Apologies for the radio silence. We're busier than ever at the moment. Lots of exciting new projects to announce very soon...
The toughest creative challenge in town is back at Southwark Playhouse on Sunday 22 June 2008.
Present : Tense / Seven challenges some of the UK's finest artistic talent to to respond to the most important news story of the moment in just seven days.
Taking up the gauntlet are: TOM MORTON SMITH, PHIL PORTER, ADRIANO SHAPLIN (playwrights), ELIZABETH FREESTONE , VICKY JONES, LISA SPIRLING (directors), JACK LADENBURG (music), JOE DUNTHORNE, INUA ELAMS (performance poets), LUDOVIC DES COGNETS (photographer), THE MAYHEM COMPANY.
The artists assemble on Sunday 15th June to decide what they think is the most important story on the news agenda. They then have one week to each create a response, before their work is performed live for you the public at Southwark Playhouse on Sunday 22 June.
Throughout the week you can follow their progress and post comments on the present : tense blog where the artists will be posting daily updates.
The last Present : Tense was a total sell out so book your ticket now to ensure you don't miss out. And keep 'em peeled on the blog for updates.
Present : Tense / Seven
Sunday 22 June 2008 // 8:00pm
Southwark Playhouse // Shipwright Yard (Corner Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.) // London // SE1 2TF
Tickets // £10 // 0844 847 1656 (24 hours) or www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk
...as Bob once rasped. And it is indeed all over for Artefacts after a hugely successful Atlantic striding run.
The curtain came down on the final performance in New York on Sunday night after four months wowing audiences in eight cities* and two continents.
Huge thanks to everyone who supported the show in London, around the UK and in New York. We're hugely grateful.
"Just me. Just as I want it. Just as it should be."
* Yes, ok, strictly speaking Scarborough isn't a city, but let's not get hung up on semantics eh?
Another cracker for Artefacts in NYC from Alexis Soloski in Village Voice:
“Bracingly paced and plotted ... Bartlett writes cracking monologues (and decent dialogue, too) in a variety of voices—from Kelly's sharp, prolix speeches to her father's eloquent, reserved tones to her mother's wistful discourse ... A young playwright with a poised style and a compassionate mien—now that's a treasure.”
And Kathy Hirliman has added her five star review to The New York Times site:
"From the minute the curtain goes up the charismatic Lizzy Watts (Kelly) has us in her pocket and with the support of a fiercely intelligent script by Mike Bartlett and James Grieve's invisible direction never lets us out ... To Bartlett's immense credit he does not provide any answers but he does open the conversation. In the very best sense of the phrase this is provocative theatre."
Also proving provocative in the very best sense is Mike's new play, Contractions, which opened this week at the Royal Court to rave reviews in The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Telegraph amongst others. Many congrats to Mike and the company from all at nabokov towers.
Tomorrow, taking time difference into account, the matinee of Artefacts in New York runs concurrently with the evening performance of Contractions in London, meaning Mike will have a play running - quite literally - on both sides of the pond at the same time.
That'd be our Mike Bartlett as proclaimed by John Heilpern in the New York Observer.
"An extraordinary contribution by the London playwright Mike Bartlett," was John's assesment of Artefacts.
"Ably directed in the round by James Grieve, with an Oriental carpet divided by rivers of dirt for a set, Artefacts is an allegory of emotional yearning and desperation, of colliding blood opposites and shifting moral ground. Mr. Bartlett successfully dares to have one quiet, beguiling scene played entirely in Arabic.
"Artefacts leaves us with the memory of an exciting new voice in British theater, as well as the pleasure of an exhilarating performance from Lizzy Watts, the confident British newcomer. She’s dazzling as the furious brat Kelly, and is the linchpin of this fine, measured production."
And he finishes with a plea:
"Come back soon, Lizzy Watts! And bring Mike Bartlett’s next play with you."
Well, John, we'll see what we can do...
You can read the full review here.
New York blog Gothamist delivered its verdict on Artefacts yesterday.
Gothamist is a sibling of the brilliant Londonist (we guess 'New Yorkist' didn't have quite the same ring to it).
Here are the highlights of John Del Signore's review:
“An understated British elegance ... delivered with a dignified mix of passion and reserve. Moodily staged in the round in a smoky room lined with charred Persian rugs, the superb cast deftly draws you into their snarled crises, where the link between the personal and the political can no longer be ignored.”
That might well be the first time the phrase "understated British elegance" has been used to describe our work, but hey, we like it.
You can read the full review here.