Showing posts with label Orange Tree Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orange Tree Theatre. Show all posts

Monday, November 25, 2013

SINS Sunday!

The world premiere rehearsed reading of my new play about Wagner, Sins of the Fathers seems to have gone down pretty well yesterday at the Orange Tree. The audience laughed a lot, the actors seemed to be enjoying it (I think) and the performance zipped by and I got a jolly nice round of applause too, and it was all a bit wonderful. Our fabulous cast was Sarah Gabriel (Vicky/Cosima), John Sessions (Wagner) and Jeremy Child (Frank/Liszt).

A few pics from the rehearsal, complete with a reasonably idiomatic piano score of Tristan und Isolde and the magic bottle of Chateau Tristan 1865...





Saturday, November 23, 2013

A soapbox and an orange tree

A weekend full of anniversaries kicks off with a new weekly "soapbox" slot, which the stringed instrument dealers Amati.com have asked me to write. They've even drawn me standing on one!


You can read my first Soapbox tract here. It's about Great Britten, of course.

And so tomorrow it is the world premiere, as rehearsed reading, of my new play Sins of the Fathers, about Wagner, Liszt and Cosima, at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. Info here. Call the box office for returns.

What does a playwright do all day once the thing is written and delivered? Well, I've been hunting for candle glue, preparing some labels for the bottle of magic wine and sourcing Wagner's dressing gown. Social media proved worth its weight in gold where the latter was concerned: an appeal on Facebook ("Urgent: need a silk dressing gown for Wagner, must fit John Sessions") has produced a friend - the real sort, not only the Facebooky sort - who inherited an antique silk red paisley number from her great-uncle that fits the bill to perfection. Now we just have to find the right something for Liszt to wear. A cravat should do the trick.

From this anniversary line-up, Verdi is missing. Only one thing for it: over to Jonas...






Saturday, November 16, 2013

My tricky waltz with Wagner

I've written an article for The Independent about creating my new play, SINS OF THE FATHERS, which is premiered next Sunday in the International Wimbledon Music Festival at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. In brief: how do you write a play about somebody you can't stand?

Incidentally, the only way I could get started was by thinking: "Well, what would Woody Allen have done?"...

Cast for our performance:
VICKY/COSIMA: Sarah Gabriel
FRANK/LISZT: Jeremy Child
WAGNER: John Sessions

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/my-tricky-waltz-with-wagner-8940302.html

Monday, October 14, 2013

My autumn & winter schedule

Here are some dates for your diaries, fresh from my writing desk: a brand-new words&music concert, a brand-new play, more HUNGARIAN DANCES. Please come along! (The info is also in the sidebar, but certain people are telling me to put it somewhere more prominent...)

ALICIA'S GIFT: THE CONCERT OF THE NOVEL - new!

Starring Viv McLean (piano) (left) & Jessica Duchen (narrator).

A concert adaptation of my novel, lifting the lid on the world of a child prodigy pianist trying to grow up. Music includes Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Viv's famous performance of Rhapsody in Blue, and a little surprise to end (clue: I have to practise...). News story in International Piano, here.

World premiere: 9 November, Musical Museum, Kew Bridge.To book tickets, call Houben's Bookshop, Richmond-upon-Thames, 020 8940 1055 or Yvonne Evans, 07889 399862. Ticket price includes a tour of the museum's amazing collection plus a glass of bubbly.

13 November, Kensington & Chelsea Music Society

27 November, Vernon Ellis Foundation, 49 Queen's Gate Terrace, SW7. Info from Yvonne: 07889 399862.

8 December, St Mary's, Perivale

15 December, Burgh House, Hampstead, NW3. Tickets from Yvonne: 07889 399862.

18 January, Soirees at Breinton, Woking


SINS OF THE FATHERS - new!

World premiere of my first full-length play, exploring the relationships of Wagner, Liszt and Cosima: rehearsed reading starring John Sessions (right) and Sarah Gabriel. 24 November, Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond-upon-Thames. Part of the International Wimbledon Music Festival. NB - the performance is sold out, but please watch for returns/standing room!


HUNGARIAN DANCES: THE CONCERT OF THE NOVEL

A dazzling journey in words and music through the 20th century, following the story of Mimi, a Hungarian Gypsy violinist who becomes a famous classical soloist, but at a terrible personal price... Works by Bartok, Dohnanyi, Brahms, Ravel, etc.

27 October, 7.45pm, Teesside Music Society.
Bradley Creswick (violin), Margaret Fingerhut (piano), Jessica Duchen (narrator). (Team pictured left)

27 January 2014, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Covent Garden
David Le Page (violin), Viv McLean (piano), Jessica Duchen (narrator). Special performance for International Holocaust Memorial Day.

2 March 2014, St Mary's, Perivale: again, Dave, Viv & muggins.

Friday, November 30, 2012

OK, reviews...

A number of friends have been grumbling that they haven't seen the reviews of my play A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME, and why hadn't I put them up on JDCMB, etc, so here they are.

MARK RONAN: http://markronan.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/a-walk-through-the-end-of-time-orange-tree-theatre-richmond-november-2012/
..." the play stands on its own and should be performed more often. At one hour long it is only slightly shorter than another two-hander currently winning four star reviews in the West End, but it is far deeper and far more compelling. Let us hope this ‘rehearsed reading’ is the prelude to something further."...

MORE THAN THE MUSIC - MELANIE SPANSWICK:  http://www.morethanthemusic.co.uk/reviews/gig-reviews/18112012-a-walk-through-the-end-of-time-and-the-womans-orchestra-in-auschwitz-orange-tree-theatre-wimbledon-festival/
..."The result was dramatic and bold; the audience were privy to the couple’s spiritual journey, many of the questions raised applying to mankind as a whole. It was poignant and full of pathos."...

THERE OUGHT TO BE CLOWNS: http://oughttobeclowns.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/review-walk-through-end-of-time-orange.html

..."the play itself shows much promise, weaving together elements of scientific and musical theory with history and fiction into a sinuously interesting piece of work."... 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A moment in the sun

A few pics from yesterday at the Orange Tree Theatre/International Wimbledon Music Festival's staging of A Walk through the End of Time. Rehearsing with Harriet Walter, Henry Goodman and director Anthony Wilkinson - what a privilege it was to have such an incredible team to take up this piece. Then a quick curtain call. Huge thanks to everyone who came along and cheered us on! Really hope you enjoyed it.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Countdown to my play...

Here's the latest news regarding A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, this weekend. http://www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/walk-through-the-end-time

As you know, the scheduled performance at 2.30pm sold out about six weeks in advance. Due to popular demand, the theatre and the International Wimbledon Music Festival decided to put on a second one, beginning at 5.15pm. This, too, is now sold out.

If you want to go and you still haven't booked, please call the box office and ask to be put on a waiting list for returns. Phone number: 020 8940 3633.

I've been having fun, meanwhile, working out how to incorporate some actual music. Originally the play was designed as a curtain-raiser for a complete performance of the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time, but for practical reasons the Messiaen itself this time will be part of the festival concert by the Nash Ensemble the following evening, 19 November. So we need a little sonic illustration. Hopefully what I've cooked up may find favour with Anthony Wilkinson, Henry Goodman and Harriet Walter; we'll see the outcome soon.

There's not much point my being nervous, because there's nothing more I can do - it is over to our expert team to make it all real. My calming-down mantra normally goes: "I don't have to play the piano... I don't have to play the piano... I don't have to play the piano..." Hope it works.






Saturday, November 03, 2012

How I put the story of music in a Nazi POW camp on stage

I have a piece in the Independent about how and why I wrote A Walk through the End of Time. It was out on Wednesday, but I spent much of the day travelling home from Wexford and didn't get a chance to blog it. Here it is. The picture, of course, is of Dame Harriet Walter, who is our star actress on 18 November at the Orange Tree, with Henry Goodman as her partner. Watch this space for further news about the performance.


Friday, May 25, 2012

A Music World Fair

Here's that bit of news I promised...

My play A Walk Through the End of Time is to be performed in this year's International Wimbledon Music Festival, starring Penelope Wilton and Henry Goodman. [with all the normal 'subject to availability' clauses.] It will be at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond-on-Thames, Sunday 18 November, at 2.30pm. The following night, 19 November, at St John's, Spencer Hill, Wimbledon, the Nash Ensemble will perform the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time. Alongside the play in the afternoon, there will be a talk by Anita Lasker Wallfisch about her experiences in the Auschwitz Women's Orchestra.

This year's IWMF is 'A Music World Fair' - a tremendously international job, lighting up South West London with performances by the Kopelman String Quartet, Alina Ibragimova, Nicholas Daniel and Sam West, Christine Brewer, Zuill Bailey, Cristina Ortiz, Mark Padmore and many more. Three special highlights are Patricia Routledge and Piers Lane in Admission: One Shilling, a music-and-words theatrical recall of the National Gallery wartime concerts of Dame Myra Hess; a newly co-commissioned work by Benjamin Wallfisch entitled Chopin's Waterloo; and pianist Mikhail Rudy in a new interpretation of Petrushka with the Little Angel Marionette Company and the piano as the ultimate puppet.

The site goes live later today and you can find all the details here.