Aphra Behn Play/Ovid’s Play Addition/Erasure Poets – Poetry News Roundup April 19th

Our final poetry news round-up of the week takes a look at a play about the life of Aphra Behn, the watery addition to a play inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and finally the Erasure poets finding inspiration in the Mueller report.

Stage Debut for the Life of Aphra Behn

The Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of South Carolina will be presenting “Aphra Behn: Wanton. Wit. Woman” in a world premiere, which will be commencing on 21st April and running for a week.

This is the debut play of a theatrical costume designer, Mariah Anzaldo Hale. It tells the true story of the life of the 17th-century poet, playwright and novelist Aphra Behn. Behn is credited with having been the first female who earned a living through writing. She was a very independent spirited woman who even found work as a spy during the second Anglo-Dutch War which took place during the reign of King Charles II.

The play is set against the backdrop of the 1660’s London, and tells the tale of the poets rise to fame as a revolutionary cultural figure. The play is a mixture of movement, music and contemporary dialogue.

During her life, Behn was very controversial, and whilst researching for the play Hale was struck by many similarities between the poet and the fight for equality that women are still facing today.

She wrote numerous plays between 1670 and 1687. However, it wasn’t until 1686 when “The Lucky Chance” was published that she used her real name, it was a bold move that earned her social and critical derision.

The 12,500-Pound Pool of Water on Stage

The Guthrie theatre is playing host to a rather unusual version of ovid’s Metamorphoses. A six-ton pool of water has been installed on the stage.

The pool is an integral part of the direction of the play and the actors hop in and out of it, their clothes dripping water everywhere.

The pool provided something of a challenge for the theatre technicians; the entire floor of the stage had to be turned into a giant trap door. It was then filled with water, 1500 gallons of water, weighing 12,500 pounds. They have plenty of buckets on hand just in case the worst happens!

The water is kept at a pleasant temperature during the performance so that actors are not too cold but backstage they have had to build special heaters to keep them warm in their damp clothes.

The play which is currently running will end on 19th May.

Erasure Poets are Having a Field Day

The recently released Mueller report is providing erasure poets with a great deal of new material. Erasure poets are those who craft poetry from censored text. It is sometimes referred to as blackout poetry.

The report if full of redactions, great blocks of text that have been blanked out. These might be hard to read for the average person but for these poets, they are providing a great source of new material. They are not in the slightest bit daunted by the missing words, seeing them as a challenge to look forward to.

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