Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Pirandello in the Salumeria - glimpses of genius

Gli attore - Richard Wilcocks e Simone Lomartire

Conrad Beck reports: 
Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 for his powers of psychological analysis in dramatic writing, Luigi Pirandello is now more a staple of the curriculum in drama schools and on acting courses, along with the likes of Konstantin Stanislavki, than a name which triggers recognition amongst the non-specialists in the population. For most English people anyway. Some of them might have heard of Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) but practically no educated person in England is aware of the fact that it was not just Shakespeare who wrote a play entitled Henry IV.

Not so in Italy, Simone Lomartire told the substantial audience at their tables in Salvo's Salumeria, which has hosted so many events connected with Italian writers thanks to Headingley LitFest. Pirandello is well-known (and taught in schools) as a prose writer, who produced many short stories and novels. He was fascinated by Freud and by the masking and pretence which is basic to the theatre.

Simon and Richard Wilcocks performed extracts from Six Characters and Henry IV both before and after the audience dined (the main was pasta alla norma), which resulted in considerable applause. Some of the author's genius was revealed in glimpses. It was script-in-hand, mostly in English with a sprinkling of Italian, without costumes and acted in a very small space between tables, but it worked! It was a little audacious too - attempting to put a large number of characters into the minds of those present in less than an hour when the plays would have taken much, much longer in their full versions. 

One of them that still sticks in my mind did not have any lines, and was simply described in English and Italian - Madama Pace, who runs a bordello. She appeared before our imaginations, a grossly fat old lady wearing a ludicrous red woollen wig with a red rose stuck in it.

This appears to be an annual event, with Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and the popular Montalbano already in the bag. So what comes next?

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Pirandello at Salvo's Salumeria

An Evening with Luigi Pirandello

Monday 29 April 7pm

Following the sell-out success of ‘Dinner with Montalbano’ last year, Headingley LitFest in partnership with Salvo's offers diners an entertaining evening with the great Sicilian novelist and dramatist Luigi Pirandello, whose plays include ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ and 'Henry IV'. 

Simone Lomartire and Richard Wilcocks will present and perform extracts from his works, script-in-hand, mainly in English but with a sprinkling of Italian as well. Dishes served for the dinner will, of course, be in the Sicilian tradition.

Salvo's Restaurant & Salumeria  Leeds LS6 3PX   (See map)

£20  Booking essential

Online www.salvos.co.uk   or   0113 275 5017

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Poet Kirsty Taylor at Ralph Thoresby School

Poet Kirsty Taylor has now completed her series of workshops at Ralph Thoresby School in Holt Park.  The group of young poets, who name themselves 'Rebel Writers', have been filmed by Joshua Lewis of Big Dumb Music performing their best pieces of work.  Once the final video has been edited and set to music, it will be uploaded on to the school website.  Watch this space. 

Kirsty Taylor on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIsYGiD304Q

Comments from the young poets that stay with you:
“I'm not usually very good but this has expanded my writing skills”
“You can write about gritty things here”
“You can write from your heart”
“It's really good having Kirsty here, having a professional poet”
“What we write can be experimental, it's not marked”
“This helps with my confidence for the future”
“This stuff helps with actual life”


Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Poet Malika Booker at Brudenell Primary School

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Class teacher Julia Rawlinson with Malika Booker
It was about mothers and other loved ones in the family, but it began with hands. After reading one of her own short poems, about a dream of a cat, Malika distributed and read out a poem by Lisa Suhair Majaj - 'I Remember My Father's Hands'. The class (Year 6) drew hands 'of someone you love'. Malika talked with the class about some of the things that mothers commonly say to sons and daughters. Hands shot up. They say plenty, and not all of it telling off. 'This is all a trick!' said Malika, 'because I'm gathering ingredients for a poem, like in a recipe.' The hands were soon being filled with the sayings of the loved one.

More and more ingredients were added, including similes. Your mum or dad is strong? Like what? A rock, a brick, a boxer, a weight in the gym, a house... the suggestions flooded in. Her hands are soft like what? A pillow, a marshmallow...  and so on. What do those hands do? They stir soup, knead bread, form chapatis, open doors, pull the cords of blinds...  and so on. 'This is turning into a list poem,' said Malika.

On finale day, the class had the poems ready, thanks to class teacher Julia Rawlinson, all now in best handwriting, and they were taken into the hall for a rehearsal, for performance later on to any parents who could make it. Malika coached them. It was all about building confidence, encouragement with 'well done' for all. Voices had to be raised, projected: 'I know you've got a bigger voice than that! What's the voice you use in the playground? Let's hear it!' And keep still when you're waiting your turn - no rustling of paper.' Loosening-up exercises followed.

It was mainly mothers who came, the subjects of most of the poems. Everybody read beautifully. Most of the audience cried with happiness.