Archivo de la categoría: Teatro

Las bicicletas son para el verano

bicicletaFernando Fernán Gómez

Fernando Fernández Gómez (Lima, Perú, 28 de agosto de 1921 – Madrid, 21 de noviembre de 2007). Escritor, actor y director teatral y cinematográfico español. Fue miembro de la Real Academia Española desde el año 2000 hasta su fallecimiento.

Nace en la capital peruana ya que su madre, la actriz Carola Fernández Gómez, realiza una gira teatral con la compañía María Guerrero por Hispanoamérica, y a los pocos meses, su abuela lo traslada a Madrid, donde finaliza los estudios de bachillerato tras la guerra civil española, iniciando allí la carrera de Filosofía y Letras. Su creciente interés por el teatro le lleva a dejar sus estudios, comenzando su carrera de actor en 1938 en la compañía de Laura Pinillos. Allí conoce a Enrique Jardiel Poncela que le brinda un papel en una de sus obras. En 1943 es contratado por la productora CIFESA debutando con la película Cristina Guzmán, de Gonzalo Delgrás, iniciando así una prolífica carrera de actor de cine.

En su filmografía ha trabajado a las órdenes de los más destacados directores del cine español: Edgar Neville, Carlos Saura, Mario Camús, Víctor Erice, Ricardo Franco, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Jaime de Armiñán, Gonzalo Suárez, Juan Antonio Bardem o Luis García Berlanga. Todas estas interpretaciones le hicieron aumentar su prestigio, consiguiendo el Oso de Plata del Festival de Berlín al mejor actor por su interpretación en El anacoreta y Stico.

A partir de la década de los cincuenta comienza a dirigir, realizando, entre el cine y televisión, numerosos títulos entre los que destacan Mi hija Hildegart (1977), Mambrú se fue a la guerra (1986), El viaje a ninguna parte (1986), adaptación de una de sus novelas y un gran éxito, que consigue el Goya al mejor director y mejor guionista, y en esa misma edición, logra el Goya al mejor actor por Mambrú se fue a la guerra.

Como autor teatral destaca su obra Las bicicletas son para el verano (1978), por la que obtuvo el Premio Nacional Lope de Vega y fue adaptada al cine por Jaime Chávarri en 1983. Otras de sus obras de teatro son: La coartada (1972), Los domingos, bacanal (1980) o El pícaro. Como novelista, destacan El viaje a ninguna parte (1986), El mar y el tiempo (1989), El vendedor de naranjas (1961), El mal amor (1987), entre otras. Sus memorias se titulan El tiempo amarillo (1990).

De sus últimos trabajos destacan El abuelo (1998) de José Luis Garci, Todo sobre mi madre (1999) de Pedro Almodóvar; Plenilunio (1999) de Imanol Uribe; La lengua de las mariposas (1999) de José Luis Cuerda; Visionarios (2001), de Gutiérrez Aragón o El embrujo de Shanghái (2002), con Fernando Trueba.

Su larga trayectoria profesional está jalonada de prestigiosos galardones, como el Premio Nacional de Teatro en 1985, el Premio Nacional de Cinematografía en 1989 o el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1995. En el 2000 recibió el Oso de Honor en el Festival Internacional de Cine de Berlín a toda su trayectoria, y en el 2001, la Medalla de Oro de la Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España.

Fallece el 21 de noviembre de 2007 en Madrid a la edad de 86 años, recibiendo, a título póstumo, la Gran Cruz de la Orden Civil de Alfonso X el Sabio otorgada por el Gobierno de España.

Fuente:

http://www.cervantes.es/bibliotecas_documentacion_espanol/creadores/fernan_gomez_fernando.htm

Vídeo:

Fernando Fernán Gómez – Las bicicletas son para el verano (1978)

LUIS.─ Mamá, yo, uno o dos días, al volver del trabajo, he ido a la cocina… Tenía tanta hambre que, en lo que tú ponías la mesa, me he comido una cucharada de lentejas… Pero una cucharada pequeña…
DON LUIS.─ ¡Ah!, ¿eras tú?
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¿Por qué no lo habías dicho, Luis?
LUIS.─ Pero sólo uno o dos días, y una cucharada pequeña. No creí que se echara de menos.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ Tiene razón, Luis. Una sola cucharada no puede notarse. No puede ser eso.
DON LUIS.─ (A DOÑA DOLORES.) Y tú, al probar las lentejas, cuando las estás haciendo, ¿no te tomas otra cucharada?
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¿Eso qué tiene que ver? Tú mismo lo has dicho: tengo que probarlas… Y lo hago con una cucharita de las de café.
DON LUIS.─ Claro, como ésas ya no sirven para nada…
(MANOLITA ha empezado a llorar.)
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¿Qué te pasa, Manolita?
MANOLITA.─ (Entre sollozos.) Soy yo, soy yo. No le echéis la culpa a esa infeliz. Soy yo… Todos los días, antes de irme a comer… voy a la cocina y me como una o dos cucharadas… Sólo una o dos…, pero nunca creía que se notase. No lo hago por mí, os lo juro, no lo hago por mí, lo hago por este hijo. Tú lo sabes, mamá, estoy seca, estoy seca…
DOÑA DOLORES.─ (Ha ido junto a ella, la abraza.) ¡Hija, Manolita!
MANOLITA.─ Y el otro día, en el restorán donde comemos con los vales, le robé el pan al que comía a mi lado… Y era un compañero, un compañero… Menuda bronca se armó entre el camarero y él.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¡Hija mía, hija mía!
DON LUIS.─ (Dándose golpes en el pecho.) Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa…
(Los demás le miran.)
DON LUIS.─ Como soy el ser más inteligente de esta casa, prerrogativa de mi sexo y de mi edad, hace tiempo comprendí que una cucharada de lentejas menos entre seis platos no podía perjudicar a nadie. Y que, recayendo sobre mí la mayor parte de las responsabilidades de este hogar, tenía perfecto derecho a esta sobrealimentación. Así, desde hace aproximadamente un mes, ya sea lo que haya en la cacerola lentejas, garbanzos mondos y lirondos, arroz con chirlas o agua con sospechas de bacalao, yo, con la disculpa de ir a hacer mis necesidades, me meto en la cocina, invisible y fugaz como Arsenio Lupin, y me tomo una cucharada.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ (Escandalizada.) Pero…, ¿no os dais cuenta de que tres cucharadas…?
DON LUIS.─ Y la tuya, cuatro.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ Que cuatro cucharadas…
DON LUIS.─ Y dos de Julio y su madre.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¿Julio y su madre?
DON LUIS.─ Claro; parecen tontos, pero el hambre aguza el ingenio. Contabiliza seis cucharadas. Y a veces, siete, porque Manolita se toma también la del niño.
DOÑA DOLORES.─ ¡Siete cucharadas! Pero si es todo lo que pongo en la tacilla… (Está a punto de llorar.) Todo lo que pongo. Si no dan más.
( MANOLITA sigue sollozando)
DON LUIS.─ No lloréis, por favor, no lloréis…
LUIS.─ Yo, papá, ya te digo, sólo…
MANOLITA.─ (Hablando al tiempo de Luis.) Por este hijo, ha sido por este hijo.
DON LUIS.─ (Sobreponiéndose a las voces de los otros.) Pero, ¿qué más da? Ya lo dice la radio: «no pasa nada». ¿Qué más da que lo comamos en la cocina o en la mesa? Nosotros somos los mismos, las cucharadas son las mismas…
MANOLITA.─ ¡Qué vergüenza, qué vergüenza!
DON LUIS.─ No, Manolita: qué hambre.

