Skip to main content

Stella

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars
It's the men's voices you hear first in Siobhan Nicholas' new play that charts the parallel universes of eighteenth century singer turned astronomer Caroline Herschel and a twenty-first century counterpart investigating her life. They're the voices of men who've seen stars, been to the moon and lived to tell the tale. It's women like Herschel, however, who broke the glass ceiling that allowed those men to conquer worlds beyond.

The production by Brighton-based company, Take the Space, in association with Hove's The Old Market (TOM) venue and Greenwich Theatre sets its sights from the start, as Jessica and her classical musician husband Bill look to the skies for guidance. He's been offered a two year gig in Germany, and expects Jess to go with him. She has plans of her own, however, most of which involve a fascination with Herschel that sees her take up residence in the museum that was once the house her inspiration shared with her composer brother William. He may have got all the credit for discovering comets as he crafted ever bigger telescopes, but it was Caroline who had the real vision.

Directed by the company with Polly Irvin, Nicholas' play is part detective story, part polemic and part reclaiming of hidden history. As it flits between time-zones, it reveals a slew of classical allusions among the cosmic fall-out navigated by three actors, including Nicholas herself as Caroline. The late lurch into global politics via Jess and Bill's daughter Eve may be sudden, but it's here that the legacy of Caroline's fearlessness pays off in an at times awkward if heartfelt glimpse into lives lived beyond the twilight zone.

The Herald, November 21st 2013


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…