Théâtre du Soleil…not the Cirque du Soleil

We were discussing taking our son to a circus, one without animals. I was under the impression we were going to the Cirque du Soleil, however there was some crossed wires and we ended up going to the Theatre du Soleil, a rather different to our original idea. I even wrote to a friend saying we were going to Cirque du Soleil, only to be corrected by my wife.

The day arrived. If truth be told, it was rather a glum, damp kind of day. At times it seemed like the traffic would delay our arrival time and chance of eating before the show. There was an accident in a tunnel, flashing lights and the word accident, were illuminated like a beacon. In the end we arrived in good time. The surroundings of the theatre are not typical. There is an area with horses being trained. Yes this not Covent Garden, where I went to last summer to see “The all goes wrong play”. It is almost like you are plonked in the countryside. We get our tickets and a man, who looks of a theatrical ilk, shows us where we can sit. We venture into a big space. There are many early arrivals, who are sat around tables eating. Food plays an intrinsic part in life, for the French. The food on offer is not French however, it is more Asiatic. My wife and I are happy to eat tofu, while my son is fearful of the mushrooms and is given a packet filled with mushrooms which looks like the kind of thing you might be given on a flight. The food is part of a big immersion. All the décor points to Asia.

Food duly eaten, we meet up with some friends.

A three hour play is soon at hand. I am suspicious it will keep my son entertained for three hours, as well as engaging myself. It won’t be like the circus. We troop like a group of pilgrims to our seats.

Sat in front of us, is a man with a well shaped beard, who looks like he could be Sigmund Freud. I often think theatre goers, or art gallery goers can sometimes be equally as interesting as the events people are about to watch. There are a few theatrical types dotted about.

Before the three hours finally begins, a man tells us no phones, or pictures during he performance, and more surprisingly issues blankets, less the audience freeze to death. They are economizing on the heating or something like this. It’s probably a red herring, but it warms the audience up, before the long show.

I am not qualified to talk much about the show itself. I was playing catch up a lot to find out what was going on and missed some of the subtle nuances. A woman seemed central to the play., often spending time in a hospital bed, with a head full of dreams of a festival taking place on a Japanese island. Despite struggling with the language, or should I say languages, as it slipped from one to another, with French being predominant, it was the set and props, that really made an impression on me. The cast had to move the props about, at breakneck speed, almost like mechanics putting on new tyres during a Formula one race. It was hectic at times, lots of slapstick and political references. It was like somebody making a big soup, with endless ingredients, thrown in for good measure. There was a much needed twenty minute pause and the journey started up again.

The idea of this woman having a dream gave the play a sizeable creative licence. Like a dream it seemed endless, perhaps the audience would really need those blankets provided at the start. It did in the end finally come to a conclusion. Encore seemed to follow encore. The theatre has obviously found a strong niche and has an identity, which their aficionados have honed into. When I say it was over, well this is not strictly true.

Once the audience had congregated in the big hall, where there was the food, like a strike of lightening some kodo drummers began bashing their drums, immersing the audience once again with this strong Asiatic flavour. The theatre du soleil works on different levels, it is not your everyday theatre experience, it is more than this. It might not be to everybody’s taste, but even a philistine would have something to take away with them, be it the food or the power of the drummers, that arrived so expectantly.

Review Bethany Book case UK

2019 will forever be remembered as the year the world stood still – most of us were at home, locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but key workers were still out there protecting us, feeding us and keeping us safe. It was a strange time, when we were all alone but somehow it was the most connected many of us have ever been. ⁠

Many of us used this time to create – either for fun or to cope – and that’s how this collection was born. Writers, poets, photographers, artists all came together to create this anthology of art inspired by our shared crisis to raise money for the Marie Curie nurses who helped some of the most vulnerable to survive and continue to do so. ⁠

Buy your copy of Together Behind Four Walls from Goldcrest Books £11.99 click the link below

A review of Together Behind Four Walls

My Thoughts…..
Together Behind Four Walls is a collection of short stories, poems and images by writers, artists and poets who decided to express their feelings about left during the Covid 19 pandemic. What I liked about this book was that you got to read about people’s different experiences and feelings. This book really makes you think about what we have all been experiencing and how differently we have been affected. The proceeds from sales of this book are going to Marie Curie nurses who continued their fantastic work during this hard time.

Buy your copy of Together Behind Four Walls, by clicking the link below

You don’t need a paypal account, just send your details to the publisher and a book will be sent to you.

Interview with Ray Clark

Ray Clark contributed a short story called Ranger Man to Together Behind Four Walls

Tell everybody a little about yourself.
In a nutshell, I am an award winning Yorkshire born author whose first big break came in 1998 with the publication of Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton (a biographical account of Masterton’s work), which was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. Since then, my writing career has been quite varied with publications covering short story collections, horror novels, stand-alone cross genre novels, and the highly acclaimed IMP series: gritty, crime fiction novels featuring detectives Gardener and Reilly, set in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds. Over the last forty years I have also spent considerable time in the music industry working both in the UK and Europe as a guitar vocalist and with a number of bands. These days I divide my time between writing books and working live on the music scene, and helping to raise money for the OPA, a charity I feel quite close to.

Was your creativity affected in any way during the lockdown? Did being lockdown make you feel inspired or deflated?
I don’t think lockdown bothered me a great deal, particularly my creativity. What it did do was give me more time to write, because I couldn’t sing anywhere, apart from in the shower.

Was it therapeutic doing creative work during lockdown?
I suppose, in a way, it was. It took your mind away from what was happening in the outside world. Perhaps one of the biggest advanatges of being a writer is the isolation needed to produce your work, which seemed perfect for the Covid pendemic.

How did you occupy your time?
Mostly writing, but I still rehearsed musically because I love music so much. I watched more films. I love watching films.

What was the main thinking behind your work submitted to Together Behind Four Walls ?
What inspired me to write Ranger Man was some of the horrendous stories I heard during the pandemic. I had my eyes opened to the selfishness of some people: the panic buyers in particular. I honestly believed humanity was better than that. So my story centered on the fact that you reap what you sew.

What inspires most of your work ?
I think it’s mostly down to reading other people’s work, and realizing how good it is. There are a number of authors who continually raise the bar with everything they write: Peter James, Phillip Margolin, Peter Lovesey, Val McDermid, and Nigel McCreery come to mind. Those people inspire to do better with my work.

Do you have any favourite stories , from all the stories  you have written?
I think that would have to be The Lord of Misrule, which was a story about a man who was obsessed with computer games. He figured there wasn’t a game anywhere in the world that he couldn’t beat, until he met The Lord of Misrule, and ended up inside the game – playing for real.

Do you remember the first story  you ever wrote or one of the first?
I do. It was a science fiction story about an alien invasion called Quest. It was loosely based on an old episode of The Outer Limits. You can find it in one of my short story collections: A Devil’s Dozen.

Do you ever think of stories  before going to sleep or just after waking up?
I try not to, but it’s not always possible. There have been nights when I had to get up, go downstairs and write the idea on some paper before I lost it.

Do you hand write stories or go directly on to your computer?
Always straight on the to the computer. I find it much easier to edit them that was as well.

Do you ever give up on stories  you have started?
I haven’t done so far. There have been stories when I’ve taken a short break from them, until my head worked out where it should go. I really believe you should not try to force the story. If you cannot work it out, walk away and do something else. Your mind will keep working on it, and the answer will come to you out of the blue, perhaps when you least expect it. That’s how it works for me.

Do your stories ever have strong messages?

I’m not sure they do, perhaps not deliberately. As I mentioned earlier, reaping what you sew is possibly one of the most popular themes I have used. By and large, what I love doing most is simply writing a story that I like, in the hopes that others will.

If you had to write a piece of writing about yourself, how would it start?
People often ask me, what the hell goes on inside your head?

Do you do any other creative activities?
I am a musician. I have worked live on the music circuit as a guitar/vocalist for over forty years, which is probably something I enjoy as much as writing. You’ll find me working the East Coast Hotels most weekends.

Buy Together Behind Four Walls a book for a great cause

In support of Marie Curie Nurses…. Together Behind Four Walls compiled by Francis H Powell @Dreamheadz — Bowen’s Book Publicity

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Looking for a good read whilst also supporting a very worth charity? Together Behind Four Walls Compiled by Francis H Powell With the sudden arrival of Covid 19 and the introduction of a lockdown, many people might have wondered how they would spend their time. Writers, poets, and artists decided to express their feelings in […]

In support of Marie Curie Nurses…. Together Behind Four Walls compiled by Francis H Powell @Dreamheadz — Bowen’s Book Publicity

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New Release Feature: Francis H. Powell’s anthology TOGETHER BEHIND FOUR WALLS

Very happy to be included in Marie Lavender’s new release feature.

click the link below to read the article

Please look at our web page to discover more about the book

You can buy the book by ordering the book through the Goldcrest Book website. If you live in the UK, it can be sent to you by post.