Just saw the Belarus Free Theatre tonight at the Almeida in London. If you can get tickets for the (brief) rest of the run, do so. I have not been so excited by something I've seen a theatre in a long, long time. The work is vital, political, global in scope, hilarious, heart-rending, serious, light, demanding and rewarding. The actors and direction both are amazing. The pieces are written very well by different authors from the countries that are being 'represented' on the 'flight.'
I was moved and astonished and want to give a special shout out to Aaron Landsman who wrote the USA section, which was hilarious (and also because I know him and collaborated with his wife Johanna Meyer on a show in NYC and London in 2002-03). I don't have a program, thanks to the annoying UK tradition of selling rather than giving our programs so can't tell you the names of the other authors, but the writing was great in general - the last section from Macedonia was genius but then again so were other sections...I don't want to describe it too much because you really, really have to go and see it. Maybe I will discuss it more later when the run - which is short - is over.
In case you don't know, though, Belarus Free Theatre is an underground theatre in Belarus, many of the members arrested and their work continually interrupted by police. This piece seems to have been created internationally and with other collaborators, but I imagine has the same vitality as their domestic work. They make this work at great personal cost, and I am glad to see they have found a way to present their work here as well. I am not certain the hows and whats of this particular production, except to say, in case I haven't made it crystal clear already, it's worth going to see to remind yourself of what theatre can do that no other art form can touch. Be present, be real, be live and confront us, in no uncertain terms, with what We are Actually like right now - not you or me or them but Us. Right. Now. Amazing.
I forgot almost why I did theatre for a while, and now I see this and it reminds me.
I was also sad not to share this evening with my husband as that is the kind of night we would have shared and it was very hard to come home buzzing to an empty house. These are the many stages of grieving, I know. I wish I didn't know that, but I do.
On the other hand, there is astonishing theatre in London, and that is a miracle, so do go and see it.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.