Censorship Sleeps and The Mouth Speaks

In the theatre there is no censorship which makes the performers free to express themselves in any way they choose. On television, the performers are not free, they are restricted to a list of rules, so you only see the bits that ‘The Powers That Be’ choose for you to see. Ed Fest Street Theatre Top O The Mile

In theatre you can see the entire scene. You, and you alone, can direct your eye to any part of what is going within the space you inhabit, all around you, at any given moment. It is your eye, not the eye of the camera, that fixes the scene for you.

You can choose to watch the audience – which, in my opinion, is often more interesting: an older woman struggling to open the cap of a tub of Pringles; a child dripping his ice cream all over his new shirt then abandons the cone and starts licking his shirt; a young couple practically having sex in the front row which annoys you a bit and makes you jealous a bit too; the staff at the doors whispering to each other; the vendors trying to keep a happy smile whilst their eyes are dim; the ushers leaning on the back walls and watching the show so intently that they have not noticed you asking them for a program.

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You can spend your entire evening staring at the ceiling, the chandelier, the architecture, the fine gilded boxes and being dazzled with moods and intensity and patterns of the the lighting displays.

On screen, we can only imagine the smells of the scene we are given; the scent of the flowers; the roast cooking on a stove; the freshly-baked bread in the oven; the urine soaked-lanes.

And we can only imagine what the velvet, silk and rough hessian that we are looking at feels like under our skin. In order to feel these rich textures, one has to go to the hotel, the stately home, the cafe, the bar, the retail outlet and run these materials through our fingers. Only then can we fully experience its magnificence.

In the theatre, we can smell the polish, the popcorn, the coke, the hot dogs, the ice cream and the wine and the toilet smells (WARNING: this is not a healthy eating blog). And, ironically, these things are the very things that would make one wished that they had stayed at home in a darkened room.

Ed Fest Fringe with Hladkys

My point is, that on television, you are being fed; in the theatre, you are feasting.

Before I go on, let me define ‘theatre’: a space, a performer and an audience. That is all.

Theatre is a social experience. You collectively watch the spectacle and each of you have a unique view – the one you can only have, which is that from your own perspective. No-one in the audience has the same view as you. Your view is unique to you and you alone.

But you share the space. You share the spectacle. You share the audience. You share the noises, smells and textures within and without of the piece and you share the reverberations and euphoria of a collective laugh, sigh, gasp or clap. And at the end of it all you can critique it and discuss it with your friends and some strangers. You were all there. Only those who attended have witnessed what happened. Perhaps only a few of you. Maybe twenty or fifty or one hundred or three hundred.
Ed Fest At Dusk NO THIS IS NOT A PAINTING
Three hundred people sounds like a lot of people – but its not really a very lot compared with those who have watched the same film or TV show – they are usually in the millions and thousands. And they were not actually watching it with you. Nor were they necessarily watching it at the same time, day and hour of you.

They may have watched the same thing that you watched at different times across days, months, decades.

So, in that vein, you have had a unique experience and you have shared it with relatively very few people. You are in a unique club.

Even when the show goes up the next night, only you and those who attended on the night you went, have had the same experiences as you. No live performance is ever the same night after night. Firstly, the audience is different, some performers may have changed, the weather will be different, the actors have changed since the previous evening. And, above all, the audience has drastically changed.

In any act of theatre, you are free in a way that watching a screen does not. There is a place for screen, of course, and 3-D is also interesting – and all that, but with live theatre, you are immersed in a collective experience that is happening at that very place and time. It is LIVE and REAL – even if they are only pretending. And it only involves those who have witnessed it on that day, that hour, that moment. It is unique.

BlueEyedLassie Keara with Camera Cover Shot

And, in the theatre, you can heckle the performer and the artiste will hear you, unlike when you are shouting at the telly – no-one has heard you scream.

In theatre, the performer – especially if it is a comedian – will respond and at this point you will know very quickly what the difference is between the screen and the live event and that is because you will be sweating in your pants, about to piss yourself  – and not in a good way – and then you will finally and definitely know that you are alive.

So, come out of your box and into the street, the tent, the garden, the crumbling facade of that once grande building, the tent, the cave and the underground city passageways – and dance with us, sing with us, free your soul with us, create creative anarchy with us and enter some dens of iniquity with us and get drunk with us Itinerant Minstrels this August whilst ‘Censorship sleeps and the mouth speaks’*

Keara’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show 2018 -FREE  

* Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed, New Edition, 2000, Pluto Press.

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KEARA’S GREATEST TIPS FOR ATTENDING THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 2018

Read the entire program before you attend. You could do it in about 2 weeks if you leave out sleeping.

