European theatre festival at Pilsen, 2015

September, 2015: The curators at this year’s International Theatre Festival in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic, deny they intended to identify trends in the region or to present a series of plays contributing to a common theme. So it must be the spirit of the times—the zeitgeist, we might say—that created the sense of moral purpose, existential significance and joyous life-force that permeated this tumultuous week. Continue reading

Sharing a secret with Rostropovich

February 12, 1975: I’m sitting waiting in the back of Mstislav Rostropovich’s limo when he arrives in town for his recital this week, and as we drive to his downtown hotel he tells me he has decided he will go into exile rather than return to the Soviet Union when his current two-year international travel permit expires next year. I’m the first journalist he has spoken with this frankly. I have a world exclusive. Continue reading

Tea and cakes with Martha Graham

November 18, 1974:

You hesitate to ask Martha Graham how old she is, but it’s 82 or 83, and she didn’t stop dancing until a couple of years ago—and then only reluctantly, forced to by the pressures of health and age.We drink tea and eat chocolate cakes. She is a marvellous person to be with, immensely alive, consumed by a sense of wonder. She fills the room with enthusiasm. “It is still unbelievable to me that I can’t dance,” she says. “I believe, well, I will dance tomorrow. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of a dream about dancing.” Continue reading