Tag: London

Spirei Stages Falstaff In Parma

Roberto de Candia as Falstaff (Photo: Roberto Ricci)

Every time I hear about an opera based on a play, my antenna goes up.

I was a theatre writer before I was an opera writer, and a theatre performer and aficionado before all of that. In my youth I spent countless hours pouring over journals, books, and audio recordings of works by (and this is by no means a comprehensive list) Pinter, Beckett, Miller, Pirandello, Artaud, O’Casey, Orton, Moliere, and of course, Shakespeare. When my mother would take me to operas based on plays, I would always wince, thinking, “surely this won’t be as good as the original.” Ah, youth.

Living in Dublin and London allowed for many fantastic nights of theatre, with some of my favorite moments unfolding at (or being connected with) the Almeida Theatre in Islington, north London. When Jonathan Kent, whose work I had long admired, moved into opera, I was immediately intrigued. The flow between the worlds of theatre and opera has always been a natural one, of course, but owing to youthful arrogance (and more than a bit of romance around the world of theatre), I couldn’t see or appreciate it clearly. I still love theatre but whenever I go now, I find myself missing the music.

Roberto de Candia as Falstaff and Sonia Prina as Mrs. Quickly (Photo: Roberto Ricci)

Opera is, of course, a fluid art form rich in drama and rife with possibilities for presentation, something various head honchos in opera know and riff on, to frequently wondrous effect. (See: Barry Kosky’s work, especially with Komische Oper Berlin; the work of Pierre Audi and Robert Carsen;  the recent 017 Festival, courtesy Opera Phildelphia, for just a few examples.) Making opera theatrically gripping isn’t always easy, however much creativity, talent, and goodwill is extant.

When it comes to staging the work of Giuseppe Verdi, who adored the work of Shakespeare, things can get even more sticky. A director is faced with certain choices: do the stodgy Shakespeare thing, involving various shades of grey and frilly collars? Or do super-high-concept, involving surreal set pieces and bizarre effects? Listening to the music and text, together, as one unit, is of course, the director’s job. Italian director Jacopo Spirei excels in integrating drama, visuals, theatricality and music into one satisfying whole. He gets opera, he gets theatre, he gets why you might be resistant to combining them  — and he thinks you should come anyway.

I first spoke with Jacopo earlier this year when he directed Don Giovanni at the San Francisco Opera, in a remount of a work originally done by Gabriel Lavia in 2011. He’s just opened his entirely-own production of Falstaff at the Festival Verdi in Parma, Italy. Having gotten his start working with British director Graham Vick (who has a production of Stiffelio at this year’s Festival Verdi involving the audience standing and moving), I thought Spirei’s thoughts around the theatre-meets-opera issue would be very valuable.

Falstaff is based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and involves the jocular title character, Sir John Falstaff, in various misadventures with a variety of ladies and angry husbands. Basically, Sir John’s giant ego gets him in trouble. Frequently played as a jolly big man with a beard and a rolling laugh, this famous literary character is often presented as the stuff of stage comedy, a figure we laugh with and laugh at, a bon vivant whose lust for life knows no bounds. This is fun, but I wondered if Jacopo saw something more; the photos of the production (which I will be seeing the end of this month) seem to suggest so, with a dirty Union Jack flag being used at various points, to say nothing of baritone Roberto de Candia’s dishevelled appearance and modern dress. What was Jacopo thinking as he directed this in one of Italy’s most notoriously fussy houses for opera? Find out.

How is directing an opera based on Shakespeare different?

We could say that Verdi and Shakespeare is a very happy match; whenever the two have met great art has been produced.

Roberto de Candia as Falstaff (Photo: Roberto Ricci)

Who is Sir John Falstaff? What does he have to say to us in 2017?

It’s easier to say what Falstaff is not: he’s not a moral creature, he’s not young, he’s not thin, but he has been in the past all of these things. Falstaff is a man who has known glory, wealth, poverty, defeat and survived through it all with a smile and a philosophy. He tells us how morals and honor are just words created but mankind. He’s a man who survives, who values a good glass of wine more than many words; at the same time he’s a man who represents old values in a changing society, so he’s a character that, like every human being, lives in a constant contradiction. He does not understand the modern world but also wants to participate in it, does not want to let go, wants to show that he still “has it.” I can’t think of anything more actual than that — we live in a “like” obsessed society where youth and beauty is the only value. It’s not easy being old today!!!

