John Gabriel Borkman
Posted 04 March 2007 - 07:50 PM
Posted 05 March 2007 - 01:49 PM
Foxa is right in that the 2nd half just flies by, doesn't seem like you're in their for long at all. If there were any famous people i missed them but i was at a matinee, as it was i was younger by about 40 years compared to the average age of the audience so a most sedate experience. Did meet two lovely ladies who i chatted theatre with, were the first people not to give me odd looks when i say i like miserable theatre with lots of raw emotion.
Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:22 AM
Was in London last Thursday and tried to book for Borkman later in the month, but it was sold out. However, they did have one return for the matinee that day, so I rearranged my day and took it. So glad I did - for this was the real thing, a marvellous production (and I saw Scofield and Richardson in their day at the NT in the part). Apart from the true ensemble acting, the sound effects and the visual ones, so important in Ibsen, were just right too. I saw Ghosts at the Bristol Old Vic earlier in the month - with a brilliant young actor, Sam Crane, as Oswald - the next big young star to 'break through' I predict - and to see Ghosts and Borkman within such a short time span was a truly marvellous experience.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 09:32 PM
So here I come to his defence.
If you wanted John Gabriel Borkman to be a big juicy scene-stealing imposing presence of a man, just because his name is the title, then I'm afraid you missed that production; Job's right; that's what Paul Scofield delivered, a big boom-shake-shake-shake-the-room performance which only conveyed what a tyrant Borkman must have been.
But let's hand it to Michael Grandage, not to mention David Eldridge, who I pray will reunite for more Ibsen, for sensing more in the character. Here is a man who has inhabited an attic for 8 years, and I think Grandage and McDiarmid have really thought about what that means, what that does to someone hitherto so active. Where does the pride go? Where does the passion go? Well, nowhere, but really, given such incarceration, is it any wonder that McDiarmid's Borkman is muted in tone, if not in vision? I love reading here how so many of you couldn't see in McDiarmid's characterisation a man the two women once loved. Duhhhh - this isn't just the man they once loved, folks, this is the man they once loved who's since lost everything and everyone and become a broken, caged, pathetic specimen of a man whose cowardice (let's face it) has kept him indoors for almost a decade and yet he still thinks he has what it takes without doing a damn thing - not one thing - about it in all that time. And yet you still expect him to exude what he did long, long ago? Maybe I'm mistaken but the play I saw here was all about what we lose, what we f*ck up, never to retrieve.
Yes, I agree it's not so evocative as The Wild Duck, but do we now judge dead playwrights on every work being a masterpiece equal to the last? Doesn't this play have enough chords of brilliance and familiarity to remain worthwhile to us yet? I went with three friends, all of whom are very special to me and I could never conceive hurting them, and yet here is a play that shows friends who've hurt each other without even realising over a long, long time and when they finally realised, it was too late ever to repair. I couldn't get over that. Who writes plays about such things nowadays? It all has to be about abductions or separatists or George Frickin Bush nowadays, as if this was the exclusive currency of our lives today. Even here, in a work that surely isn't his best, Ibsen gets us more than most.
And as for Ian McDiarmid, heaven forbid he dare do something exploratory and unspectacular with the role, but I was captivated by the broken yet ever conceited and tenacious speck of man, the expired tyrant and chauvinist still clinging lamely to his values, that he and Grandage and Eldridge (who is so, so good at this stuff) have rightly identified this character to be.
I hope they do The Master Builder.
Bring it on.
The prospect of this team's work with Ibsen is one of the best things about being a theatregoer in our time right now.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 11:55 PM
Posted 13 March 2007 - 12:32 AM
Both women still want Erhart, sure. But when that seems impossible, Ella wants Borkman simply because there's nothing else left in the world that she can possibly have.
The play says you never truly get over the things you most wanted in the past. All three protagonists are yearning for things they've lost, that they still think somehow they can have back, but are long gone, never to be retrieved.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:29 AM
Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:22 AM
Yes I hope Grandage and Eldrige do another Ibsen but presumably we'll be allowed to judge it for ourselves if they do. I was interested to read your thoughts on the production and I admit it's given me another way of looking at Borkman's character that I hadn't necesssrily thought of before.
Yes sometimes posts do seem to rather turn into long rants about the awfulness of someone but I don't think that's what this thread was and even within the rants there are often some interesting insights into plays.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:41 AM
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