REVIEW – The Unsilent Library: Adventures in New Who

An exciting batch of ten essays published by the Science Fiction Foundation explore how a 50-year-old show can be a contemporary hit.

Doctor Who is a hugely popular program that unlike the TARDIS is as big on the outside as it is on the inside. With over 50 years of cultural significance, thirteen canonical iterations of its titular character, along with a great many more iconic companions, gadgets and monsters, the show has barreled along through time and space spurred on by its own evolution. Unfortunately, the show disappeared from the airwaves in 1989, before finally being resurrected on 26 March 2005. This was the day “Rose” would be transmitted on BBC One, the first full episode of Doctor Who in over 15 years and one which would launch the program into unprecedented success with audiences both old and new.

Head writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies brought the program back with renewed contemporary relevance in social, political, linguistic and technological terms. With the show regenerating right alongside the real world, a batch of essays from 2010 titled The Unsilent Library: Essays on the Russell T. Davies Era of the new Doctor Who mindfully explores the updated aspects of the 2005 revival in intricate detail. Edited by Simon Bradshaw, Graham Sleight, and Tony Keen, the collection of essays unpacks how to construct a timeless universe that is never wholly apart from planet Earth.

Image result for The Unsilent Library: Essays on the Russell T. Davies Era of the new Doctor Who

The first chapter to note is Graham Sleight’s ‘The Big Picture Show: Russell T. Davies’s writing for Doctor Who’, which analyses the base point of the programs 2005 resurrection. Sleight breaks down Davies’ writing of the series to four key elements: depth, pace, scale and Davies’ aptitude for science fiction. According to Sleight, all four of these elements function together immediately in 2005’s ‘Rose’ for a defining mislead: a shot of the vastness of space, only for the view to be turned to Earth and then centred on the Tylers’ morose council flat. Using this as a jumping off point, Sleight digs for the real world within the fictional world, delivering nuanced analysis that somehow explains the frequently impossible universe of new Who. Every fiction is pin pointed to something real. There is also a stellar comparison between the writing of Davies and current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, a comparison that could cause a whole new Time War between fans of the program.

Skipping ahead, the brilliant third chapter in the collection comes from Una McCormack, titled ‘He’s Not the Messiah: undermining political and religious authority in New Doctor Who‘. McCormack’s central thesis is that, “Russell T. Davies […] demonstrates deep skepticism towards Utopian projects aimed at human perfectibility, whether eternal life […] or citizenship of the (purportedly) rationally governed state”. The pitch is a solid foundation to a thought-provoking essay, exploring the natural limitations of the human race and its constructs. After all, The Doctor is often found fighting administration and bids for immortality, such as in 2007’s ‘Gridlock’ and  ‘The Lazarus Experiment’. The list of episodes goes on and on: the Doctor appears and discovers an ideology or construct that opposes his values, and then swiftly dismantles it. It is a recurring motif of Doctor Who that is applicable to today’s society, what with the orange Who-like monster now leading America. McCormack also applies a Foucauldian reading to Davies’ Doctor Who, charting an analytical course that is fascinating to read and adds a whole new dimension to the program. Consequently, Chapter 3 offers some really vivid ideas to explore that live and breathe on their own and adamantly apply to today’s world.

Catherine Coker’s chapter 6 titled ‘Does The Doctor Dance? Heterosexuality, Omnisexuality, and Spontaneous Generation in the Whoniverse’ is a vital addition to the collection. Coker contends that 2005’s ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’ are together, the first real doses of omnisexuality within the Whoniverse. Coker contends that from here “Davies presents a true sexual spectrum through its characters both major and minor”, a thesis that puts Doctor Who in a unique position. The essay does well to highlight this significant fact, in that science fiction usually handles sexuality as a brief obstacle instead of an ever-present norm, an “awkward ‘issue of the week'” as opposed to a normality of society. As Coker brilliantly notes in this chapter, Whovians have a lot to be proud of in their show, by the fact that Davies rejects this model and “instead chooses to address the group as part of the regular viewership of the show by allowing the LGBT population in his universe to exist and thrive”. Following this important set up are considerations of John Barrowman’s Captain Jack being an ‘Omnisexual Superhero’ as well as an intricate exploration of The Doctor’s lack of sexuality. The Doctor and Rose shippers have a lot of good material to gauge on here…

 

Image result for creative doctor who posters

Ultimately, the TARDIS is always connected to earth, and you won’t watch Doctor Who the same way again after reading this collection explaining why. The full contents of the riveting collection, as well as how to purchase, are listed below:

The SF Foundation is now offering The Unsilent Library at the discount rate of £1 (plus p&p). Purchasers should contact sjbradshaw@mac.com to order.

Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon: Unpacking Shakespeare

By George Moss

@MossRamblings95

As part of their recent visit to York St John, RSC actors Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon led multiple workshops on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 

Hamlet is a tale of madness, love, revenge, death, incestuousness and secrecy. When the king unexpectedly dies, his son the Prince of Denmark finds his destiny drastically altered and his rightful throne occupied by his uncle, Claudius. His father’s spirit returns and reveals his own murder, stoking a fire for revenge in his son that will thrust Hamlet down a twisted path of misery and deception.

After arranging us into a relaxed semi-circle, Nixon began the workshop by breaking down its structure: “We thought it might be useful with this session to maybe share a little bit about our experience of being in Hamlet for a long period of time with the RSC. I played Ophelia and Al played Horatio […] and then maybe we would just do half an hour of looking at the nunnery scene, in a very condensed way, and just go through how we might play with the text in a rehearsal room, which will be a little bit of audience participation. Don’t worry, we’ll get you all up on stage! Does that sound okay?” Heads shot down here with nervous chuckling by all, anxious fidgeting erupting across the room. Waldmann piled in on the gag, quipping: “Too late now, get up lock the door!” The jokes were soothing, and the room was now set to discuss the play with a comfortable determination.

— Shakespeare @YSJ (@ShakespeareYSJ) 24 November 2016

As promised, the duo started by reflecting on their shared relationship with Hamlet. Nixon and Waldmann performed Hamlet with the RSC in 2013, under director David Farr. Nixon offered a detailed description of the setting, along with her own approach, explaining the play was “set in a fencing school. In a very posh house or a school? It was quite difficult to determine where this room was, but it was all set in this one room. I felt quite lucky playing Ophelia in this production, because a lot of actresses want to play her but she is such a difficult part because there are so many missing scenes. Like one minute you see her cut up about Hamlet, and the next minute she’s gone mad, and that’s a massive leap for an actress.” However, no matter where Nixon leaped, she always reached the other side. Ophelia has often been portrayed as something of a slippery snake, and the technicalities of grasping the character seem equally as challenging. It was after all the actor’s responsibility to give the audience something comprehensible to latch onto in the whirlwind madness. This was achieved, according to Nixon, by really interrogating the question, “what does madness mean to us? What does madness mean to us at the time?” Waldmann added firmly that “the most interesting thing in [Hamlet] was Pippa’s version of Ophelia. In real life, people that are mad don’t necessarily think they’re mad. That’s what makes them scary. They think they’re right, and that everyone else is wrong. It’s the certainty thing, Hamlet can never be sure that [his father] is a ghost, and that’s what makes him sane […] What made Pippa’s version of Ophelia really moving is because everyone else was mad because they didn’t understand ‘the owl was a bakers daughter’, but there was a certainty in that I’m going to get married.” This is an unsettling, complicated role reversal. Madness is treated as a power, as a tool that can evolve and conquer. It is a startling prospect, the gaps in Ophelia’s appearances and psychology partially filled in by infesting and tainting the thought processes of others.

 

Both Nixon and Waldmann were keen to get to the centre of the characters’ mentalities during the workshop. They provided a clear way of unpacking the character’s psychology, by analyzing the “nunnery” scene. In the play, this scene comes shortly after the famous ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy. After plucking up our courage to engage with two esteemed acting veterans, we slowly gained traction in creating a sizable list of potential character actions. Nixon elaborated that this process was called: “actioning […] and you would do this on each line or each thought, but we thought we would do it just for the overall peice right now. An action is like a verb, a doing word, of something that I would be doing to Al as Ophelia, as Ophelia what would I be doing to Hamlet. Maybe I would be imploring, or maybe I would be seducing, or humiliating. So we thought maybe we could bounce some ideas of each other.” There is a huge range of options and avenues to explore here, and it is easy to see how Shakespeare becomes so adaptable when this exercise is engaged with properly. Many of the actions we interpreted in the scene sometimes contradicted with another, but such contradictions can in turn spark further variations of Hamlet. Waldmann confirmed this, describing how “we’re using the same words, but depending on what action you play, it can completely change the way those words come alive. When you see boring Shakespeare, you just see a lot of people standing on stage trying to make it sound nice. And when you see good acting, or good Shakespeare – I’m talking to you now because we want to excite you and educate you and inspire you, I’m not just talking for the sake of it. I want my words to change you in some way. And the same way in any scene in any play, people and the characters are talking to each other because they’re saying ‘I need you to understand this about me. I was hungover too, I was drunk last night as well.'”

