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‘Tear it down and start again’: playwright Elinor Cook on sexism in British theatre

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Her sharp and funny plays have feted female friendship. As Elinor Cook takes Ibsen to the Caribbean with her version of The Lady from the Sea, she talks about fighting against the industry’s inequality.

linor Cook remembers when she first wanted to be a playwright. It was 2005 and she was doing a postgraduate degree at drama school, watching friends troop in and out of auditions. “The men were going up for these exciting parts,” she says, “and the women were grateful that they were being chucked Third Wench.”

Many actors would have sighed and buckled down, hoping that Third Wench would eventually – somehow – metamorphose into something more meaningful. But Cook began to write instead: at first cautiously, then with more confidence. The following year, she won a place on the Royal Court young writers’ programme; soon she was working on her first full-length script. It took a few years for one of her plays to be professionally staged but she was sure she had found her path. “I felt a hunger,” she explains. “I needed to do it.”

Inspired by a trip to the fjords that Ibsen made in 1885, the play has an improvisatory quality that has reminded many of Chekhov, others of folktale and myth (the working title was The Mermaid). Summery and languid, the script seems far from the imprisoning intensity of dramas such as A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. It feels like the Ibsen that got away, Cook observes: “It’s a gem that needs more light shone on it.”

Part of the puzzle is that The Lady from the Sea, though it addresses familiar Ibsen concerns, turns them on their head. Like Nora and Hedda, Ellida is struggling to reconcile her duties to her well-meaning but fusty husband with her own search for independence (here, memories of a sailor she loved in her youth). Unlike Nora, walking out at the play’s end, or Hedda, who shoots herself, Ellida takes another course, even more unexpected. “In a way she’s a kind of Hamlet figure – she’s in the grip of this existential crisis,” says Cook. “There’s this spectre of a past love; she’s ransacked by this monster, but he’s utterly compelling.” The notion of freedom haunts the play, and haunts Ellida most of all; in this new version, the word is barely off her lips. “We so often see male stories about maturity,” Cook reflects, “and it’s so unusual to see that from the female perspective.”

 Finbar Lynch as Dr Wangel and Nikki Amuka-Bird as Ellida in Elinor Cook’s adaptation of The Lady from the Sea at the Donmar Warehouse. Photograph: Manuel Harlan

How women find and follow their own routes through life has been a recurrent theme in Cook’s work. Her most recent script, Out of Love, which debuted at the Edinburgh festival, is among much else a hymn to female friendship. A play before that, Pilgrims (2016), portrays a young female folk historian balancing the demands and desires of two callow, adventure-obsessed blokes. She boldly sets out on her own path at the play’s end – in defiance of an entire canon of female heroines she studies.

But despite its political sharpness and awareness, what’s striking about Cook’s work is how warm it is, and often how funny. Her dialogue is minimal, but sculpted; full of colour, but applied with the lightest of touches. Paul Miller, artistic director of London’s Orange Tree theatre, was an early champion. Cook’s writing reminds him of George Eliot, he says: that same keen sympathy for how life is actually lived. “She gives us direct access to the peculiar clumsiness of intimate friendships, and she’s not scared of tenderness and benevolence.”

Before her lightbulb moment at drama school, Cook had always wanted to be an actor. She grew up in west London in a comfortable middle-class household, before heading to York to study English (“so textbook,” she laughs, with a faint grimace). But writing didn’t really seem like an option, either financially or creatively; instead, she worked her way through jobs in literary agencies, reading scripts for the Royal Court in the off-hours and polishing her craft. Only in the last year has she been able to write full-time; en route, she often struggled to muster the confidence to continue.

Kwame Kwei-Armah, director of The Lady from the Sea.
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 Kwame Kwei-Armah, director of The Lady from the Sea. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

“I do a lot of teaching in secondary schools, playwriting workshops and stuff, and I often find I’m having a similar conversation with young women – they’re going: ‘Why would anyone care about what I have to say?,’ and I think that must have been how I felt.” Has it begun to change, for her? “Well, it’s quite telling that someone who’s had the opportunities I’ve had still feels that measure of nervousness. It’s a real battle.”

