Writing Greenwood Tree – and more

wordplay

A Special Humility

It’s been rather crowded recently – people, theatre, words, more people, more theatre, more words – on paper, in the air, in that dusty attic posing as my brain. Characters that had previously inhabited the relative comfort of notebooks, sleeping between the pages, are at present being made ready to be brought to life. Dusting off their wigs, hats and coats; now a little fard, a little rouge and powder; polish those shoe buckles, and they are standing in the wings, ready to leap out into the spotlight. Nothing huge, mind, in the way of actual stage-work; just a little conversation here and there – only with unexpected results. It has been an ongoing creative process, with more to come: something else I had previously written to no end has now been taken on board by another set of creatives who are actually enthusiastic to bring it to life; and all of this happening all at the same time. A little whirlwind made up of other people’s imagination, energy and perception is making its way across the pages; words, lines, dialogues, whole scenes have life breathed into them, and the transition from paper to that unreal reality of theatre is made, almost without you realising it. The magic has begun – thought processes start to whir, kickstarting a series of added details, gestures, inflections and more; some of these will be kept, others discarded, there is a constant moulding and re-modelling until the piece of art that is an imaginary character stands up on stage and takes command of itself.
The bubbly enthusiasm and creative energy brought to the rehearsal space by the actors themselves speeds up that process.

Watching someone take on board your ideas, thoughts, words and characters and invest their energy, creative, physical and even psychic, in something you have written could be a challenging experience – horror stories abound of writers turned homicidal after the perceived mangling of their work by negligible directors and/or actors; so far I can only say how pleasurable it has been, and how curious I remain to see what happens next, how those same characters will develop on stage. It is all part of the huge ongoing creative process called acting – and when you are fortunate enough to find those who can jump in, focussed, and pick up the shreds and patches we offer them, it is a magical thing indeed.

It takes a particular kind of humility to submerge one’s own ego in another’s; it is what drives many very fine actors (whom we may never actually see on the big screen), and a quality which makes such actors very special people indeed.

 

No U-Turn will be at the Pleasance Theatre Islington, on Sunday 17th: www.directorscuttheatre.co.uk/nouturn

No U-Turn at the Pleasance Theatre

 

No uturn 3

 

 

 

 

 

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Save-a-word-Saturday 10

 
 
save  a word Saturday image
 

(Full rules here : The Feather & the Rose)
1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely old words.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme chosen for the week.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life.

 
Cripes, nearly missed this week’s again ! Got in by the skin of me teeth ….
 
                                                                                                                                                Theme: Scarf-a-Scone Saturday
                                                                                                                                       Chosen words: madefy (verb) : to wet
                                                                                                                                                                           magirology(noun):  art of cookery
 
 
 
The bear stomped into the kitchen,  sniffing out honey pots and teabags.‘Tea,’ he growled, as the wind outside blew its cracked cheeks, ‘tea and scones….’The oven required a certain amount of work with the bellows, and the flour was rather furry – however, he was not to be done out of his required sustenance, and half an hour later, a steaming bear sat before the fire,  stretching his madefied toes towards a healthy, roaring fire,  slurping his tea and stuffing his face with magirological delights.Who can beat  a scone, eh….
(Now off to hunt for some …)
 
hmmm… jammy ones… he’ll like those ….

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Save a Word Saturday 6

save  a word Saturday image

(Full rules here : The Feather & the Rose)
1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely old words.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme chosen for the week.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life.

My chosen words:

ramiferous
adj. – bearing branches. ramiform, adj. branch-alike.

facinorous
adj. – extremely wicked; depraved; infamous

& this week’s theme is:

Earlobes

 

‘Whooooo….’

‘Who, indeed?’ joked Mr Gracious , a little nervously.

‘Pay no attention. There are tales of a phantom that haunts the place, but really, it is nothing more than an owl,’ said the host to his guest anxiously, as he placed a lighted candle on the table before leaving him to his bed chamber

‘Who who whohooooo…’ came the crazed voice again.

Mr Gracious tugged at his earlobe and hemmed and hawed a while.

‘Of course, nothing but a lot of old wives’ tales; still, perhaps not inadvisable to lock one’s door and windows at night – if an owl or even a bat were to make its way in, could be rather annoying.’

He peered out through the narrow window; the view that met him might have been created specifically for a Tale of Horror and Imagination or one of Le Fanu: a full moon, riding clear of some very oddly shaped clouds, framed against the bluey-black sky by the ramiferous arms of the old tree growing immediately outside.

‘Quite,’ commented Mr Gracious to himself, as if in agreement with the elements.

