The Diary: Alison Weir; Tate Modern; Saltmine Theatre Company; Aminatta Forna; Dee Dee Bridgewater
Friday 09 April 2010
The 'other' Boleyn brought to book
The history writer Alison Weir tells me no sooner had she finished her latest novel on Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Captive Queen, than she started work on a biography of Mary Boleyn (the "other" Boleyn girl). What she will do first is argue that the portrait of Anne Boleyn's sister that is labelled as "Mary Boleyn" at Heaver Castle is not Mary at all. "I just think it's been accepted that it is. In the 18th century, the subject of the painting was regarded as Mary Boleyn but before that they thought it was Anne Boleyn." Her research on Mary began in the 1970s, but put to one side until now. Due to be published in autumn 2011, the book will be called Mary Boleyn – The Great Infamous Whore, is, according to Weir, what the king of France called her. "She was his mistress as well as a mistress to King Henry VIII". It sounds as if the book is a radical reappraisal of Anne Boleyn's sister. "There are a lot of misconceptions about her in film, TV and novels. I'm giving some preliminary lectures on my findings in May. These will be a teaser for what's to come. I think [the book] will change our views on her."
Tête à Tate...
A confession booth is to be installed at Tate Modern this weekend where people can "come clean and declare their secret Tate stories for a film to mark 10 years of Tate Modern". The gallery says it has "heard all sorts of fun stories through the grapevine" about goings on in its premises. The "best" of the stories will become part of an anniversary film. So anyone who's fallen in love beside a Rothko, fallen out of love beside a Francis Bacon, or stolen a kiss with a stranger beside a Picasso can share details in the Turbine Hall.
Do it all in an hour
Shakespeare's already had the "truncated" treatment and now it appears to be the turn of the Bible, which is to be condensed into a one- hour-long play. Wycliffe Bible Translators challenged Saltmine Theatre Company to do this, and the result is From Eden to Eternity, a show lasting just a little longer than one hour, which traces the Bible story from the creation of the world through the birth, life and crucifixion of Christ to the very end of time! It is being taken on tour to 27 venues in England and Wales.
Writing's just one thing after another
The novelist Aminatta Forna tells me that after spending the last few years writing her latest novel, she initially decided to take a year's break after putting the finishing touches to the newly published The Memory of Love. But after handing it in to her publishers on a Monday, she found herself sitting in front of her computer three days later, on the Thursday, tapping out a children's story. The result is The Angel of Mexico City, about an angel that comes down in the guise of a dog and helps a boy whose father has been murdered in Mexico City. Set against a backdrop of drug wars, it might sound gritty but she sent it off to her hoard of godchildren around the world and they've come back with the thumbs-up.
Jazzing up a mother-and-daughter act
One of the most exciting musical performances this month surely has to be the gig that the mother and daughter team, Dee Dee Bridgewater and China Moses will put on at the Barbican. They've never done a jazz show as a pair and the last time they appeared on a stage together was years ago in France – when China, Dee Dee's daughter, was still singing pop and soul. Jazz, it appears, is a family affair: Ravi Coltrane, son of the great John Coltrane, was at Ronnie Scott's recently. China and Dee Dee are singing a tribute to Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington.
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