There is a tendency with many productions of Falstaff to emphasize the comic aspects; your production seems more serious and thoughtful. Why this approach?

The opera is funny, but not comic. It’s an opera about different stages of life, and has a strong dose of cynicism; it’s a comedy with teeth! I have approached the opera from the text, like Verdi did, so I’ve developed what’s on the page, I have researched with the cast and what we’ve discovered is what we are presenting to the audience today.

The cast of ‘Falstaff’ (Photo Roberto Ricci)

The design sense of this production is very unique: contemporary, somewhat expressionist, familiar. What were your visual influences? What was your process with designer Nikolaus Webern?

With Nikolaus we always start from the text and we discuss a lot before even starting to design. One big element  that inspired us is the weight of the protagonist that creates an imbalance in the perfect lives of Windsor’s bourgeois world, so we have worked on this loss of balance in life.

A great visual influence for me came from all the years working at Glyndebourne, so the village, the house, the pub — they’re somewhat related to those years where I was assisting Graham Vick and reviving his shows in this magical festival. You can see in the show the village of Lewes, the house of the owners of the festival and in fact. almost every single pub in the neighbourhood.

Giorgio Caoduro (Ford) in a scene from ‘Falstaff’ (Photo: Roberto Ricci)

How much did Brexit influence your direction with this work?

Funny you ask — whenever I presented the production to the cast and the theatre I said, “Falstaff at the time of Brexit.” In a way there is a relationship to what’s happening to England now, but I’ve treated it more as an example than anything else. I believe we have a lot to learn from what England is going through politically and socially. I don’t and never believed that division is the answer. In a bizarre way England is behaving like Falstaff, still thinking an Empire is possible and not accepting reality and how the world has changed. Brexit has been a very divisive subject within England and Great Britain in general.

What’s it like to direct at Festival Verdi in Parma, a city known for its strong opera opinions?

It’s an honor to be directing at this prestigious festival next to names like Vick and (Hugo) De Ana (directing Jerusalem at the Festival Verdi this year); I was thrilled at the idea of working in Verdi’s land for an audience that loves and deeply knows Verdi. I enjoyed the process, never fearing any good or bad reaction from the audience. As long as you are loyal to your vision, there’s nothing to fear.

Mourning Is Broken

This has been the summer of calamities.

A few weeks ago I was glued to the addictive TV-computer super-combo, following the London riots with a mix of fascination and revulsion. Like many, I was appalled by the random violence overtaking the city. It might be plus normale for English society, but to me it was horrifying. And yet, it was hard to turn off and turn away, at least in part because I lived in London a little over ten years ago. As well as being one of the world’s great capital cities (I seem to have a penchant for living in them), it is also a personal favorite. Culture dominates every aspect of urban life there, from the markets and bars around Camden Town to the free museums and old-meets-new architecture, from casual pubs to high-end galleries – London, with its heady mix of history, high art, and street life, is a dazzling place.

I recently reflected on how much I felt at home in London when I lived there, and how it wasn’t that much of stretch to ingratiate myself there socially and culturally. I wondered, because of Canada being a Commonwealth nation, if the British mindset had seeped in. I may still grit my teeth at the thought of having a Governor-General, and seeing the Queen on Canadian currency (perhaps a little more over the years), but there’s something resoundingly vital about the connection , which made the events of mid-August even more upsetting. London will always be home on some level.
On the flip, monarchy-less side of that coin, charting the week that was in New York was a harrowing ordeal, perhaps because of its proximity to Toronto, and its proximity to my having lived there only a month ago. Like London, culture is everywhere in NYC, but it’s done differently; no one’s tied down by history (or violently kicking against it) so much as integrating it effortlessly into every day life. Old delis, noodle joints, and dive bars (coming down too quickly) are peppered with old, cracked photographs of celebrities, memories, streets, and faces. It isn’t high art – you can’t buy them. (By contrast, a fast-food joint in west part of Toronto has willfully-worn photos of recent events for sale along its walls for hundreds of dollars.)
You can’t buy the kind of energy a place like New York has, though people have peddled that fantasy to the naive and wide-eyed now for centuries. You pay for the museums, it’s true, but New Yorkers go on the free nights before grabbing takeaway and heading home. Culture is so much a part of everyday life there – graffiti-strewn walls, old/new architecture, free concerts, impromptu performances -so as to be taken for granted. It’s taken for granted because it can be, because that’s the strange, exhausting beauty of a Republic, and of what it stands for: if you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter, no one’s mandating you to accept anything, go make something yourself and see if you can do better. Everyone else has.
This shrugging, casually f*ck-it attitude, combined with the fiery-eyed ethos of self-determination and truth-or-dare initiative, creates the perfect storm for me to create in. But I don’t like to see the literal perfect storm floating over a place I love -or literal riots. This summer’s series of challenges make me wonder what art -theater, dance, film, music, and visuals -will come out, is being conceived this very moment, has been shaped by calamity and chaos. I’ve been writing non-stop the last few weeks, which explains my lack of posting here. But, with plans afoot to expand, diversify, and cultivate, the calamity and chaos of the summer will, hopefully, lead gracefully into the orderly repose of fall. To quote a favorite song, Everything Must Change.
All photos taken from my Flickr photostream.

