tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
A nice email to receive from Shakespeare's Globe this morning:

We are thrilled to announce that Michelle Terry will be Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe from April 2018.

An Olivier Award-winning actor and writer, Michelle is well-known to the Globe’s stage, having starred as Rosalind in As You Like It (2015), as Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013) and as the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost (2007). She also directed Richard III, King John and As You Like It for The Complete Walk (2016), a series of short films created as part of the Globe’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

http://blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/163360048328/michelle-terry-is-the-new-artistic-director-of


I absolutely loved her as the Princess, and was really disappointed that the Globe didn't film her AYLI, because I really wanted to see her as Rosalind. She was also great as Rosaline in LLL at the RSC, and a lovely Helena in the National Theatre's All's Well, although I had some quibbles with the production. (I loved the idea of the fairy-tale concept, but felt that the fairy-tale aspects were mostly a gloss on the top - a red cloak here, a wolf shadow there - rather than worked fully into the deep structures of the production. Don't ask me how one would do such a thing, though.) I suppose she hasn't done much directing (had Mark Rylance done any, before he was artistic director? I genuinely haven't any idea), but unlike some artistic directors, she does seem to enjoy Shakespeare, so that's a plus… and she's clearly familiar with the space, which can only help.

…Also, being me, this bit at the very bottom made me smile: "The panel formed to recruit the Artistic Director Designate comprised: Neil Constable, Louise Jury, Claire van Kampen, Philip Kirkpatrick, Jamie Parker, Emma Stenning and Jenny Topper." :)
tempestsarekind: (the wind and the rain)
Just finished watching King Charles III on PBS. Tim Pigott-Smith was quite moving, and there were lots of Shakespearean echoes (Kate is clearly being cast as Lady Macbeth, and even says "Cry havoc" at one point). Charlotte Riley as Kate is maybe not quite soft enough - which is to say that she plays the Lady Macbeth side of things aptly, but it's hard to imagine her as public Kate. (One of the puzzling things about the play/adaptation: how much are we meant to rely on what we "know" of these figures currently?)

Not totally sure how I felt about the blank verse; I'd need to give it another listen, probably. I like the idea of it, though.

Of course, there are many old friends - and some new! - among the cast: Charlotte Riley from the Wuthering Heights adaptation from a few years back, and Jonathan Strange; Adam James who played Don Pedro opposite David Tennant in Much Ado (and other things; he pops up a lot). Peculiarly, there were three cast members who'd just acted opposite each other in Twelfth Night at the National Theatre: Tamara Lawrance (Viola), Oliver Chris (Orsino), and Tim McMullan (Sir Toby). This is particularly peculiar since, of the three, apparently only Oliver Chris was in the theatrical run.
tempestsarekind: (thomas kent)
I just checked the Globe On Screen website again, and my city has been added! So it might be worth checking again:
http://onscreen.shakespearesglobe.com

Alas, my screenings are all on Sunday mornings at 11:00 (I guess this makes sense, as hardly anyone ever goes, but it's still a downer). (The NT Live screenings, at a different cinema, are usually full and sometimes sold out. I don't know whether there's a bigger audience there, or better advertising…)

hmm

Nov. 8th, 2015 10:54 am
tempestsarekind: (rosalind and celia)
I can't quite figure out how I feel about this review of Branagh's production of The Winter's Tale (and Harlequinade):

http://variety.com/2015/legit/reviews/winters-tale-review-kenneth-branagh-1201635920/

For example:

This time, Branagh’s following in the footsteps of Michael Grandage and Jamie Lloyd, whose West End seasons have proved a new working model for commercial theater. But where those projects hung off an individual director’s style and vision, Branagh’s sits in the actor-manager tradition. It shows. Playing triumphs over purpose.

…What does that even mean? Because it sounds like the reviewer is saying that Branagh cares more about putting on the play than making it about his "vision" or whatever (I tend to be skeptical of "vision"; Cumberhamlet had one of those, presumably - it's not always a good thing), and if I have to choose, I am way more interested in the "playing" part. If you give me a production that does a good job with the play, then it will, through that process, reveal new things about the play - and that's purpose enough. (Maybe I would feel differently about this if my entire job were going to see plays. But the thing about traditional stagings is that they don't feel traditional if you have little to no experience with the play. They're just stagings, then.)

But then the reviewer says,

Too often, though, the actor’s vanity becomes visible, and key handovers and reconciliations are played out in slow motion. Branagh pulls focus like a barman pulls pints — that is to say, for a living. Everything he does just seems so earnest.