We talk about the RSC’s recent announcement of a season directed entirely by women – a laudable project, Cook says, but something that doesn’t address the imbalances that still plague British theatre, particularly in new writing. Research by the writer Victoria Sadler points out, among numerous egregious examples, that David Hare got as many commissions from the National Theatre in 2016 as solo female playwrights. Scanning statistics like these, Cook finds herself caught between bemusement and outrage. “I find it shocking that [the notion of a female playwright] can be seen as so out there. I’m white and privileged and straight, and if I’ve found it difficult to break through, how much harder is it if you’re not those three things?”

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Top 10 Quotes On Leo Messi To Read Today

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Lionel Messi will stand out forever as one of the best footballers the world has ever observed.

The Argentina hotshot has scored over twofold the measure of objectives of any other person to have shown up for Barcelona ever. He is entirely a marvel.

Rather than laud about Messi’s brightness ourselves, we’ve gathered a portion of the best tributes to the forward from a portion of the greatest figures in the diversion. There’s gleaming recognition from Roy Keane in there…

Luis Figo

“For me to watch Messi is a pleasure – it’s like having an orgasm – it’s an incredible pleasure.”

Paolo Maldini

“I think he reached and surpassed the level of Maradona. He does incredible things, at a speed that is insane.”

Diego Maradona

“I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Messi does not need his right foot. He only uses the left and he’s still the best in the world. Imagine if he also used his right foot, then we would have serious problems.”

Hristo Stoichkov

“Once they said they can only stop me with a pistol. Today you need a machine gun to stop Messi.”

Javier Mascherano

“Although he may not be human, it’s good that Messi still thinks he is.”

Raul

“The other day I saw one of his games. He was running with the ball at a hundred per cent full speed, I don’t know how many touches he took, maybe five or six, but the ball was glued to his foot. It’s practically impossible.”

Roy Keane

“I was a big fan of Maradona growing up and of the current crop Ronaldo is good, but Messi is the best I’ve ever seen. I don’t dish out praise lightly, but Messi deserves it. I look for weaknesses in his game and I can’t find them.”

Pep Guardiola

“Don’t write about him, don’t try to describe him, just watch him.”

 John Terry
“Lionel Messi is quite clearly the best player ever. It’s a pleasure to pit myself against him and when I finish my career it’s something I can look back on and know I’ve tested myself against the very best.”
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Source: Internet
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The Best 5 Oprah Winfrey Interviews

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Oprah Winfrey is a household name, the one the world won’t soon overlook. Once the wealthiest dark lady on the planet, her profession has been going for longer than generally relational unions. Regardless of whether she’s ingraining confused feelings of trepidation into the hearts of oppressive moms, meeting disturbed pop stars or losing the heaviness of a little youngster (and after that picking up it appropriate back) it appears like everything the lady does stand out as genuinely newsworthy.

Here are 5 of her most crucial scenes and interviews — on the off chance that you’ve possessed a TV in the past two decades, you’ll perceive no less than a couple.

The Tom Cruise Interview

As though the world required reminding that Tom Cruise was a psycho, in 2005 he allowed us the new chance to see the insane person in its particular territory. Voyage, manically infatuated with Katie Homes, skipped around the set in what might end up a standout amongst the most public presentations of big-name incited craziness ever to elegance arrange TV. One might say that he never experienced the experience down.

The Whitney Houston Interview

https://youtu.be/sHJKBkPx2Hs

For reasons that make no sense, numerous were amazed when Whitney Houston admitted to substantial medication use with her ex, Bobby Brown, in a 2009 meeting with Winfrey. The visit with Houston, a standout amongst the most beautified and loved performers of present-day times, was a standout amongst the most foreseen encounters of the decade. The medication utilises — for the most part, weed bound with first-rate cocaine — is all anybody appears to recall from the discourse.