Move Me

Listening to the first release from The Chemical Brothers, two thoughts strike me: first, this is very ambient-meets-techno, second, what took them so long?

I always loved dancing, and dance music. I didn’t recognize the labels -house, electronica, etc (not that they existed much) -so much as enjoy the output. I danced with equal vigor to the latest pop hits of the day (something about the hummable jumpiness of MJ & the bass-heavy, thumpalicious grooves of “Nasty” sister Janet still moves – literally) as the wordless, hazy instrumental stuff you heard everywhere but could never quite name; it had a groove, it had a heart, it had a beat, and it breathed, in a wordless, low whisper, “move…

So I did -to everything from 70s era instrumental funk and disco to 80s glam pop to the awe-inspiring, genre-defying sounds of the 90s, when technology took a decided leap forwards and married metal, rock, beats and block-rockin’ rhythms to create a holy land where definitions vanished and were replaced by a nirvana outlined in the fuzzy shapes of outstretched limbs and undulating hips.

Dance has always felt like a kind of holy sacrament for me. After moving home from Dublin and London, I bemoaned a North American club culture that seemed to cater exclusively to the under-21, micro-skirted, posing-with-cocktails set; I was more accustomed to the cargo-panted/t-shirt, big-boots-and-all-ages crowds actually dancing at clubs in Ireland and England. The phrase “dance music” has very different connotations between continents; even now, with the success of bands like Air, Daft Punk, and MGMT, it’s still, I think, somewhat ghettoized as being the exclusive enclave of the young. Nonsense.

Found at: FilesTube – Megaupload search

As Robbie Robertson breathily intones in the gorgeously dense Howie B. track, “Take Your Partner By The Hand“:

this is a place she goes to fulfill a very basic need
… to communicate without talking…
she wants to make a connection
…this is about smoke and sweat and beats
this is about no questions

I relate even now, my club days like foggy, happy, multi-color memories smiling at me from afar.

So with The Chemical Brothers’ new release, I’m taken back to that place. I love hearing the notable embrace of past (with samples of work from The Who, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd certainly audible) and fearless celebration of present. The Chemicals were one of the first big acts to hit the mainstream back in the 90s, and they paved the way for others –The Prodigy, Orbital, Underworld -to come forwards in North America, and dip into a bigger ocean in Europe. I’ll never forget walking through a dull, flourescent-lit department store in Dublin (a more depressing, middle-of-the-road retail spot you couldn’t find) and hearing “Firestarter” piped through the store’s enormous, bland expanse. Young mums walked by pushing strollers and grannnies glanced at sale-tagged sweaters as the screaming insistence, with echoing beats and shouts, bounced off the scratched, matte lino: “I’m the firestarter…

These days, the songs being piped through that dreary store might be made by someone on a laptop, living in an equally dreary suburb; it doesn’t matter about the source now, so much as the spread. Everything yawns open, embraces, pushes, pulsates, sways and shimmies; the Chemicals recognize this bold, scary, exhilerating sense of the unlimited essence of sound, music and experience -that basic need to communicate – and with a wink to the past, they’re kissing the future, and moving feet, hearts, minds, past categories and into the horizon where sea, sky, and dancefloor bleed.

