Friday, 4 October 2019

Things theatrical. And ham questions.

Our middle granddaughter, the one who has just started to remake or reinvent herself now that she is at sixth form college, was rather excited at the prospect of a college-organised trip to London: an overnight stop, a ride on the London eye and, most importantly, a show she would dearly love to see. This is quite a big step for a girl who until recently would refuse to go into Manchester because there were too many people there and who declined to take a train journey with me to go and visit her uncle, who lives just outside the capital.

So she was extremely disappointed when she went into college with her £60 deposit in her hand, early on the morning after the news that such a trip was going on was announced, only to find that it was already sold out.

Do some students routinely carry £60+ around with them for just such an eventuality?

Hopefully there will be other such opportunities.

Theatre was in the news, well, at any rate in one of the items I came across. I was intrigued by a headline about an immersive production of “The Wolf of Wall Street” being postponed, again the headline emphasised, because of flooding. Having got over my mild amusement at FLOODING stopping an IMMERSIVE production, I stopped to wonder what exactly an “immersive” theatre production is.

I found this, among other stuff:

“Many people go to the theatre to lose themselves in the production, to forget their everyday worries and troubles and be transported into another world. However, no kind of theatre transports an audience quite like immersive theatre. In immersive theatre, the audience are not merely passive bystanders. They are part of the story, however small their role may be, and they are in the middle of the action. In an immersive theatre production, the audience in some way plays a role, whether that is the role of witness or the role of an actual character.
They may be allowed to roam and explore the performance space as the performance happens around them, allowing them to decide what they see and what they skip. They might be herded from room to room so they see the key scenes. They might even be invited to become a more active part of the performance. The lines between performer and audience and between performance and life are blurred. The audience is placed within the environment of the story and therefore play witness front and centre to the events without the distancing factor of a proscenium.”

 Not my sort of theatre, I suspect. I have been known to get a little anxious at the prospect of being too close to the front row when watching productions of theatre in the round, in case I was just too close to the action. I was confirmed in this belief when I read that during an immersive production of “The Great Gatsby” some of the audience got so “immersed” that they actually attacked a couple of the actors!!

However, I have no objection to getting dressed up in period costume to match a theatrical performance. There is nothing quite like a bit of fancy dress!

Having eaten Spanish tapas for my lunch out with friends yesterday I was amused by this article about the Spanish Prime Minister h who apparently upset ham producers in Extremadura by talking about “jamón serrano from Extremadura” rather than “ jamón ibérico from extremadura”. The latter is seemingly a much superior product and the extremeños (people from Extremadura) would presumably not consider their ham to be merely “serrano”. There is a certain amount of food snobbery there but I suppose thatvif you have an excellent product you want it to be acknowledged as superior.

 “Spain’s love affair with pork,” I read, “goes back millennia and last year the pig population reached 50 million, making them more numerous than humans. As its popularity has grown internationally, especially in China, supplies of jamón ibérico have not been able to keep pace with demand and the industry has been hit by a series of fraud scandals as suppliers attempt to pass off poor quality ham as top of the range.
One major supermarket chain was found to be selling ham that had passed its sell-by date but had been repackaged and relabelled. More recently a company was caught selling “Spanish” ham that had in fact originated in Poland.”

 Well, that last item is very poor. “Spanish” ham from Poland is just not right. It’s like the Galicians who get upset at “pimientos de Padrón”, the small green peppers served fried and sprinkled with salt and which occasionally have a really hot one which makes steam come out of your ears, turning out to have been grown in Morocco and to have nothing at all to do with the small Galician town of Padrón.

Reading about the jamón serrano/ibérico thing made me wonder if anyone had thought of producing a similar meat product from the wild boars that are increasingly making a nuisance of themselves in some parts of Spain.

 Just a thought.

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