The  James Frey Interview

Author James Frey had his name dragged through the soil as extortion amid one of Oprah’s most discussed debates. His A Million Little Pieces, which had been displayed as an official journal, was found to have been a creation. Winfrey didn’t take too benevolently to this news, notably, since she’d picked the novel for a portion of the pervasive “Oprah’s Book Club.” The two, in the end, made decently, however it most likely doesn’t feel great when Oprah is frantic at you. It’s presumably something like influencing your grandmother to cry.

The Barack and Michelle Obama Interview

https://youtu.be/invJq5ZgoUk

This scene was the first run through Winfrey had met a sitting President and First Lady, and it was an immensely foreseen portion. It was a weird occurrence that Obama had recently declared Osama canister Laden’s demise to the country just before the scene publicised, and not one that went unnoticed. The couple appeared to be cheerful over the span of the meeting, specifying how pleased they were the point at which their little girl met the Pope. Obama got his offer of feedback for requiring some severe energy from driving the country to show up on a television show, yet it regardless turned into an immortal bit of American history.

The Rihanna Interview

Rihanna’s meeting with Oprah on her Oprah Winfrey Network did not only talk with a pop star — is transformed into an open exchange about abusive behaviour at home in the wake of Rihanna’s manhandle on account of her ex, Chris Brown. Winfrey went to the vocalist’s house on the island of Barbados to have an expanded visit. Some startling disclosures, similar to the way that she was still enamoured with the man who’d beaten her silly, were come to. It was a disputable minute for Rihanna, yet a shelter for Oprah—it was one of her most astounding appraised interviews ever.

For more such interviews, subscribe to Talk Column today!

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Top 5 Crazy Celebrity Interviews

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As this point in our way of life’s history, the big name meet has turned out to be ubiquitous to the point that it’s hard to astonish us any longer. They ask pretty much similar inquiries, which result in the same, unsurprising answers. It resembles painting by numbers. Be that as it may, occasionally, we get a break from the dreariness, and everything goes to pieces. That is the point at which we liven up in our seats and truly begin focusing.

Truly, the big name meet doesn’t generally go as arranged. Now and then individuals get furious, or an awful instance of the snickers, or they say something that sounded a considerable measure more interesting in their mind then it did leaving their mouth.

Here are only 5 of our most loved insane celebrity interviews.

The Michael Caine Impression

Sir Michael Caine examined his chance in Korea, the Stanislavsky school of acting and crying on a sign in this great 2007 meeting with British anchor person Sir Michael Parkinson. The subject he got most worked up about, notwithstanding, was each one of those loathsome Michael Caine impressions.

Steve Carrell scares Ellen DeGeneres

The glow between good companions Steve Carrell and Ellen DeGeneres is evident in this clasp from 2010, in spite of the last’s edgy want for exact retribution. The reason? A prior meeting, where Steve got her great and legitimate

Russell Brand seizes Morning Joe

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what turned out badly and when in this 2013 meeting with the undoubtedly un-messianic Russell Brand, however, it’s enticing to state it was comfortable begin. Russell surely looks awkward at the proposal that moderator Mika Brzezinski doesn’t know his identity, and it goes downhill from that point, with Russell, in the end, blaming his hosts on their absence of behaviour. Trust ol’ Russ to make it bright, however.

Mila Kunis is a freakin’ sport

In March 2013, British radio moderator Chris Stark was given ten minutes’ notice that he’d be talking with Mila Kunis about her new film Oz the Great and Powerful. The outcome was a line of scrutinising that scarcely referenced the film, and rather rotated around Chris’ neighbourhood bar, football club, a specific British chicken eatery, and drinking diversions with his companions. He welcomed Mila to every one of the four, getting “enormous chap focuses” when she said she’d do her best to go to. Mila, on her part, said it was the “best meeting of the day.

Bruce Willis versus Stephen Colbert

Bruce Willis is a broadly thorny character with regards to interviews, for example when this 2013 junket meets turned out badly for Magic FM radio host Jamie Edwards. So this disaster with Stephen Colbert looked amazingly conceivable when Bruce showed up on The Late Show in 2015 — until, that is, it didn’t.

For more such crazy interviews, subscribe to Scandal Column today!

Source: BBCAmerica

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