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The Caucasian Chalk Circle (NT)


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#11 Job

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:43 PM

QUOTE(Ben @ Mar 20 2007, 11:38 AM) View Post
Wonder if you've ever read or seen the play before? Am assuming you have, you will therefore know that Brecht never wrote a bridge scene! What he did write was a scene in which Grusha steps onto and the reaches the other side.Brecht wasn't interested in how wonderfully clever the creators could be he was more interested in getting on with the story!!! He also dictates the level of volume with which he wants the singer to sing to convey the seriousness of the story he is trying to tell us.
   Have seen this production and was moved by the energy and anarchic spirit of the company and how wonderful it was to see a young company own and understand a play that the good Telegraph reading public would never understand in a million years. Lark Rise?? I ask you.


If this is the only production you've seen of this great play, you might be a bit short of good yardsticks to measure it by. We're talking about living theatre here, Ben, not abstracted Brechtian theory, so it is faintly ridiculous of you to pontificate about who may be permitted to 'own and understand' The Caucasian Chalk Circle. And you certainly reveal your own limitations by resorting to the Telegraph jibe.

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#12 armadillo

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:52 PM

I haven't seen this production (and am unlikely too since it sold out very quickly) but I'm curious as to why, as with a lot of other productions, it is so important to its detractors that everyone should dislike it it as much as they did that they have to patronise people who enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy Moon for the Misbegotten or the Entertainer. If others did, that's fine by me - I see no reason to write numerous posts trying to persuade them that their taste is poor. Though if someone said 'You must see The Rose Tattoo, it's the best thing I've seen since Moon for the Misbegotten', it might make me think twice about Rose Tattoo!

BTW - did Ben say he hadn't seen the play before? And even if he hasn't, a first impression is just as valuable an insight as that of someone who has seen a dozen productions. After all, this production is supposedly targetted at an audience who may never have been to the theatre before.

#13 Job

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:25 PM

Not sure I fully understand the thrust of armadillo's posting, but I do completely agree that first impressions are valid. More than that, they're the purest reactions of all, as they are not tainted by preconceptions (unless, as in the present case, you happen to be a theory-book Brechtian).

My own point was simple but quite different - to wit: a stage production should transcend the text-book, not be confined by it. Re-read Ben's first paragraph and you'll appreciate the dogma trap he fell into. Re-read the second and you'll understand why the knuckles of his courtesy needed rapping.

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#14 Ben

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE(Job @ Mar 20 2007, 01:43 PM) View Post
If this is the only production you've seen of this great play, you might be a bit short of good yardsticks to measure it by. We're talking about living theatre here, Ben, not abstracted Brechtian theory, so it is faintly ridiculous of you to pontificate about who may be permitted to 'own and understand' The Caucasian Chalk Circle. And you certainly reveal your own limitations by resorting to the Telegraph jibe.

Job


Oh dear Job! Again you seem to be showing your own limitations when discussing living theatre!! I wonder what you think you mean by this term? Please enlighten us. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I'm under the impression you are a teacher, I would love to know your own theories on the so called abstracted Brechtian theory. By the way Filter's faithful and, playful and meaningful production of CCC is, no, not my only viewing of this play i've been lucky to sit through numerous productions
and i must say most of them were too concerned about how clever they could be, how meaningful they could be without once involving their audience making it pompous and turgid. May I refer to the Complicite version of the exact same Frank Mcguinness adaptation, a piece that was visually superp a piece that was so concerned with it's physicality and not it's heart and meaning, that all one heard when leaving the theatre ten years ago was how imaginitive Complicte were! Now, you may think that is LIVING THEATRE but I can assure you it is not. As the great theatre critic Harold Hobson wrote; ' Brecht has helped to mould every theatre worker, and yet no British company has succeeded in giving a performance that does him justice. That is because his disciples have found it easier to assimilate some sort of comprehension of his doctrine than to display his theatrical flair. The poverty of British productions of Brecht, heavy sententious and void of life, was exposed by the Berliner Ensemble when it came to one of Peter Daubeny's World Theatre seasons. To the Berliner Ensemble had ben revealed a truth hidden from their British rivals, namely, that Brecht and entertainment are synonymous."
  Might I also add, the frist time I saw Filter's version in Norwich I attended a QandA with the company and members of the audience and to our surprise there was a couple who had seen Brecht's very own version in 1954. They were so moved to have seen Filter's CCC because for them it brought back memories from that night in 1954, as they said both were anarchic, dark, playful, inventive but over all truthful they also added that Filter's production matched his more than any they had seen in the intervening years.
  So Job, maybe you know what LIVING THEATER is and yes I am willing to discuss this with you but I have a very grave doubt as to if you would know it even if it came and bit you on your ear.
By the way are you any relation to the Comforter?



#15 Job

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 12:56 PM

Wow - you're one angry dude, Ben! All this angst - and our discussion could be so much simpler.

When I go to the theatre I want the experience to speak to me on its own terms. I don't want it to bore me, and I run a mile from theatrical dogma. I love intelligent modern work that breaks boundaries and thrills me with its sheer theatricality. If that means that I loved the Complicité version and you didn't; that I disliked the Filter version and you didn't... well, so be it. But it is ridiculous for you to say of Complicité "Now, you may think that is LIVING THEATRE but I can assure you it is not" and expect that unsubstantiated value judgement to stand up as unanswerable fact! It would be just as ridiculous for me to retort 'No, you're wrong' unless I went on to explain why that is.

