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Looking For An Expressionist Theatre Production


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#1 Valentin

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 01:05 PM

Hi all, hoping somebody out there can help.  I am looking to take my A Level theatre studies class to see a piece of expressionist theatre, to aid their devising process.

Does anybody know of any good pieces of expressionist theatre on at the moment?  It can be anywhere really, though between Wales and London would be best!

Thanks for any help you can offer!

#2 Honoured Guest

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:38 AM

View PostValentin, on 17 October 2012 - 01:05 PM, said:

It can be anywhere really, though between Wales and London would be best!

Expressionist theatre in Swindon? You'll be lucky.

#3 Epicoene

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:46 AM

Strindberg's "Dance of Death" is going to be on at the Trafalgar Studios from December. Enjoy.

#4 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:07 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 21 October 2012 - 11:46 AM, said:

Strindberg's "Dance of Death" is going to be on at the Trafalgar Studios from December. Enjoy.

'Dance of Death' may have expressionist elements dramatically but is as likely to treated naturalistically as regards theatrical production as it is in an overtly expressionist manner. I'm presuming the question was about expressionist productions, in which case, it is rare to find any pure example. The language of theatrical expressionism has been subsumed into mainstream theatre so that you could, for example, see it amongst the techniques used in Billy Elliot, for example, and, in fact, Stephen Daldry provided the best example of an expressionist theatre production in 'An Inspector Calls', there was another tour recently but I fear that it might have now finished.

There is an educational DVD with various extended clips from it which would be useful to show your students, if you haven't already done so. You can get it from - http://www.englishan...ons/results.php  - I got my copy on VHS from the National a long time ago, they might still stock it.

#5 Epicoene

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:38 PM

View PostCardinal Pirelli, on 21 October 2012 - 12:07 PM, said:

'Dance of Death' may have expressionist elements dramatically

That is something of an understatement, it is recognised as a major piece of early expressionist drama. As to an expressionist production I think you can bet the farm on Richard Jones' "Public Enemy" being one.

#6 Lynette

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:59 AM

Goodo, got tix for this so may learn what you are talking about.

#7 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:23 AM

View PostEpicoene, on 21 October 2012 - 02:38 PM, said:

That is something of an understatement, it is recognised as a major piece of early expressionist drama. As to an expressionist production I think you can bet the farm on Richard Jones' "Public Enemy" being one.

Probably, and I thought that The Government Inspector, for one, worked very well with Jones' approach. The Young Vic is doing an excellent job in promoting director's theatre in recent years, something that London hadn't really had recently, apart from the occasional production which cropped up at the National and touring/imports to the Barbican.

I'm not conversant with the director of 'Dance of Death' but, with Conor McPherson adapting then, given his oeuvre I'd tend to think it might be written, at least, as a symbolic drama wrapped in a naturalistic exterior.

#8 Epicoene

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

View PostCardinal Pirelli, on 22 October 2012 - 10:23 AM, said:

I'm not conversant with the director of 'Dance of Death' but, with Conor McPherson adapting then, given his oeuvre I'd tend to think it might be written, at least, as a symbolic drama wrapped in a naturalistic exterior.

I don't disagree, it depends whether the original questioner wanted an expressionist play or production (or both).

Jones is not at all to my taste, it feels like every single production I've seen by him over several decades has been the same and (worse) not very good, but you are right that pure director's theatre is thin on the ground these days, Katie Mitchell is the only one carrying the banner at the NT/RSC.

The most definitively expressionistic production I've seen was the truly terrible version of "The Possessed" directed by Yuri Lyubimov at the Almeida many years ago.

Incidentally, has anyone else seen Katie's pretentious little installation at the NT where, in a Peter Greenaway video rip-off format, she claims to be directing the Ophelia mad scene "in the style of" assorted directing greats like Peter Brook, Artaud and Stanislavski like some pseudo-intellectual version of a round in "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" ?

#9 David J

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 05:43 PM

I have been in a few expressionist productions at College such as Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit. The most expressionistic production I have seen would have to be Spring Awakening.

I read that the RSC did embrace Meyerhold for Peter Brook's A Midsummer Nights Dream, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Histories. I can see that for the latter. It was not entirely expressionist but the set was minimal and geometric, and there were some striking moments.

It would be interesting to see a production that is mostly expressionist. Otherwise I can only recommend the German Expressionist films like Metropolis.

I have seen clips of the Ophelia mad scene done in different styles at the Theatre Museum's new residence in the V&A. Cant say much about that because they were being played at the same time
My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

http://www.anightatthetheatre.co.uk/

#10 Valentin

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:08 PM

Thanks for your help ladies and gents.  I'd prefer an expressionist production - I want them to see expressionist style, so not overly bothered if it's applied to a non-expressionist play, as long as it's good.




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