…Are vanity and earnestness the same thing? I don't think they are. The production may well show signs of both, at different times, but it feels to me like the reviewer is mixing up his terms somehow. (Also, you know, I have a hard time understanding why I am assumed to be able to see the inherently pejorative nature of "earnestness." I'm gonna need more details on that one, because I don't automatically see earnestness as a flaw.)

Finally:

The buttoned-up Victoriana and its family values, from which Leontes laments this “bawdy planet,” neatly flags up the play’s sexual politics. Bohemia, by contrast, is a place of dancing and delight, where Jessie Buckley’s breezy Perdita can grow her hair down to her waist. Women are in control here, whipping off their partners’ shirts at will, whereas in Sicily, Miranda Raison’s dignified Hermione can only plead her case and wait her husband’s verdict.

This sounds like he's basically objecting to the logic of the play itself - which is fine, but not really a review of how the production handles the play. I mean, okay, it sounds like Branagh's production is pretty traditional - it's no Young Vic Measure for Measure with blow-up sex dolls all over the stage, that's for sure - but I feel like this review is written from the perspective that traditional can't be good, as opposed to making a case for whether or not this production is traditional and good. If the Victorian setting makes sense for the play's sexual politics, then isn't it a reasonable choice even if it isn't the most outré? At the beginning of the review, the reviewer suggests that the Victorian setting is "only" pretty - allusions to mulled wine and Christmas cards - but the rest of the review gives me the impression that the reviewer probably wouldn't ever see a Victorian-set production as worth doing, anyway: that any Victorian production would only ever be "pretty" to him. So I can't tell.

----------

In sort of related news, the praise in this review of the National Theatre's As You Like It sort of sounds like the reviewer hasn't seen As You Like It in decades: at this point I have seen more somber Forests of Arden with "subdued palettes" than anything else; do they even still do "Robin Hoodery"? (This isn't entirely a complaint, as I happen to believe that the Forest of Arden is about communal effort to create a joyful space; you shouldn't just get the happy larks for free because people are in a forest. I have seen some As You Like Its that forgot to create the joy, though.) But the ending of the review made me happy I already had my ticket for the NT Live screening, because I adore Celia more than reason:

At the centre, Rosalie Craig and Patsy Ferran are a combustible duo. Craig has a fervent, poised androgyny as Rosalind: no swagger, all silk. Agile and bugle-eyed, as sceptical as she is supportive, Ferran makes Celia one of the most vital of Shakespearean roles. Together they illuminate a vital truth about As You Like It. One of the loves it celebrates is not a romance but a marvellous, complicated sisterly affection.
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/nov/08/as-you-like-it-polly-findlay-review-national-theatre
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
Hamlet, Barbican Theatre
Lyndsey Turner, director; Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet
via NT Live
15 October 2015

Okay, so Hamlet.

I don’t want to say that it went downhill for me from the beginning, but… cut for length and grumpiness )
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Branagh confirms Scorcese Macbeth film
http://www.whatsonstage.com/manchester-theatre/news/kenneth-branagh-martin-scorcese-macbeth-film_37441.html

I liked this production when I saw it via NT Live, although I felt like the cast hadn't quite settled into their roles when it was filmed - so it would be interesting to see them give it another go. (Especially Alex Kingston, assuming the original cast beyond Branagh is involved.)
tempestsarekind: (freema squee)
I got an email in my inbox about the upcoming National Theatre season, with this delectable tidbit to kick things off:

Everyman
a new adaptation by Carol Ann Duffy

When Death comes, who will stand by your side?

Chiwetel Ejiofor takes the title role. Rufus Norris directs.

From 22 April in the Olivier Theatre. Travelex £15 Tickets
Broadcast live to cinemas on 16 July via NT Live

http://national-theatre.tumblr.com/post/108726317436/new-chief-executive-tessa-ross-and-director-rufus

Of course, I am especially hopeful because of that last line - if they're planning to do a live broadcast in the UK, then maybe it will migrate across the pond as well...
tempestsarekind: (fraser: oh dear)
Oh dear, this could potentially be very bad for my health:

Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry chat to us [What's On Stage] about Love's Labour's Lost and Won
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrH5Pcu6kIg

They are really rather cute together. I'm not sure I see the necessity of performing Much Ado and just *calling* it Love's Labour's Won (yes, I know, some people think it might have been an alternate title for the play, but it is rather confusing), but linking the two plays could be interesting anyway. I really liked Edward Bennett as Laertes and as Oliver in the RSC AYLI from a few years ago, and Michelle Terry was an excellent Princess in LLL at the Globe; I also liked her Helena when I saw the NT Live All's Well (although the fairy-tale aspects of the production felt too pasted-on for me to fully enjoy it; I think fairy tales are a great lens for looking at the play, but it's not enough just to give Helena a red cloak…). So I'm already trying to imagine the two of them as Berowne/Rosaline and Benedick/Beatrice.

