‘O brave new world…!’ RSC, Intel and their visually beautiful creation

So, this post is a little late as I’m still trying to implement blogging into my routine, but in January I went to see my first ever RSC performance and it was magical.

I’ve loved theatre ever since I went to see The Lion King when I must have been around 7. It sparked a passion that has followed me into my adult life, leading me to pursue Drama as a degree subject, and then Scriptwriting at Masters level. Needless to say, I was very excited to see a performance by The RSC, as their reputation proceeds them.

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The RSC partnered up with Intel on their latest production of The Tempest, directed by the RSC’s Artistic Director Gregory Doran, fusing together technology and theatre in a way that hasn’t been done before. Which peaked both my interest in theatre and my boyfriend’s interest in technology.

If you’re aged between 16-25, you can get a ticket to see an RSC show for FIVE POUNDS. This is exactly what I did, and it was quite possibly the best five pounds I’ve ever spent. (You’ll need to remember to bring your ID to prove you’re in this age range).

The staging and set were amazing. It looked like the inside of a ship, and the floor had a cracked pattern on it, that lights shone through to create different effects, allowing the scenery to change from a dream like world into a dry beach with ease.

the tempest staging

My favourite parts were the use of material and projections to create awesome visual spectacles. Like when material came down from the ceiling in the shape of a cylinder and projected Ariel trapped in the tree…

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And also in the marriage ceremony when one of the spirits was raised on a platform and her skirt drawn out and flowers projected on it…

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Some of the best performances were by the supporting characters, a hilarious Stephano played by Tony Jayawardena, a tortured Caliban played by Joe Dixon and the pure acrobatic skill of Ariel played by Mark Quartley.

The new technology used in this play was truly amazing, and it is exciting to think what could be achieved with it in the future as the technology continues to grow. I was worried that tech would overshadow the actors in this intimate space, but the pacing of the technology-heavy scenes and the stripped down just-actors-on-stage-no-gimmicks scenes was good and allowed the actors to shine in their own right.

It was beautiful. I had high expectations, and they were met.

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Jorvik’s Viking festival and Bloodaxe’s battle feast

I had missed out on getting tickets to Jorvik’s Viking feast, the climax of the festival, for two years. This time around I finally managed to get tickets and surprise my boyfriend with them for Christmas. Considering that after watching the Vikings series cut his hair like Ragnar Lothbrok, I was onto a winner- #topgirlfriend

I hadn’t been to York before, but everyone I know who has been has said it is beautiful, and they weren’t wrong. The walls surrounding the city made me feel like I had stepped into a Game of Thrones episode. I had just enough time to run around the city and get an idea of its layout, when I had to return back to the hotel to get ready for the main event. The Viking feast!

As we rushed through cobbled side-streets to make the event on time, we could hear drumming in the distance and my stomach flipped. Partially from apprehension and intimidation, but also with excitement to be part of what the drums were calling for. We turned a corner and I saw light bouncing on the walls of the buildings in front of me, which I soon recognised to be projections of flames. The drumming and the shouting grew louder until I could see over a wall and down into the courtyard of the site of the noise.

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There were men on stilts, breathing fire. You can’t get much more of an entrance than that.

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They weren’t afraid to get close to the crowd…

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Then we were ushered into a room that resembled a cellar, and given a glass or two of free mead while we waited for the stragglers to arrive. Then we were all directed upstairs to a grand room with five long tables and chose our seats on our allotted tables.

viking feast tables

 

Everyone got a rune and a card with one of the norse gods on, which matched the symbol painted on the rune. There was wine on the tables, as well as the starters laid out and by this point the mead had taken affect and I was ravenous. Luckily there was more than enough food to go around…

 

The Menu

Starter

Goats cheese and red onion marmalade tart

served with viking bread and dagger

Feast

Slow roast leg of mutton served with fresh rosemary and garlic

Whole chicken 

Salmon with prawns and shellfish

Game pie

Roast potatoes and root vegetables

Pudding

Sticky orange and lemon cake with a star anise and cinnamon syrup

served with creme fraiche and winter fruit compote

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There were actors on the top table in Viking dress, and they read poetry, made jokes and even had a battle at the end of the night with some Viking actors who were planted on one of the long tables. I have to say one of the oddest sights of the night was seeing Bloodaxe (the king), in his viking garb, vaping.