Fuente:

http://www.trampitan.es/textos-dramaticos/textos-breves-para-dos-o-mas-actores/las-bicicletas-son-para-el-verano-/

Los personajes de Las bicicletas… sufren la guerra en carne propia pero, pese a las bombas, las estancias en el sótano del edificio en que viven y la falta de comida, ésta es algo indirecto en la obra. No se retrata aquí el fragor de la batalla, no se pone la mirada del espectador en el despacho donde se toman las grandes decisiones que costarán miles de vidas, no se huele la pólvora, la sangre o la podredumbre de la gangrena, pero la guerra está ahí y afecta a los personajes. En Las bicicletas… Fernán-Gómez ha querido ver cómo afecta la guerra a unos personajes que no pueden hacer nada por modificar su rumbo, que lo único que les queda es esperar en su hogar cada vez más precario mientras luchan por ellos en la Ciudad Universitaria, en el Ebro o en cualquier otro punto de la geografía patria, e intentar mantener su vida cotidiana lo más parecida posible a como era antes de estallar la contienda.

Por eso entre la rabia, el miedo, la preocupación y el hambre, se habla de lecturas, de trabajo, se tienen problemas de tipo sexual con la criada y se convive bien o mal con los vecinos. Se intenta que todo sea como antes –ahí está el costumbrismo– pero la guerra lo impide –ahí se trasciende el costumbrismo.

Con humor teñido de melancolía –véase la escena de la desaparición de las lentejas–, se van pasando los tres años de guerra hasta que al final la derrota acaba por hundir a la familia –en la desolación y en la ruina, pues su dinero republicano es papel mojado, elemento que Fernán-Gómez introduce como cruel desenlace de otra de sus obras: la novela La puerta del Sol–. No hay final feliz, aunque sí una tímida esperanza en poder sobrevivir con una mínima dignidad. El costumbrismo no matiza la dureza de la guerra, pero sí aporta otra perspectiva de la misma. Por eso, sin sobrevalorar este texto dramático, hay que considerarlo como una certera e interesante visión de uno de los peores inventos de la inteligencia.

Leer más:

http://www.proscritos.com/larevista/notas.asp?num=26&d=m&s=m3&ss=1

Vídeo:

Cadena Ser – Versión Radiofónica: Las bicicletas son para el verano

http://www.cadenaser.com/especiales/guerra-civil/bicicletas.html

Jaime Chávarri

Licenciado en Derecho, nunca llegó a ejercer como abogado. Más tarde estudió durante dos años en la Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía y trabajó como crítico de cine en la revista Film Ideal al tiempo que realizó varios cortometrajes en super-8.

En 1970 realizó sus primeros cortometrajes: el documental Permanencia del arabesco y Estado de sitio, ganador del Festival de Cortos y Documentales de Bilbao. Al año siguiente codirige junto con Francesc Bellmunt y Emilio Martínez Lázaro el largometraje Pastel de sangre (1971). Su primer largometraje en solitario es Los viajes escolares (1974). Ese año también rueda el corto Señales en la ventana (1974).

En 1976 estrena El desencanto, un documental biográfico sobre el poeta leonés Leopoldo Panero. El filme fue galardonado con el Premio a la Mejor Película por el Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos.

A un dios desconocido (1977) está protagonizada por Héctor Alterio y su guión fue escrito por Elías Querejeta. Chávarri ganó el Premio a la Mejor Película de Lengua Española en el Festival de Cine de San Sebastián.

Al año siguiente dirige para televisión la serie El juglar y la reina (1978), en la que compartió dirección con Fernando Méndez Leite, Alfonso Ungría y el cubano Roberto Fandiño. Le siguen Dedicatoria (1980) y los segmentos Pequeño planeta (1980) y La mujer sorda (1981) para los filmes colectivos Cuentos eróticos y Cuentos para una escapada, respectivamente. En estos proyectos también intervinieron directores como Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Gonzalo Suárez, Fernando Colomo, Augusto Martínez Torres, Emma Cohen, Josefina Molina, José Luis García Sánchez y Juan Tébar.

