13 Mar 2010

The Amazing and Preposterous Constance Smedley

The Ruscombe-based Stroud Theatre Company presented their new play last night at the Everyman Theatre - The Amazing and Preposterous Constance Smedley by Frank Hatt. It's last night is tonight - at least the last night at the Everyman - I hope very much this gets a wider audience - especially in the Stroud valleys. It certainly deserves it.

Photos: Everyman then two shots of the stage

Constance Smedley was a disabled woman with forty publications to her name, who contributed to the women's movement and the international peace movement. It is an amazing tale.

Here is how BBC Gloucestershire described this woman: "Constance Smedley was born in 1876 and by the time she was 30 years old she was well on her way to becoming a successful artist, playwright, novelist and feminist journalist. By 1908 she had founded the International Lyceum Club for Women, established its clubhouse in London, and overseen the foundation of similar Lyceum Clubs in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Florence. And then she did three surprising things. She gave up the Lyceum Club, married an impoverished homosexual artist and renounced London and the international scene and set up house in Minchinhampton."

Other theatre stuff

I've done very well for theatre in recent weeks - staying with a friend in London when I was there for the Green party conference, I found that her boss was ill that evening and couldn't go and see 'The Misanthrope' - well with third row seats we made sure the tickets weren't wasted - described by The Guardian as the hot ticket of the season - Damian Lewis who leads the cast was outstanding - also there were Tara Fitzgerald and Keira Knightley in Martin Crimp's version of Molière's 'greatest comedy'.

The website writes: "Transported from 17th century Paris to modern-day London, Alceste (Damian Lewis) is a famous British playwright disillusioned and angry with the hypocrisy, shallowness and vanity of the contemporary world. Vowing to reject society, Alceste's plans are derailed when he falls madly in love with Jennifer (Keira Knightley). An ambitious American film star and darling of the social scene, she may prove to be his biggest challenge yet."

I doubt I got all the jokes and cleverness but nevertheless enjoyed muchly.

Last week my Mum and Dad were unable to take up my brothers gift of tickets to see A Midsummers Night's Dream at the Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol - a sell-out - well I got to go and it was very enjoyable and funny - can see why this lot are a sell-out. Great space - see my photo before the play begun - although not much leg room for a tall fellow like me.

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