In which Performance Monkey sets out his stall

Welcome to Performance Monkey, a blog about theatre and dance. I enjoy watching productions, for work and pleasure, but like to think that a show doesn't end when the curtain falls. It's in talking with friends after a show that creative thinking begins, even if discussion often dissipates under pressure of hunger, gossip or public transport. This isn't a reviews site, but a place where some of those discussions can be floated, and where I hope you will bat them right back at me.

I write from London, in a small country that thinks it's a big one, and an ancient city that keeps transforming itself. A friend from the States told me that he thought of London as a city of smog, urchins, rickets and terrible cockerney pubs. And after his first visit, he was thrilled to find that it was exactly as he imagined. Although blogs emerge from a beguiling nowhere as amorphous as a Victorian London particular, I hope some sense of place will emerge.

So, here's the plan. There will be jottings, musings, opinions and (when quality control lapses) whimsies. These may spring up whenever prompted, but life needs structure as well as serendipity. So there will be some regular strands.

Practical criticism
The monkey would like to think that all those hours watching people on stages - how they speak, how they move, how their words and bodies reinforce or betray each other - have not been entirely wasted. So, every Monday we will examine a major news moment with an eye to drama, choreography and performance. To adapt the sceptic's trusty maxim, when we examine a politician's speech and movement, we won't be asking why is this lying bastard lying to me, but how.

Lost and found
Performances are written on the wind, we know that. Even some celebrated productions and choreographies have left only confused and partial traces. So, running on alternate Fridays, we try to pluck some of those from the recent or distant past. Lost nights attempt to reconstruct performances we wish we'd seen. And Found books celebrates some favourite books that bring aspects of performance to life.

So, there we are: Performance monkey has sidled into the building. But none of this will have much point unless you talk back at me: to disagree, affirm, suggest and provoke. So please hit that comment form, people: the monkey could use some companionship as he sits in the dark.

October 12, 2008 9:43 AM | | Comments (3) |


Vera and Anita - thank you so much for accepting the invitation to join in with such panache. And if the monkey was initially notional, you've both made him seem terribly real - grumpy, wearing a red waistocat, slumped in his seat or clinging on for dear life to the back of a bike. Hope the blog lives up to expectations, but I'm delighted it is beginning as a conversation. And funny you should mention the, um, interesting economic situation - the monkey is already wondering why we don't see more bankers on stage...

the last primate i met alone in the dark was tarzan's cheeta, on the lam in manhattan. he had slipped into a picture house where they were projecting king kong, and, so he claimed, emerged with a) a belly full of peanuts and popcorn, delish, and b) an amazing poetics of cinema, between james agee and manny farber. (but then, if any creature knows about the difference between white elephant art and termite art, it's a chimp). so, solitary monkey in row B, with the lights dimming and the curtain rising and the programme already kicked under the seat, tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight: welcome. you're going down all the right aisles — lost performances, found books, and yes please, the performance of public life. (did you see the photocall footage of the econo-euro leaders last weekend? angela, darling, we don't turn our back on the audience while grabbing centre stage for the bow). next?

Ooh, am very excited that Performance Monkey has sidled into the building. I live in a Huge country that thinks its a Ginormous One, but in a very small bowl called Delhi in which lots of self-deluded fish swim in small circles thinking gosh, what a lovely big wide ocean. As I write this, out in the lane comes the familiar rattling thrum of a bandar-walla, cycling along with his monkeys sitting, glumly, in their little red waistcoats on the back of his bike. It's good to know that somewhere in the world what you thought was just a metaphor is somebody's way of life.
Looking forward to reading my favourite critic, wordsmith, metaphor-twirler, in the comfort of a far-off place in a room of my own.

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This page contains a single entry by Performance Monkey published on October 12, 2008 9:43 AM.

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