Following that poetic description of a dialogue, it was time to get stuck in! As a group, we brainstormed many variations of Hamlet and Ophelia’s actions during the infamous nunnery scene. Waldmann and Nixon patiently explored a few different variations, explaining that “what Ophelia is feeling is less important than what she is trying to do. Often in life we cover up what we’re really feeling to try and win the argument.” From that moment, our list of actions and reactions grew exponentially. For Hamlet to Ophelia: to humiliate, seduce, reject, punish, to implore. From Ophelia’s actions to Hamlet: to manipulate, provoke, irritate, degrade and to mock. Nixon then explained the interconnections of each action and how they feed into one another: “You guys will choose one now for both of us to play, and it might be like, mine might be to manipulate, but within manipulation I might have a moment of seducing or blocking. There are different actions within that main action.” In a special one-time treat for the group, or what Waldmann described as their catchy “world premiere of Hamlet provoking Ophelia humiliating”, Nixon and Waldmann began to act out our choices. Waldmann was to be Ophelia and Nixon to assume the role of Hamlet for the first round. However, what followed was near indescribable. They weaved their way through the crowd, poked and prodded each other, grappled on tables, banged on keyboards and erupted with hysterical laughter as they performed the scene, using their physicality to expand the meaning of the language. Their humour was natural and their acting compelling, giving a flavour of how Shakespeare’s text can evolve not only through history, but in the present, precise moment.

Thanks in no small part to Shakespeare: Perspectives tutors Julie Raby and Saffron Walking, Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon generously put in time and effort to bolster York St John’s understanding of Shakespeare. This was no ‘tick the box’, run of the mill drop in – they spent time with York St John because they care about the material and they care about how it is comprehended. That passion and level of commitment is wonderfully infectious, enriching York St John’s enjoyment of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s words have stayed with many throughout their lifetime. In the case of Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon, theirs will also stay with us long throughout our own.

Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon: Theatre For All!

By George Moss

@MossRamblings95

Hot on the heels from multiple RSC visitors, two of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s most decorated actors Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon paid a valuable visit at York St John to unpack the evolution of Shakespeare’s King John and the true meaning of theatre.

Waldmann and Nixon met during the 2012 RSC production of King John at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Swan Theatre, directed by the magnificent Maria Aberg. The RSC’s plug for the play is that: “King John explores inheritance and illegitimacy and the subsequent political deals and struggle for power. It is one of Shakespeare’s least performed plays.” In retrieving the play from this obscurity, Waldmann starred as King John whilst Nixon performed as The Bastard, the two central characters.

 

  Waldmann, Nixon and the rest of the company created their production from an enthusiastic foundation. Nixon found rehearsals compelling from the start, stating that the “rehearsal room was one of the most creative and brave spaces that I’ve certainly ever been involved in. That play [King John] was a big risk.” Risks and challenges are vital terms frequently found in an actor’s vocabulary, and it is the sense of risk that keeps a play feeling rejuvenated and fresh. After all, if Shakespeare himself was ‘creative’ and ‘brave’ in the writing of his work, then surely the best way to honour this is by following suit. Rather than striving to re-create past performances or simply adding another familiar iteration, the company rightly wanted to add another link in a four hundred year-old chain. As King John is rarely performed, the cast’s previous exposure to the text was limited. Waldmann himself readily confessed that, “I didn’t really get the play [King John], it’s one of his [Shakespeare’s] least familiar plays […] it didn’t really make any sense to me”, a shaky start for a lead actor. Nixon similarly added that, “I didn’t know anything about King John. I’d never seen it, never read it.” This is what fueled the creativity of the aforementioned creative rehearsals, putting a face on the unknown. The ingenuity of the company allowed the production to transform from a place of skepticism and mild dissatisfaction to a natural evolution of King John, a fresh creation. Nixon spoke of director Maria Aberg’s own perspective: “she found it quite impenetrable I think, and for her, making The Bastard a female character and having this particular relationship with King John, and conflating Hubert with The Bastard, sort of made sense for her.” This genius change in the character propelled the production into uncharted territory. Distancing their production from preconceived parameters, their King John began to breathe a life of its own. This is something that Waldmann reaffirmed in a moment of realisation: “All of a sudden the play came to life to me, and made sense, and it all felt that it centered around this intense, destructive complex relationship between King John and The Bastard. Whereas in the original play you get to see these two people at the beginning and at the end, and in the middle their relationship disappears. So suddenly the play made sense to me.” Not only did they unearth a sense of a more linear narrative, but the play was rooted deeper in a vividly intelligible exploration of relationships. Both Waldmann and Nixon still rank this piece and their efforts as ones they are extremely proud of, and with very good reason.    


