Spoken Word,

Shoreham Wordfest 2014: An Assortment Of Sybils

Friday 10th October 2014 - Starts 7.30pm

Shoreham Wordfest 2014 Ropetackle
Shoreham Wordfest 2014 Ropetackle

An Assortment Of Sybils: Women From Mars? Men From Venus?

We regret that Prunella Scales has pulled out of this performance due to ill-health. Fortunately, we have secured another excellent actress, Sara Kestelman, to perform in the show devised by Leo Aylen – details below.

Sara Kestelman, outstanding actress, dancer, and singer, whose roles range from countesses to cockneys, New York bohemians to Space commanders, whose TV appearances range from Anna Karenina to Midsummer Murders, joins BAFTA-nominated Leo Aylen, to ask whether men really are from Mars, women from Venus, in Leo’s specially created show of poems, humour, and anecdote. The ‘Men — Mars, Women — Venus’ cliché, is investigated, mocked, turned upside down, in a series of scenes and poems linked by anecdote which take the audience from contemporary settings like a Brixton police station, a Hampstead drawing-room, a New York apartment, a London tube-train, the Cumbrian fells, through more threatening situations in history and myth, whether King Arthur’s Round Table, Neanderthals discovering fire, or the violent confrontation of Medea and Jason, and the peaceful reunion of Odysseus and Penelope. At the centre is a mysterious nursery rhyme — everyone knows it, no one can say what it’s really about, but we all enjoy it, and we can all sing it. Leo Aylen created this show, and it has been performed by him and several actresses in various theatres and festivals to considerable acclaim.

Sara Kestelman is one of Britain’s most distinguished actresses, with an outstanding career in theatre, films, and TV. She has starred in the Royal National and Royal Shakespeare Companies for more than thirty years ever since her outstanding performance as Titania in Peter Brook’s blindingly brilliant Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is a dancer and a singer, one of her many awards — the Laurence Olivier — was for her performance as Frȁulein Schneider in Cabaret. On television, her appearances range from Anna Karenina and Lady Windermere’s Fan, to Holby City, Midsummer Murders, and Casualty. She has played judges and countesses; she has played garrulous New Yorkers and cheeky cockneys, as well as characters of many nationalities. Apart from many British awards, she has awards and nominations from Ireland and Australia. Daughter of the artist, Morris Kestelman, she has staged exhibitions and is knowledgeable about painting. She has published a book of her poems.

Leo Aylen has published 9 poetry collections, and has been published in 100 anthologies, winning prizes in Arvon, Peterloo, and Bridport, competitions. He has directed a number of films for television, been nominated for a BAFTA, and co-written a Hollywood movie Gods & Generals (Warner Bros 2003). In the theatre he has directed his own translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, and written lyrics for musicals and a pantomime. He has created and performed in many radio features, and for several years regularly created poems based on current news stories for BBC Radio 4. He has performed his poetry extensively in theatres on three continents, and has appeared in the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, in North America from New York to San Francisco, British Columbia to Ontario, and extensively in Africa, including to an audience of 3000 Zulus on an open hillside. He and his poetry have been the sole subject of 3 American nationwide television programmes.

Melvyn Bragg praised Leo’s latest book as “a triumph” with actor Simon Callow writing: “the underlying connections forging the whole piece into one great organic entity are profound and muscular, the earth moves, simply stupendous.”