Mark Brown

Political theatre returns

Issue section: 
Author: 

La Maladie de la Mort (The Malady of Death), based upon Marguerite Duras’s 1982 novella (which was, famously, written in the depths of the author’s alcoholism), was one of the highlights of last month’s Edinburgh International Festival. Staged for the leading French company Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord by acclaimed English director Katie Mitchell, it is an atmospheric and discomfiting hour of theatre.

In the Fade

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Set in contemporary Germany and Greece, In the Fade, the latest film from Hamburg-born filmmaker Fatih Akin, is a chilling exploration of European neo-Nazism as seen through one woman’s insufferable bereavement.

Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger), who is white and German, marries her Kurdish-German husband Nuri (Numan Acar) while he is in prison for drug dealing. Following his release, Nuri becomes a model of rehabilitation, setting up his own small business in Hamburg providing translation and travel services to the Turkish and Kurdish communities.

Mark E Smith: proletarian individualist

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Mark Brown appreciates the contribution of The Fall’s irascible lead singer, who died in January.

Mark E Smith, enigmatic, unruly founder, frontman and driving force of the influential rock group The Fall died, aged 60, in late January. He was an often inspired, regularly drunk, sometimes awkward and, more often than not, brilliant musical artist.

An open letter to Nick Cave

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Acclaimed rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played two shows in Tel Aviv in November in contravention of the international cultural boycott of Israel. Arts journalist and BDS activist Mark Brown has written the following open letter to Cave.

Dear Nick,
“Some people say it’s just rock and roll. Oh, but it gets you right down to your soul.” This lyric from your song “Push the Sky Away” could function as a shorthand expression of the relationship I have had with your work for much of my adult life.

As a theatre critic and arts journalist, I spend much of my professional life trying to find art works that transcend the banalities of everyday life and touch something profound in the human experience. Rarely am I as affected by the work I review as I am by your music.

Victory for Israel boycott campaign in Edinburgh

Issue section: 
Author: 

The biggest news story of the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the successful boycott of two state-funded Israeli productions.

All performances of The City, by Incubator Theatre of Jerusalem, and La Karina, by Pola Dance (the official dance company of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), were cancelled following a pro-boycott open letter and a protest outside the opening performance of Incubator’s show.

Scotland: Independent artists

Issue section: 
Author: 
Yestival, Scotland

One of the most exciting aspects of the Scottish referendum campaign has been the way in which it has reinvigorated political debate and civic life across the country. The flourishing of activism has been predominantly on the pro-independence, Yes, side of the argument and noticeably left wing. It has also fed into all manner of other campaigns, from the movement against the Bedroom Tax to the outpouring of rage against Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

The Wrestling School

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

21st anniversary

Howard Barker is arguably Britain's greatest living dramatist and the author of such extraordinary plays as The Europeans, The Castle, Victory, and The Fence in Its Thousandth Year. His work is, in equal measure, uncompromising, spiritual, erotic, poetic, politically profound, morally ambiguous, bleakly humorous and proudly, defiantly tragic. With one foot in the tragedy of the ancients, and another planted resolutely in modernity, Barker has fashioned his own latter-day tragic theatrical genre, the Theatre of Catastrophe.

Black Watch

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Director: John Tiffany; Barbican, London; 20 to 26 June

The National Theatre of Scotland's Iraq War drama Black Watch is moving to the Barbican. It has been garlanded with awards since it opened at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2006. There are a variety of reasons why the play, which was written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany, has become such a hit.

Blair in the dock

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Theatre director Nicolas Kent and Guardian journalist Richard Norton-Taylor are well known for their powerful plays based on tribunal hearings. They talked to Mark Brown about their new drama, Called to Account, which puts Tony Blair in the dock over Iraq

An interesting process has taken place since the movement against the Iraq war exploded onto the British political scene. A legal term, which ordinarily would be a topic of discussion for only a small minority of the population, has become part of mainstream public consciousness - possibly millions of people in Britain believe that their own prime minister is a "war criminal".

Harold Pinter: Prize Fighter

Issue section: 
Author: 

Theatre critic Mark Brown welcomes an unexpected Nobel Prize laureate.

When it was announced on 13 October that Harold Pinter, who recently turned 75, was to be the 2005 Nobel laureate for literature, there was surprise (not least on the part of Pinter himself) followed by celebrations and recriminations, according to one's cultural and political tastes. Deliciously, it also cast a shadow over Margaret Thatcher's eightieth birthday party, which was held on the same day.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Mark Brown