Not only were the gender paradigms shifted, but the duo’s approach to Shakespeare’s language was also insightful. Where does language end and the character begin? Do they intersect? Is language always reliable? These are questions which layer any production with depth and complexity. Waldmann explained his observation that: “people get obsessed by the words, but often we say the opposite of what we feel […] the language betrays what we’re really feeling […] you’ve got this template, and it’s about finding a way of bringing those words to life.” Though Shakespeare’s mastery of language is often heralded, it would be fair to say that his language has become an entity of its own. As Shakespeare continues to be adapted, Shakespeare’s words are difficult to comprehend to the uninitiated, and deeper meanings are difficult to discover. To combat this, language must not be a confinement to character, but a sandbox to play in. Pippa Nixon spoke about this in great length, stating, “to have the modern meet the classical is great, because I always found there was a slight veil between speaking ‘it’ and feeling ‘it’ and suddenly with The Bastard, because we did so much detailed work about who these people are, the character starts coming alive so much that the text is just a way to access that character […] And that got brought into As You Like It completely, then Ophelia in Hamlet and then it’s gone on to Ariel in The Tempest. It feels like that work had unlocked something, it unlocked this reverence to Shakespeare’s texts and it’s incredibly elastic, you can stretch it and pull it and throw it across the room.” Shakespeare is often thought to be on an untouchable pedestal; that the only way to understand him is through an enormous supply of ‘highbrow’ intellect. But this is not the case at all: you simply need to be in touch with your humanity.

“people miss the excitement and the danger of the stories”

 

Shakespeare’s plays are in large part studies on the human condition. Do academic dissections eclipse all the fun? Waldmann seemed to think so to an extent, stating that “people miss the excitement and the danger of the stories” when the mechanics of a text override the thematic essence. Expectations invade the sense of wonder, of spontaneity and creativity that the theatre strives to fuel. Waldmann notes that, when it comes to accessibility, companies are “trying, but part of it is to do with the performance style, where ‘I don’t really understand what you’re saying, and you’re not a human being, so I don’t really care – I’d rather go and watch something modern, a telly programme.'” It seems from here there is only one way to go, and that is to update the tactics of putting on a show. Shakespeare interrogated the sociopolitical climate of his own era, and it is now time to adapt his work to fit within our own understanding of our world. Nixon shared this sentiment, that some Shakespeare productions today are: “not feeling like it’s evolving and going to more exciting spaces and places”, and this presents a ceiling that can only be shattered by the creative industry. After all, as Waldmann concurred, the theatre is not a museum, but an arena of innovation.

Shakespeare is for all, not only to be studied rigorously by select few, but also to serve its most basic, original purpose: to entertain everybody. Waldmann and Nixon carry this torch high and proud, and it pays off in their audience feedback, according to Waldmann. After a Saturday Matinee performance, Waldmann was beckoned over by a heavily tattooed man from Salford. “I was like oh god, this is it, I am gonna get beaten up before tonight’s show. He said he was from Salford and got dragged down [to the play] by his in-laws and had never been to the theatre before. He said, ‘I didn’t really understand what you’re saying all the time, but I fucking loved that’. And it meant more than any peers saying that.”

Through the fundamental decency of Alex Waldmann and Pippa Nixon, the inherent creativity and humanity of the theatre will seldom be forgotten. Shakespeare would surely  approve.

