Preview: Philoctetes

first_img★★★☆☆Three StarsAh, Greek tragedy, that epitome of literary and theatrical tradition…and hard to pull off without just a hint of pretentiousness or a radical re-writing (ahem, “adaptation”) of the script. But to be fair to them, the Corpus Christi Owlets, directed by Natalie York, who already has a glittering career of London experience behind her, have had a fair stab at keeping on the straight and narrow with their shortened, modernised version of Sophocles’ play. With a good smattering of thees and thous to keep the ancient original in mind, the script has been lopped and chopped down to a short and sweet forty minutes. No interval ice-creams to look forward to then, but from the brief clip I saw of the play you hardly need them; well-polished dialogue and physically graphic fight scenes (poor Philoctetes, played by Moritz Borrhmann, looked genuinely pained) keep us engaged and interested pretty successfully.The story goes that Philoctetes, with his infamous “festering wound” is left abandoned on an island by his army. Ten years down the line, said army realise that for all their reluctance to do the Florence-Nightingale-caring thing, Philoctetes is actually rather necessary for their chances of victory. Except, and this is the clever part ladies and gentlemen, no longer is Philoctetes the owner of an out-dated “magical bow”. We’re in World War One, and the abandoned hero is a scientist with great plans for a revolutionary tank, plans which are carried around the stage rather wonderfully in what I am assured is a genuine early twentieth-century postal bag, complete with a water-proof covering of goat hair.In one magical wave of the “adaptation” wand, the vast cast of Sophocles’ play are vanished away, so that we are left with a much more manageable three characters; more psychologically claustrophobic and less constrained by the demands of classical tragedy. “It’s the play Sophocles wanted to write,” the director tells me. I’m not utterly convinced by this insight into the tragedian’s mind, but it’s certainly true that the changes work well in the given space and context.And what luck with the given space and the context! In the original, Philoctetes whiles away his lonely decade in a double-entrance cave. By happy coincidence, the stage in the auditorium of Corpus is backed by two stone alcoves in the wall which make the perfect place for a lamed and bitter tragic hero to lie, Caliban-like, as the growingly sympathetic Neoptolemus (Redmond Traynor) approaches to wheedle him out. I am reminded again of animals as Neoptolemus and the older and craftier Ulysses (Joe Rolleston) square-up to one another like bristling bull-dogs in an attempt to establish their power-ridden relationship.It’s not without a certain amount of risk that the company have taken on this little-known play, and not without a certain amount of courage that they’ve made the (predominately successful) changes that they have. Overall I’d recommend you go along in 6th Week to take a look. And ten points for the first person to spot the goat hair.last_img read more

Pulis not ready to walk away

first_img “This football club has been absolutely fantastic to me. The Coates family are wonderful, wonderful people to work for. “My respect for them goes a lot further than just closing a door and walking away. “People who know me know I’m not somebody who just walks off into the sunset.” Launching a vigorous defence of himself, given the criticism that has flowed over a wretched second half of the season he said: “At a club like ours you can have good times and bad times in the Premier League. “For seven and a half years at this football club, I don’t think I’ve done too badly, and I don’t think the club has done too badly either. “Do you get judged over a bad period of three months? Or do you get judged over a period of time? “Everything is instant. Everybody wants results, results and results, and if you don’t get them I understand. I’m big enough and experienced to know if you don’t get results in this job then there is pressure on you, and you have to deal with that pressure.” Speculation has surfaced this week Pulis would quit City once the 40 -point target is reached, potentially as early as Saturday should the Potters beat Norwich at the Britannia Stadium. But after meeting owner Peter Coates on Tuesday for lunch, Pulis insists no word was uttered of a potential early exit, saying: “If I was going to walk away then I would have told him by now, and I certainly didn’t mention anything about walking away.” Tony Pulis is adamant he will not be walking out on Stoke, but could offer no assurances over his future beyond this season.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Bailey: Ennis’ playful, goofy nature hidden behind cold-blooded on-court persona

