Month: June 2010

Miss Nina de Silva, Actress

I’ve been thinking of posting about this for quite a long time now. It all started when I was presented some old postcards, some months ago. They were all pretty and, of course, held the charm of all vintage items – little discarded treasures, keepsakes that no one wants anymore – but one of them in particular caught my eye. It was a postcard showing a young actress dressed as Shakespeare’s Ophelia:

With her long tresses, worthy of Rapunzel, and the gown worthy of the Queen of Hearts (and also considering my slight obsession with the figure of Ophelia and/or the opheliac), no wonder she instantly caught my attention.

On the bottom of the postcard, it says: Photo by Chancellor, Dublin and underneath MISS N. DE SILVA AS “OPHELIA”. It is unsent, and on the back it also says Printed in Saxony. So. A quick Google search reveals that the actress’s true name was Angelita Helena Margarita de Silva Ferro, otherwise known by the stage name Nina de Silva / Miss N. de Silva, that she lived between 1868/9-1949 and was best known for her roles in Shakespearian plays. Two more “informative” entries on her can be found on Shakespeare and the Players and Stage Beauty, though, in truth, neither is very detailed. But they do display some postcards showing the actress impersonating various characters. And that’s mostly it (though that’s more than I was able to find out about most of my other old postcards). What I thought was most interesting, however, was the fact that most of the other postcards reproduced on said websites seem to have been photographed by Ellis and Walery (London). None shown was made by Chancellor (Dublin), as mine is. Of course, that probably means that most of the plays she was in took place in London, but still, it makes me feel kind of excited to know that I currently hold a possibly uncommon depiction of N. de Silva. Also, I feel that I want to know more about her: who she was, what kind of life she lived, how she died and so on.

I’ve also looked up “Photo by Chancellor, Dublin” on-line, and, randomly, I’ve found a “carte-de-visite” type photo displayed on someone’s Flickr account (front and back), as well as two similar entries in Victorian and Edwardian Photographs – Roger Vaughan Picture Library (lady’s card front, lady’s card back, and gentleman’s card front, gentleman’s card back). Both latter entries are described as dating from cca 1874, so I’m assuming this is the same Chancellor who photographed de Silva. Still wish I could have found out more about her…

Edit: I notice I’ve used the word “most” quite a lot… Apologies… :-s


A Mad Factory of Dreams (?)

Being sick and generally morose, all I’ve been doing all day has been daydreaming and blogging. I would honestly have read a crapload of manga, but I wasn’t in the mood to make the effort of looking for something enjoyable enough to lift my spirits. So, that being said, I miss Kaori Yuki-san’s work (I say I miss it because I’ve pretty much read all of her stuff that’s available to the English-speaking public). And since I’ve written only one extremely short piece that’s (subliminally) inspired by her work, I’ve thought I might as well share it here. Its ‘epigraph’ of sorts is:

from the incredibly sad manga ‘Boys Next Door’ (but then again, all of her stories are incredibly sad)

My scrap was written some months ago, as a class assignment for anti-narrative, and this is my third ‘draft’ of sorts, though the only thing that’s changed is the name. Originally, I used Alice, then I went for Lilith, but now, on thinking better of it, I’m going to leave blanks where the name should be (in true anti-narrative style). Let everyone think of it what they please, it would actually be quite interesting to see how people interpret my leaving the name space blank…

A Garden for [ ]
by Kalyiel

Like death he sat there in silence, grass springing up from his palms in a mockery of genesis. That was when it occurred to him. That he could lift a garden, a whole garden up to the sky and pretend it was Eden. After all, who would be able to tell his fake from the real one? Since most of them mortals never reached heaven anyway. “One, two! One, two! and through and through” sang [ ] inside his head. His dead [ ]. He knew then he’d be lifting the garden not for himself, not for God, or the Devil, or the other people down there, crumbling chins in crumbling hands. He’d be doing it for [ ], who so loved flowers and grass and the little snails leaving slimy trails behind them for garden gnomes to follow.

So he set to work, all fairy-tales, and spinning tops, and dragon teeth sowed in the skin of his palms, the way you go about growing gardens. He felt like an urban Cadmus, giving a new sense to the dry rhetoric of old. Making it spring to life with his hands, through his hands, so that he might then lift his arms and show his life’s work to whoever, whatever might be up there. And [ ]. Especially [ ].

He lifted the garden and the sky took him by the wrists and swept him up. He thought he might look like a balloon with moss grown all over. What a sight it must be! A sky lifting a man lifting a garden. From among the clouds, he thought he could hear the click-a-clack of a typewriter. But what did it matter. He’d grown a garden and he’d be taking it to [ ].

[insert Loony Tunes ending theme here] That’s all, folks! (Yep, incredibly cheesy, I know, but I’m sick and life hates me.) Oh, and also, I now have a tumblr account too, for when I feel like spontaneously posting random images/vids (yay for microblogging): Alice (&) the Uncanny.