 

 

Melly Still – From YSJ to the RSC

By George Alexander Moss
@MossRamblings95

In a riveting discussion mediated by York St. John Senior Lecturer in Drama David Richmond, famed artist Melly Still discussed topics from her time at York St John, to her directorial efforts in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, currently playing at the Barbican Theatre, London.

Melly Still is a director, choreographer and designer. She has been nominated for four Olivier awards and six Tony awards, including best director for both. In a career going from strength to strength, Still has developed productions with The National Theatre, Blind Wall Festival Opera and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her work has been recognized on an international scale, influencing theatrical circles in Europe, America, and Asia. Needless to say, Still ranks among York St John’s top alumna.

Still’s rationale for choosing to study at York St John University in the 1980s was that, “at the time, it was the only place in the UK that I could find that did theatre, fine art and dance – all three.” Retrospectively, this education route seems like an exhausting shocker. After all, it is not uncommon to find single honours undergraduates in the library engaging in various activities; working, reading, sleeping, crying. It would certainly be remarkable if Still aced three subjects at once, but as is true for many undergraduates, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

Still highlighted many obstacles that came her way during her time at University. She openly admitted that, “I think I displayed lack of confidence by just not giving a damn at the time”, which for the theatrical arts obviously will not fly. In a subject that relies so heavily upon inspiration and creativity, a stunted student will find it difficult to reap the rewards of study and practice. Coupled with a lack of confidence is untapped potential, and that is something Still evidently had much of. Eventually this potential was unleashed, and Still “started to click with some of the work we were doing […] I really loved it at after that, second, third and fourth years. I don’t think I missed anything. Plus I was making work and putting on shows at every opportunity that wasn’t part of the curricular [activities].” It is often said that University is a time to broaden ones prospects, to participate in as much as possible whilst also, creating our own opportunities. Between the endless hours of Netflix and noise, a sense of maturity is eventually unearthed in the first year, and propels each and every student into the productive years that follow. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves at 3am whilst devouring another episode of Luke Cage.

Nevertheless, Still began harnessing her talent through the three headed beast of a course. She described it as “really fascinating work – I remember a lot of the tutors. There was this kind of, strangely enough at the time, everything was very, very compartmentalized. At the time, theatre practice was theatre practice, art was art, and there was never a between, they would never meet ever. There was a lack of cooperation between departments at the time. Which seemed nuts to a lot of the students.” Of course, this has been clearly rectified now, with York St John University breathing as a whole by sharing trips, societies and a great many lectures. However, where the artist is confined it could only ever lead to rebellion. Still reflects that it: “Seemed mad we weren’t being able to do mad things on rooftops, and things like that. It was quite conservative, but it helped, because it meant we could sort of push against it. It’s quite easy to shock people here, which some how I found quite incentivising at the time.” Creativity is at its most vibrant when demolishing boundaries and offering new perspectives on a great many things, changing thoughts and feelings for the better. Of course, clambering onto somebody’s roof is also a stellar method of inciting change: hopefully we can expect someone to be on the roof of The White House one day soon.

Still’s continuing hard work eventually led her to where she is today, directing rarely performed Shakespearean juggernaut Cymbeline. Whilst she contemplates that “the tutors encouraged us to be quite experimental at the time”, she later stated that her artistic nuance came: “very late in my career, finding my voice. But I certainly felt I really want to work in a narratively driven, choreographic work”. In the case of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Cymbeline, that voice is on a speaker phone. The play’s pitch is hauntingly that “Britain is in crisis. Alienated, insular and on the brink of disaster. Can it be saved?” Reflecting a vast array of contemporary catastrophes (looking at you brexit), the play has arrived at a time in Earth’s history that is more poignant than ever. This is the crux of what Still is trying to communicate, stating that Cymbeline is “completely about isolationism. England was still struggling with its identity, do we become part of a bigger statehood? Lets reach out to our neighbours. They’re not my words, they’re Shakespeare’s. You can’t help but reach out to those parallels.” It is disheartening to consider whether Britain has come a long enough way in 400 years. Now of course, it is not merely England struggling with a contested identity; America, Germany and a great many other places are facing this question too. It is on this that makes Cymbeline truly vital and Shakespeare a timeless writer.

Ultimately, whether shaking things up at York St John or on a global stage, it is unquestionable that Melly Still makes our world immeasurably bigger.

