Saturday, 21 May 2011

State of play of the Union

1974 by Teatro Meridional
©L. Rossetti, Phocus Agency
 “Europe is not a continent, it’s an idea, a vision of the world.”  
When he accepted the Europe Theatre Prize in 2007, Canadian director Robert Lepage could have been quoting Robert Schumann, whose proposal in May 1950 became the foundation for the European Union. Fifty years later, the issues have shifted from preventing war to protecting the economy, but the goal of cooperation remains.

One of the many projects created and funded by the now 27 EU countries, the Europe Theatre Prize recognises work that bridges European borders. In April, the 14th Prize was awarded to German director and European icon Peter Stein, in St Petersburg, Russia’s imperial “window to the west” itself a city of over 80 theatres. The event was attended by a few hundred journalists, directors, actors and VIPs from all over the continent, with only two things in common: interest in theatre and a general lack of ability to speak Russian. Or Icelandic, Finnish, Czech or Portuguese, which is where the winners of the festival’s other award, “New Theatrical Realities”, hailed from.   

Read the rest of the article at the Irish Eyes site

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Working rights on May Day

Great sunny productive May Day Sunday - I made a commitment (gulp) to co-chair the Communications Committee for ACP; had a lovely coffee chat with Brendan and then Gail at Tribeca, did a fun ACP tour with foks from Cambridge and Pennsylvania, and then, instead of rooting for more Robert B Parker novels at the American Library shelves because it was closed for the holiday, spent an hour on a warm park bench in the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower looming over.
Lots of families; I rediscovered the cruelty of children and their intense focus on the moment, from a sobbing little girl chasing a boy who'd stolen a bright red toy, to a stoic little boy squatting in the dirt to capture a live wasp in a plastic beastie box. In contrast, his friend watched, jumping up and down, aghast, fascinated, nervous.
We adults have the same capacities for cruelty and fun, but we get so distracted, uptight and stressed - speaking of which, I totally forgot that this weekend is the one-year anniversary for buying my apartment! And my OECD twitter account is about to flip to 10,000 followers! Break out the champagne. 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Russian light

Sunny day on rue Cler, peaceful and warm Easter Monday, sitting at Tribeca with coffee to polish my article on last week’s Europe Theatre Prize festival in St Petersburg. Tough to find any strong links between Russia and Ireland other than February’s diplomatic scandal, when Russian spies were accused of using Irish passports in the US. Erg, peace broken here too, a couple of musicians are setting up on the pavement facing me, with a trombone and karaoke machine. Jazz swing, could be worse I guess, although Nina Simone she’s not.
As the sun shifts and I scoot my chair over to keep up with the rays, I wonder whether to mention in my piece about suffering from social media withdrawal all week. How can a theatre festival with a focus on pan-European solidarity ignore the latest global communication tools? My friend Molly argued that theatre critics are less interested in nerd technology and casual repartee than they are with serious analysis and , I suppose, formal profundity. Sniff. But maybe I’m just a twitter snob.
Meanwhile, parents and small kids have gathered around the music, a two-year-old is bobbing back and forth to the beat, a couple of little girls are swinging their arms and bouncing their knees, and it’s too much fun to write anything serious. Ah, yes, the song they’re singing is “I’m Beginning to See the Light”. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Movin up to 2011

Omigosh, it's been practically a whole year without a blog entry. Got a great excuse, though, after taking the plunge into the murky depths of Paris apartment ownership and - erg - renovation, I surfaced with a great renter in November, just in time for a challenging 9-month internship for OECD's 50th anniversary.

Meanwhile, started teaching Pilates and hired a couple of Zumba teachers for the ACP fitness programme, big success! Introduced a new frequent-user card, and am just about to kick off the New Year Training.

Where will all this risk-taking end? (I vote for the beach!)