Take a look at this lovely bloke. If you don’t know who he is, I’m sure you will pretty darn soon because he’s one of the greatest actors of his generation and the whole world is catching on.
This is Mark Rylance, who – until recently – was playing the role of Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jez Butterworth’s frickin incredible play; Jerusalem.
Now, most actors will spend their one day off in a pub somewhere, or in bed, or in front of the TV… but not our Mark. Oh no, instead, he decided to get a bunch of his ‘close friends’ together to do a little evening of poetry. Tribal poetry, to be precise.
And those friends? Oh, probably no one you’d know… Colin Firth, Julie Christie, Mackenzie Crook, Juliet Stevenson, Edward Fox, Amelia Fox, Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi, Gillian Anderson… the list goes on.
So did I rock up to the Apollo to watch this evening of tribal poetry? You bet your knickers I did! Only to discover, much to my chagrin, that COLIN FIRTH (love of my life… one of many) was stuck in America because of the Ashcloud (curse you Ashcloud!) so I could not moon over Darcy. Curses!
But, regardly of Colin’s disappointing absence – FYI it was also quite funny to see people who’d bought their tickets pretending to be charitable try feign indifference when Colin Firth didn’t walk out on stage – it was actually a very interesting evening.
As for Tribal Poetry… well, I still don’t know too much about it, but I did learn a heck of a lot about tribal people. Essentially, the moral of the story is, they rock. The evening seemed to be mainly based around a book of poetry called ‘We Are One’ which is well worth a look. I succumbed and bought one after I felt bad with my free ticket in my back pocket after Mark Rylance had thanked everyone for forking out so much to help Survival International. I also bought some raffle tickets. Get me!
‘The Factory’ is a youth performing arts scheme, who made up the chorus for the evening. I’m sorry but no matter how much theatre I see, I am never going to come round the idea of random people speaking over each other and interpreting text in any other way than just bloody well saying the damn words. However, when ‘The Factory’ shut the hell up, some high class poetry reading brought down the house.
Imelda Staunton was one highlight; her reading of Oren Lyons’ ‘We went to Geneva’ was beautiful, and she commanded the room so well that I even forgot what the flipping Factory were up to. Hugh Brody broadened our language horizons with his own prose; ‘Inuit words for snow’ and ‘The sound of human beings’ which made me blush at my feeble attempts at high school french when there are so many thousands of incredible languages in the world that are dying out every day because so few people speak them any more. Did you know there are 150 sounds that a human being can make, and in English we only use 50 of them? Apparently most Europeans only use about 30, which made me damn proud to be British, but the awesome tribal bloke in the little video was yakking and clicking away using 130 different sounds. Quite frankly, I regretted thousands of pounds worth of voice coach training there and then.
Which leads me onto Derek Jacobi who is – in actual fact – a total legend. He gets lead out onto the Jerusalem stage by Mackenzie Crook (bless his quirky heart) and perches on a stool and simple sits and reads; ‘Every part of this soil is sacred’ by Chief Seattle, Suquamish. Then in the second half, he stood and read ‘Lame Deer becomes a man’ by Lame Deer, Lakota, and the auditorium fell so quiet if he hadn’t been speaking you could have heard a pin drop. At the end, the audience rose as one and gave the first applause of the evening (which I think was supposed to flow seemlessly from one poem to another – not gonna happen with these greats on your stage Rylance!).
After that the pace picked up; Zoe Wanamaker with her voice like caramel truffles popped up prior to her own upcoming run in All My Sons, awesome as always, Mark Rylance gave a damn good speech about Survival International and why we should all give them our pennies, Mackenzie Crook hit a home run with his final poem and THEN…
BRUCE FRICKIN DICKENSON FROM IRON MAIDEN (along with some other blokes; Jon Lord, Ian Paice, William Lyons and Arngeir Hauksson) CAME OUT ON STAGE AND SUNG ‘JERUSALEM’ WHILE BANGING A CRAZY LOOKING TRIBAL DRUM!
It does not get better than that my friends.
I should add now that this evening took place on what might just have been the hottest day of the year so far, and Irish and I had been in Kensington Gardens all day, picnicing, sunbathing and dipping our feet in the fountain. Dressed in sundresses and beads, with our tie-died picnic blanket around our shoulders, we could not have chosen a more apt ending to our day.
So basically, I’m thinking of starting my own tribe and having a language with clicks in it. Not sure if it’ll catch on but hey. If you fancy checking out a bit more of Survival International, why not follow this handy link to their website?
Okies folks, I’m off to watch Enron’s matinee. More blogging this evening including (finally) the VIENNA blogs! Haha, in your FACE Ashcloud! You did not bring me down!