Viewing entries tagged
music

Comment

Baz Vibes - Five O'The Best

What's the betting that deckchair on the right is going to order that deckchair on the left go get the ice creams and 'stop being a whiny cow' - Bank holidays, huh

What's the betting that deckchair on the right is going to order that deckchair on the left go get the ice creams and 'stop being a whiny cow' - Bank holidays, huh

Hey Bazzers! Us here again, fresh-faced and sun kissed (ok, slightly sunburned) from that scorcher of a Bank Hol Weekend - and as the longer days encourage shorter sleeves, brightly coloured drinks and the fact that your mum says you can play out later, we thought with all the nonsense happening in the world currently, why not keep it positive with some of our Favourite Things we here at Team Baz have appreciated recently. So without further ado -five of our most favourite things we are digging this month. Lift up the red curtain! (well, not really, there isn't one, but work with us here) 

- Our Mates, Doing the Thing: Out BazPals always keep our dance card very full and brimming with excellence- and with fantastic works of music and theatre such as Laura Moody and the Phaedra Ensemble in their piece 'Medium' (link) there is always an embarrassment of riches from Baz collaborators and pals. And from our ADs too - as Sarah Bedi directed a celebration of the Bard with Globe Theatre players in 'Shakespeare Within the Abbey'. That is to say, Westminster. You know, just casually.

Rooftops, Courtyards and Banks: After a weekend such as this - a shock to the average theatre type, used as we are to working in a black box all day and not stepping outside until sundown. (Hang on...are we all vampires? Fully researched, intense blog to follow) This shock to the system has side affects that include- a sudden, uncalled-for abundance of pale skin, day drinking, lounging and generally 60% less theatre than usual. But with courtyards like Somerset House, housing the Courtauld Institute and Gallery and sculpture court (WITH FOUNTAINS), the small deckchair village that multiplies in front of the National Theatre, or various themed bars on painfully cool Hackney roofs, what choice do we have, really? Yeah, yeah no: we're just taking this to work outside.

Vegan Food: Yes, this can be a bit polarising, forgive us: but unusually, we have, in the Baz triumvirate a Vegan Majority (good name for a band) and majority rules, so. The good weather usually brings out good food stalls - but all year round Hackney Vegan Festival, LDN Vegan Nights and lunchtime vegan street stalls are becoming a common sight. Chuffed. But if you get bored of lettuce, word to the wise: Temple of Seitan do devilishly good Vegan Fast Food. Thank us later.

The Prominently Female Jury at Cannes This Year: Women and film have had a turbulent relationship since time immemorial - but really rocky recent times has not made it a friend to women. This year's jury at Cannes - where, a few years earlier, women weren't allowed into screenings wearing flat shoes -is made up of Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydeux, Khadja Nin and Kristen Stewart. Oh, and a few token men. And it's not even for a female-only category! Progress, thy name is Cannes. Keep it up and maybe film can redeem itself. 

Childish Gambino's Track and Video 'This Is America: Put simply, when art does the thing. Part modern art and music video, this could potentially be installed in the Tate Modern, and featured in your dissertation. Art at its most provoking. 

Special mentions to the upcoming all-female Ocean's Eight film, avant-garde punk choreographer Michael Clark's latest stunning, Bowie-infused offering 'To a Simple Rock n Roll...song' is on iPlayer, starlet Zendaya turning up to the Met Gala and embracing the theme of Catholic imagination dressed as the most fashionable Joan of Arc we've ever seen, but most importantly -  Graeae Theatre Company's Sensibilty Festival in Birmingham coming up later this month, 18-20th May featuring work from D/deaf, blind and disabled artists - more info on their twitter @graeae

More as we get it, but sorry we have to go - a deckchair was just vacated. You get the ice creams, yeah?

Big love and Best,

Baz x

 

Comment

Comment

Spotlight 2: Rebel, Rebel

The Thin White Duke. Ziggy Stardust. The Goblin King. Davy Jones. He had a knack for personas, did Bowie. Something that Baz shares a common ground with. Yes, welcome to another Spotlight – and it’s another doozy in Bowie (do nothing by halves, us lot) So just bear with us as we attempt to explain his influence and importance in some way no-one else has managed to. We might be here a while.

It’s fair to start with the idea that if you have nothing you have nothing to lose – in a time when it was scandalous to even have long hair as dictated by the war-torn generation that came before it, soldiers’ children were finding new avenues to express themselves, and luckily for them, Ziggy was waiting in the wings. It’s hard for us Baz-istas to comprehend what a massive splash he made in ’73 – someone (“She’s Not Sure if You’re a Boy or a Girl”) appearing on Top of The Pops one evening in a cat suit, full stage make-up and orange hair. Put you off your tea. But intrinsically to his appeal, and especially to Baz, he totally did not break the rules of how to dress, behave, even make music, it’s like he had no clue what they even were. He had nothing, so he had nothing to lose. Zeitgeist, meet Ziggy.

Though it eventually became clear what gender Bowie was, (petition to start one simply called ‘Bowie’) there was, even then, a hovering doubt. Rumours of outrageous behaviour and fluid sexuality maintain to this day that all add to the image that became so important to us as a society and to him as a cultural keystone – image, and performance. Larger than life, fully in character, (though he denies even that description voraciously, amazing, but throw us a bone, Davy) like Richard Burbage taking on Hamlet, Othello and Richard II - a ton of amazing characters under his belt, and utterly loyal to them, until the time came to move on.

Baz's idea of gender is long held in the 'doesn't matter' column and that's why Bowie's importance to Baz is simple: he was a true performer with no time for labels or societal pressures. In our 2013 production of Prophesy, we switched up our casts as we wished: Helen of Troy could be played by a tall man in his early thirties, Paris, the noble prince, set on capturing Helen’s heart? A young woman in her late twenties- why not? As long as bold choices are told with authenticity – something Bowie did naturally - he was an artist in the truest sense of the word, and Baz is inspired. And it's not just us - far from being covered by artists ranging across the board and genre (how can we forget Astronaut Chris Hadfield's, seminal, gravity-less cover) he's inspired art, fashion, and with The Michael Clark Company, stunning dance. It seems as if the artistic community will carry on his legacy and rightly so.

We can maintain his legacy, but  he self-curated his death - he honours his legacy much as he did his different personas – effortlessly. It’s sad that his impending death was the force that brought out an international bestseller at the V&A of his costumes, a new album, and most recently and surprisingly of all – a musical, Lazarus opening in New York late last year: (http://www.davidbowie.com/news/nytw-announces-world-premiere-lazarus-54311)  but with the ever-present possibility of new treats being revealed in months to come, it’s almost as if you could brush over the ‘death’ part. As ever, he keeps us guessing, this impossible dude who simply made good music, dressed well and changed the game – bonus points for being the only musician-turned-actor to survive making a movie (sorry Cher, J-Lo and Madonna) and retain his musical credit. Most importantly, though, he never conformed. Baz has something in common with that too.

If we may: Lorde’s stunning performance with Bowie’s band at the Brit Awards earlier this year recaptured a bit of the presence with a bit of herself thrown in - in deference to a true tribute, this is how it’s done. The future is looking bright. Seriously, we can't stop watching it.

You like dancing and you look divine,

Baz x

Comment

Comment

Quietly Loud - A Baz Appreciation of Music

(BAZ Blogger: Jess Bailey)

Hello again lovely post-Easter people! Hope you are still aglow with chocolate sugar-buzzes and watching Easter Parade for the hundredth time on BBC Two (bless Fred and Ginger….but that’s for another blog, another time) For now, we talk of that most abstract yet present, all encompassing, yet always-in-the-background thing: music. We here at Baz HQ love music. Can’t get enough of the stuff. Both individually, as a group, as a theatre company and as a cast -  we’ve used it to the best of our ability (which has always been pretty damn good) - in all forms, all the best stuff: acapella choral singing, improvised singing, improvised music on and with props, and most recently with a divine cello. For Baz it’s always the extra player in the scene, though it has no lines to recite, nowhere to enter or exit, but heard in, around and through the action: quietly loud.

Laura Moody in Dream Play R&D for BAZ at HighTide

Laura Moody in Dream Play R&D for BAZ at HighTide

One thing that’s terribly important to Baz, and this, in fact, vies with other aims for the top spot, is to tell stories. Any old story: stories of love turning to hate, hate to love, ambition to ruin, vice versa - sometimes it’s barely about something as simple as finding somewhere to sit down in a busy room - as long as it’s told well and in the most interesting way possible. Music has a happy tradition with storytelling, something lost in the mire from the 18th century onwards with the advent of naturalism and realism, for the most part anyway, and Baz has always wanted to honour that magic moment when an audience is silent and someone starts to sing, or run a bow along a string, hit a key in contemplation. There’s that famous example of Ophelia, now insane, wandering about, singing and mumbling to herself, to make it clear, but music can do so much more than illuminate character, it can also conjure everything from regal palaces to humble slums effortlessly.

Well, that got a bit fact-y didn’t it! Forgive us, we get kind of nerdy about this stuff, and excited when we can use it to its fullest extent with the talent and creativity of performers like Laura Moody, who was part of our Dream Play cast -  an amazing classically trained cellist who also has a line in experimental music who, free from sheet music, improvised swathes of gorgeous melody that belong only to the play: her reaction to the play and her knowledge of how the cello could best describe it - that’s original, once in a lifetime material, and performed so beautifully and with melancholy on a gradually dimming beach in Aldeburgh - magical. To prove it, here, enjoy Laura spellbinding everyone with her own personal album at Wilton’s music Hall, why not indeed:

Of course there has always been a close correlation with music, theatre and art - Ancient Greek culture made sure the Sirens beauty was only bettered by their seductive, ethereal singing - so much so Odysseus had to be tied down to resist only their voices, and Greek theatre gave us the term ‘Orchestra’ for the area behind the stage where the players would sit. In Baz’s 2013 production of Prophesy, we tackled the Ancient Greek canon, by mixing dialogue with improv, art and singing, in a way honouring the original tradition whilst keeping it all Baz. From music for lyre and flute of Shakespeare’s time, to the great scores of the 20th century from stabbing violins for Psycho to the unbearably lush waves of Rachmaninov in Brief Encounter (we implore you,  imagine the film without it)  - to Michael Nyman’s award-winning score for The Piano and Peter Greenaway’s potent collaborations, music has shown its relevance across the board - sure it’s not showy like language, visual like acting or dance but it’s damn well there all the same. And you find yourself listening.

It’s important to us all, though, music and sound - the first noise you are ever aware of being that comforting pound of boom-boom of a heartbeat, but as we grow older, brought up with particular tastes of our parents and even a little bit of our grandparents before them, music is so hardwired into us. It helps us too, even heals: research has shown its miracle qualities, from bringing back memory to brain damaged patients, curing stutters and tourrettes- from the domestic, making you feel a wide spectrum of emotion, a teenage connection, dancing your first dance to it, getting married to it, it’s in all things human and it would be ridiculous to not be included in our productions.

Good job we have then, eh. And have we have been lucky so far.

If music be the food of love…(who said that? It sounds familiar…)

Then, love.

Baz x

Comment