En 1982 realiza para televisión Luis y Virginia y al año siguiente Bearn o la sala de las muñecas (1983), donde actúan Fernando Rey, Imanol Arias y Ángela Molina. La película fue galardonada con el Premio del Jurado en el Festival de Cine de Montreal.

Una de sus obras más reconocidas es Las bicicletas son para el verano (1984), basada en una obra teatral de Fernando Fernán Gómez. La cinta, en la que trabajan Agustín González, Victoria Abril, Marisa Paredes y Gabino Diego, está ambientada en la Guerra Civil española.

Leer más:

http://www.vidasdecine.es/directores/c/jaime-chavarri.html

Vídeo:

Jaime Chávarri – Las bicicletas son para el verano (1984)

Director Jaime Chávarri. Con Amparo Soler Leal, Agustín González, Victoria Abril, Alicia Hermida, Patricia Adriani, Marisa Paredes, Carlos Tristancho, Gabino Diego, Aurora Redondo, Guillermo Marín, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, Laura del Sol, Miguel Rellán, Jorge de Juan, Marina Saura, Wilmore, Rosa Menéndez, Emilio Serrano, Elena Gortari, Sandra Ramírez, Marina Andina.

Chávarri se sorprendió de que se le hubiera ofrecido a él dirigir la película toda vez que el autor de la obra es un reconocido director de cine y de teatro. Así se lo contó a Enrique Alberich en Dirigido por…: “Fernán-Gómez dijo que no quería saber nada de la película. Incluso se extrañaba de que quisiéramos consultarle aspectos del guión. Cuando él había adaptado al cine a Mihura, o a cualquier otro escritor, no se le había ocurrido preguntarle qué le parecía esto o aquello, porque ya imaginaba que lo que estaba haciendo con su obra le iba a sentar fatal”. Y así fue, en efecto, según ha confesado Chávarri: “Al acabar el guión nos dijo que habíamos quitado media obra, lo cual era cierto. Lo habíamos hecho porque no disponíamos de tiempo ni de presupuesto necesarios para hacer una película de más de hora y media. Tuve la sensación de que Fernando se había quedado con cierto resentimiento respecto a la película. Una vez, en un viaje que tuvimos la oportunidad de hacer juntos, le pregunté qué pasaba realmente. Me contó que le daba la sensación de que habíamos quitado de la historia todo aquello que se refería al anarquismo, que a él le interesaba mucho. Tenía razón. Pero no lo habíamos hecho adrede como él pensaba, sino que al ir acortando el texto se habían ido perdiendo algunos matices”.

“En cualquier caso”, escribieron en su libro Miguel Ángel Barroso y Fernando Gil-Delgado, “domina la impronta de Fernán-Gómez en esta historia contada desde el prisma de los vencidos, con respeto y atendiendo más al drama humano de la guerra en la gran ciudad que a las digresiones políticas”. Román Gubern aseguró que “los recursos escenográficos utilizados por Chávarri han permitido dinamizar el ritmo original, procurando no sacrificar su intimidad”, coincidiendo con Marcel Oms, que aseguró, por su parte, que “la transposición fílmica de la obra teatral ha sido magistralmente resuelta por Chávarri, quien no ha vacilado en utilizar elipsis y metáforas, ni en recurrir a escenas para acercarnos esos personajes cuya cotidianidad ordinaria eleva a niveles de ejemplaridad”.

Leer más:

http://elpais.com/diario/2004/02/27/cine/1077836413_850215.html

Vídeo:

Vídeo:

A Midsummer’s Night Dream

moonWilliam Shakespeare – A Midsummer’s Night Dream (mid 1590s)

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream… flows a luxuriant vein of the noblest and most fantastical invention; the most extraordinary combination of very dissimilar ingredients seems to have brought about without effort by some ingenious and lucky accident, and the colors are of such clear transparency that we think the whole of the variegated fabric may be blown away with a breath. The fairy world here described resembles those elegant pieces of arabesque, where little genii with butterfly wings rise, half embodied, above the flower-cups. Twilight, moonshine, dew and spring perfumes are the element of these tender spirits; they assist nature in embroidering her carpet with green leaves, many-colored flowers and glittering insects; in the human world they do but make sport childishly and waywardly with their beneficent or noxious influences. Their most violent rage dissolves in good-natured raillery; their passions, stripped of all earthly matter, are merely an ideal dream. To correspond with this, the love of mortals is painted as a poetical enchantment which, by a contrary enchantment, may be immediately suspended and then renewed again. The different parts of the plot; the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, Oberon and Titania’s quarrel, the flight of the two pair of lovers, and the theatrical manœuvres of the mechanics, are so lightly and happily interwoven that they seem necessary to each other for the formation of the whole.

Oberon is desirous of relieving the lovers from their perplexities, but greatly adds to them through the mistake of his minister, till he at last comes really to the aid of their fruitless amorous pain, their inconstancy and jealousy, and restores fidelity to its old rights. The extremes of fanciful and vulgar are united when the enchanted Titania awakes and falls in love with a coarse mechanic with an ass’s head, who represents, or rather disfigures, the part of a tragical lover. The droll wonder of Bottom’s transformation is merely the translation of a metaphor in its literal sense; but in his behavior during the tender homage of the Fairy Queen we have an amusing proof how much the consciousness of such a head-dress heightens the effect of his usual folly. Theseus and Hippolyta are, as it were, a splendid frame for the picture; they take no part in the action, but surround it with a stately pomp. The discourse of the hero and his Amazon, as they course through the forest with their noisy hunting-train, works upon the imagination like the fresh breath of morning, before which the shapes of night disappear. Pyramus and Thisbe is not unmeaningly chosen as the grotesque play within the play; it is exactly like the pathetic part of the piece, a secret meeting of two lovers in the forest, and their separation by an unfortunate accident, and closes the whole with the most amusing parody.