 

Graham Rawle – Unconventional Appearences

By George Alexander Moss
@MossRamblings95

Excitement once again swept through York St John University, as famed author, artist, designer and illustrator Graham Rawle stopped by to deliver an enthralling lecture.

Rawle opened up the talk by confessing that his “background is as an illustrator and designer” and that he “doesn’t have a literary background.” This does not at all infringe on his capability as a writer, however. He has developed regular series for major broadsheets: The Observer, The Times and The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. For The Guardian he concocted the famed ‘Lost Consonants’, collections of panel artistry that depict comedic outcomes when a sentence loses a crucial consonant. Beyond this, Rawle has written several well received novels, such as The Card, Lying Doggo, The Wonder Book of Fun and the core text of his talk: Woman’s World. In addition to all of this, he is a tutor for the University of Brighton’s MA in Arts and Design by Independent Project, and seems to be admirably living several lives simultaneously.

Grahamrawle - collage artwork
 Previously published in The Guardian, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Rawle’s talk focused first on story structure. He explained that a story can be found anywhere so long as it accords with specific sets of rules, giving varied examples such as, “comedians, how they construct a joke, how they can construct a whole act around a joke or series of jokes. I might be looking at exhibition design, and how you navigate a crowd through a space. How to make that feel like a journey, feel like a story. Or the beginning and middle and end of a magic act […]

For Rawle, behind every solid story is strong structure. His claim is that all of these examples, “have a strong three act structure to them […] This patterned three act structure is detectable in lots of areas”.  The basic sequence of the Three Act Structure (exposition, climax, and resolution) determines “How people orchestrate things like a firework display […] It’s the sequence in the way you put these things that deliver the most effective show you can”.

 

“I write fiction, but the books I write have a visual element to them that hopes to carry an additional narrative layer”

 

Rawle suggested that he approached storytelling as someone with a design background, explaining that designers study the fundamentals of something, respecting existing approaches, and then afterward craft something new. This mindset can be seen in his 2005 novel Woman’s World, in which Rawle to put his own spin on the literary. Spelling out his aims in writing such novels he stated, “I write fiction, but the books I write have a visual element to them that hopes to carry an additional narrative layer”. In keeping with the theme of ‘stories to be found everywhere’, Rawle crafted the critically acclaimed Woman’s World (2005), as a bombastic collage novel. Constructed solely by reassembling text snippets from 1960’s women magazines, the novel has been appropriately described by The Times as, “a work of genius […] the most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade”.

The unconventional collage construction of Woman’s World complements the journey of its protagonist, cross-dressing man Norma Fontaine. The women’s magazines of the 1960’s translated the ‘woman’s world’ to him, informing Norma how he can best become a woman. Using the collage, Rawle aimed to convey a sense of desperation: “The desperation was about becoming this ‘ideal woman’ […] the idea of a cross-dressing man in 1962, trying to be a woman, to learn how to be a woman, with only his mother who he can’t ask and not being able to go out anywhere, you look back at the magazines through that viewpoint, and it tells you everything you need to do”. The magazines offered a unique window into gender performance, and Woman’s World achieves part of that effect not just through narrative, but through the collage. Powerful and moving, it is a text that transcends time.

The innovation doesn’t stop in his books either. Rawle is taking Woman’s World to film, and stated that “I’m going to collage the whole film, exactly as I collaged the book. So replacing the story with fan clips to try and retell the story of Norma Fontaine.” Of course, the danger with adapting a collage is the danger of not being able to recapture the magic the collage effect had. No matter how well the story itself is adapted, part of the magic comes through the specific mode of imagery. Nonetheless, at the prospect of a film, movie stars came sniffing, such as Tom Hardy and James Franco. Though the two are no longer involved, one thing is clear: that Woman’s World is as adaptable as any of Graham Rawle’s many talents.

The unconventional appearance of Woman’s World, whether on page or screen, is a step toward true originality. To piece together a story through another’s words, to read what the characters themselves could have read, or to even hold a book similar to what the character could have owned, is an enchanting feeling. Ultimately, Graham Rawle pondered that, “the design of a book has been around for such a long time […] It is really interesting that nobody said to Mary Shelley then ‘what do you think a books going to look like in 200 years?’ It’s unlikely she would have said, ‘I expect it will look exactly the same’. It’s really odd!”

In retrospect, we should have asked Mr. Rawle the very same thing.