Fringe Brochure 2018

Circle everything that sounds and looks good to you. Then discuss with your peers on stuff they can recommend. Then whittle it down, book a few tickets, diarise a few recommended shows, FREE and PAID.

Google these guys to see what others are saying about them. But make up your own mind.

Book travel and accomm. EARLY! Consider camping. Flat shares etc.


DO NOT ASK TO CRASH ON THE FLOOR OF A FRIEND WHO IS DOING A SHOW AT THE FRINGE. 
JUST NO!

Unless, of course, you are actually sleeping with them at their request.

Bring comfortable shoes; sunglasses; factor 30-50+; light clothing; a jumper; tights; socks; plasters; a raincoat; strong medicine; an umbrella and some AntiFreeze.

Update your Emergency Contact Details; inform a Next of Kin; take all your money out of the bank NOW and keep it inside your pants or bra, as you will have no chance at the large queues at the ATM later – and even if you do get to one with no queue, there will be no money in that one. So you will basically miss everything.

Try not to make eye-contact with every Street Marketeer who smiles at you – it’s a trap.
Only take flyers from agents who properly engage you in a fun, funny and informative way. And those who look like they are about to cry. Take a leaflet from them, and give them some money for lunch and a coke. They may be working for free. I know! It happens! I know it’s wrong. I pay all my staff the going rate. I also feed them.

Keara at Edinburgh Royal Mile

Go to shows that you will never see on telly. See comedians who will never get on telly because they are too ‘radical’ for telly and there is a big queue around the block for them. Get in that queue even if you don’t know their name. The People know. The People always know!

Tip the Free Fringers at least £5 if you liked the show, £8/10 if you really liked it, £15 if you loved it and want the artist to rise up in their career. – Or if you want to sleep with them. If you really want to sleep them give them £20 and buy them a cocktail. It’s a whore’s profession, after all. And we love a cocktail. All kinds of cocktails.

Keara Page on Fringe Brochure

Don’t believe the hype. Go with your instincts. BIG POSTERS are only BIG because some BIG FAT CAT is making money from them. Some of these shows will be great. Some will be good. Some are just bland. And some are bloody dreadful. The artiste won’t make much anyway. Around 10% is the going rate for these paid show. Just saying. (The Stand Comedy Club is an exception.)

In terms of quality, it’s not so different for the FREE shows either – and often better.

Firstly, you only pay if you liked the show. Secondly, the performer is not losing loads of money to be there as they are not giving a huge cut to their agent/venue/promoter etc. The venues of the Free Fringe shows do not take any money for the hire of the room. Which is amazing. But they relish the crowds coming in and spending at the bar. That is the deal. Win/Win! Kerching!

But there are expenses for the performers at the non-paying shows such as travel, accommodation, food, marketing materials, props, fees of the main program, printing costs for scripts, hiring Street Marketeers, technical staff, door staff etc. and, of course, time writing and promoting their shows in the months before the Fringe even begins.

Oh, that was a rant. But I think it needed to be said, as I always think that FREE is a wee bit of a misdemeanor.  Okay, back to the funnies.

The Fringe is an amazing place to be in August. Enjoy every moment!

And, yes, celebrities do LOVE to take Selfies with you. Ask for one, and they will love it. Ask for two, they will hate you.

They are all Narcissists and they need their ‘supply’. You are doing them a favour. Snap snappity! Snap! But do not expect them to linger, they have stuff to do, after all. Far more important stuff that you are doing, of course! Always remember that when engaging with ‘The Talent’.  They are more important than you, according to them and themselves. And, always remember that you are having far more fun than they are. Always.

Ed Fest Street Theatre Top O The Mile

BUT, if you are a fairly new artiste in a VIP bar – leave them the fuck alone. They are chilling in there for a reason. You will look like a prick if you ask for a ‘Selfie’ in there. And everyone will know you are a novice.

Just say, “Hi Sarah, Dara, Ruby, Katherine, Kathy, Margaret, Frankie, Keara (I wish!)… can’t stop I’ve got a meeting on the balcony.” And they’ll say, “Who was that?”

Win/Win.

See lots of street theatre and tip them too (esp if you have enjoyed it up to now but had to go for your train/show/Parole Officer before The End).

Get some sleep. Drink some water. Eat healthily. Don’t be a hero. Too many drugs and too much booze does not make a show better. It ruins it for you, the audience and the hard-working artiste. And someone might punch you or vice-versa and either way you will wake up in the jail.

Be cool.

And, above all, come to MY BLOODY SHOW!!!  It’s FREE! And it’s THE BEST SHOW ON THE FRINGE in a nice hotel with a lovely COCKTAIL BAR and BEER GARDEN for milling and DRINKING with me after the show.

AND IT’S IN THE NEW TOWN SO IT’S ALSO A LOT LESS CROWDED. BOOM!