Source:

http://www.theatrehistory.com/british/midsummer001.html

ACT IV

SCENE I. The same. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA lying asleep.

Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending; OBERON behind unseen

TITANIA Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

BOTTOM Where’s Peaseblossom?

PEASEBLOSSOM Ready.

BOTTOM Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where’s Mounsieur Cobweb?

COBWEB Ready.

BOTTOM Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your
weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped
humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good
mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,
good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;
I would be loath to have you overflown with a
honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?

MUSTARDSEED Ready.

BOTTOM Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,
leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.

MUSTARDSEED What’s your Will?

BOTTOM Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb
to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur; for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
I must scratch.

TITANIA What, wilt thou hear some music,
my sweet love?

BOTTOM I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have
the tongs and the bones.

TITANIA Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

BOTTOM Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

TITANIA I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.

BOTTOM I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I
have an exposition of sleep come upon me.

TITANIA Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.

Exeunt fairies

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!

They sleep

Enter PUCK

OBERON [Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
See’st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets’ eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her
And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night’s accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see:
Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.

TITANIA My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.

OBERON There lies your love.

TITANIA How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

OBERON Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

TITANIA Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!

Music, still

PUCK Now, when thou wakest, with thine
own fool’s eyes peep.

OBERON Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

PUCK Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.

OBERON Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night’s shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.

TITANIA Come, my lord, and in our flight
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.

Source:

http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html

Video:

Max Reinhardt – A Midsummer Night’s dream (1935)

Directed by Max Reinhardt. With James Cagney (Bottom), Dick Powell (Lysander), Joe E. Brown (Flute), Jean Muir (Helena), Hugh Herbert (Snout), Ian Hunter (Theseus), Frank McHugh (Quince), Victor Jory (Oberon), Olivia de Havilland (Hermia), Ross Alexander (Demetrius), Verree Teasdale (Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons), Anita Louise (Titania), Mickey Rooney (Puck), Arthur Treacher (Ninny’s Tomb), Billy Barty (Mustard Seed), Kenneth Anger (Changeling Prince), Angelo Rossitto (Gnome).
BW-144m. Closed captioning.
…Reinhardt’s Dream is a relic of the kind of Shakespeare that was being staged in the Edwardian era. Shakespeare had been a source for motion pictures since the art form was invented, but this Midsummer Night’s Dream represents the first big-budget Hollywood production of The Bard in the talkie era. That it came from Warner Brothers is integral to its curious composition, for that studio was best known for gangster thrillers and romantic musicals (thus, studio-contracted actors such as James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, and Dick Powell play major roles). In the long view, it seems fitting that a studio specializing in such mass-appeal fare would be best suited to do Shakespeare, and do him right.

However, in Depression-era America, Shakespeare was high art and an Old Country import. Warner Brothers wanted to make a prestige film, and the studio not only considered Shakespeare the epitome of prestige, it hired a man who, by Hollywood standards, was the most prestigious theater practitioner of the day. Reinhardt, a visionary who developed the concept of spectacle theater, had staged an elaborate Dream in his native Austria that he reprised at the Hollywood Bowl. Jack Warner saw this show, and his studio hired Reinhardt to replicate the spectacle on film. Reinhardt’s movie-making and English-speaking skills were scant, so William Dieterle was brought in to be co-director. What we get is Reinhardt’s extravagances combined with Dieterle’s technical skills.

Read more:

http://www.shakespeareances.com/willpower/onscreen/Midsummer-WB35.html

Video:

Benjamin Britten – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960)

The opera begins with Shakespeare’s sec­ond act — in the woods — and there are only six words in the libretto that are not in the orig­i­nal play. To clar­ify why Her­mia and Lysander are flee­ing Athens (one of the major plot points in Shakespeare’s first act), Brit­ten and Pears added the line, “com­pelling thee to marry with Demetrius,” for Lysander to explain Hermia’s plight.

One of the things I like about Britten’s adap­ta­tion is that he starts in the woods,” says Edward Berke­ley, direc­tor of Aspen Opera The­ater Cen­ter. “The music at the begin­ning has the feel­ing of threat, of some­thing omi­nous going on. In the play, and the opera as well, the Shake­spearean tan­gle is actu­ally a place where peo­ple go to essen­tially resolve inner issues that they can’t resolve in soci­ety.  So the Shake­spearean wild is like a place of psy­cho­log­i­cal night­mare.” By start­ing in the woods, it means that only the final scene of the opera takes place else­where — after the char­ac­ters have resolved their dilemmas.

The music Brit­ten wrote for the open­ing of the opera, plus a lot of the Fairy music and for Oberon and Tyta­nia, has a sense of dis­or­der,” Berke­ley points out. “I think the best of the lovers’ music comes when they start fight­ing, and the music is at its most dis­or­derly. There’s the sense the lovers have left orga­nized soci­ety, ready to bat­tle it out. They’ve had to go to another place. It’s as if we have to leave soci­ety to resolve things.”

The orches­tral music with which Brit­ten opens the opera imme­di­ately places us in the woods, the glis­san­dos in the muted strings — repeat­edly mov­ing up and down the scale — sug­gest­ing the breath­ing of some­one deep in sleep. Or per­haps it is the sound of the wood at night, with creak­ing branches; or the sound of the magic spell that is on the wood and every­one who comes within it.

Britten’s music bril­liantly depicts the three dif­fer­ent worlds of the play – the world of the Fairies, the world of the human lovers, and the world of the Rus­tics, as Brit­ten called Shakespeare’s “rude mechan­i­cals” – by giv­ing them each a dis­tinc­tive musi­cal sig­na­ture. The fairies have a rather del­i­cate sound from the orches­tra: harps, harp­si­chord, celesta and per­cus­sion. Oberon, King of the Fairies, is a coun­tertenor (see side­bar), his Queen, Tyta­nia, is a col­oratura soprano, and the fairies are sung by a children’s cho­rus. Puck is a speak­ing role, accom­pa­nied by drum and solo trum­pet, though the exact rhythm of his words is notated in the score. “I got the idea of doing Puck like this in Stock­holm where I saw some Swedish child acro­bats with extra­or­di­nary agility and pow­ers of mim­icry,” Brit­ten explained.

