Pip Utton’s Churchill

‘It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen’ — 1984 by George Orwell When the clock strikes thirteen, the statue of Winston Churchill comes to life. For this one night, this single hour, Pip Utton‘s Churchill reflects on his life, his various achievements, and his three loves: whiskey, cigars and his wife Clementine. In the space of an hour, Pip Utton paints a convincing and intimate portrait of Churchill. Starting with little jokes about his fellow statues – when it is Abraham Lincoln’s time, he always attempts to go to the theatre forgetting he will never get to see act two – and the fact that Nelson Mandela is the only statue cast in his actual colour, although the pigeons are trying to remedy this situation – he sets the tone for a humorous but serious evening. Drinking from a glass canister of whiskey, Read More …

A Roller Coaster Ride

Life is a roller coaster. Everything is happening with tremendous speed, anticipation and apprehension. The shifts and turns, up and down, moving so quickly it hurts. A few weeks ago, I was drowning, lost at sea, drifting, treading water. Now, I’m slowly relearning how to swim, am hanging on to the raft I found and am trying to find my way back to solid ground. Yet, even in the midst of the storm, there have been moments when the wind gracefully stopped blowing for a few hours; when my mind could let go and I could just enjoy. Last Saturday night, during scouting, we made cheese from milk and butter milk. Put a litre of both in a pan, add some lemon juice and heat it up until it separates. Scoop up the white curd, sieve it to remove the whey, add some salt and spices and put it in Read More …

Review of De Brontë Sisters by Toneelgroep Dorst

This review of the Jan 5th, 2010 (Dutch) performance of De Brontë Sisters by Toneelgroep Dorst in Kampen was originally written for the university course Victorian Afterlives in 2010. Lucasta Miller argues in her book The Brontë Myth that in addition to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights finding their way into mass culture and becoming “what might be called modern myths,” the Brontë sisters themselves have also become mythic figures.[1] One of the latest additions to this Brontë myth is the well-received theatre performance De Brontë Sisters by the Dutch theatre company Toneelgroep Dorst. The performance is freely based on the lives and work of the Brontës and though the story is focussed on describing the lives of the three sisters and their brother Branwell, there are frequent switches to scenes of their respective novels thereby blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Therefore, the performance does not give a fully Read More …

Hedda Gabler and Mrs Elvsted – Discussion Piece

I originally wrote this discussion piece for the university course Theatre: History, Conventions in 2012. In 1879, A Doll’s House ended with Nora leaving her husband Helmer proclaiming ‘before all else, I am a human being … or anyway, I ought to try and become one’ (Ibsen Act 3; p.1553). Nora’s self-emancipation is continued in Hedda Gabler in the character Mrs. Elvsted. At the beginning of the play, Mrs. Elvsted is shown to have left her husband and step-children, disregarding what people might say because she ‘only did what she had to do’ (1.584 p. 213). Furthermore, she has taken the first steps towards becoming a ‘real human being’ in her work and conversations with Eilert Løvborg (1.597, p. 213). Yet it is not Mrs. Elvsted who is focus of the play but Hedda Gabler, and whether Hedda truly emancipates herself with her suicide or whether her suicide is a matter Read More …