And so to bed.  He could not quite close the window however:  rust, or some fault in the original design caused it to stick, allowing a thin breath of cool evening air to enter. He tugged the tapestry across it and by means of his walking stick managed to pin it ingeniously in place.

A quiet read by candle light, and soon he was sleepy enough to doze off;  even the who-whooiing which continued far into the night failed to wake him, although occasionally he twitched in his sleep.

‘Whoo-whoooooo…..’

Who indeed, could be of such nefarious, such facinorous intent, as to wish harm to an itinerant traveller , a complete stranger to the semi-ruined castle?

‘Whooo-whooooo….’

Shadows flickered about the chamber,  assuming  strange and near human shapes – it is curious how a breath of air can make the flame flicker and dart in that extraordinary manner …  now a female figure, now a dancing, capering male figure , surely wearing a jester’s cap… and finally, the shadow of an owl, flying around the walls – how could that be? The window is not open, nor  is the door.

Night wears on into dawn – and as the walking stick falls away, the window swings open – and from the chamber, mysteriously, drifts out the owl.

Has the castle claimed yet another victim?

‘… framed against the bluey-black sky by the ramiferous arms of the old tree …’

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Save A Word Saturday 5

save  a word Saturday image

The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, “Dihydrogen Monoxide” is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you’re having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

I am late again ! But it is still Saturday …

This week’s words I have chosen are:

Dapifer – meat-bearer to table, a steward

Macarize, v. pronounce blessed; praise; congratulate.

 And the theme was : Weddings…

‘Primroses? I think not, my dear. Something  a little more genteel…try these lilies of the valley, and some  lilacs,’ Aunt Zephira clucked and fussed, while her niece fidgeted.

‘This train will be far too long, the bride’s maids will be tripping over it half the time,’ complained her niece, tugging at the heavy white satin.

‘Hush dear, you’ll upset the Count’s mother- it is tradition after all.’

‘I know, but twenty feet long? A little outré, I do think.’

‘Never mind, that’s what the page boys are for.’

‘Humph.’

‘And don’t make noises like that, please, Griselda – you don’t want to be mistaken for a camel, now, do you…’ Zephira continued to fuss, while a few hand –maids hovered respectfully at a distance. Aunt quickly dealt with them by sending them off on various tasks. At last, they were ready, and a chain of whispered announcements were passed along the long, draughty corridors of the castle.

Down the steps they went, Griselda complaining she could hardly see where she was going, owing to the thick veil over her face, her aunt tut-tutting and issuing more commands to various other servants.

A gaggle of nervous and multi-sized damsels in white silk dresses were waiting in the hall; they took their positions, and the little procession continued out across the courtyard to ancient roman temple at the far end. The Count had a leaning towards Romantic Gothicism, and had requested that the ceremony be conducted on this ancient spot, in imitation of Theseus and Hippolyta. There was even a threat of the Bard’s play being performed that evening. Griselda had no great liking for the stage and indeed wished the whole scenario over and done with so she could go and lie down in a dark corner somewhere and … chew some … straw …? Why was she thinking about straw ? ‘Humph,’ she went again. Her aunt signalled her to restrain herself, but her nose simply twitched in reply.

A fanfare sounded : the Count had arrived at the temple and made his way to the altar.

The ceremony passed without a hitch, although guests noted the bride’s tendency to snort and mumble her vows somewhat, and by the end of it, she was displaying a marked inclination to paw at the ground with one foot. As the final words were uttered, there came one more distinct ‘humph!’ from under the veil – pronounced enough to startle even the Count slightly.

They proceeded to banqueting hall, amidst much macarizing, and there a gargantuan meal was served – again, to satisfy the Count’s demands for spectacle and grandeur. Still the bride maintained a sturdy silence, munching her way through several dishes brought in by the dapifers, from behind her veil, (which proved a messy business), snorting and huffing.

There was drinking and dancing, and out everyone tripped, to enjoy a quadrille by the light of the moon, before making their various ways home.

‘But where is my bride?’ asked the Count, suddenly – and immediately a search was made. When and how she had disappeared nobody saw, but vanished she most surely had.

Lanterns, candles, rushes were lit – all the servants and those few remaining guests who had not yet left, joined in the hunt. The moon had sailed half across the sky when a screech was heard, from the direction of the stables. All rushed madly hither, to be greeted by the sight of Aunt Zephira, pointing at a camel in a veil and wrapped up in the train of Griselda’s dress, finishing off the remains of her bouquet.

‘But there is surely not – that cannot be…’gasped the Count.

‘Humph,’ went Griselda, as she munched at another lilac.

‘My dear, it is not lady-like, to eat one’s own bouquet in public like that,’ faltered Aunt Zephira.