Read more:

http://paulthomasonwriter.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-benjamin-britten/

Video:

George Balanchine (Felix Meldenssohn’ music) – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1962)

A ballet about the transforming power of love, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is based on William Shakespeare’s comedy about the romantic adventures and misadventures, quarrels and reunitings, of two pairs of mortal lovers and the king and queen of the fairies. The ballet, through its themes of reality versus illusion, and change versus constancy, displays love in all its guises. In the first act there are dances of unrequited love and love that is reconciled. There is a pas de deux for the Fairy Queen Titania and Bottom, who has been turned into an Ass — a perfect illustration in dance of the old proverb, “love is blind.” In the second act, which opens with Mendelssohn’s familiar Wedding March, there is a pas de deux representing ideal, untroubled love.

Shakespeare’s 1595 play has been the source for films, an opera by Benjamin Britten (1960), and a one-act ballet by Frederick Ashton, called The Dream (1964). George Balanchine’s version, which premiered in 1962, was the first wholly original evening-length ballet he choreographed in America. On April 24, 1964, A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened the New York City Ballet’s first repertory season at the New York State Theater. Balanchine had been familiar with Shakespeare’s play from an early age. At age eight he had appeared as an elf in a production in St. Petersburg, and he could recite portions of the play by heart in Russian. Balanchine loved Mendelssohn’s overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (composed respectively in 1826 and 1843), and it is this score, Balanchine later said, that inspired his choreography. Mendelssohn had written only about an hour’s worth of music for the play (not enough for an evening-length dance work), so for twenty years Balanchine studied the composer’s other oeuvre, finally selecting a number of additional overtures, a nocturne, an intermezzo and a portion of Symphony #9 to weave together the ballet score.

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was a German composer of the Romantic Era. Like Mozart, he was a child prodigy who excelled in every aspect of music: he was one of the finest pianists of his time, as well as an excellent conductor and well-known educator. Mendelssohn was only 17 when he wrote the overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which musically introduces all of the ballet’s characters and themes.

Source:

http://balanchine.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream/

Video:

Michael Hoffman – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999)

Directed by Michael Hoffman. With Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockhart, Anna Friel, Christian Bale, Dominic West, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Roger Rees, Max Wright, Sam Rockwell, Bernard Hill, John Sessions

Much of the play’s fun comes during a long night in the forest, where the mischiefmaker anoints the eyes of sleeping lovers with magic potions that cause them to adore the first person they see upon awakening.

This causes all sorts of confusions, not least when Titania, the Fairy Queen herself, falls in love with a weaver who has grown donkey’s ears. The weaver is Bottom (Kevin Kline), and he and the mischievous Puck (Stanley Tucci) are the most important characters in the play, although it also involves dukes, kings, queens and high-born lovers. Bottom has a good heart and bumbles through, and Puck (also called Robin Goodfellow) spreads misunderstanding wherever he goes. The young lovers are pawns in a magic show: When they can’t see the one they love, they love the one they see.

Michael Hoffman’s new film of “William Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream” (who else’s?) is updated to the 19th century, set in Italy and furnished with bicycles and operatic interludes. But it is founded on Shakespeare’s language and is faithful, by and large, to the original play. Harold Bloom complains in his wise best seller, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, that the play’s romantic capers have been twisted by modern adaptations into “the notion that sexual violence and bestiality are at the center of this humane and wise drama.” He might approve of this version, which is gentle and lighthearted, and portrays Bottom not as a lustful animal but as a nice enough fellow who has had the misfortune to wake up with donkey’s ears–“amiably innocent, and not very bawdy,” as Bloom describes him.

Read more:

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/william-shakespeares-a-midsummer-nights-dream-1999

Video:

A Streetcar Named Desire

streetcarTennesse Williams – A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