In order that you can understand me a little better: I am not an unquestioning Complicité fan - I thought their Measure for Measure betrayed Shakespeare's intentions and obfuscated his text - but I was moved beyond words by their take on CCC. For me it achieved everything that you declare it failed to achieve. I agree that Brecht and entertainment should be synonymous, but to my mind that is exactly where the (to me) dreary Filter version fails so badly. Still, you feel differently, calling their work 'faithful, playful and meaningful' Well, I part company with you, but I'm afraid that does not make me ignorant. ("...I have a very grave doubt as to if you would know it (living theatre) even if it came and bit you on your ear" - ouch!  blink.gif )

I have recently seen great projection work in Waves, The Andersen Project etc., but Filter's poverty of imagination meant that Grusha's bridge moment was done in blackout with some heavy breathing into a microphone. You won't like me for saying this (and it probably fuels your indignation) but that sums up everything I've said about a production that enchanted you but which (as is my right) filled me with woe.

(And for the record, if I'm Job I think that makes you my Comforter!)

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#16 armadillo

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:54 AM

Sorry I didn't make myself clear, Job. I'll try to do so now. As a general point, why do some people think it so important that, if they hate a show, everyone else should as well? Can't people just accept that everyone has different tastes and no play is going to be enjoyed by everyone,  without having to belittle the views of those did enjoy it?

#17 Job

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:44 AM

Absolutely agree, Armadillo.

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#18 Ben

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:32 AM












Job I couldn't agree with you more. Theatre should speak to you on it's own terms, but it isn't meant to transport you somewhere you're not. Theatre is by it's nature a LIVE experience and of course we all experience it differently, you find in Filter a 'poverty of imagination" where the majority of others find Filter a "consistently innovative and compelling company to watch." (The New York Times on Filter's Faster 2005)
  I too saw both The Waves and Robert Lepage's Anderson Project and for me both left me feeling cold, my imagination was left in the foyer. I felt, even though both pieces were executed expertly, that I was being told to feel and be amazed at the imagination of the creator. I also find it amazing at how easy it is for practitioners to pull the wool over our eyes considering both Katie Mitchell and Robert Lepage probably had huge budgets i found myself reeling at the lack of story and heart. Did you see Lepage's Dragon's Trilogy? A piece originally created on next to nothing and one which required it's audience to make a leap and be actively involved! A far superior experience of LIVING THEATRE. I wonder in this day of media spoon feeding if we're losing sight of what theatre and live art really is? Of course it's subjective and how funny that you saw a piece of theatre two/three months ago that obviously made you into an "angry dude" (come on you can do better than that) , isn't that the whole point? Great theatre makes people debate in it's favour or against and I believe that Brecht would have been proud of what Filter and The National Theatre have achieved with his great play.













QUOTE(Job @ Mar 21 2007, 12:56 PM) View Post
Wow - you're one angry dude, Ben! All this angst - and our discussion could be so much simpler.

When I go to the theatre I want the experience to speak to me on its own terms. I don't want it to bore me, and I run a mile from theatrical dogma. I love intelligent modern work that breaks boundaries and thrills me with its sheer theatricality. If that means that I loved the Complicité version and you didn't; that I disliked the Filter version and you didn't... well, so be it. But it is ridiculous for you to say of Complicité "Now, you may think that is LIVING THEATRE but I can assure you it is not" and expect that unsubstantiated value judgement to stand up as unanswerable fact! It would be just as ridiculous for me to retort 'No, you're wrong' unless I went on to explain why that is.

In order that you can understand me a little better: I am not an unquestioning Complicité fan - I thought their Measure for Measure betrayed Shakespeare's intentions and obfuscated his text - but I was moved beyond words by their take on CCC. For me it achieved everything that you declare it failed to achieve. I agree that Brecht and entertainment should be synonymous, but to my mind that is exactly where the (to me) dreary Filter version fails so badly. Still, you feel differently, calling their work 'faithful, playful and meaningful' Well, I part company with you, but I'm afraid that does not make me ignorant. ("...I have a very grave doubt as to if you would know it (living theatre) even if it came and bit you on your ear" - ouch!  blink.gif )

I have recently seen great projection work in Waves, The Andersen Project etc., but Filter's poverty of imagination meant that Grusha's bridge moment was done in blackout with some heavy breathing into a microphone. You won't like me for saying this (and it probably fuels your indignation) but that sums up everything I've said about a production that enchanted you but which (as is my right) filled me with woe.

(And for the record, if I'm Job I think that makes you my Comforter!)

Job



#19 Job

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 02:38 PM

The Dragon's Trilogy - now you're talking. A great event - seared into my memory. I'm with you all the way in what you say about it.

Waves is not my favourite show, but I have been amazed at how reluctant people here have been to allow it its right to exist as an experiment. As it was I was moved by much of it and irritated by (largely banana-driven) moments. The Andersen Project? Sheer novelty entertainment and I loved it.

Come on now, Ben, agreeing to differ is all part of delight of this board. If you can avoid resorting to jibes in future we'll get on just fine - even when our opinions do part company.

Job
xxx

(The 'dude' thing was supposed to be tongue in cheek. Father of teenage daughters, don't y' know.)
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.




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