Saturday 22 June 2013, GDIF
It’s the poetry that surprises me. It’s embedded in this international festival of street theatre in Greenwich. Listen to the eloquent theatrics of the Bone Yard Tales. Visually arresting. Yes. Theatrics. yes. High design ethic. Yes. But hear the words at the heart. La Balade! Some of the rhymes took my breath away.
Then there’s the hilarious dark poems and songs in the The Marvelous Imaginary Menagerie which in its design reminds me of a cross between La Cité des enfants Perdus and Tim Burton’s work. They are fall-about-funny. Most audience members don’t think of it as poetry. They just enjoy the show. And so they should. But it is.
Poetry is the moving bridge between this world and the imaginary menagerie of the next, a celebration of life. It’s why people leave poems for their loved ones who’ve passed. It’s why great ideas are transported using poems as their ships. It’s fitting then that near The Marvelous Imaginary Menagerie on the grounds of the royal naval college is a quite bench whose plaque reads “For Jon who loved the river from Madeleine who loved Jon and from Joshua his son”. It is a quote from a Spenser poem. “Sweet Thames Run Softly Till I end My Song.” It is their festival too.
Lemn Sissay is our writer in residence at GDIF and he will be around throughout.