STELLA: You have no idea how stupid and horrid you’re being! Now close that trunk before she
comes out of the bathroom!
[He kicks the trunk partly closed and sits on the kitchen table.]
STANLEY: The Kowalskis and the DuBois have different notions.
STELLA [angrily]: Indeed they have, thank heavens !–I’m going outside. [She snatches up her
white hat and gloves and crosses to the outside door.] You come out with me while Blanche is
getting dressed.
STANLEY: Since when do you give me orders?
STELLA: Are you going to stay here and insult her?
STANLEY: You’re damn tootin’ I’m going to stay here.
[STELLA goes out on the porch. BLANCHE comes out of the bathroom in a red satin robe.]
BLANCHE [airily]: Hello, Stanley! Here I am, all freshly bathed and scented, and feeling like a
brand-new human being!
[He lights a cigarette.]
STANLEY: That’s good.
BLANCHE [drawing the curtains at the windows]: Excuse me while I slip on my pretty new dress!!
STANLEY: Go right ahead, Blanche.
[She closes the drapes between the rooms].
BLANCHE: I understand there’s to be a little card party to which we ladies are cordially not
invited.
STANLEY [ominously]: Yeah?
[BLANCHE throws off her robe and slips into a flowered print dress.]
BLANCHE: Where’s Stella?
STANLEY: Out on the porch.
BLANCHE: I’m going to ask a favour of you in a moment.
STANLEY: What could that be, I wonder?
BLANCHE: Some buttons in back! You may enter!
[He crosses through drapes with a smouldering look.] How do I look ?
STANLEY: You look all right.
BLANCHE: Many thanks! Now the buttons!
STANLEY: I can’t do nothing with them.
BLANCHE: You men with your big clumsy fingers. May I have a drag on your cig?
STANLEY: Have one for yourself.
BLANCHE: Why, thanks! … It looks like my trunk has exploded.
STANLEY: Me an’ Stella were helping you unpack.
BLANCHE: Well, you certainly did a fast and thorough job of it!
STANLEY: It looks like you raided some stylish shops in Paris.
BLANCHE: Ha-ha! Yes–clothes are my passion!
STANLEY: What does it cost for a string of fur-pieces like that?
BLANCHE: Why, those were a tribute from an admirer of mine!
STANLEY: He must have had a lot of—-admiration!
BLANCHE: Oh, in my youth I excited some admiration. But look at me now! [She smiles at him
radiantly.] Would you think it possible that I was once considered to be–attractive?
STANLEY: Your looks are okay.
BLANCHE: I was fishing for a compliment, Stanley.
STANLEY: I don’t go in for that stuff.
BLANCHE: What–stuff?
STANLEY: Compliments to women about their looks. I never met a woman that didn’t know if she was good-looking or not without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they’ve got. I once went out with a doll who said to me, ‘I am the glamorous type, I am the glamorous type!’ I said, ‘So what?’
BLANCHE: And what did she say then?
STANLEY: She didn’t say nothing. That shut her up like a clam.
BLANCHE: Did it end the romance?
STANLEY: It ended the conversation–that was all. Some men are took in by this Hollywood
glamour stuff and some men are not.
BLANCHE: I’m sure you belong to the second category.
STANLEY: That’s right.
BLANCHE: I cannot imagine any witch of a woman casting a spell over you.
STANLEY: That’s–right.
BLANCHE: You’re simple, straightforward and honest, a little bit on the primitive side I should
think. To interest you a woman would have to– [She pauses with an indefinite gesture.]
STANLEY [slowly]: Lay … her cards on the table.
BLANCHE [smiling]: Yes—yes–cards on the table. … Well, life is too full of evasions and
ambiguities, I think. I like an artist who paints in strong, bold colours, primary colours. I don’t like pinks and creams and I never cared for wish-washy people. That was why, when you walked in here last night, I said to myself—-‘My sister has married a man!’–Of course that was all that I could tell about you.
STANLEY [booming]: Now let’s cut the re-bop!
BLANCHE [pressing hands to her ears]: Ouuuuu!
STELLA [calling from the steps]: Stanley! You come out here and let Blanche finish dressing!
BLANCHE: I’m through dressing, honey.
STELLA: Well, you come out, then.
STANLEY: Your sister and I are having a little talk.
BLANCHE [lightly]: Honey, do me a favour. Run to the drugstore and get me a lemon-coke with
plenty of chipped ice in it!–Will you do that for me, Sweetie?

Source:

http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CFsQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.english-literature.uni-bayreuth.de%2Fen%2Fteaching%2Fdocuments%2Fcourses%2FWilliams-1.pdf&ei=rcrOU6neMajb0QXgr4DwCw&usg=AFQjCNEuhUjTX-kUL9eYgZQyVFGOoD1gEA&sig2=Yv5QUAJ_bgcI_RsyvHaRfQ&bvm=bv.71198958,d.d2k

Recording:

The Social Conflict Between Appearance and Reality

Blanche had freedom of expression, but only at the inward disdain of the others. Stanley was a very blunt, rough, and authoritative. He was not not used to Blanche’s personality, he disliked her because he felt that she threatened his authority.

Stanley (more so than the other characters) realizes that Blanche’s outward appearance and personality were merely facades which she created in order to protect herself. Stanley attacked Blanche’s weakest link: her reality. He sought to destroy Blanche by exposing her to the world.

(Stanley speaking) “Some men are took in by this Hollywood glamour stuff and some men are not” (Williams, A Streetcar…).

(Stanley speaking) “There isn’t no millionaire! And Mitch did not come back with roses… There isn’t a [explicit] thing but imagination!” (Williams, A Streetcar…).

As the play progresses, Stanley’s scheme works. Stella and Mitch slowly gravitate away from Blanche. They judge Blanche and her past at face value; they focus only on discovering her past mistakes and flaws. They see that Blanche was immoral in her past relations with men and looked no further. Their dislike and mistrust of her grows. They did not see the pain, loneliness, struggle, unhappiness, and rejection that Blanche experienced.

Stanley, Mitch, and Stella did not see Blanche as she really was because they were blinded by the differences they found with Blanche. The judged her quickly, only caring to look at one side of the evidence. They did not want to see Blanche as a good person, they did not want to feel sorry for her. Therefore, they made her look as bad as possible.

The Personal Conflict Between Reality and Fantasy

Blanche is illusive because she does not accept her circumstances; she does not accept her reality. Therefore, she lives in a fantasy. However, in order to do that she hides her true self. The audience is allowed to see that Blanche longs for true acceptance, yet never finds it. She lives in the mistakes of her past, and desires a brighter future.

“Both Blanche’s drinking and her endless hot baths suggest that she is attempting to wash away her past and emerge through a sort of watery purgatory” (Spampinato, 294).

Blanche has a flawed view of happiness…

Blanche firmly believes that only men bring happiness, and therefore, she never goes out on her own to find happiness.

“I cannot be alone! Because- as you must have noticed –I’m- I’m not very well….” (Williams, A Streetcar…).

She wants to return to the happiness she had before her husband committed suicide (which occurred as the result of Blanche accusing him for being homosexual). Therefore, Blanche puts forth much effort in attempt to attract the attention of young men; for example, she never appears in the light in order to hide her actual age.

“BLANCHE- ‘How do I look?’ STELLA- ‘Lovely, Blanche’” (Williams, A Streetcar…).

“And disgust and self-hate result in her life of destructive lust for young men. Thus her loving desire becomes brutal desire, unloving desire. It becomes that sheer lust which is a kind of real death” (Spampinato, 295).

Blanche tried to adapt her external circumstances to her inward fantasies, and that backfires on her.

“Yes, I had many intimacies with strangers. After the death of Allan, intimacies with strangers were all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with… I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting for some protection” (Williams, A Streetcar…).

Like her sister Stella, Blanche believed that the only way to gain stability and happiness was through the attention, appreciation, and adoration of men. Blanche saw her possible marriage to Mitch (who was much more of a gentleman than Stanley) as the only guarantee for her survival. Blanche did not really love Mitch, who at first believed that Blanche was a legitimate woman. However, after hearing Stanley’s accusations, he distanced himself from her.

Read more:

http://gtownson1.hubpages.com/hub/A-Streetcar-Named-Desire-by-Tennessee-Williams

Video:

Elia Kazan – A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Directed by Elia Kazan. With: Vivien Leigh (Blanche du Bois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve), Nick Dennis (Pablo), and Peg Hillias (Eunice).

Out of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, which gathered up most of the drama prizes that were awarded when it was playing on Broadway, director Elia Kazan and a simply superlative cast have fashioned a motion picture that throbs with passion and poignancy. Indeed, through the haunting performance England’s great Vivien Leigh gives in the heartbreaking role of Mr. Williams’s deteriorating Southern belle and through the mesmerizing moods Mr. Kazan has wreathed with the techniques of the screen, this picture, now showing at the Warner, becomes as fine, if not finer, than the play. Inner torments are seldom projected with such sensitivity and clarity on the screen…

…Mélees, titanic and degrading, within the filthy New Orleans slum where Blanche comes to live with her sister and her low-born brother-in-law have been staged by the prescient director with such tumultuous energy that the screen fairly throbs with angry violence, before settling sharply into spent and aching quiet. Hate-oozing personal encounters between the lost lady and the brutish man have been filmed with such shrewd manipulation of the close-up that one feels the heat of them. And with lights and the movement of his people and the conjunction of a brilliant musical score with dialogue of real poetic richness, Mr. Kazan has wrought heartache and despair.

In this dramatic illustration, which makes vivid, of course, a great deal more than a fundamental clash of natures between a woman and a man—which transmits, indeed, a comprehension of a whole society’s slow decay and the pathos of vain escapism in a crude and dynamic world—we say, in this dramatic illustration, Miss Leigh accomplishes more than a worthy repeat of the performance which Jessica Tandy gave on the stage.

Blessed with a beautifully molded and fluently expressive face, a pair of eyes that can flood with emotion, and a body that moves with spirit and style, Miss Leigh has, indeed, created a new Blanche du Bois on the screen—a woman of even greater fullness, torment, and tragedy. Although Mr. Williams’s writing never precisely makes clear the logic of her disintegration before the story begins—why anyone of her breeding would become an undisciplined tramp—Miss Leigh makes implicitly cogent every moment of the lady on the screen…

Read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF1730EF70BC4851DFBF66838A649EDE

Video:

Rosa Luxemburg, 1914

Kämpferin für den Frieden

Der Weltkrieg ist erst ein paar Wochen alt, da schreibt Rosa Luxemburg einem belgischen Freund von ihrem Entsetzen, dass die europäische Arbeiterbewegung die Katastrophe nicht verhindert hat: “Der Bankrott der Internationale ist ebenso vollständig wie er entsetzlich ist!” Viele Sozialisten haben sich jetzt an die Seite der eigenen Nation gestellt – und führen gegeneinander Krieg. Nach dessen Ende werde man mit diesen “Verrätereien” abrechnen, erwartet Luxemburg. Mehr könne sie aber nicht schreiben, “denn das Gefängnis kann mich jeden Augenblick verschlingen”. Tatsächlich wartete das offizielle Kaiserreich geradezu darauf, die erklärte Pazifistin, prominente Journalistin und rhetorisch so brillante Sozialistin möglichst mundtot zu machen.

Schon seit Jahren hat Rosa Luxemburg öffentlich vor einen Krieg gewarnt, vor allem auf den Internationalen Sozialistenkongressen. Zugleich prangert sie immer wieder den Militarismus im eigenen Lande an, erst im Frühjahr 1914 steht sie spektakulär im Zentrum eines Verleumdungsprozesses, weil sie mit drastischen Worten die Misshandlung von Soldaten in der deutschen Armee angeprangert hat. Sie schafft Öffentlichkeit – und bald werden tausende solcher Übergriffe gemeldet. Für die Militärführung ist das höchst unangenehm, und konservative Kreise sprechen von einem “Sturmlauf der Sozialdemokratie gegen unser Heer”.

och Luxemburgs Arbeit bleibt erfolglos. Es kommt zum Krieg, und ihre SPD macht mit: Als die Partei im August 1914 den Kriegskrediten zustimmt und damit dem sogenannten “Burgfrieden” zustimmt, ist sie entsetzt. Dann aber setzt sie alles daran, die Entscheidung zu kritisieren und einen sozialistischen Widerstand gegen diesen Kriegskurs zu initiieren. Im März 1915 wird sie als Kriegsgegnerin wegen angeblichen Landesverrats inhaftiert, nur 1916 genießt sie fünf Monate in Freiheit, ehe sie wieder eingesperrt wird.

Erst das Kriegsende bringt ihr am 8. November 1918 die Freiheit. Jetzt ist für sie tatsächlich der Moment gekommen, mit den “Verrätern” von 1914 abzurechnen. Sie kämpft gegen die alte SPD für eine Räterepublik, und wird mit Karl Liebknecht Vorsitzende der neu gegründeten KPD. Im Januar 1919, erst gut zwei Monate in Freiheit, wird sie im Alter von 48 Jahren von rechtsradikalen Freikorpsoffizieren ermordet. Die populäre Stimme für ein sozialistisches Deutschland ist verstummt.

