I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Sunday, 28 September 2008

BBC 2 Pre-Raphaelite Drama Series

BBC 2 are making a six part TV series about the creation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood . It doesn't involve our story, which is the second wave of the brotherhood. It tells the story of Millais, Holman Hunt and Rossetti, who decide to break away from the Royal Academy and form their own secret society, the PRB. Lizzie Siddal will be in it of course, lying in the bath being painted by Millais, for his Ophelia painting. Amazingly the series will set out the foundation of our Possessed story, making the musical far more topical. This is really good news!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Delaware Art Museum

I received an email from Margaretta Frederick, the curator of the Delaware Art Museum. Amazingly, this Museum in Delaware holds one of the most important collections of British Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the USA! She has invited me to come and look at them when I go to Delaware in November. Other galleries in the States which hold Pre-Raphaelite paintings are: Baltimore Museum of Art; Harvard University Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Walters Art Museum Baltimore and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Delaware Collection includes Dante Gabriel Rossetti's WATER WILLOW (© Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial), painting of Jane, which is one of the paintings to have influenced our duet between Janey and Topsy (William Morris) called Upstream. In the background of this painting you can clearly see Kelmscott Manor, where the lovers spent their summers together, in the old house Morris and Rossetti rented together. William Morris also loved the River Thames and met Janey in Oxford, while he was working with Rossetti on the Arthurian murals for the Oxford Union. He later bought a house by the Thames, in London which he also called Kelmscott.

A verse from Topsy's part in the duet Upstream:

I dream
So many colours now.
Azure, green and yellow ochre,
Prussian blue and golden amber.
I will weave your willow water,
Where I met your river daughter.
How I loved the gleaming shadow,
Merton Field and Christchurch Meadow.
Where my inspiration lies.
Golden amber, silver water,
Flowing from your river daughter.

Brits Flood Broadway

According to Judd Hollander the US Correspondent for the Stage (Thurs Sept 25th 2008), British Theatre is flooding Broadway at the moment. Equus opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on 25th September, the Royal Court's Seagull is opening on 1st October at the Walter Kerr Theatre, A Man For All Seasons is being produced by the Roundabout Theatre at the American Airlines Theatre, the musical epic A Tale of Two Cities at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, Heroes by Tom Stoppard will be presented by the Keen Company, and Billy Elliot at the Imperial Theatre... as well as many others.

Steve's musical composition had a very good reception on Broadway a few years ago, at the Circle in the Square Theatre, with his Drama Desk Nomination for Not About Nightingales, directed by Trevor Nunn.

I am working on a list of theatre producers and literary managers to go and see when I go to New York on 17th November after the Delaware New Works Festival. Although Possessed is a very English musical, it seems to me that most of the other shows that are going to Broadway are also very English.

Monday, 22 September 2008

New York

I have decided to go on to New York after my trip to the Festival in Delaware in November. John Sparkes from the Chicago Theatre Building has suggested I go and see the Artistic Director of the York Theatre in Manhattan. They are an Off-Broadway theatre who have a history of putting on new musicals. I am planning to take the musical with me and see what sort of response it gets from theatres in New York as well as any producers who may come to Delaware for the Festival.

It is an awfully long time since I went to New York. Union Square was only just becoming fashionable. I was staying in a loft there belonging to a wanna be pop star. A limo used to arrive for her every morning to take her off to the recording studios. I was traveling with my close friend, the writer Katie Campbell. No one could have shown me round the city with such ingenuity. It was August and there was no air-conditioning in the loft, so I had to sleep with the window open and a fan blowing in front of it. The noise and heat of the city kept me awake but I loved it all. Yes, I walked on the top of the World Trade Centre, as everyone else did who went there in those days. This time I will make my way to Ground Zero and pay my respects.

Friday, 12 September 2008

More Than Life Itself in Delaware!!

I have just discovered this morning that our song MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF, from Possessed, has been chosen to be one of ten new musical songs to be sung as part of the Delaware Festival of new work. It will be performed on 13th November at The Little Theatre in Lewes, Delaware!! This song is the passionate love song, sung by Jane and Gabriel in the scene at Kelmscott Manor. I have just texted Steve to tell him. He is working in Austria at the moment and sent me back an excited reply. I am not sure what happens next. It is about 5 in the morning in Delaware so won't hear any more news until tomorrow.

Above is a photo from the Arts Theatre rehearsals of Possessed, with Anna Francolini and Joseph Millson singing More Than Life Itself. The photo was taken by Charles Girdham.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Rossetti in Vasto

I have just received information from the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood blog about a wonderful new exhibition of Rossetti's work in Vasto, Italy, along with that of his sister the great poet Christina Rossetti. If you click on the title it will take you to a piece at The Times Online about this exhibition. Dante Gabriel Rossetti never visited Italy during his lifetime but now at last his work has traveled back to the town where his father Gabriele Rossetti, was born. Gabriele Rossetti was a Professor of Italian at King's College London but studied poetry and painting in Naples and passed his love of the arts onto his children. Like the parents of so many geniuses he sowed the seed which blossomed into talent far surpassing anything he would have been able to create.

Rossetti's Beata Beatrix painting of Lizzie Siddal dominates the exhibition at Vasto. In Possessed we re-create the scene where Rossetti sits sketching the face of his dead wife Lizzie, just after her suicide. It is a shocking scene but one we felt was important, in order to understand that this was the only way he could try and attempt to cope with the death of his wife, after a marriage where he had found it difficult to show her his love.