Saturday, 29 March 2014

War and Peace - Maggie Mash's house event

War and Peace - house event
2.30pm Sunday 23 March

Sheila Chapman writes:
                                                                            Photo: Sheila Chapman
Maggie’s front room is striped with magic –music, song, drama and poetry. I love being there entranced by the power and inspiration of words rendered with passion, integrity and talent. I was truly moved by the range of work and the way it provided such an insight into the lives of people who survived, and found hope, sometimes in dreadful situations.

Dave Robertson gave us a dramatized reading of the dialogue between Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon (his mentor) as the young poet struggled to find the ‘right’ words – this particular struggle resulted in Anthem for Doomed Youth!

Maggie Mash and Ruth Sillers told us the story of women during wartime - taking on men’s jobs, fleeing persecution, working for the resistance, and finding a personal freedom not normally available to them in peacetime. The story was told using the women’s own words with powerful readings by Maggie and Ruth of excerpts from books and from poetry. We went with these women on their journey and heard them talking directly to us.

Finally – the ‘Chansons’. Maggie Stratford and Daniel Bowen took us back in time to listen to French ‘chansons’ which inspired us all. Maggie’s wonderful voice and skilled introductions together with Daniel’s beautiful music took us back in time, and to another country, to be moved inspired and uplifted. I am definitely going to learn the Java – even at my age. Bravo! Encore!!

Thank you so much to one and all.

Excerpt from Pat Barker's Regeneration.                                                                 David Robertson
Excerpts from Ruth Siller's audiobook, War Girls.                          Ruth Sillers & Maggie Mash
Excerpt from Janina Bauman's Winter in the Morning.                                           Maggie Mash
Excerpt from Marcelle Kellerman's A Packhorse called Rachel.                             Maggie Mash
French chansons.                      Maggi Stratford (singer): Daniel Bowater (piano & accordion)

Wolf White writes:
                                                      Photo: Sheila Chapman
Very well attended and warmly welcomed into Maggie and Bob’s home. Ruth Sillers did ensemble piece with Maggie Mash about the previously invisible women who suddenly became visible everywhere doing ‘men’s work’ with great expertise. Of this period we know much from male poets but many women wrote also – where was their work? I learnt a great deal from this performance about women’s thinking in a range of voices. Brilliant. Maggie Stratford (and pianist and accordionist Daniel Bowater) then gave us a very French rendition of wonderfully energized and sung chansons. Maggie’s intro to each piece set the context both personal (regarding the song writer) and historical. Hats off to Headingley LitFest for making this truly a community arts event - inviting local people to provide the intimacy of their homes for some of these presentations. It’s a great and practical means of people crossing paths in mutual enjoyment of local talent and thinking about ways to render the theme of surviving.

Audience comments:

Beautiful selection of material. Wonderful interpretation by ALL concerned.  

Please more time between heart moving poetry readings. There is so much to comprehend!
A superb event in every way!! Thank you so much for setting it up.

What a fabulous afternoon. What a feast of talent and a plethora of emotion! Many thanks – I’d like to have it all over again. Bravo Maggie!

French singing was very lovely indeed. Readings too were fascinating.

What a wonderful afternoon! 

Most interesting and entertaining. Thanks to all concerned for making a very enjoyable afternoon.  
A fantastic performance and getting insight into the women’s perspective through some amazing poetry and prose read with great feeling and emotion. Beautiful French songs – so tuneful!

Superb afternoon. Poignant and delightful. A wonderful mix of memories & sentiments. 

Wonderfully nice and varied programme of poetry, prose and music – poignant, haunting and amusing! Fantastic!

A wonderful collection of poetry, prose and songs. I enjoyed very much. Thank you.

Very lovely rendering of poems and great voice, introduction and songs.

I enjoyed talking and singing and playing

Enjoyed yes – Readings very interesting and informative from WW1 and 2 war girls. Superb and what more to come Encore - well done to Maggie and Daniel. Well done to hosts – thank you very much.

A very enjoyable afternoon. Well thought out and researched. ‘Encore’ was very entertaining and their enthusiasm was obvious and made the audience part of the experience.

A most enjoyable afternoon of poetry and music. Thanks to everyone involved. Will look forward to future events.

A brilliant event! Exceptionally well-read poetry and prose and a stunning rendition of French songs.

A lovely mélange of poems, prose and songs. Five talented performers and two separate instruments – piano and accordion. A great range of themes and periods. Skilful rendering of the moods of women during WW1. 

Brilliant! A wonderful way to treat a sad subject. Couldn’t be more interesting and entertaining.  
An unexpected mixture. But the readings were nice, and the French chansons are indestructible. 

Most enjoyable. Tremendous combination of verse and song. Brought home the suffering of women and war – the pity and the sorrow, but also the sweet chagrin of love that can ….. (complete as you see fit).

Beautiful poems and chansons. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon!

A wonderful afternoon of moving and exhilarating poems and readings and songs. Many thanks.

Really excellent. I loved the readings and the musical numbers – a very enjoyable afternoon. 

Wonderful afternoon – inspiring and moving. Lover every element – songs, readings etc. Thank you.

A wonderful introduction to two aspects of war and often think about –the women and the music.

 Fantastic reading, absolutely stupendous. Inspirational female talent channeling their energy into meaningful drama. Thank you. ‘Barbara’s’ final song was so sweetly sung and played. I can’t speak or understand a word of French … did it matter? Not at all, I was in awe.

A most enjoyable afternoon – (as a guest). Wonderful performances and fascinating history of the First World War. Thank you so much.

Lovely atmosphere engendered by private house venue. A collection of wonderful performers and unusual material. Great variety and total entertainment in widest emotional and intellectual sense. Brilliant to be stretched by songs in French! (or any foreign language).  

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