Andy Kesson

ABL #41,  29 May, 2020

In our third film on wrestling, the wrestler, writer and comedian RJ City tells Andy Kesson about storytelling with the body, playing against genre conventions and wrestling as a kind of exploration of bodily intimacy and care. Basil Fawlty, Roland Barthes and Bertolt Brecht also feature.

ABL #25,  27 April, 2020

The O.J.M.O. tells us about wrestling, especially acrobatics, grappling and selling. We hear about what it’s like to be in the ring, and the way in which audiences, promotions and the match’s contexts change the ways wrestlers perform.

ABL #23,  24 April, 2020

Charlie Evans discusses his wrestling character Josef Kafka, masculinity, performance and combat.

ABL #5,  27 March, 2020

Brandi Adams tells us about the history of reading and the history of the book, literature, race and the canon. She asks us to think about what gets pushed to the margins of the page, the margins of literary history and the margins of conversation about literature.

ABL #57,  6 July, 2020

Last month, archaeologist Stephen White of University College London announced the discovery of the Red Lion site, an often-forgotten Elizabethan playhouse that is the earliest we know of. Theatre historian Holger Syme discusses the implications of this discovery, especially the way that archaeological discoveries of the past thirty-five years seem to be cumulatively disproving the idea of the thrust stage.

For more on the earliest years of the London playhouses, see Holger’s theatre history posts on his website, http://www.dispositio.net, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor, BeforeShakespeare.com.

Like so many early modern performances, this film guest stars his very excited dog…

ABL #56,  3 July, 2020

John Heywood played, wrote and worked for Henry Tudor and each of his three legitimate children. Greg Walker has written the first full literary biography of Heywood, and shows us how he engaged directly with the politics of his period. We also hear about Heywood’s later celebrity reputation and the importance of using performance to explore early Tudor plays.

ABL #47,  16 June, 2020

Harry Newman tells us about the idea of fictional character as a kind of ‘virtual human’ or ‘models of humanity’. We hear about spacious fictional worlds on TV and in the early modern playhouse, and Harry asks if the early modern period had the concepts of the paywall and reboot, and considers literature and performance as an ‘ongoing experiment in world-building’.

ABL #46,  15 June, 2020

Ambereen Dadabhoy tells us about the early modern Mediterranean, the English playhouse and the history of race. We hear about the lack of racial literacy in early modern studies, the way ‘a white way of knowing’ has dominated scholarship, and how to ‘follow the lead of those who have championed racial literacy’.

ABL #45,  11 June, 2020

Director Kimberley Sykes describes her work in the rehearsal room as focused on generosity, conversation and ‘absolute presence’, and tells us about her work for the Royal Shakespeare Company on Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Marlowe and Nashe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. She emphasises collective authorship, conversation and collaboration in the rehearsal room, and explores the idea of real and psychological space in her work. She also tells us about her current list of lockdown reading.

ABL #30,  1 May, 2020

Following the cancellation of their 2020 production of Ben Jonson’s The Silent Woman due to COVID-19, Edward’s Boys perform extracts from the play and reflect on their experiences of rehearsing and (almost) performing it.

  • Scripted and presented by Harry McCarthy
  • Recorded by Eddie
  • Edited by Peter Knowles
  • Edward’s Boys: Callum; Enrique; Ewan; Felix; Jamie M; Joe M; Johan; Myles; Nilay; Rhys; Ricky; Ritvick; Seb; Tom H; Tom L; Will; Yiannis.
  • Directed and produced by Perry Mills

Music Credits: “Shanty Shanty”, “Without Name”, “Synthwave”, “Elipsis” and “Exess-1” by Electronic Senses, licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

ABL #3,  24 March, 2020

In the early days of lockdown, Andy Kesson goes out and thinks about literature and what gets in and what gets out. He asks about the term ‘literature’ itself, its history and the way it is structured around inclusion and exclusion.

ABL #1,  23 March, 2020

Andy Kesson kicks off A Bit Lit with an invitation to conversation, ideas and fun, offering ‘a good place to put your brain for a few minutes’ during troubled times. He also suggests that the events of spring 2020 may be more normal than we thinks, and points out coping mechanisms available in the past.