I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Thursday, 31 July 2008

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OXFORD

It was wonderful to be in Oxford again and John Bugge the Academic from Emory University, Atlanta, made me feel very welcome.

John showed me up to the blue room in the Masters lodgings, where I was to spend the night.  It was a boiling hot day and the sun streamed in through the ancient windows which looked out over the chapel and the Alington Room where I was to give my lecture later that evening.  I looked through my notes and tried to calm my nerves.  I had been asked to talk about the relationship between the central characters and also about my lyric writing and how I came to write POSSESSED.  I had made copious notes but decided to just talk and play some of the songs from the Oxford Playhouse performance.

I was greeted by champagne on the lawn and John introduced me to Pat Miller and the rest of the academics who were  running the summer programme.  The students were swanning about drinking champagne too.  They were mostly Juniors, but in the States this means they had completed their first two years of University and had another two to go.

The Alington room was a beautiful old paneled dining room.  We had a fabulous supper and I chatted to the students near me who were all very bright and rather excited.  Eventually it was time and John introduced me.  Once the wave of nerves had left, I found myself flying through the story that had captivated me for so long.  There was so much to tell, I could have talked all night, but this was only an after dinner talk and all I could do was skim the surface.  I did manage to play some of the songs, and then we had questions outside.  The questions were extremely thoughtful and I particularly enjoyed this part of the evening.  

John and Pat and the students were so enthusiastic and hospitable.  It was a fabulous evening!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

OXFORD TALK


Tomorrow I am going up to University College Oxford to give a talk about POSSESSED to the American Emory University's summer British Studies Programme.  It is an interdisciplinary curriculum which includes a course on modern and contemporary British theatre taught by Pat Miller.  Pat had seen the advertisement for Possessed when it was on at Oxford Playhouse and handed it to John Bugge who was running a course on Morris, Rossetti, and the Pre-Raphaelites.  Sadly the show had passed before they saw the ad but have asked me to go and talk to their students instead.  

The talk will follow a formal supper in the Alington Room of University College.  I shall be staying overnight in rooms at the university.  It seems that Oxford draws me back to it once again!  I am very honoured and excited about going and am now busily preparing my talk.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Open Air Theatre Regents Park


On 14th August I am going to see Gigi at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park. Steve has arranged the music for this wonderful old musical, which includes numbers like "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "I remember it well" .  The book and lyrics are by Alan Jay Lerner and music is by Frederick Loewe.  It is based on a novel by Colette, the French novelist whose real name was Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette - pictured here.   Colette had no boundaries where love was concerned and happily flaunted her bi-sexuality in front of the shocked Edwardians. 

Gigi stars Lisa O'Hare in the title role, who has recently been playing Maria in The Sound of Music.

If you have never been to the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, then you have missed a treat.  It is a magical setting for theatre and no wonder they often do Shakespeare there, it was made for it!  People either bring a picnic or eat in the fantastic restaurant.  I am usually found hugging a jug of Pims and laughing much too loudly in the second Act!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE

The Music Man was a great success!  I only went to see a preview but the show had a standing ovation - the audience really loved it.  Rachel Kavanaugh's direction was truly excellent.  Steve had orchestrated 13 instruments for the show, including the wonderful violinist who played in the POSSESSED Oxford Workshop:  Juliet Leighton-Jones.

The even more remarkable thing was that I met producer Jamie Wilson, from the MMD Speed Dating evening, in the interval, totally by chance.  He had come to see the show with  Jonathan Russell, from Mark Goucher's office.  Jonathan had been to see POSSESSED at the Arts.  This chance meeting gave me the opportunity to talk about POSSESSED again and introduce them both to Steve.  They both asked to see the DVD, which I duly sent off to them.  So all in all it was a great evening!