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Mordred - a heavily researched Arthurian drama film being made in Devon & Cornwall - please support us - great perks from just £1!

Please support this crowdfund for a groundbreaking local film!
I am directing in this amazing film and theatre project, and I would love to see this become the very best that it could be. It is an incredible piece of work already, with an amazing team!
This production aims to not only showcase very heavily researched Dark Ages (6th century) history of Devon and Cornwall, linked to some of the very earliest and less known Arthurian legends, but also equally to showcase the amazing skills by local actors, filmmakers, and other production creatives - a lot of film work happens in the southwest but very often local people are passed over for imported talent due to stereotypes of "local people being no-good". This production aims to prove exactly the opposite, with a large, attention-grabbing project that has already been featured in the press not just localy, but in New York and Hollywood itself, and with interest, subject to the finished product (we are unknowns of course) from global film distribution companies. Directed by an experienced female theatre/film director.
The group running it has a proven track record over 10 years of producing historical theatre and film, working from the early days of raising £80 from a carboot sale and using the backroom of a pub for rehearsals. The group (working age adults, historical subject matter) falls straight through the cracks for grants etc, and so everything we do is fundraised for. Alongside a dizzying run of burlesque shows, sponsored swims, a scifi/ fantasy convention, ebay sales, carboot sales, shop counter collection tins, etc, we are also running this crowdfund.
Every penny raised goes into costumes/ props, donations to locations for use, food and camping equipment for cast on location, travel to locations, and some extra equipment. Equipment, following this film, will then be used to make more projects by this group, and to train local people in making high-grade film and video - to help them find work!


Buried Soldiers Found

Apparently they found a trench with perfectly preserved soldiers from WWI in France. Though it is grim I do appreciate the finding of these new objects, complete with newspapers. It brings the human side of WWI alive.


Jul. 16th, 2013

New  Les Miserables theatre production around Torbay (Devon UK) this September...
Directed by me.

Press release waffleCollapse )
We got a lot (not all, sadly! rounding up all of the 30-strong cast other than for shows and rehearsals is very hard!) of the cast out on a days character photoshoot a couple of weeks ago.. The photos are by me and a couple of friends.
In no particular order:Meet some of the cast... Collapse )

May. 20th, 2013

In late-Habsburg Vienna, the foreign ministry was on Ballhausplatz, and was referred to colloquially as "Ball'platz", the way we say "Foggy Bottom" or "the Quai d'Orsay". But does anyone recall the street where the War Ministry was located? The street name was used to refer to the Kriegsministerium the way we say "the Pentagon", but...I can't recall the street. Does anyone know? Thanks!
Pirates meet Musketeers in a new play at our towns annual pirate festival this coming weekend...

The South Devon Players community theatre company present:

The Musketeers And The Pirates
FREE FAMILY ALL - ACTION street theatre show this coming weekend in Brixham.(Devon)

In the 1620s- 30s, historically, the French navy was low in strength, and Cardinal Richeleiu made increasing the navys strength, a priority. As part of this new drive, since there were not sufficient shipyards, he purchased foreign ships and imported foriegn shipwrights and crews.

This 20-minute play tells the humourous, fictional story of his attempt to recruit a crew of privateers. Unfortunatly, there is a problem with the small-print, and the Cardinals old nemeses, the Musketeers, are also in town.
(optional donations in bucket always most welcome)

LIVE PERFORMANCES 5pm on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of May at Brixham Pirate Festival (the old fishmarket on the Quay just by the Golden Hind)

All-action, light-hearted swashbuckling street theatre for children and adults alike, inspired by The Three Musketeers, and the historical dealings with foriegn ships and crews by Cardinal Richelieu. Performed by the South Devon Players, in support of of the annual Brixham Pirate Festival.

The South Devon Players: http://southdevonplayers.weebly.com/  https://www.facebook.com/SouthDevonPlayers
The Brixham Pirate Festival: http://www.brixhampiratefestival.co.uk/  https://www.facebook.com/events/275241225872303/

click for rehearsal photosCollapse )

Alternative Shipping

The following excerpt comes from an excellent article on smuggling in colonial America:

One method of trading with the enemy was especially popular in Rhode Island, the smuggling capital of America. Flags of truce were used to exchange prisoners, and merchants found that these could be purchased at reasonable prices from colonial governors. Then, after hiring some men who spoke French to pose as prisoners, and sailing under flags of truce, American merchants traded with the French West Indies. In 1748, an American wrote to a correspondent in Amsterdam:

The sweets of the French trade by way of flags of truce has put me upon turning my navigation that way, which is the most profitable business I know of. But, my friend, of this you must not lisp a word.

This illegal trade continued during the Seven Years’ War[1], especially during its later phase when inhabitants of the French West Indies were desperate for food. Merchants from Newport, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other ports carried foodstuffs to the enemy for handsome profits.

Pennsylvania’s wartime governor, William Denny, conducted a brisk trade in flags of truce. He sold so many that by 1759 the flags were traded openly on the New York market.

[1] a.k.a. "The French and Indian War", 1756-1763

Melian Dialogue

My history professor showed the class this clip earlier in the semester. I really enjoyed it. the setting and acting reminded me of when I watched Antigone and Oepedius in my high school literature classes.

reading material for a novel

I have plans for a fantasy novel occurring many between 50,000 BC and 5000 BC in the Middle East. I am preparing to do all my research. Are there any academic books about the region during those time periods? I doubt I would find any books about the Middle East prior to civilization, but I want to consider this option before I search through anthropology, archeological, and other articles online.

Stalin's Death

I have been reading "Soviet Power and Policy," an anthology of essays published in 1955. One paragraph definitely caught my attention. The last sentence:

"According to a number of completely unverified newspaper reports, the chief of Stalin's personal force was killed on about February 15, 1953, and shortly afterward Stalin himself was murdered."

I know that Stalin died around that time but from a stroke. This has provided an unexpected insight into the initial beliefs concerning his death and into how the press handled it.

Why Is Jewish Humor the Way It Is?

Go read this article in the Jerusalem Post about what happened to Jewish humor, and why it now has that particular flavor.

The badkhn was a staple in East European Jewish life for three centuries, mocking brides and grooms at their weddings. He also was in charge of Purim spiels in shtetl society.
Before the 1660s, there were at least 10 different stock comic types in shtetl life, Grodon says. One would rhyme, one would juggle, one might sing. Wealthy folks would hire a variety for their simchas, or festive celebrations.

But in the summer of 1661, a decade after the Chmielnicki massacres and its resultant famines, leading rabbis from Poland and Ukraine -- the “Elders of the Four Councils” -- met in Vilna to discuss why such evils had befallen the Jewish people.

The elders decided the Jews were being punished by God. A return to strict observance was the only solution. Levity and luxury were to be avoided.