Keara Reduced Image for Fringe

 

Tax on Love

How could a woman who claims to be a feminist and a “U.N. Women advocate and an ambassador for World Vision” accept her future life as Princess Harry instead of her own perfectly good name, Princess Meghan?

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Is is because she has no ‘Royal Blood’? – Whatever that is?

Is it because she is a woman? – Whatever that is?

Or is it because she is black? – Whatever that is?

Firstly, according to Wikipedia (Which means it is 100% true) she DOES have ‘ROYAL BLOOD’ as she is a descendant of King John, who was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death in 1216. So, it’s not that. And, anyway, we are all royal.

King John

I come from The Diarmait MacMurchada line of Murphys – The Vikings who invaded Ireland, killed a lot of people, and then declared themselves Kings and Queens. So, I am basically The Pirate Queen of Leinster. No need to bow. But I do want my castle back. More on that story in my show, Dark One – now touring! See ‘Welcome’ page kearamurphy.com

Dermait Mac Murchadha

Secondly, is it because she is black? Well, no, because Kate Middleton claimed she was not black (even though we all come from Africa) and she is also not allowed to have her own name and has to put up with her official title as Princess William!

Finally, is it just because she is a woman? Not really. A male partner of a ‘royal’ woman would be addressed as the same.

Princess Diana was so called but this was not her official title. Her family stated that their umpteenth grandad, or something like that, had once been royalty, or whatever but this was never proved so Diana, Princess of Wales, was not considered of ‘Royal Blood’ and was not officially Princess Diana, but everybody called her that.

What this stuffy nonsense IS, is that The Royal Family is an outdated institution that largely benefits men – despite Her Maj being a women and the longest reigning monarch of all time. This, along with the fact that all Royal marriages (and indeed all marriages) are about power, property and control and basically a TAX on LOVE.

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They appear to be in love, these two, “Whatever love means” as Prince Charles once famously said, and that is nice. Love is nice. But it is just such a shame that the love these two human beings have for each other now means that Meghan needs to reshape her life in such a drastic and stifling way. “Giving up acting to focus on humanitarian causes” hmmm? That is what Grace Kelly did and spent her life half depressed because of it.

Marriage should not mean that you give up part of yourself. It should mean that you love and celebrate each other for who each of you already are and respect and support each other’s choices.

Nice ring. I wonder how much we paid for it?

Meghan's Ring

That said, I wish them both all the best of LUCK. They will certainly need it.

Arise, Princess Meghan.

Valentine is like Santa… He doesn’t exist!

Updated. Still good.

KEARA MURPHY

It’s a sweet tradition and a nice bit of history and folklore that has been hijacked by commerce.

The myth of Saint Valentine is hard to trace, he was like Santa in as much as he was drawn from folklore and legend and there were loads of him. Quite how he became linked to romantic love is not reasonably clear. There were a few guys called Valentine knocking about in Ancient Rome, there are eleven Saint Valentine’s in the Christian callendar, most of them martyrs with no love in their lives apart from a range of deities and possibly the odd donkey. Yes, some of them made sacrifices, but not for love, maybe for pies. Nobody knows.Pope Gelasius I declared a Feast Day for Saint Valentine in 496 AD, without really knowing who the guy was, just that he had done “something good known only to God”. However, it…

View original post 881 more words

Auld Lang Syne

For Auld Lang Syne (English translation: For The Olden Times)

kickin-out-150x150Artist: Janet McCrorie

On New Year’s Eve, as the clock strikes midnight and we turn from one year to the next, everyone across the Globe gathers to sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

But what does it all mean? Who wrote it? And what is it we are supposed to be doing with our hands?

So, here goes…

“Auld Lang Syne” is much older than any other popular song we sing during the festive season. It actually dates back to 1788, when it was published by Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who lived in Scotland from 1759 to 1796. Over 220 years later, we’re still using the familiar poem to say goodbye to the past year.

Here’s a look at the meaning of “Auld Lang Syne.”

The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” appears in other poems that predate Burns’ more famous work. Allan Ramsey, for example, (1686-1758) wrote a similar poem and James Watson published similar poems in 1711. In fact, the first verse in the poem Watson published begins almost the same way as Burns.

“Auld Lang Syne” itself can be translated to “old long since” so it’s similar to the “Once upon a time” phrase used to open fairy tales. Since Burns wrote “for auld lang syne” the way the phrase is used in the poem is translated to “for (the sake of) old times.”

Here’s the first verse of the Watson 1711 poem:

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

Here’s Burns’ first verse:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

tartan-embrace-150x150Artist: Janet McCrorie

Burns sent “Auld Lang Syne” to two publishers. The first, James Johnson, published it in 1796 with a Scottish melody Burns was not a fan of. Three years after Burns died, George Thompson published it and set it to the turn of “Sir Alexander Don’s Strathspey” (a type of dance.) This is the same melody used to this day.

