Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes

By Jonathan Barnes

Flamboyant Matthew Cannonbridge used to be touched by way of genius, the main influential brain of the nineteenth century, a novelist, playwright, the poet of his iteration. the one challenge is, he shouldn't ever have existed, and lately divorced twenty first century don Toby Judd is the one individual to understand anything is incorrect with history.

Cannonbridge was once in every single place: he was once by means of Lake Geneva whilst speak among Byron, Shelley and Mary Godwin became to the supernatural; he used to be buddy to the younger Dickens as he laboured within the blacking manufacturing facility; he was once the single guy of notice to go to Wilde in legal. His impressive existence spanned a century. yet because the global prepares to toast the bicentenary of Cannonbridge's such a lot celebrated paintings, Judd's discovery leads him on a breakneck chase around the English canon and nation-state, to the realisation that the spectre of Matthew Cannonbridge, planted so seamlessly into the center of the nineteenth century, may not be so lifeless and buried after all...

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In one of the Marx Brothers' films a man, thinking he is about to take a woman in his arms, ends up with a cow which moos. And through a combination of circumstances too long to relate, at that moment that same moo assumes an intellectual dignity equal to a woman's cry. If such a situation is possible in films, it is no less possible in theatre as it stands, and it would take very little; for example the cow might be replaced by an animated puppet, a kind of monster gifted with speech, or a man disguised as an animalto redii;cover the secret of the objective poetry underlying all humour, which theatre has given up, leaving it for Music-Hall, while the cinema later turned it to good account.

For me obvious ideas, in theatre as in all else, are dead and finished. The idea of a play built right on stage, encountering production and performance obstacles, demands the discovery of active language, both active and anarchic, where the usual limits of feelings and words are transcended. In any event, and I hasten to say so at once, theatre which submits staging and production, that is to say everything about it that is specifically theatrical, to the lines, is mad, crazy, perverted, rhetorical, philistine, antipoetic and Positivist-that is to say, Western theatre.

In the Balinese Theatre one senses a state prior to language, able to select its own language; music, gestures, moves and words. * We can be sure this aspect of pure theatre, this natural philosophy of total gesture, an idea in itself, transforming the mind's persuasions in order to be discerned through the fibrous maze and tangle of matter, gives us a new idea of whatever properly belongs to the field of form and visible matter. Anyone who succeeds in imparting a mystical meaning to the simple outline of a gown, not simply content with placing man beside his Double, but ascribing to each costumed person their costumed double-those who run these phantasmal clothes, these second clothes, through with a sword, giving them the look of huge butterflies pinned in the air, these people have a far more inborn sense than us of nature's total, occult symbolism, teaching us a lesson which we can be only too sure our theatre technicians would be incapable of using.

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Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes
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