But it was very comfortable in the straw in the stables, and finally, Griselda felt at ease.

A taunting hoot wafted across the courtyard.

‘Look ! Tis she – the fortune teller of legend come again as an owl!’ cried out some.

‘The curse, the curse, again !’cried out the others.

The Count straightened his cravat and ordered fresh straw. Soon, the sound came of duplicate munching, as he joined his spouse in her evening snack….

The Count had a leaning towards Romantic Gothicism …

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Save a Word Saturday 4

save  a word Saturday image

The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, “Dihydrogen Monoxide” is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you’re having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

At last – I am nearly ahead of myself !

This week’s chosen words:

rabiator
n. – a violent man
obambulate
v. – to walk about, wander

and the theme was

 Lace Socks ….

The guide flung open the great, heavy, wooden doors and creaked across the threshold in his well-polished leather pumps. It was the fashion in those days for gentlemen to show off their calves in stockings and britches, and Mr Momentous was well-equipped in that department. Some of the ladies in the group were quite in awe of them, so much so that they would forget to observe the magnificent surroundings, the opulent furniture, the excellent wooden panelling and carved balustrades, and stared instead at his bipedal prowess, and giggled quietly behind their fans.

The Calves of Mr Momentous

‘As you will note,’ boomed Mr Momentous, stopping in the centre of the great chamber, ‘ this is no ordinary castle. Once home to a king, it passed into the hands of a court jester, in the most unorthodox manner – the jester soon turned into a rabiator –‘

One of the ladies waved her fan in peremptory fashion and demanded to know what word that was.

Mr Momentous drew himself up to his full height of barely five feet, and proceeded to explain:

‘A rabiator,madam, one no longer in full possession of his temper; added to which , the same personage had taken to obambulating at night, putting his household, and ministers and advisers in something of a quandary …’

‘Obambulating,sir? What manner of offensive word might that be?’ asked the same lady again, her ire visibly raised by the semantical loquacity of the guide.

Mr Momentous bowed, a condescending smile playing about his lips.

‘Why, it is little more than a variation on ambulatory, or walking – ‘

‘In that case why not say so and be done with it ?’ expostulated the lady, now clearly irritated.

‘In that case why not say so and be done with it ?’ expostulated the lady, now clearly irritated.

‘Because, madam, while similar to ambulating or walking, it signifies in a vague uncertain manner, or to wander, – as befitted one who was, by all accounts, under some form of a curse, driven made by it in fact – to such a degree, that he took to wearing the most unsuitable clothes, eating bizarre and unwholesome food, and singing nonsensical songs.’

‘Unsuitable clothes?’

‘What say you to half a red jacket, slit down the sleeve, on one side, and a green waistcoat, slit across, on the other ? coupled with britches made of goat hair, and slippers made of oak leaves – what say you to purple hose, tied up with red laces ?’

‘I care not for the combination of colour – I think it most lacking in taste, and quite unfashionable!’ declared one of the ladies, amidst titters. The irascible one sniffed.

‘But let me show you, rather than attempt to describe…’ and Mr Momentous crossed over to the opposite wall to fling back a tapestry. He was suitably gratified by the gasp that ran through his little audience.

The portrait was of the poor jester king, in all his lunatic glory; a mass of indigestible colour, from his bright yellow hat, to his pink shirt, green and red slit jacket as described by Mr Momentous, down to his oak leaf slippers – and lace socks, red on purple. Quite fetching, for some perhaps. A murmur of pity instead ran through the fashion-conscious group.

‘The poor soul, mad indeed.

‘Quite lost his senses.’’And smiling away at it all.’

‘Indeed, when the likeness was taken he was already nigh the end,’ commented Mr Momentous, with a fine touch of dramatic melancholy.

‘And what was the end, then?’ asked one of the younger gentlemen of the party.

‘One night, it is said, his perambulations took him up those very steps, leading to the tower, where he threw himself – or fell – from its ramparts and so met his sorry end.’

A mild shriek or too at this from some of the ladies. The irascible female folded her arms and went merely ‘Harrumph!’

‘What say you he might not have been pushed?‘ asked one of the gentlemen of the party.

‘There, legend leaves us to mystify, – however, there was a rumour that he had been driven mad by a fortune-teller, who had the ability to change into an owl, and who persecuted him, drove him from chamber to chamber, from floor to floor, until at last, in despair of ever being free of this torment – he took the only escape left open to him, as presented to his sorry state of mind and so left this life precipitately…’ here, Mr Momentous paused, as if listening. The others fell quiet too, listening hard.

‘Whoooooooo…hooooooo….’ came the sound again.

