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“V’ by Tony Harrison, Performed by Sean McLevy
21st March 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm£5
And there’s HARRISON on some Leeds building sites
I’ve taken in fun as blazoning my name,
which I’ve also seen on books, in Broadway lights,
so why can’t skins with spraycans do the same?
“one of the most powerful, profound and haunting long poems of modern times … a meticulously controlled yell of rage and hope combined, a poisoned dart aimed with deadly precision at the waste of human potential.” Bernard levin
The Observer said it was “the most sexually explicit language ever heard on television”.
If ever there was a need for a poem of this magnitude and relevance to the times we are living in . V is that commentary.
The beauty of the arts is they shine a light in our very souls .our past our future our present . They present and try to make sense of a calling within our very being for truth and reason . The rest of us fumble along not knowing how are why . Some of us try to make sense . Poetry that is good . is a gift that burns into our being . Asks us questions . Holds up a mirror . To challenge to motivate .to settle us . To disrupt .
Tony Harrison’s V does just that. It begins a conversation . With himself to try and understand . The past the future . The light the dark . (Half versus half . The enemies within. The heart that can’t be whole till they unite . )
As an actor . One is constantly searching for a role that one connects with, a place a time a message that reverberates within you . I came across this poem extremely late to the party . But once read , I knew I had to take this poem to as many people as possible . It describes me my challenge . It reveals one mans journey through turbulent times yet describes a change in world order . life experience . It feels like I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. for all of my career .
It asks the question . What is poetry for ? What is art for ?
Set at the graveside of his mam and dad . He finds the graves full of graffiti( crude four letter words ) he begins to dissemble the situation to try to understand why ? Is it any different from what he does as a poet .
Originally born in Yorkshire . Sheffield . Sean lived through the miners strike as well as the closure of the steel industry . Being made redundant from the latter . Became an actor in 1983 . Trained at the central School of speech and drama . And went on to play many parts in theatres up and down the country . Sean is also a theatre director as well as a musician . And proud father of three .
Tony Harrison (born 30 April 1937) is an English poet, translator and playwright. He was born in Leeds and he received his education in Classics from Leeds Grammar School and Leeds University. He is one of Britain’s foremost verse writers and many of his works have been performed at the Royal National Theatre. He is noted for controversial works such as the poem “V”, as well as his versions of dramatic works: from ancient Greek such as the tragedies Oresteia and Lysistrata.
A 45 minute performance which contains very strong adult language
DC1 Gallery & Cafe has full disabled access