Saturday July 7, 2007

Sunshine!!! Sunshine!!! Sunshine!!! Finally we can catch up on the vitamin D we’ve been desperate for! And it was a short call today: a two hour music call with Mike. We’re at the point now where we’re trying to sing and dance at the same time, as we put the musical numbers into the show. And as always happens in a musical at this stage, the words and the music go out the window as the brain tries to cope with its multi-tasking. So the music call last evening and this morning’s call were dedicated to getting the words, music, and steps going at the same time without sacrificing one for the other. Slow work, but good work. 

Then… out into the Sunshine!!! Well, some of us, at any rate. I know Lisa and Jenny spent five hours in the afternoon just sitting in the various parks beside the river and soaking it up. Not the river. But the… you guessed it. 

Always one to buck a trend, I spent 6 hours in the theatre. 

First, I went to see the matinee of Macbett. Fantastic. Some delicious performances, and really fine, insightful, visually stunning direction and design. I heard one particularly loud American woman at the interval say: “William Shakespeare meets Samuel Beckett in the house of Groucho Marx”. I don’t think she was far off the mark. And what astounds me about theatre of the absurd is how the responsibility is shifted into the eyes, ears, and minds of the audience. It’s up to us to put it together, and to create our own composite from what we see, hear, and think. The play has no morality.  It does not aim to teach us anything. If we learn, or if we create meaning, it is from our individual experience in the theatre. What a gift.

Then (drool, drool,) I went to see the first preview of Richard II at the Courtyard. It is part of a two year RSC project to produce all the History plays of Shakespeare and run them in repertory. They are all directed by Michael Boyd, with the exception of Henry IV Part II which is directed by Richard Twyman. The culmination of the project will be next March when the eight plays will run as a serial, first in the order that Shakespeare wrote them (the order in which they would have been seen by the Elizabethan audience,) and then in chronological order. I suppose that can only be really exciting to a theatre nerd like me, but oh boy, do I find it exciting. 

Okay. Back to the play. 

Having seen the previously mentioned Henry VI/Richard III cycle in 2001 (see my entry of Monday, July 2,) I was prepared for the the stunning design, the visceral musical score, and the rare unity of the ensemble. I was not disappointed. And just as I had been converted to the texts of the Henry VIs, so I buckled under the sheer force of the language of Richard II. Muscular, luscious, chewy. Like consuming sex and good food simultaneously. (I don’t get out much, I guess.) Should I just say I liked it? Noooooo. So now I feel a bit like a groupie of some of these actors: Richard Cordery (holy crap can this guy act), Keith Bartlett (great as Northumberland, and I hope I can see him play Talbot again!), Maureen Beattie (her Duchess of York was formidable), and the rest of the wonderful cast.  But, wow, Jonathan Slinger, who was daring, beautiful, effeminate, and savage as Richard II. So didn’t I have to go up to him in the pub and tell him how great he was. And wasn’t he sweet and asked me how The Penelopiad was going, and how I was enjoying it, and this whole interchange was somehow surreal. And delicious. 

It can’t get much better than this.


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