April 2009 Archives




Looking for a B and B off the beaten track in Italy this summer? Check out my Mum's exquisite trulli in Puglia.....


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It's always hard to leave home, especially when the asparagus are out, gathered in little bunches tied with raffia at the local farm shop, costing one euro, when our first lettuces have grown, and when the dandelion leaves are young and we have just discovered a new organic white wine that happens to accompany them all very well.


The forecast for Paris was dire. I was nervous about a physical theatre piece which didn't exist yet and which I was performing in three days, and Julian was nervous about whether or not he would be able to paint streets, bridges and rooftops in the rain instead of sunlit irises.


The project 'Rope and Strings' gathered force from the first day. The miracle of creative process never ceases to amaze me: Six people gather in a room with a rope, four oranges and a pile of twigs, and at the end of three days we have a piece of musical/physical theatre which has never existed before, but not just that. We have magic.

Why, why why, don't we do this every day, each and every one of us? With our families, friends, enemies, priests, builders, hairdressers....?

It was an inspiration to work with Jos Houben whom I have admired for so many years in Theatre de Complicité; to talk about movement like music, in terms of colour, architecture, accent, polyphony, melody and counterpoint. I particularly appreciate his insistence that this be not for us, between us, but that it communicate something to the audience...I was knackered but on such a high...

....and then it was over. Our presentation. Gone, like the sand mandala. We are dreaming Edinburgh, Brighton, Avignon 2010. New York. San Fransisco..... but we have no bookings as yet.

Check out the pictures and if you know anyone who is interested in funding such a project in any way (in terms of a residency, or someone who has a space begging a piece of rope magic) I have no hesitation in asking you to please get in touch.

Meanwhile the sun shone on Paris and on Julian who, based in our friends' flat near the Pantheon, velibbed around (I used to think the Paris metro was romantic) and turned out a
cracker or two....


Brought to Fullness



Easter time is made meaningful to me not by chocolate (actually that's rubbish - I would have killed for a Cadbury’s creme egg on Friday) but by the prayer that is playing the St John Passion. In France Bach does not make much of an appearance and it has been almost six years since I have played it but last weekend, having meditated in the cloister, I sat once more next to the evangelist in the cathedral in Aix en Provence colouring his story, ripping at the string during the renting of the veil, warming up the tone for the purple robes, purifying it for Mary Magdalena, stabbing at the note like a sword, and I felt cleansed. I am not religious in that I do not follow a single religious doctrine, but I cannot think of anything more spiritual than the moment after the crucifiction, when Jesus sings his last words: Es ist Vollbracht (mistranslated often as ‘It is finished’, but meaning something more akin to ‘All is brought to fullness’) and the gamba solo that follows; the melody that sings more than silence itself could of peace, quiet, stillness and serenity, and then (as if that weren't enough) the continuo aria that is possibly the most joyous illustration of release ever written. The work makes me contemplate my life so often filled with fear - of dying, of letting go, of trusting the next step - and I am reminded that the next step may be paradise, it may be hell, but one thing is for sure, it will be.

( – and I have to confess I might have to spend some time in purgatory too because my first F sharp in the gamba solo was flat…..)

And so the fullness of the season is testing me in the same way. Last week the almond blossom was rent from the trees by a piercing wind, this week the cherry blossom may or may not survive the storm, next the purple cherries will appear, then disappear (not without having lined our stomachs), then the blood red poppies…..Every week, almost every day, there is something to hold on to, about which I can say, surely THIS is the most beautiful blah ever’, and each week, it is taken from me, it appears to die. Or is it merely a transformation? Bud to blossom, blossom to fruit, fruit to seed..... It's the same story.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed our walk in paradise this morning and I am enjoying being a free woman having sent my first draft off to my dear volontary editor and promised her not to tamper with it until she gets back to me.


market day