As one, they all cried out, and rushed from the chamber, in terror of sighting the unlucky bird.

All save Mr Momentous, who stood, shaking his head sorrowfully after them.

A few minutes later, there was a movement behind one of the tapestries, and an elegant gentleman in pale blue issued forth from it.

‘Well, Mr Momentous? How were the takings today, sir?’

A quiet clinking sound, as coins exchanged hands.

‘Indeed, were it not for the profit, how very depressed would one’s spirits be at the gullibility of the human mind,’  commented Mr Momentous, straightening his waistcoat.

‘Indeed so, sir,’ replied the other.

They sauntered off downstairs at a leisurely pace, scarcely bothering to look back.

An owl swept across the chamber and flew through one of the windows.

‘…the gullibility of the human mind,…’

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Previously: Footsteps, Laughter & Castles


Save A Word Saturday ‘Laughter’

save  a word Saturday image

The rules run thusly:


1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, “Dihydrogen Monoxide” is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you’re having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

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Last week, I neglected to add my link in time – I have remedied now however – meanwhile, here is my contribution:

This week’s theme is:

Laughter (Previously:Castles)

Chosen words:

Balatron: n.-a joker, a clown

Hariolation: n.-  a prophecy

 

The meal is over; the king’s jester, appetite now quite sated and thirst thoroughly quenched, darts across to a shadowy corner of the room where a tapestry hangs loosely – hooking it back, he bows to the king and reveals … a bundle of patches,beads and plaited red hair. ’Behold, your majesty – another diversion; something to make us laugh with disbelief or creep fearfully to our beds; either way, it shall be entertainment, no?’

‘A fortune-teller? I suppose so; you have done so well this day, you may choose the manner of its passing – speak, then, madam, perform your hariolations!’

The Fortune Teller

The Fortune Teller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bundle of patches, beads and red hair looks up at the king and smiles. Is it his imagination, or does the king feel a sudden chill in the chamber ? Is there a draught, or is it the manner of the fortune teller’s smile ? Whatever the cause, he shivers involuntarily and calls for an extra cloak.

‘Now, now, good woman,’ cries out his Majesty’s balatron, ‘no tricks now, speak true or not at all!’

The fortune-teller smiles again, and beckons to the king. A fortune-teller, beckoning a king? What land is this ? Why,  simply, a land where prophecy, magic and second-sight are treated with due respect. So the king draws near…

A cry rings out across the chamber, followed by incredulous laughter.

The king leaves, ashen-faced. The jester remains, rolling on the floor with mirth. And the fortune-teller? There is no sign of her now – and none saw her leave the castle.

A watchman did see a great owl fly from the narrow chamber window, however, hooting derisively.

The King is ailing now, and not expected to last out the month. Every time his advisors beg him to name an heir – he points to his jester, who begins to chuckle.

Strange times indeed. A jester for a king. Who would have thought it …

Who would have thought it … (The Court Jester, by W.Merrit Chase Keying)


Save a Word Saturday (Late)

save  a word Saturday image

Well, I was too late to join in the linky thing – but I was so taken with the theme and the words I had found, I went ahead and posted anyway …so, to start from the beginning :

The rules run thusly (as taken from the Feather&Rose blog) :

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, “Dihydrogen Monoxide” is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you’re having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it’s down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible! (Drat – I was too late to join this time around – but I am joining in anyway !)

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

This week’s theme is:

Castles

And my chosen words are :

Edacious:  jocular, gluttonous, pertaining to eating

 Ebrious:  drunk

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???????????????????????????????

High up, atop a craggy mount, lies the castle – and at its heart, beyond those stern, thick walls, stands a banqueting hall – decked out in white cloth, hung with tapestries, and made magnificent with music from the gallery –and with food …

Peaches and apricots, grapes and strawberries, bursting at the seams, overweight with their own succulence, spilling over the rims of fruit baskets and painted porcelain plates, a cacophony of colour, dribbling, drooling, dazzling in the occasional patches of sunlight pouring through long narrow windows.

It is a feast fit for a king – so where is he ? Seated at the head of the table, surely, indulging in thick red, thick, red, warming wine, with ebrious delight ?

Seated – no. Standing, yes. A fine white linen cloth over one arm. Here’s a novelty. Whom does he wait upon ?  A man in brightly coloured clothes, with cheerful jibe and uncurbed tongue – he is the king’s jester by day, and honoured guest this night, as he tucks into his meal edaciously…. And why this reward ? Why?

Quite simply – today, he bestowed upon the king that most precious of commodities; the gift of laughter – made his Majesty fairly weep with it, he did. And a costly battle was averted.

A wise king knows how to treat his therapist.

The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry