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RSC vs Chichester


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#1 Jan Brock

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 06:39 AM

I have noted before that despite public comments from Patrick Stewart saying he wanted RSC to give him a long-term contract they decided not to and while he will appear in Macbeth and Twelfth Night at Chichester this Summer the RSC will stage the same two plays in Stratford. An interesting opportunity to assess the wisdom of their decision.

The RSC have got off to a poor start in this contest with the current Stratford Macbeth - very unremarkable. The Chichester version opens end-May. Twelfth Night follows July/August.

#2 MaxCady

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 08:18 AM

Jan, do you know if the Chichester plays will be going on tour?

#3 Jan Brock

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 09:43 AM

QUOTE(MaxCady @ Apr 24 2007, 09:18 AM) View Post
Jan, do you know if the Chichester plays will be going on tour?


I don't know. Traditionally some successful Chichester productions have transferred to London (unfortunately often to the rotten Haymarket Theatre). I would imagine Patrick Stewart/Rupert Goold would want a London transfer for Macbeth at least, something the RSC is not necessarily in a position to offer these days.

...

Twelfth Night is an interesting one, it has so many parts that need strong casting and in the past the RSC would have been able to better any "provincial" production in this respect, however it seems the RSC now struggles to cast in depth (look at the Histories Cycle company) so it remains to be seen what they make of it.

On the other hand this is just the sort of play that Chichester traditionally do in a very unimaginative and dated way with one or two "star" names familiar from the TV treading the boards. So, it will be interesting to see if either can raise their form this year.  

Really good productions of this play are few and far between - I recall an excellent one directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Trevor Nunn has stated that it is impossible to cast this play for the theatre - for the cinema too if his dull film is anything to go by.

#4 richard

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 03:42 PM

QUOTE(Jan Brock @ Apr 24 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post
I don't know. Traditionally some successful Chichester productions have transferred to London (unfortunately often to the rotten Haymarket Theatre). I would imagine Patrick Stewart/Rupert Goold would want a London transfer for Macbeth at least, something the RSC is not necessarily in a position to offer these days.

...

Twelfth Night is an interesting one, it has so many parts that need strong casting and in the past the RSC would have been able to better any "provincial" production in this respect, however it seems the RSC now struggles to cast in depth (look at the Histories Cycle company) so it remains to be seen what they make of it.

On the other hand this is just the sort of play that Chichester traditionally do in a very unimaginative and dated way with one or two "star" names familiar from the TV treading the boards. So, it will be interesting to see if either can raise their form this year.  

Really good productions of this play are few and far between - I recall an excellent one directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Trevor Nunn has stated that it is impossible to cast this play for the theatre - for the cinema too if his dull film is anything to go by.



#5 richard

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 03:45 PM

laugh.gif
The truth is that 12th Night is a very tedious play - one of Shakespeare's most over-rated (after King Lear).  Won't be bothering with it at Chichester or any transfer.

#6 josh

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 04:42 PM

On the agent's page of one of the women who is going to be playing a Witch in the upcoming Patrick Stewart/Rupert Goold Macbeth , it already says Chichester/London, so I'm presuming they are hopeful for a London transfer!
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#7 Jan Brock

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 07:40 AM

QUOTE(josh @ Apr 24 2007, 05:42 PM) View Post
On the agent's page of one of the women who is going to be playing a Witch in the upcoming Patrick Stewart/Rupert Goold Macbeth , it already says Chichester/London, so I'm presuming they are hopeful for a London transfer!


Interesting. It confirms what I have noted before that leading actors like to have a London transfer and by denying some of their better actors this (eg. William Houston, Richard McCabe, David Bradley) the RSC are doing themselves no favours at all.

#8 Jan Brock

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 07:42 AM

QUOTE(richard @ Apr 24 2007, 04:45 PM) View Post
laugh.gif
The truth is that 12th Night is a very tedious play - one of Shakespeare's most over-rated (after King Lear).  Won't be bothering with it at Chichester or any transfer.


I would agree about King Lear, though Hamlet runs it pretty close. Of the comedies I'd say As You Like It is far more tedious and overrated than 12th Night.

#9 richard

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:38 AM

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QUOTE(Jan Brock @ Apr 27 2007, 08:42 AM) View Post
I would agree about King Lear, though Hamlet runs it pretty close. Of the comedies I'd say As You Like It is far more tedious and overrated than 12th Night.


Over-rated/under-rated Shakespeares:

Apart from 12th Night and King Lear (Tolstoy and Dr Johnson had its number), the most over-rated Shakespeare plays are IMHO:

The Tempest (one long yawn)
Merchant of Venice
Henry IV Part 1

The most under-rated are:

Timon of Athens (far superior to King Lear)
Julius Caesar (routinely dismissed as a GCSE play, but with acute political insights)
Henry V (politically incorrect but THE English epic)
Troilus and Cressida (Goethe said if one wanted to know Shakespeare true then read Troilus and Cressida)
Merry Wives of Windsor (though not in the recent RSC travesty)

#10 Jan Brock

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:28 AM

An interesting list.

Two "lesser" plays in terms of reputation which I think nearly always succeed on stage are Troilus & Cressida and Winters Tale. Pericles also comes close.

I have mentioned before that one of the greatest Shakespeare productions I have ever seen was Michael Boyd's RSC "Troilus & Cressida", but it seems hardly anyone else saw it.  





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