Shechter to film his half-hour dance work Clowns. The film is first screened tomorrow night, 22 September, on BBC Two at 10.30pm, and will then be on BBC iPlayer for 30 days – link to follow. We are thrilled to have collaborated with Hofesh Shechter Company to help create what I think is a genuinely innovative and bold  film for the screen.

Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns was commissioned by the BBC as part of the Performance Live strand – a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre, showcasing some of the most exciting artists working in performance today. With cinematographer Sebastian Cort, we shot the film over five days on location at Rivoli Ballroom in South London. The editor was Todd MacDonald, who also took these striking images. Henny Finch and I are the producers. read more »

Sunday links

9th September 2018

A slightly fuller list of links (and a perhaps moderately more considered one) after last week’s tentative return to this format, with a clutch of articles that I have found fascinating and enriching. Many thanks to all those who alerted me to these, on Twitter and elsewhere. (But I still can’t work out how to embed videos in the current iteration of WordPress, despite having done so many times in the past.)

• Venice 2018: Welles and The Other Side of the Wind: there’s no-one I’m more interested in reading on the ‘new’ Orson Welles feature than David Bordwell – and he doesn’t disappoint. Above, John Huston, Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich on the set of The Other Side of the Wind.

• “We cannot live without Ford” – an interview with Tag Gallagher: a terrific exchange between the biographer and critic and Jake Rutkowski at FilmInt., which takes off from Gallagher’s re-working as a digital publication of his great study of the great director – John Ford, Himself and his Movies, available for Kindle here for (currently) just £4.69. read more »

Sunday links

2nd September 2018

Summer’s over and – yes – I’ve delivered the first draft manuscript of my book. (It’s about film and television adaptations of RSC stage productions.) So let’s see if I can return to my weekly list of links to things that I have found stimulating to read or watch in recent days. Thanks to all those who recommended these on Twitter and elsewhere. One note: in the period since I last posted either WordPress has changed so as not to permit the embedding of Youtube videos or I’m doing something stupid – could be either, but as you’ll see there are no videos included below.

Venice 2018: First impressions, First Man and Big films on the big screen: two rich reports from the festival by Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell.

• The fabric of freedom – Laura Huertas Millán’s ethnographic filmmaking: Matt Turner for Sight & Sound on the French-Canadian filmmaker, including La Libertad, 2017 (above).

Ontology of the memed image: at, Ben Flanagan looks at how studios are increasingly using gifs in their marketing and asks, ‘How can the meme be used to rediscover the history of cinema?” read more »

Postcard from Paris [in progress]

23rd July 2018

One of several reasons that I stopped blogging many months ago was my questioning of why anyone in the world might be interested. Especially in a post like this which is essentially what-I-did-on-a-two-day-break-in-Paris. But if I think that essentially I’m primarily writing for myself, and collecting and collating a bunch of links that others just might find interesting, then I guess it’s ok.

So after a fairly intesive period of production, including filming a forthcoming contemporary dance film for television and last week’s Romeo and Juliet for RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, I treated myself to a night in Paris to see a clutch of exhibitions as well as to visit an architectural masterpiece that I had long wanted to visit, above: Église Notre-Dame du Raincy.

Pictures of that follow first, and the brief thoughts (which might spill over into a separate post) on those shows: Guernica at Musée Picasso-Paris, U.A.M.: A Modern Adventure and Coding the World at the Centre Pompidou, The Water Lillies: American Abstract Art and the last Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Mary Cassatt (on its last day), and then Sabine Weiss: the Cities, the Street, the Other back at the Pompidou, plus not nearly enough time in that great museum’s own collection.  read more »

Basquiat and the return of history

19th April 2018

Our colleague TOM ALLEN reflects on postmodernism and history, on the ideas of Frederic Jameson and Karl Marx, and on the art of Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I was recently re-reading the first chapter of Frederic Jameson’s book Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Jameson contrasts Vincent Van Gogh’s “A Pair of Shoes” (1886-87) with Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes” (1980) as an example of the difference between modernism and postmodernism, and what I found striking about this distinction was how we could use this definition as a way to understand the artistic relationship between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

read more »