The RSC website indicates that there will be a live screening of both plays in the UK; I can only hope they make it across the pond as well!

also

Jul. 31st, 2013 01:57 pm
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
I bought a ticket for the NT Live screening of Macbeth, hooray! I know it's not until October, but I figure that if I'm going to hassle the staff with emails, I could at least buy my ticket early in order to show interest.
tempestsarekind: (history boys oxford)
- I emailed the local cinema that usually screens the NT Live broadcasts to ask if they had plans to show the Branagh/Kingston Macbeth, and they wrote back to say that they were in the process of scheduling it, and would update their website when things were finalized. Yay! Because, if I'd had to, I *would* have taken the two-hour bus ride to get to a place that has announced a screening, but it's great that I won't have to.

- Since the last time I checked the local library system catalog, one of the libraries that allows requests on audiovisual materials has purchased a copy of the DVD of At Home With the Georgians. So I have requested it!

- Speaking of library materials, my request for James Shapiro's TV series Shakespeare: The King's Man, from last year's Olympics-timed Shakespeare festival in the UK, came in yesterday. (I think it was called The King and the Playwright in the UK. Also, I didn't even know that this series had come out on DVD in the US until it happened to show up in an email from the BBC America Shop. How is that possible? My usual Shakespeare news sources failed me.) So, I know what I'm doing today.

- My local PBS station is airing episodes about various stately homes - Althorp, Chatsworth, and "Henry VIII's palace" (I'm assuming that this is Hampton Court) - in the next few weeks. I was rather miffed when they only showed the episode about Highclere Castle a few months ago, with no indication of whether they'd purchased the whole series (I mean, I get why they showed it then, it was a perfect Downton tie-in, but it looked like they were only ever going to show that one episode), so this is good.

(Turns out I still hear the phrase "stately home" in Samuel-Barnett-as-Posner's voice. Huh.)
tempestsarekind: (keep calm and rock on)
I bought a ticket to the NT Live broadcast of Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear's Othello! Yes, I know it's not until September, but I've been checking the website of the local cinema since I got the National Theatre's email - and they *did* run out of tickets for Jacobi's Lear, so I didn't get to see that one, so better safe than sorry. (That was largely my fault, since I was working on finishing my application for the dissertation completion fellowship - for which one needs two finished chapters - and it wasn't at all clear that I was going to be able to go to the screening until the last minute. But just in case.)
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
Thinking, as one does, about Hamlet. I still haven't had a chance to think through the NT Live broadcast beyond the scribbles I took during intermission and when I got home (and probably won't, now). I thought Rory Kinnear was quite good, but--weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly)--he tended to lose me, just a tiny bit, on the soliloquies. I don't want to be that girl who always goes, "But when David Tennant did it," but it is the most recent other Hamlet that I've seen, and that was one of the things I really loved about Tennant's performance; he made the soliloquies really feel like snatched moments of release, carefully hidden from the outside world. I feel like I can tell a lot about the tone of a Hamlet based on the first soliloquy ("O that this too, too solid flesh would melt"), whether a Hamlet starts off as a rational, furious, ironic observer, or an emotional mess--and for whatever reason, I tend to prefer the latter (though of course, any one note played monotonously is bad, and of course I don't mean that Hamlet should be constantly flinging himself into corners and sobbing; there is awareness and observation mixed in even with that brokenness). So I thought Rory Kinnear, who did the former, was really good, but I'm not sure I loved him, or grieved for him the way I do with more broken Hamlets. (But when David Tennant did it...for example, that helpless little lilt in his voice on the word "awry" during "To be or not to be," ["And enterprises of great pith and moment / With this regard their currents turn awry / And lose the name of action"] breaks my heart every time; he's so trapped, and he's always horribly aware of it, and yet there's nothing he can see his way clear to do about it.)

Also, this production cut out "Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man / As e'er my conversation coped withal..." Boo--my inner Horatio fangirl thinks this is not on.

Things I really liked, though (basically pulled from the aforementioned scribbles):

meet it is I set it down... )

also

Sep. 10th, 2009 08:35 pm
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
A friend sent me this link, so if you have any interest in possibly seeing the National Theatre's production of All's Well That Ends Well in a movie theater in October, check to see if it's playing anywhere near you:

http://nt-online.org/47486/venues-amp-booking/alls-well-that-ends-well-united-states-venues.html

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