The song became so popular in Scotland that Scottish immigrants sang it wherever they went, spreading the song around the world. For example, during the famous 1914 Christmas truce during World War I, both British and German soldiers sang “Auld Lang Syne.” In 1925, Charlie Chaplin had characters sing “Auld Lang Syne” in The Gold Rush, even though it was a silent film.

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The song also became popular in Southeast Asia and Japanese department stores use it to let customers know they are closing for the day. In Japan, the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” is set to the folk song “Hotaru no Hikari.”

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The Japanese lyrics are about students using a firefly’s light to keep studying in the dark. However, it is soon time to leave studying behind. The song is also often performed at graduations.

Long before Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest helped millions of Americans ring in the New Year, there was bandleader, Guy Lombardo. In 1928, Lombardo and his band, the Royal Canadians, played their first New Year’s Eve broadcast. The following year, they performed the first ever nationwide broadcast from the Roosevelt Hotel and performed live from the hotel every year until 1954. They switched to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and continued performing ever year until 1976. Lombardo, who died in November 1977, became known as “Mr. New Year’s Eve.” After his death, his band rang in the New Year with broadcasts for two more years.

guy-lombardo

In 1929, Lombardo and his orchestra played “Auld Lang Syne” just as the clock was striking midnight. Lombardo was inspired to play the song after hearing it from Scottish immigrants in Ontario. (Lombardo was born in London, Ontario.) He performed the song as a segue between one broadcast and the next.

Sadly, Lombardo’s role in helping millions of Americans celebrate a new year with “Auld Lang Syne” is mostly forgotten today.

In Scotland, the Song is Sung as Part of Hogmanay Celebrations.

584727-7Artist Gail Wendorf; Painting, Old New Year Ceilidh

In Scotland, where Burns is the National Poet, singing “Auld Lang Syne” is party of Hogmanay celebrations. Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year. The celebration in Edinburgh has become world famous and features a Concert in the Garden that is sold out this year.

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It’s tradition in Scotland to sing “Auld Lang Syne” while in a circle, holding hands. When the crowd reaches the last verse, which begins with “And there’s a hand my trusty friend,” everyone crosses their arms so the right hand reaches out to their neighbor’s left hand. At the end of the song, you rush into the center and turn, so that when everyone leaves the center they are now facing outwards – looking towards the new year.

Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally…, which was written by Nora Ephron, reaches a climax on New Year’s Eve. As “Auld Lang Syne” plays at the party, Billy Crystal’s Harry wonders what the song is all about.

“What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means,” Harry asks Sally. “I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happen to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?”

“Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends,” Sally (Meg Ryan) tells Harry. She was right.

when-harry-met-sally-review
Burns didn’t really mean that we should forget old acquaintances. The song is really meant to be about “preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.” So, if you do forget about old acquaintances, you can look back on the year and remember them.

Here are the complete “Auld Lang Syne” lyrics by Robert Burns:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowan fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

The third part of my Robert Burns documentary trilogy, The Secret Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Robert Burns, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Burns Day 2017.

Meantime, Happy New Year to you all – for Auld Lang Syne.

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Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

Still my two most favourite love poems. Happy Valentine’s Day.

KEARA MURPHY

Love Sonnet: XVII
I Don’t Love You As If You Were A Rose

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
Or arrow of carnations that propagate the fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
Secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
The light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
And thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
From the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems, or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way
to love,
Except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
So close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
So close that your eyes close with my…

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The Kissing Trees

These are the beautiful Kissing Trees on the back road from Kinghorn, Fife. I chose them as my pick-of-the-day to share on The Late Show last night. They were photographed beautifully by Elaine Orourke – who grew up near them and her family tradition is to always kiss whomever you are with when passing under them.

The Kissing Trees in a Blue Sky

Elaine kindly sent me these images yesterday and gave me permission to share them with the people of Scotland, however it was not able to be featured on the show for production reasons. How beautiful they are, though, so I wanted to share them with you today anyway.

The Kissing Trees on The Road

I want to know who planted them: was it an old couple who planted them so as they could be connected forever in nature? Are there remains of them scattered – or buried – there? Was this a young couple in love? – or the partner of a lost love? Or is this just a happy accident of nature?

The Kissing Trees Purple Haze

Nonetheless, they are intriguing and beautiful. There are no trees around them. And each tree stands alone in a separate field divided by a road – but through the years their branches have become slowly entwined. Two loving trees – possibly representing human love – united forever on the land and immortalised in film through some amazing photography.

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For all the lovers,
Keara XX

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