Tag Archives | Play

Why we should expect great things from David Bowie’s new musical play

Denis Flannery, University of Leeds

I’m not sure many saw David Bowie’s latest creative project coming. It was recently announced that he is involved as a writer (along with Irish playwright Enda Walsh) and composer in a new musical play, Lazarus, based on the film The Man Who Fell to Earth in which he starred in 1976.

A musical play, which is not what you expect after one of his characteristic periods out of the limelight. But if you look more carefully, such an involvement doesn’t seem strange at all – and we should expect great things.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is in turn based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis. Its hero, Thomas Jerome Newton, is a humanoid alien who comes to earth to obtain water for his dying planet. He starts a high-tech company to earn the billions that can enable his home world’s salvation.… Read the rest

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Free Range Play: Do Fire, Blood, and Snakes Make For a Stronger, Healthier Child?



“Discarded junk? Fire? Water? Tetanus! Skin grafts! Drowning!” That’s probably how many American parents would respond to the idea of their child visiting “The Land,” a Welsh “Adventure Playground” where a kid can really be a kid. Sorry, Chuck E. Cheese. As an aside, what kind of restaurant has a rat as a mascot? It’s like something from The Simpsons. (Incidentally, if you read the news, your kid is probably safer running around at The Land than the Chuck E. Cheese. I’m not sure when that place turned into Fight Club, but…)

Anyway, I’m not a parent, but I was certainly a kid at one time, and the activities children pursue at The Land sounds identical to the same things we used to do in the woods near my childhood home. The only difference being that these children have adults nearby, whereas we set fires, beat each other up with stick “swords” and dirt clods playing “ninja”,  built forts, caught snakes and turtles, and splashed around in ditches and small ponds without an adult in sight.… Read the rest

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Bringing Cosmic Trigger to the Stage


Pic: Daisy Eris Campbell (C)

Thanks to a hot tipper on Facebook (friend me) for pointing me in the direction of this. Apparently the daughter of the guy who did the Illuminatus play back in the day is now setting her sites on an adaptation of Cosmic Trigger. Via the Liverpool Confidential:

“Campbell’s daughter does not have to be quite so forceful this Monday afternoon to command all eyes and ears. With all the charisma of her father – not to mention the striking features of her mother (the actress Prunella Gee) – that’s not a bad hand of DNA cards.

Daisy is in Liverpool on a recce for a performance lecture she is co-hosting next month with science fiction author John Higgs. Higgs is a man who also writes with authority about Timothy Leary but who is recently best known for a critically acclaimed book on the KLF’s money-burning adventures.… Read the rest

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The Decline In Children’s Freedom And Rise In Mental Disorders

children_playVia Aeon Magazine, psychologist and researcher Peter Gray writes that children’s free time to play is an essential form of learning which is  now being denied them:

For more than 50 years now, we in the United States have been gradually reducing children’s opportunities to play. By about 1900, the need for child labour had declined, so children had a good deal of free time. But then, beginning around 1960, adults began chipping away at that freedom by increasing the time that children had to spend at schoolwork and by reducing children’s freedom to play on their own, even when they were out of school and not doing homework. Parents’ fears led them, ever more, to forbid children from going out to play with other kids unsupervised.

Over the same decades that children’s play has been declining, childhood mental disorders have been increasing. It’s not just that we’re seeing disorders that we overlooked before.

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Virtual Bonding With Your Pets

It seems that new models of play are constantly emerging. Perhaps adaptable for babies as well, iPet Companion allows the user to remotely interact with and amuse household animals by manipulating toys in distant locations:

iPet Companion employs cutting-edge technology, robotics and digital connectivity that allows you to play with your pets by controlling unique robotic toys located in your home with a few clicks of your mouse.

A camera that captures all the fun lets you watch no-lag video of the cats as they chase, jump, pounce and grab at the robotic toys that are wired to respond instantaneously to your direction. There is even a way to interact with friends through a chat box making this a truly unique and engaging experience.

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The Most Boring Culture On Earth

Kottke on the indigenous Baining people of Papua New Guinea, who when awake scarcely do anything but work, out of the belief that unstructured fun is a waste of time. One wonders if we are drifting in their direction:

The Baining eschew everything that they see as “natural” and value activities and products that come from “work,” which they view as the opposite of play. Work, to them, is effort expended to overcome or resist the natural. To behave naturally is to them tantamount to behaving as an animal. The Baining say, “We are human because we work.” The tasks that make them human, in their view, are those of turning natural products (plants, animals, and babies) into human products (crops, livestock, and civilized human beings).

They do not allow infants to crawl and explore on their own. When one tries to do so an adult picks it up and restrains it.

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Creators of South Park Create Mormon Musical

Trey Parker (left) & Matt Stone (right) at The Amazing Meeting in 2007

Trey Parker (left) & Matt Stone (right) at The Amazing Meeting in 2007. Photo: enseptico

Trey Parker and Matt Stone first created Cannibal! The Musical together, followed by the cult film Orgasmo. Now the duo is taking the religious approach. Working with Robert Lopez (one of the creators of Avenue Q), their new play, The Book of Mormon, is to be performed on Broadway by next March. The New York Post reports:

A lot of very smart theater people — Stephen Sondheim among them — think the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is one of the best musicals of the past 15 years.

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone demonstrated a flair for musical theater, lovingly sending up its conventions and traditions while knocking out a batch of witty, catchy tunes that echo the beloved scores of the Golden Age of Broadway.

It was inevitable that these guys would write a stage musical one day.

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Online Games Turn Work Into Play

A Stanford professor advocates World of Warcraft or Second Life in the workplace to hone skills like teamwork, leadership, and data analysis - and even suggests putting online gaming experiences into your resume! "There's just so much that gets done [in a virtual world] that's just right on target with what happens in real business." And meanwhile, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt now claims that multiplayer gaming also provides good career training, especially for technology careers. "Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game. If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now... It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.” Maybe this article asks the ultimate question. "Is the corporate world beyond Google and IBM ready for legions of dwarves, gnomes, night elves, orcs, and trolls competing for leadership roles...?"
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