Listening to ART

CoverAn early morning Sunday treat was listening to the OverDrive audio recording of ART. This award-winning play is about the breakdown of the long-standing friendship between three men when Serge buys a totally white painting for 2oo,000 euros. Marc is outraged at his extravagance  for a picture of nothing , whilst Yvan’s  attempts to placate them both only serves to aggravate the situation.

Their escalating disagreements are highly humorous and entertaining and raise questions about “What is art?” and “What is friendship?”.

For a very visual person, I did struggle slightly with recognising which of the three actors was speaking. However, the experience of being able to download the audio of such a high quality production to an MP3 player to play out loud was really excellent.

Enabling hubby and I to go to the theatre without the hassle of babysitters, and without even getting out of bed!

Rediscovering Christchurch’s Queen of Crime

Ngaio Marsh (school prefect)

The screening of the documentary Ngaio Marsh – Crime Queen raised a satisfactory amount for the Court Theatre, and took me on a slightly confused trip down memory lane.  Could it be true that I saw a production of hers? Am I really that old? It seems I am.

In 1972 Dame Ngaio came out of semi-retirement to produce Henry V at the gala opening of the James Hay Theatre at the Christchurch Town Hall. It was her last production and the Avonside Girls’ High School Seventh Form attended on a school trip.

So far so good on the map of memory lane – but unfortunately that’s where the journey ended. I can remember Henry V was spectacular, but even far more recent memories of going to the Town Hall and the University of Canterbury’s  Ngaio Marsh Theatre (with its Paul Johns Pop Art portrait of Dame Ngaio) are starting to seem distant.

Our theme this month is Rediscovering Christchurch and it’s easy to rediscover Dame Ngaio. She’s still in the spotlight in Christchurch City Libraries’ images collection; black dress, hair swept back from her forehead and her silhouette giving even more emphasis to the cigarette she’s clutching. Any wonder we were mugs enough to think smoking was  sophisticated.

We have a page on Dame Ngaio, The Ngaio Marsh house in Cashmere is still open to visitors, her books are still here to be read or listened to, and there’s a fascinating recent biography of her.

Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s       Cover