The highlight of the evening was the musical talents of Einar Selvik, who is absolutely mesmerising. He sung a song about the death of Ragnor Lothbrok and I felt like I entered another realm. His music has featured on the Vikings TV series as well, so you may recognise some of his songs.

After the finale of the battle, the night seemed to be coming to a close. So we headed out into the night in search of cocktails, and wound up at a bar called The Evil Eye.

I would definitely recommend going to Jorvik’s Viking festival, the atmosphere in the city and the events they have on are great. And this feast is definitely something I wont forget!

 

 

Writing challenge: Give me a word!

I’m finding it harder and harder to incorporate writing into my daily or even weekly routine. Working full time, learning to drive and my long distance relationship are using up most of my free time. All of these things are essential in my life at the moment, so I’m not complaining, I just need a more inventive way to motivate my writing and have some fun with it.

I’ve decided to allocate a day every week where I write 300-500 words and create a story around a word. I’m going to throw a bunch of words into a hat and then select them at random week by week to get a new stimulus. Let’s flex these writing muscles!

If anyone has any suggestions, comment them below and I’ll add them to the hat!

January/February catch up! Working and exploring

Hello, hello. I haven’t posted in a while as I have been getting to grips with full-time work and generally trying to pack in as much as I can into my days that never seem to be long enough.

So lets do a quick catch up of all the things I’ve been up to in the past two months…

Working week- average day:

I’ll get the boring bit out the way first and then onto the adventures…

  • Up at 6:30am, get ready for work and get into work around 7:30am.
  • Read for an hour before I start my shift.

This has been great! As I haven’t been able to read for pleasure in a long while. I made a list of the top plays ever written and I’m making my way through the ones I haven’t read yet. I’ve so far managed to get through A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (don’t judge me, I never studied it in school), and I’ve also made a very large dent in The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick- not a play, but a very interesting doorstop of a book about the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

  • Work my shift, punctuated by cigarette breaks and ‘trying-to-be-healthy’ food.
  • Walk home, tidy up, make dinner. 

(Will I ever learn to cook, I ask myself every evening as I put another oven-only dinner on the tray)

  • Go out for a long walk.

I’ve been walking a lot recently, not only because I walk home from work every day, but because I’ve set myself a ‘100 day challenge’ to walk as much as I can in that time and try and shift some of the dominos-pizza-and-alcohol weight from uni, and I’m actually really enjoying it.

  • Catch up on the series I’m the most invested in at the time, and time for bed.

In truth, working this much hasn’t given me very much free time or leisure time to pursue writing, but whenever I get a free day it’s the first thing I want to do.

The Adventures from January and February:

I’ll put up more detailed posts soon, but here they are in a nutshell…

– I went to Stratford-upon-Avon to see my first ever RSC production, a performance of The Tempest

-Celebrated my three year anniversary with my boyfriend, who bought me an Alexander McQueen card holder and a trip to Venice for my birthday  *internally squeals*

-Graduated with a first class masters degree, and got to hug Jeremy Irons as he congratulated me on my writing

-Celebrated graduating by singing karaoke and partying with my best friends around me

-Went to the Jorvik Viking festival and attended the Viking Feast, which was the climax of the festival and explored the city of York, Including York Minster- which has to be seen to be believed, it is a decorated giant. Here’s a look at just one of the many stained glass windows:

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That’s about it for this catch up, the past few months have raced by. I’ve been working a lot but I’ve also been lucky enough to get out and have a few adventures and see new places and experience new things. All of which are valuable to the mind of a writer.