It’s the early hours of the morning and I’ve just got back to my room. However I haven’t had the usual Friday night out in Oxford, I’ve been at the Ashmolean (or should I say LAshmolean). The underground cafe was, for one night only (unfortunately), transformed into a club. The two live acts Trophy Wife and Kyla La Grange were both very good but the night ws completely stolen by the final DJ set. Black Discs – Eliot ‘Coco’ Sumner and Age Salajoe – trod the line between genius and insanity to perfection.
However, there were preludes to this finale which are going to be repeated this weekend and well worth a look in. Pots and Plays is the result of collaboration between The Onassis Programme, Oxford Playhouse and Ashmolean and being billed as ‘A festival of theatre, opera, dance and drama’. It’s a free festival – Oxford students don’t even have to pay to go into the exhibition Heracles to Alexander the Great – and therefore immensely good value even though each of the three offerings is only about ten minutes long. The two operas are Thamyras by Glyn Maxwell and Time for Earthenware by Colin Teevan. Maxwell of course brought After Troy to the Playhouse last March and is no stranger to ressurecting and adapting the woks of Greek Tragedians. But neither is Colin Teevan who has previously written Iph…, an adaptation of Euripides and Alcmaeon In Corinth, a reimagining of a lost play. Opera isn’t such a bad way of considering ancient Greek tragedy and particularly works for the chorus.
As well as the live performances you can obtain an ipod on which there are six audio plays designed to be heard around the galleries. These can also be downloaded here so even if you don’t make it down to the museum you can still take part in the event. My favourite was Vessel by Lydia Prior who reveals the essential ‘ruse’ of museums where you should listen and not look. She whispers that ‘museums are places to keep things you see, secrets’.
However, Pots and Plays is not something which keeps secrets nor should be kept secret. It proclaims itself throughout the usually hushed museum.