first_img Published on January 21, 2014 at 12:44 am The unflinching expression on Tyler Ennis’ face broke for maybe the first time in a game this season.After 17 seconds of pure dominance from the Syracuse backcourt — ending in a Trevor Cooney 3-pointer from the right wing — the cold-blooded freshman point guard couldn’t help but smile as he turned his hips slightly and answered Cooney’s call for a chest bump.It was a sign of comfort from the rising superstar viewed by many as emotionless.In truth, those who know him best describe Ennis as goofy and playful; the kind of guy who’ll rag on his teammates in practice and swap celebrity imitations with his brothers. But also the kind of guy who won’t be like that right away. It takes time.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He has to open up to you,” SU junior center Rakeem Christmas said. “When he just got here, he wasn’t talking as much or laughing around a lot. Now that he knows us, he’s opened up a lot. Tyler’s a goofy kid.”The apparent comfort has become very real during Ennis’ ascent from talented rookie to the nation’s most valuable freshman. His tangible rise peaked on Saturday when he scored six points in the final 1:48 to almost singlehandedly deny then-No. 22 Pittsburgh its upset. His emotional growth has been apparent in the way he interacts with teammates and the subtle jokes he makes with the media after games.Ennis is fully comfortable as a leader of the undefeated Orange, and more than just the cool, calm and collected rookie he appears to be on the surface.“He’s fun to be around,” Syracuse assistant coach Gerry McNamara said. “People don’t realize he’s more outgoing than he appears to be and these guys love him. It’d be really difficult not to love him as a teammate.”During the team’s practice Friday, Ennis and Jerami Grant paired up in competitive shooting drills. Twice, Ron Patterson had a chance to knock down a drill-winning shot, and twice, Ennis tried to spook his fellow freshman by yelling.After practice ended, Ennis jogged over to the sideline to wrestle with assistant coach Mike Hopkins’ 12-year-old son Griff.“Where have you been?” Ennis yelled as he wrapped his arms around Griff and they scrambled laughing onto the court.Ennis hoisted up a shot with Griff draped over his back. Wide right.“No easy buckets,” Griff joked.It may seem like a trivial moment, but it’s one players said didn’t happen at the start of the year.“He’s grown on us,” Grant said. “He’s grown to play around a little bit more and have fun. Not just be serious and all that.”Family members and coaches agree it’s the same way he was at St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) Prep School and the same way he is around new friends. It just takes time to see “the real Tyler.”“He gets to know a person first,” his mother, Suzette Ennis, said. “He’s really a joker.”During his last two years at St. Benedict’s, Ennis grew close with assistant coach Bob Farrell. So much so that Ennis would stay with the Farrells at their Point Pleasant Beach house off the New Jersey Shore during weekends without games.Bob’s wife, Michelle, remembers the reserved Ennis she met. The one afraid to open the refrigerator for study breaks and ask about laundry.Most specifically, she remembers the first time Ennis sat down with the extended family for Sunday dinner.Surrounded by 20 boisterous Italians, she asked him a question, but couldn’t hear his response.“He had to repeat himself,” Michelle said, “and I finally just said, ‘If you want to stay here, you’re definitely going to have to speak up because nobody can hear you.’”It didn’t take too long for Ennis to grow comfortable with the Farrells. As a senior, he turned the Gray Bees from a mediocre program to the No. 2 prep school in the state with a school-record 35 wins.“He analyzes everything,” St. Benedict’s head coach Mark Taylor said. “If you ever watch Tyler from a distance, he’s not the guy that’s the loud one, but he sees everything that goes on.”And now that Ennis has seen enough of the Syracuse program, he is truly comfortable. He’s ready to take the reins of the Syracuse offense at the end of games and carry the team into its first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.Maybe the Pitt game wasn’t the end of Ennis’ growth. Maybe it’s only the beginning.Stephen Bailey is the sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Stephen_Bailey1. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more