Our Blakean students today created some wonderful drama pieces that captured the life, times and contemporary significance of William Blake. There were dramatizations of some of his greatest poems (e.g “London”) with animations of overcrowded London streets; there were scenes of contemporary life emphasizing the fact that we spend too much time on chasing the dollar and nowhere near enough time on experiencing, seeing the beauties of the world around us; there was artistic modelling of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and the way its message cuts deep into our modern experience. This was supported by a wonderful on the spot creation of the visual title plate for The Marriage by our resident artist Professor McGettigan:
There were some wonderful play scripts created especially for the occasion, one in particular, by Nigel Graves, created astonishment and applause from the spell-bound audience. Our frenchman Tibby also delivered an amazing oration on the nature of Blakean consciousness.
All this was overseen by the two special visitors for the occasion: Medusa and her antagonistic, but highly dramatic – and visionary- consort who goes by the name of Perseus, Poseidon or Neptune, depending on the time of day. This pair were caught candidly on their way down to the performances:
The symbolic significance of this pair (as it pertains to Blake and his times) is not entirely easy to fathom, but it has been proposed- by none other than the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, that Medusa was the embodiment of Romantic anarchy. It was she who paved the way into the French Revolution! Her conservative antagonists -such as the gentleman with the red hair and the red triton above- were trying to do their darndest to get rid of this inflammatory force, but she – Medusa- persisted and persisted, pushing the revolution along on its metalled ways. William Blake only ever painted one image of Medusa:
Medusa’s Consort is clearly worried about the toxic possibilities of being bitten multiple times by those fierce snakes proliferating from the top of Medusa’s skull. He certainly means to keep those snakes in check…
Here is Medusa and her Consort in Happier Days: