Archive for September 22nd, 2011

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7th Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival begins tomorrow!

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

This week marks the opening of the 7th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, with a programme of film screenings, artists’ moving image installations, artist talks and hands-on activity as part of it’s Once Upon a Time programme.

The Festival begins with the switch on of the Artist Trail at 11am on Friday 23rd – a series of video projections and installations in locations around the town, including The Gymnasium Gallery, The Town Hall Prison Cells, Bankhill Ice House and Shoregate Ice House, which run until 5.30pm each evening over the Festival weekend.

The official opening film however takes place at 7pm at the Maltings theatre & Cinema, and marks the world premiere for North East England-Iranian co-production I Am Nasrine. Swept along by an incredible lead performance and powerful soundtrack, I Am Nasrine is an intimate coming-of-age story set to capture imaginations at film festivals the world over. The Festival were delighted to confirm recently that director Tina Gharavi, the film’s producers, and cast & crew, including the Micsha Sadeghi, the actress who plays Nasrine, would all be in attendance. The film was produced by Tina’s production company Bridge + Tunnel as part of a project in which local refugees’ voices were heard and their stories told.

Highlights for children, young people & their families over the weekend include The Ice Book, a beautiful miniature pop-up theatre show which is being projected in the Maltings Henry Travers Theatre on Saturday afternoon, while Sunday afternoon offers a workshop with the artists behind The Ice Book, allowing kids aged 10+ to see behind the scenes and to experiment themselves with green screen technology!0.

Tickets, as with all events, can be bought The Maltings Theatre & Cinema Box Office on 01289 330999 and from www.berwickfilm-artsfest.com

Tickets are available to purchase now from the Maltings Theatre & Cinema’s Box Office: Eastern Lane, Berwick-upon-tweed, Northumberland, TD15 1AJ, UK.Box Office: 01289 330999

Ticket prices vary, and are subject to a 50p online booking fee.
The Festival Pass, priced at £20 / £15 concessions, offers entry to all films (excluding The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, satellite events and workshops). Entry to the Artists’ Trail is free, with no need to book.

Travel Info: To find out about getting to Berwick, including special coaches running directly to the Festival from Newcastle Central Station, and back again, for only £5, go to www.berwickfilm-artsfest.com/getting-to-berwick

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Birthday

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

Secrets Revealed

London – The Sheephaven Bay – 22-28 August 2011

The stage is small. There is a table with an assortment of items on it, a stool, a radio and a black and white picture.  A man in black trousers, white shirt and black tie sits looking tortured.  He has been crying and has a drink in hand, which appears to be whisky.  The man is sitting in a room away from a party that is going on just beyond the closed door.  A woman comes in and, upon finding him there, starts talking at him, uninvited.

The woman has her curly hair swept over to the right of her head.  She is wearing a black bolero jacket, short patterned flower dress and black ballet pumps.  They talk.  He is Kyle.  She is Leila.  They both have stories to tell, secrets to hide and pain to unload and analyse.  Hidden from the partygoers outside, they begin a deep and explorative conversation about life, whisky, parties and the kindness of strangers. Leila is a woman who likes to tell her story and will tell it to whoever will listen.  She tells cab drivers her story when they try to tell her theirs.

Laura Murray plays Leila well.  She has a good American accent and plays intoxication convincingly.  It is intriguing to see her sway around the stage, slur her words in just the right way to convey drunkenness but not obstruct her speech and watch Kyle with merry and questionable eyes.  Laura Murray sometimes throws her arm about and sprays the drink she is holding around the stage and watches it as if someone else had done this.  She realises it was her and then simply does not care and continues with her train of thought.  It is entertaining to watch someone play drunk this well.  Laura Murray reveals the many layers of Leila.  They are peeled back more and more as further secrets are revealed.

Andrew Glen is quiet and mysterious as Kyle.  He is deep and brooding.  One always wonders about him and what his purpose is.  Why is he drinking?  Why is he alone in the room and why is he indulging Leila when he obviously has some deep turmoil of his own to deconstruct?  Attention is drawn to Andrew Glen to see Kyle’s reaction to Leila.  Andrew Glen portrays a lot in his facial expression and manner as he is does not have much dialogue but plays the silent stranger well and with expectation.  There is much upstanding contemplation and drinking.  Andrew Glen pays the guitar whilst Laura Murray sings.  It is a highlight of the performance and lovely to hear.  The song is well known.

The play has some nice moments and interesting conversation between the two characters.  There is a humorous comment from Leila that she chose a drink of whisky simply due to the name of it and the fact that she likes animals.  The two strangers at the same party find a common ground in the solace of a quiet room away from the excitement outside.  It is a nice sentiment that people can and do, do this.  That they connect and just share with each other, support one another and are true and kind.  It is comforting.  You think of your own life and perhaps similar experiences or missed opportunities.  It makes one long for friends old and new and to make a call that has been put off for too long.  There is a great twist at the end, which is quite unexpected.

There was a nice effect of having a real bar outside.  It gave the impression that we were actually in a small room, hiding from a party and listening to a secret conversation of two lonely souls.  Sharon Willems has directed the actors well.  They are individual and also a team.  They portray two average unknown guests well and you could imagine this happening.  The drunk Leila is as good as the nonchalant and hurt Kyle.

It is a birthday in a dark place, a warm place.  Close your eyes.  It is a quiet place, a safe place, somewhere to share your secrets.  Happy Birthday indeed.

(c) Chantal Pierre-Packer 2011

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