Monday, 30 July 2012

Not Just A Doctor's Dilemma

I was very kindly given tickets to see the new production of A Doctor's Dilemma, at The National Theatre last Thursday directed by Nadia Fall. I took along a theatre buddy and avoided reading anything about the show in the lead up in order to be as open minded as possible.

We had fabulous seats and were both instantly struck by the beautiful set design (designed by Peter McKintosh), which revealed itself to be increasingly impressive throughout the show.

On the whole, I am not familiar with George Bernard Shaw's plays however, I am aware they generally explore moral dilemmas, social hypocrisies. A Doctor's Dilemma, originally staged in 1906, certainly does that. It questions how we can determine the value of an individual and more directly, if you can save the life of only one man, how do you choose who deserves it most?

David Calder, Aden Gillet, Malcolm Sinclair and Derek Hutchinson

Tom Burke as Dubedat and Genevieve O'Reilly as Jennifer Dubedat

It is an interesting dilemma but I had my own to battle with in regards to this play. On paper this is a fascinating debate yet in practice/production I just could not engage with it.

Although superbly acted by a wonderful cast it simply lacked in impact for me (despite often being very funny).  The production was beautiful, the performances on a whole were great - I particularly enjoyed Tom Burke's Dubedat. But I just didn't care about the dilemma, the stakes weren't high enough for me and more importantly I could not work out why this play was relevant for today.

There were fleeting moments of resonance, wry remarks made about the dubious agenda of the drug industries and an insight into the questionable morals of the private medical profession. Some of the doctors involved were motivated by money, others by fame. Very few, if any, by a desire to simply heal the sick. But these points really were sporadic and so, on the whole, I just couldn't understand what I was supposed to take away from it.

Plays aren't just put on, particularly at The National Theatre of England, they are programmed. Classic pieces over new commissions, are one assumes, specifically chosen. The Artistic Director feels they have something to say, a debate to ignite, a relevant point to make. I can only suppose I was meant to understand and appreciate the importance of the National Health Service, our publicly funded healthcare system which is increasingly under threat due to government cuts and policy.

The National Health Service's system ensures that no Doctor has the opportunity to choose who he treats over another, there is treatment for theory. I'm not going to go into the waiting lists, the postcode lottery of treatments. The NHS treats one and the same as best it can despite cuts, policy changes, targets and mounting pressure from all sides.

So maybe that's what I was supposed to feel, but I didn't. My fellow theatre buddy in turn didn't either, instead she felt angry. Angry that what this theatre wanted to say to a modern audience wasn't instead given to a contemporary playwright to say in a more emphatic manner with a new commission. Maybe that choice came down to the fact that The National Theatre has a responsibility to achieve the right ratio of classic to new pieces...maybe not.

I won't pretend that I am not a New Writing enthusiast but I do feel strongly that a lot of classic plays can often make their points with more emphasis when it comes from a period we don't think, based on appearance, we can relate to anymore. An issue that resonates can be far more effective when coming from an unexpected place. Classic/Period pieces often makes me better understand that humanity is not affected by tailcoats and hoop skirts. Times and society have changed but ultimately we are all people trying to muddle through as best we can.

I was pleased I got the opportunity to see the production and oddly it has made me want to become more familiar with Shaw, I want to explore his other moral dilemmas and find one I can more directly engage with...let me know if you have any recommendations!

Do let me know if you have seen the National's production, I am happy to debate and discuss alternative viewpoints. After all that's the beauty of theatre, it gets us thinking and talking.

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” 
-George Bernard Shaw, A Doctor's Dilemma

Friday, 27 July 2012


c/o gaveston
How is it that I can I feel strong and self-assured like a rock and then just 10 minutes later feel as fragile as a feather in the wind? 

Sometimes I feel I'll never find my place.

"Dreaming is one thing, and working towards the dream is one thing, but working with expectations in mind is very self-defeating."
- Michael Landon

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ticks Almost All my Boxes..

Thank you Tats for sharing this - I love it!

"Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake - you know, to send the right message to kids."
- Bill Maher

Monday, 23 July 2012

Knit With Love

As you probably know I am a member (and fan) of Ravelry. I was perusing various sock patterns on there the other day and came across this wonderful project by a fellow knitter from the USA. I asked her if I could share it with you and she kindly agreed.

She, mylittlepurl, recently got married and as a wedding gift for her husband-to-be she hand knit him a pair of socks to wear on their big day. But these weren't your usual pair of hand knit beauties, she had knit a lovely funny little message to keep his toes extra warm and I'm sure ensured a firm smile on his face.

In case you can't see, the pair reads: in case you get cold feet

How gorgeous is that! 

Thank you mylittlepurl for letting me share your wonderful socks, what a talented lady and what a  lucky hubby!

"Memories are stitched with love." 
 ~Author Unknown

First Yarn-Bomb Location: Identified

I'm temping this week at an agency where it's safe to say I'm a regular. I work with one of the two receptionists (blog-names: Showgirl and Tats) each time and they are both equally amused and interested by my current knitting projects and always ask for updates.

Last week I was talking to Showgirl about my upcoming yarn bombing plan and she was intrigued, we ended up looking at various yarn-bombing websites and images together.  This week she's on holiday and so I am covering her. This morning I found she had left me a note asking if I had achieved my yarn bomb yet.

Tats brought it up too, turns out Showgirl was telling him all about it and he too is intrigued. While talking about it, he had a truly fantastic suggestion - yarn bomb her desk for her return from holiday! I was excited, what a brilliant idea - I will yarn-bomb the leg of the desk she shares with Tats and I think she will love it!

It's a creative agency and the desk leg faces the studio not any incoming clients so I doubt anyone will mind...we'll see!

The YARN BOMB TARGET...with a bit of Tat's tatted leg.

Of course this won't exactly be anonymous but there's time for more risky pieces later...let the measurements commence!

“Why do you have a cigarette lighter in your glove compartment?" her husband, Jack, asked her. "I'm bored with knitting. I've taken up arson” 
Audrey NiffeneggerHer Fearful Symmetry

I Made Potatoes!

I planted and grew my first potatoes - they are Queen Elizabeth's and I dug 2 portions up on Friday. I was beyond excited to find they had actually grown and were proper, real life potatoes!

We washed and cooked them up and made a lovely Tuna Nicoise salad. Unfortunately I had never cooked such fresh tats before and so, I admit, I overcooked them just a bit. They were done so quickly!

They were still delicious and there's more out there yet to be dug up and devoured.

A man who prides himself on his ancestry is like the potato plant, the best part of which is underground

- Spanish Proverb

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Streets of Colour

I have been considering having a go at yarnbombing for a while now, looking at images like these has inspired me. I'm going to do it! Watch out London I've got my crafty eye on you....
c/o History to the People
c/o Stickluben
c/o Illusion
c/o Flickamag
c/o Design Drool
I will document my yarnbombing adventure on here, first thing's first I need to select a spot to yarnbomb....


“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
― Raymond Salvatore Harmon, BOMB: A Manifesto of Art Terrorism

A Literal Spring in your Step

I love when you see adults walking like children, all swinging arms and lolloping gait. I bet it makes them feel happy and carefree, like when you skip anywhere. It's nigh on impossible not to feel cheered by a spontaneous skip. Try it, you'll see.

That is all. Back to your business.

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is."
- Ellen DeGeneres

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