When Internets Die

(Note: I wrote this lastnight. Enjoy... )

At the time of writing this, I have no internet connection. Rather like withdrawl from a serious drug habit, I’m shaky, nervous, unsettled, angry, … repeat. It’s interesting timing, considering that lately I’ve been considering my life pre and post-internet age, with the same question cropping up at the end of all considerations: what the hell did I do before it came flashing and html-ing into my life? I don’t use it to surf idly -though I think there’s value in that -but like many in the media world, as the basis of my day-to-day communications and work-related tasks. Everything, from pitching a story, to chasing down the key players, to prep to research to fact-checking to writing and final product requires my use of the interwebs. When did reporting and writing get so complicated? When did streamlining become mainlining? How did simplicity get so complex? The loss of the internet has left me with a host of questions related to the nature of my activities and creative choices. I resolved to do something useful with my time -useful in a way other than that as defined by internet surfing, that is -by writing both creative and journalistic stories, talking with friends, and sitting with my addiction -feeling it and not judging. Harder than it sounds. I’m restless by nature and I suppose regular exposure to the internet feeds that.

Still, lack of one connection means a different -perhaps familiar – connection, redefined and rediscovered. It was with a mix of annoyance and resignation that I came to accept the fact that I was -am -cut off. An internet-equipped friend kindly helped me in some necessary prep work but I’d turned on the telly in the hopes of filing the gaping void of non-connectedness; I don’t just use the internet for information, but, like many, for connection with others -close, far, known and unknown. Television just doesn’t fill the same hole. But I’ve come across some really, extraordinarily good programming.

Among the many delectable offerings on AUX’s excellent, arty-leaning video flow was the Michael Franti video for the catchy, peppy ska-meets-funk-pop single “Say Hey”. Filmed in Rio, the video is a bright, powerful shot of pure, unadulterated joy. Franti dances joyously with kids -tweens and toddlers alike -along with grandparents and assorted musicians. Damn. If I had internet, I thought, I would’ve missed this little gem from one of my favourite artists who released, in my estimation, one of the finest albums in recent memory. The depiction of joy in “” gave me a far greater feeling of connection and reminded me of the power of music -to move hearts, mountains, and minds.

Speaking -typing -of moving mountains, the Choral section of the Ode to Joy just finished on Bravo! and I’m recalling the tender memories I have of seeing Sir Simon Rattle conducting the very same ten years ago in Royal Festival Hall in London; it remains one of my dearest memories of London, to this day, though it was hardly the first or last time I saw the piece. The memory of my night at the Hall, however, remains seared in memory, and comes back jut that much clearer without the techno distractions I’ve become such a willing slave to over the past few years. Now I see Beethoven’s Hair has come on -it’s a documentary directed and co-produced by Larry Weinstein, a wonderful Canadian filmmaker I had the opportunity of interviewing for Inside Hana’s Suitcase back in the spring. Larry had told me during our wide-spanning conversation that he loved making the doc about LVB, and tonight of all nights, here it is. Of course, I wouldn’t have known about it unless my internet connection had died. I’m tempted to say I’m grateful.

Could I have heard the Ode (and learned of poor Ludwig’s possible lead poisoning) chained to the elusive, semi-illusory velvet handcuffs of internet connectivity? I caught the ode – this celebration, this tribute to human capacity, capability and credo to greatness, to compassion over cruelty, to space over time, to choice over tyranny -after being forcefully cut off from a terribly isolating habit. Now alas, the addiction isn’t over yet. I’m still itching to check my mail, check Facebook, see what people are doing on Twitter and blast around from site to site, ping-ponging between videos and articles and sounds and sites.

But, much as I love it, I cannot deny that the central role I’ve given the internet in my life has closed me off to plumbing further depths -imaginative, cognitive, sensual, creative -that I know are awaiting rediscovery. I think I need to reconnect -and not just with the bobbing heads and cold letters on my monitor, but with the reason I started this blog: a keen passion for music, art, and all the other cultural things that colour this short existence. It feels like the least I can do -for me, and indeed, for you, the reader.

Change The Lens

Along with the cooler temperatures of fall comes new opportunities. My challenges around shifting perspectives, having been helped along by artists, projects, and friends, was underlined this week with two events: attending the opening of the new Nicolas Ruel show at Toronto’s Thompson-Landry Gallery, in the city’s historic Distillery District, on Thursday night, and going to the opening of Secrets of a Black Boy, at another historic location, Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall, lastnight. Each experience afforded me some rich insight into the nature of perception, particularly as it relates to urban landscapes, and to those around us, and how we relate with them.

Ruel works in large-scale photographic works, printing his multi-layered urban landscapes onto smooth stainless steel. To quote the gallery’s website, his most recent work, projet 8 secondes, “depicts urban civilizations captured by the photographer in sustained intervals of eight seconds.” The cities of Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, Paris and Sydney are all explored in images that are both dreamy and hard, ethereal and slick. It’s somewhere in the middle -and the viewer has to find that middle -where the truth of Ruel’s work lies.

This eight-second exposure pause is interesting to me because it collapses conventional notions around perception, time, and the relations we draw between each. Architecture becomes dance; streets become skies. Solidity is rendered extremely fluid, implying our fixed notions of time and space -and our place within each -are merely illusions, that there’s no “fixed” at all, that, even with the hard shiny surface of stainless steel, a myriad of hidden illusions and layers lies just beneath the surface. It takes an adjustment in position -physical, mental, emotional -to see the things that lie concealed in the most surprisingly shallow ways. Such a small shift allows us to view the world around us -ourselves, our relationship with others, including solid structures and forms -in a new, more fluid, all-encompassing way. If you think you’re stuck in one spot, Ruel’s work whispers in a silvery, high-timbred way, think again -step back, step over, turn right, turn left. Small shifts change everything, and underline the fluid, non-linear nature of existence.

I found myself particularly compelled by two works, one of which was shot in London, England, a favourite city I lived in a decade ago. I’m always fascinated by the ways in which artists choose to shoot such a vivid, varied place; each one seems to bring me back to Pepys‘ work as well as Johnson’s famous statement about the British capital, adding miniscule bricks to his stance. Ruel’s work is deceptively simple; it features a window, layerered with subtle shapes. But is that all? No, it looks like there could be the vast environs of a train station defining the piece, giving it scale and context. The piece, “Window,” gives off a smoky, oblique sheen that uses empty space as a dramatic character. Is that smoke? or clouds? is this about terrorism? or daydreaming? or travel? the transitory nature of modern life? of art? of perception? is this simply about resting the brain and not thinking? Is that the right response? Having lived in the city, I had a personal reaction to it -and I think, perhaps, that might be the point. We each carry personal ideas and sometimes experiences around the cities Ruel depicts. He’s asking us to step aside from those notions, however slightly, and look at things in a new way.

The second work I was drawn to, “Midnight Stand,” was shot on a narrow, crowded street in Tokyo, and is impressive for its sheer size (it’s at least six feet across, if not more, and almost as high). The piece has a bustling, busy energy, with the electric light glow of the street dancing against the ghostly top half of a man semi-super-imposed on top, his white-shirted arm floating amidst the cacophony of reds, blues, and greens. This is one of the more colourful pieces in the collection, in that Ruel has allowed a myriad of shades to infuse his work -unlike “Window,” which uses deep blues and greys, its depiction like a paned, smoky-cemented bruise of modern life. The mammoth Tokyo work gave an impression of a city at once colliding with and embracing tradition -melding old and new ways. While this isn’t a new idea about the Japanese capital, it was originally presented, with little shops and lights almost appearing as strips of celluloid, or comic panes; look from a different angle and… wow, there are people. Actual, real people, with actual real lives, trying to earn a living amidst the hustle and bustle. There was so much texture built up on the smooth piece of steel as to be awe-inspiring. Different levels of perception, reality, and experience collided, and I had to take a step back and go for a glass of Riesling and a deep breath. Fascinating, compelling, poetic -just some words I’d use to describe Ruel’s work. You won’t quite look at your own city the same way again.

I thought about this shift in perspective watching Darren Anthony’s deeply affecting premier work, Secrets of a Black Boy, which opened lastnight at Toronto’s sizeable Danforth Music Hall. Despise some venue drawbacks (the lobby is weensie and the raking is shallow, so if you’re short and get stuck behind a giant… too bad), the show is solid, uplifting, moving, and not a little provocative. Anthony is the brother of theatre artist Trey Anthony, best known for her hit work Da Kink In My Hair. While Trey explored black female identity, first-time playwright Darren examines male black identity, particularly within the modern urban context of a rapidly-gentrifying downtown Toronto. Five young black men come together in a community hall that is soon to be torn down, and, over a game of dominoes, share their histories, anxieties, fears, and joys. The intimacies are delivered one-by-one in a series of monologues addressed to the audience, with other cast members occasionally joining in and acting out requisite parts. Issues like sex, parenting, gender relationships, homosexuality, friendship and gun violence are all touched on, some with more subtlety and grace than others. The lines about AIDS and condom usage came off a bit heavy-handed, but then, nothing about Secrets is especially subtle anyway. There’s a vibrant mix of hip-hop, soul, old-school funk, and classic rap pumped out by a live DJ throughout the work, providing atmosphere, accent and emotional underpinning as needed. Wisely, some scenes are allowed to be silent (such as a monologue delivered by a domestic abuser, played and delivered by Anthony himself), and in others, it’s the actors themselves who provide the noise -for instance, opening the second half with a Stomp-esque dance/clap routine and closing the show with a repeated, urgent plea: “We. Are. Here.”

Secrets of a Black Boy is everything Canadian theatre should be in 2009; it’s vibrant, zesty, thoughtful, involving, and deeply insightful. It’s also chalk-full of talented (and um, gorgeous) people. The audience for the show’s opening was equally fantastic; I’ve never seen such a young, eclectic, stylish, and involved group at an opening (and they weren’t tiresome luvvies, either). This is the audience most Canadian theatres are, I think, frothing at the mouth to get. Yet it takes more than a DJ and some graffiti-esque design to bring them. Anthony and his team have worked at marketing the campaign across social media platforms and have integrated many aspects of their own experiences into the mix. I got the feeling Secrets isn’t viewed strictly as Art, either (the “You are coming to the thee-uh-tah, we are doing something totally Art-full here, now act smart and say deep things”-hipster posturing that dents so many promising productions for me); rather, the show is Community itself, and that community is much, much wider and deeper than any stereotype of The Male Black Suspect. These are real men, with real problems and challenges, some of which I actually found myself relating to. The bit about absent fathers and the grief that causes throughout life rang particularly deep bells for me, a white woman living what is probably a pretty privileged existence. Funny how the intimate can become epic, and then intimate all over again.

Anthony’s work is sincere, honest, and refreshingly unpretentious. It’s also fun, and has a fantastic streak of interactivity running through it. As with Ruel’s work, you won’t look at your own city -or the people who make it up -the same way. We all have secrets -even cities have them, really – but it takes a shift in thinking and perception to see what they mean -and how they can change us and our choices -in the long run. Bravo Ruel, Bravo Anthony; you’ve made me change the lens and take the long way home.

Secrets of a Black Boy photos by Marc Lostracco.
projet 8 secondes works by Nicolas Ruel.

Drama Is…

There’s certainly plenty of great drama out there lately.

If you’re in London, there’s the Tony Award-winningAugust: Osage County. New York has the recently extended one-man show Taking Over, while Chicago has Lynn Nottage’s Ruined. If you’re in Toronto, there’s no shortage of goodness either, with the disturbingly brilliant Festen running into next week, and Frank McGuinness’ timely (timeless?) Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me opening this Saturday.

But oh, the best drama for us Canucks right now is in our own Parliament. The drama! The speeches! The fist-shaking fury! It would all be very entertaining, if it weren’t also real. Ouch. The best part is the level of engagement it’s provoked among average Canadians; considering our last election saw some of the worst voter turnout rates in electoral history, being a part of something so starkly different in terms of mood and passion is… refreshing. The downside is the deep cracks in unity the Ottawa drama is revealing to all of us. Forget the “one” part; we’re just simply “not the same.” Or so we’re being told.

Objectively interesting as it all may be, the cause of national unity isn’t helped by our politicians giving deeply dramatic, occasionally hysterical Bernhard-meets-Kean performances. Makes the fuss over the use of a real skull in an RSC version of Hamlet seem tame by comparison. Then again, I can think of a few people who feel as if their own skulls have been bashed around, watching the frantic arm-flapping of Canadian politicians over the last week. I can only hope there’s a great playwright (or two) watching, listening, and writing. We’re going to need someone to make sense of this for us, and I can’t think of any other way to see it, other than a dramatic presentation in the theatre. If Frost/Nixon taught me anything, it’s that human behaviour is often at its most desperate and revealing when put through the fire of politics. Stay tuned for it: Harper Hears A Hoard, on tour soon.

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