It’s a good time to look back at the Thatcher era. While Margaret Thatcher’s election as the first woman Prime Minister of the UK seemed a huge step forward for women, very few women sympathised with her. Carrie Cracknell, the theatre director laments the “casual misogyny” that many women are exposed to today and you have to wonder whether this is a lingering legacy of the Thatcher era. Moira Buffini’s play Handbagged looks with humour and irony at the story of how Margaret Thatcher de-sensitised herself to almost everything but the creation of wealth through power and the gaining of power through wealth. People who disagreed with her and her policies were deemed “wet”. We’ll never know what really went on at her weekly meetings with the Queen, but Handbagged gives a wonderfully entertaining and gritty look at what might have happened and what the two really thought of each other. According to Peter Morgan’s play: The Audience, Margaret Thatcher comes low on the list of the Queen’s favourite Prime Ministers. Handbagged goes further than this – exploring in depth the reasons why – the main one being the catastophe she inflicted on many of the Queen’s subjects – working men and women. It’s a brilliantly staged play, directed by Indhu Rubasingham in the Elizabethan tradition of the actors letting the audience know from time to time that they are aware it’s theatre and if an actor happens to play several parts and one of them is not their gender – then suck it up. There are a couple of hilarious moments when the 2 male actors (Jeff Rawle and Neet Mohan) vie with each other to portray Neil Kinnock. The rest of the cast: Stella Gonet, Lucy Robinson, Marion Bailey, Fenella Woolgar are also good with exceptional acting from Marion Bailey and Fenella Woolgar. The Olivier Awards were well deserved. Fantastic news for the Tricycle.
Attending the mock conferences at the MA Interpreters course, London Metropolitan University is certainly a great experience. Not only do I get to hear some good voices – especially good when you hear how far the students have come with interpreting and with vocal delivery – but I also get to hear informative and interesting speeches on subjects of which I have no previous knowledge:
Produire en France ou Delocaliser?
Who actually creates jobs: start-ups, small businesses or big corporations?
The Renault Case
Public Private Partnerships on employment opportunites
The Green Industry to the Rescue – Future Job Growth
The Spanish Global Case
Long Term vs short-term thinking in business and implications on job creation
Today one group of interpreting students set off to Luxembourg for a placement at the Court of Justice of the European Union, while another group had just returned from the EU Parliament in Brussels.
It is no co-incidence that graduates of this course also find work as broadcasters and producers. Credit must go to the dynamic head of department – Danielle D’Hayer and a fine group of tutors: Linda Liu, Chinese; Gabriela Bocanete, Romanian; Max Zanotti, Italian; Michelle Vaughn, Polish and French, Nathalie Brooksbank, French; Rob Russell, Portuguese; Teresa Grau, Spanish; Udo Jorg, German.
I’m sure Transport for London spent good money on its new rhyming posters promoting good manners on the Tube. One example, particularly bad: “If you spot someone ill or in pain // please try to help them off the train // We can offer aid much more quickly // on the platform if they’re sickly//.”
Which poetaster came up with that? Which ignoramus signed it off? I bet they were impressed that it rhymed — but say it aloud. I guarantee you will stumble, for the metre is all over the place. It’s the equivalent of hiring an artist who can’t draw noses, or a drummer who can’t count to four.
It could so easily be remedied. The first line is perfect anapestic trimetre — three beats of three. One way of making it work:
“If you spot someone ill or in pain
Would you please help them get off the train?
They can get their first aid much more quickly
On the platform, if they’re feeling sickly.”
To think of all the poor poets across London who could have been hired as consultants.