Quelle:

http://www.dw.de/die-stimme-gegen-den-krieg-hinter-gittern/a-17566729

Video:

Franz Kafka, 1914

kafka

Franz Kafka – Der Prozess

Erstes Kapitel

Jemand mußte Josef K. verleumdet haben, denn ohne daß er etwas Böses getan hätte, wurde er eines Morgens verhaftet. Die Köchin der Frau Grubach, seiner Zimmervermieterin, die ihm jeden Tag gegen acht Uhr früh das Frühstück brachte, kam diesmal nicht. Das war noch niemals geschehen. K. wartete noch ein Weilchen, sah von seinem Kopfkissen aus die alte Frau, die ihm gegenüber wohnte und die ihn mit einer an ihr ganz ungewöhnlichen Neugierde beobachtete, dann aber, gleichzeitig befremdet und hungrig, läutete er. Sofort klopfte es und ein Mann, den er in dieser Wohnung noch niemals gesehen hatte, trat ein. Er war schlank und doch fest gebaut, er trug ein anliegendes schwarzes Kleid, das, ähnlich den Reiseanzügen, mit verschiedenen Falten, Taschen, Schnallen, Knöpfen und einem Gürtel versehen war und infolgedessen, ohne daß man sich darüber klar wurde, wozu es dienen sollte, besonders praktisch erschien. »Wer sind Sie?« fragte K….

Quelle:

http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/157/2

Entstehung

Der Process gehört zu denjenigen Werken Kafkas, bei denen sich ein unmittelbarer biografischer Anlass nachweisen lässt: die Auflösung der Verlobung mit Felice Bauer. Kafka hat diese Trennung vor allem deshalb als traumatisch erlebt, weil sie sich in Anwesenheit zweier Zeuginnen abspielte, die ihm im Hotel ›Askanischer Hof‹ in Berlin wie Geschworene gegenüber saßen. Dass sich hier dem Juristen Kafka die Metaphorik des Gerichts aufdrängte, ist naheliegend.

Anfang August 1914, etwa vier Wochen nach dem »Gerichtshof« in Berlin und eine Woche nach Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs, begann Kafka mit der Niederschrift des Romans. Es war nach eineinhalb Jahren Pause der zweite große kreative Schub, den Kafka trotz der kriegsbedingt widrigen Umstände bis an die Grenzen seiner physischen Kraft auszunutzen suchte. So entstanden neben dem Process weitere Texte, vor allem die Erzählung In der Strafkolonie.

Der Process ist das einzige Werk Kafkas, das nicht in linearer Abfolge entstand: Es lässt sich nachweisen, dass er zuerst das Eingangs- und das Schlusskapitel niederschrieb: Verhaftung und Hinrichtung des Protagonisten. Möglicherweise erhoffte sich Kafka davon, den Schreibprozess zu disziplinieren und die Gefahr des vorzeitigen Abbruchs zu bannen. Ende Januar 1915 riss die Konzentration jedoch ab, und Kafka gelang es trotz mehrerer Anläufe nicht mehr, den Roman zu vollenden.

Quelle:

Video:

 

First New Zealand and then Australia

suffragettesThe vote for Australian women

In many nations, the fight for the right to vote and stand in elections was often a long, desperate and violent battle.

In the United Kingdom for example, many suffragettes were imprisoned and went on self-enforced hunger strikes which resulted in force-feeding and sometimes ended in death; others set fire to buildings and heckled politicians. In one particularly notable case, Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913 (and later died as a result) in a bid to draw attention to ‘the cause’. Despite this sort of radical action, it was not for a further five years that women in the United Kingdom were given limited rights to vote and not until 1928 that women’s voting rights there were equal to men’s.

By comparison, Australian women used peaceful and legal means to make their case for political enfranchisement. They were granted equal status with men at the ballot box at a relatively early stage in the history of women’s suffrage. Australian women didn’t end the fight after they were enfranchised in 1902. Understanding the experience of other nations, in particular the United Kingdom (where women did not get equal voting rights with men until 1928), Australian women did what they could to effect change there, too.

n example of the extraordinary efforts made by Australian women to win the vote is the efforts made to gather over 40,000 signatures in support of women’s suffrage on two important petitions. Covering much of the nation, women suffrage campaigners travelled thousands of miles knocking on doors and eventually getting around 1% of the entire population of Australia to sign.

The first petition sought that ‘Women should Vote on Equal terms with Men’, and was gathered during 1891 when a few dedicated women including Marie Kirk, Vida Goldstein and Annette Bear-Crawford, literally went from door to door, eventually gathering almost 30,000 signatures from women all over Victoria and from all walks of life. It was presented to Parliament in September 1891.

Now one of Victoria’s archival treasures, the document is known as the ‘Monster Petition’ because of its size. At 260 metres long it takes three people three hours to unroll it from one spool to another. Although this petition did not have an immediate effect on the voting rights of women in Victoria, it was an early and important stepping stone towards women’s participation in politics, not just in Victoria but for all of Australia.

he next petition was collected in 1894 in South Australia. After three failed attempts to have bills passed to grant women’s suffrage, Mary Lee and a number of women’s rights groups in the state redoubled their efforts, encouraged by the recent enfranchisement of women in New Zealand (the first country in the world to do so). Their aim was to travel all over the state (which included the Northern Territory at the time) collecting as many signatures as they could in support of granting women the vote.

On August 23, 1894 when the Adult Suffrage Bill was read in the South Australian Parliament the women presented a petition which had 11,600 signatures and was 122 metres long. It was a success. On 18 December, 1894 women were granted the right to vote and stand for Parliament – this was the first legislation in the world of its kind. South Australian women were able to participate in the general elections of 1896.

In 1902, as a result of the vigorous lobbying of Australian suffragettes, the Commonwealth of Australia became the first country in the world to give women both the right to vote in federal elections and the right to be elected to federal parliament when they passed the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 (Cth). Although liberating for white women, the Act specifically excluded aboriginal women (and men), who would have to wait for many more years until they were formally given the right to vote by the Commonwealth, in 1962.

Video: