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Cardinal PirelliMember Since 01 Apr 2007
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Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 24 February 2014 - 05:59 PM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 02 February 2014 - 12:40 PM
I thought about killing them and saying that the show made me do it.
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 01 February 2014 - 07:21 PM
To tell the truth, I also dislike the early adopters (or the 'next big thingers', as they rarely stay sated for long). They moved on from Punchdrunk a while ago though, so you're a few years too late on that score; you might find them now at Theatre Delicatessen or the Waterloo Vaults (both producing good work no matter who tries to make these venues the place to go). That state of relentlessly wanting newness is a problem when it merely seeks to replace. There was a telling phrase in 'Ontroerend Goed's' 'Once and For All....'. A teenager related how she kept being told that what she liked had been done before. Her response was simple but cutting, 'but not by me'. That's something that I always try to remember.
Your comment of wanting things to be 'genre defining' etc, could also be seen in that light though, that being new is the ultimate goal, and with that, I disagree. The new is so because it is happening now, that's all, older generations will see similarities as we know that nothing is really new but there's no mileage in denigrating what has come after. To see a young company like Idle Motion, for example, is wonderful; that they are so influenced by Complicite isn't a bad thing, it's just a good place to build from (Curious Directive are another company that wear their Complicite heart on their sleeve). It's so easy to say 'not new' but why do that?
A production/company has to be successful for its audience and that also might be relatively conservative. 'This House' (as mentioned by Lynette) was excellent but not trying to be new, for example, a well made play and a great new (for me anyway) writer. More experimental work needs that too, groups like Forced Entertainment aren't very different to when they started, but they are the foundation that others build on (as with Punchdrunk and the newer immersive groups, DV8 and contemporary dance etc.).
For me the future lies in everything, the totality, what is successful gets an audience and survives, no matter how old or new it is. Don't declare something 'over' but don't fixate on what exists, build from it.
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 01 January 2014 - 01:59 AM
What looks like a really interesting year at the Young Vic.
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 30 December 2013 - 01:21 AM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 22 December 2013 - 08:54 PM
- Playing Cards I-Spades (Lepage on auto pilot and with a stage that he didn't know what to do with).
- In the Beginning was the End (dreamthinkspeak in simplistic mode, no real challenge and compared to something like Toynbee (see below), lacking in atmosphere or import).
- Public Enemy (Young Vic; A director who can be better but nowhere near his best with a production lacking invention).
- Circle, Mirror Transformation (it was good but...... middle class navel gazing exported from Sloane Square, would have been better at the Royal Court itself but, even then, this exemplified the direction that Cooke's tenure got lost in pursuing).
- Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (National Theatre of Wales, a lot of sound and fury but little depth or engagement with the issues)
- Orpheus (Little Bulb with a sublimely silly show, gypsy jazz played to perfection)
- Fraulein Julie (Katie Mitchell with live theatre/video, showed how you can remake a classic by allowing the camera to give us the maid’s perspective).
- Mission Drift (a great new American company, TEAM, a kaleidoscopic show with a real complexity of form and message).
- Let the Right One In (NTS, beautifully staged, beautifully performed, snow!!)
- Secret Theatre (at the Lyric, Hammersmith; taken as a whole, three intriguing productions and a great ensemble, I look forward to more)
- The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland, saw it in Edinburgh, bit too hot during the London run though).
- The Master & Margarita (a masterpiece of staging and performance from Complicite).
- Metamorphosis (Vesturport, as wonderful as when I last saw it).
- Monkey Bars (the always worthwhile Chris Goode with a verbatim show using the words of children, not just sweet but also moving and thought provoking).
- Tristan & Yseult (you’d have to have a hard heart not to be carried away by Kneehigh’s romantic show).
- This House (who’d have thought mid seventies politics could be made this exciting?)
- Once (loved the music, loved the staging, loved the performers).
- The Seagull (Headlong with a staging that stood comparison with the outstanding Young Vic Three Sisters of the previous year)
- Chimerica, (another Headlong show, cracking storytelling and bound to end up on a screen somewhere).
- 1984 (and another, Jeremy Herrin has a lot to live up to; a welcome reminder that the novel is a look into a past that has already failed).
- Above & Beyond (Look Left Look Right, you had to be quick to get a ticket but a fun, fun, tour round a hotel, its guests and its history)
- Say it With Flowers (Katie Mitchell again, using a few spaces at Hampstead downstairs, Gertrude Stein as absurdist progenitor).
- The Borough (Punchdrunk in one person audio tour with actors, had to hike out to the East Anglian coast but boy was it worth it, ‘Peter Grimes’ with you as the hounded central character).
- The Drowned Man (Punchdrunk in much bigger mode; this time the audience are implicated, we are responsible; a depth and complexity in this Lynchian nightmare that rewards repeat viewings, recently extended but Crossrail need the building so can’t run much longer).
- Toynbee (Geraldine Pilgrim; this is how to do a site responsive ‘tour’ type show, gorgeous images, so many evocations of the building’s past).
- Kate O’Flynn - Port (a name unknown to me but not now, see her in Taste of Honey later this year at the National).
- Paul Rhys - Master and Margarita (just superb, such stamina and perfect in both roles).
- Charles Edwards - This House (his hair was great too).
- Zrinka Cvitesic - Once (adorable and with a voice and piano skills to match).
- Rob McNeill - The Drowned Man (who? Well, since you won't get much cast information at 'The Drowned Man' he plays a number of roles but it was his performance as Andy, the main male lead's friend that stayed with me, you had to be really speedy to keep up with him but it was well worth it).
- Saw Quasimodo and Twang in the same year, a Lionel Bart mega-flop and a show that he never had produced. Neither of them particularly good but they were impossible to resist seeing.
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 19 December 2013 - 10:21 PM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 19 December 2013 - 08:22 PM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 01 September 2013 - 12:34 PM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 12 August 2013 - 09:48 PM
It will probably be a pretty physical experience for people to get the most out of the narrative and you have to be on your toes and fit to keep up; following performers is only necessary if you want to have a narrative throughline though (it's also the most emotional way of experiencing it), otherwise you have the fragmentary dreamlike experience you allude to (which is fine). You can play the game differently, wandering around steadily in the space, but that's more for people interested in design.
Crash of the Elysium was a kid's show really, like a nice, not very scary, theme ride (with added Matt Smith), a few things stayed with me but it was really quite simplistic. It Felt Like a Kiss, the collaboration with Adam Curtis in Manchester a few years ago, was stronger but not particularly subtle. Their best linear show, in my opinion, was the most recent, 'The Borough' based on the same poem as Britten's opera 'Peter Grimes', an audio tour with unexpected performances as part of it. The script (by Jack Thorne) had all sorts of different levels which provided that extra richness.
I prefer the ludic/gameplay nature of their biggest shows personally, the more challenging to decode the better (lots more people like that via the above link). It's also a challenge to the FOMO (fear of missing out, that is), as you can't see or get everything; wondering if you should be somewhere else, or where someone else is. You aren't supposed to communicate, use phones etc for that reason. Sadly, I've seen at least one person desperately trying to text someone else because they got split up; theyre just doomed to failure I'm afraid.
Proper spoilers below, so even though this is a spoiler thread don't look if you don't want to know -
It's not just the fool who mouths the words 'we live in a dream', it's echoed in different places and times. In the chapel you probably just missed Dwayne (Drum Major in the outside the gates story) being bathed by the Dust Witch, he has just had a powerful dance through the sand, totally naked, his actions towards Mary appear to have tipped him over the edge and it is this bathing which cleanses him.
The desert set tends to be for the marginalised or the most extreme actions for the characters outside the studio gates, like it's mirror that is the basement these two areas also appear to have the closest link to the voodoo/black magic being summoned. It is here, on the mound, where William kills Mary. The desert scarecrow shrine is where Andy goes after he realises he has failed to save William and he collapses there (his is a great loop for dance, quite breathtakingly physical throughout). Much of this is to do with the allusions to Day of the Locust. Watch out for those scarecrows......
The basement is where the direst deeds of the studio take place. Here resides Mr Stanford (the owner of the voice you heard saying 'We live in a Dream') and those who run the studio. With it's chessboard floor at the centre it has the appearance of a masonic lodge, this is where the cuckolding of Marshall (the studio version of Marie) takes place at a drug fuelled party.
There are a number of scripts throughout the set, it appears that the script being filmed is mirrored in the real lives of Wendy and Marshall, it also is mirrored in that of William and Mary. A character in their space, the Grocer, has a script which appears to predict what will happen, he tries to convince them that they are fated but to no avail.
Which Edinburgh experiences have you done? You Once Said Yes was/is great although What Remains by Grid Iron was sadly undeveloped. I'm off to Edinburgh in a few days and the best new immersive show there is Our Glass House which is in London in November (booking via Camden People's Theatre).
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 19 July 2013 - 09:48 PM
There’s a big ‘but’ coming so tune out if you want to.
Anyway, I saw this some days ago and, at the time, found it to be a very pleasant evening and found all, and particularly Shannon Tarbet’s performance, to be really effective.
I’ve been on my travels since then and back up north in particular and that feeling has been replaced with something more frustrated and less positive. Now, I’m from a typical northern working class background so my continuing concern at the Royal Court’s middle class oriented programming is, as a result, perhaps unsurprising. Play after play has been brilliantly targeted to appeal to that audience but often not to anything much wider. Maybe the new regime will change that. The ones that I’ve enjoyed the most recently have been the most caustic satire of that audience, In the Republic of Happiness, which seemed to annoy others instead and Jerusalem, which broke out of that world.
Anyway, Shuttleworth’s FT review and bits of Billington’s mention this and I think they have a point, with this being the Royal Court giving it extra salience. As a piece of writing and direction CMT uses tried and trusted ways of creating audience identification, playing on emotions, withholding information to help create interest and empathy and so on. So I did that and felt that but, by the end of the play, there was no end product to this, it was emotion built only on other's emotions. I’m not talking about the action being unresolved, that’s great, I like to see that but I felt sorry/happy, and here I sound like Billington, but the social context wasn’t there, these were people in a vacuum.
In the best of the Court’s realistic dramas there has always been that social background, so that you can place them into, and measure yourself, against them. Something like ‘Love, Love, Love’ did that with its (sometimes too coincidental) placing of the characters against the late 20th early 21st century. Instead, and I suppose this is where my real frustration comes in, we are in an inward looking (Billington's term) frame where we only feel for them/ourselves.
I’d like to see more of the writer’s work, something not set against the metatheatrical world that we saw. I’ve done those classes, done those exercises, been there etc. and, of course, it appeals to critics/audiences who see their background validated. If you are involved in theatre, there’s nothing better than to be reminded that we make a difference!
So, moving forwards, on my travels I also saw ‘Adam Curtis vs Massive Attack’ In Manchester, which was good although an uneasy hybrid of film/gig. In it Curtis, in his usual way, picked out a societal problem and then weaved it into a dizzying global web of connections. In this particular show his main thesis, in an investigative manner more in tune with what the Court has done historically, was that we have been led to no longer want to change the world, just manage it. This shift has led us onto a focus on the self, rather than society, which has resulted in physical/mental self improvement for narcissistic ends rather than as a means of creating progress. Cue CMT and narcissistic characters that appear to exist in that sort of vacuum.
So, in mulling over my recent theatregoing as I travelled around, the one has rubbed up against the other and not to CMT’s advantage. This is where the peril of theatrical realism comes in, I was made to feel and I did feel, but it was manipulative. I’m not asking for overt messages, and I did enjoy it at the time, but these characters left no lasting impression; what I was left with was thinking - great acting......
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 05 July 2013 - 09:50 AM
Not far off twenty years ago I loved this when I saw it at the Royal Court on a baking hot Saturday afternoon. It really was a sparkling debut for Butterworth, Seeing it at the Duke of York's (?) later with a different cast it was less successful with an audience who just didn't seem to appreciate it in the way they had done at the Court (and in front of me was a man with the noisiest coat that I've ever had to suffer listening to, these things rankle, decades later!)
(plus Here Lies Love at the Dorfman, the word from New York has been great on this one)
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 05 July 2013 - 12:14 AM
1) A dead horse; no, literally a dead horse.
2) The opening is changed, no sitting down, just straight in to get the masks and away you go.
3) followed the drum major in the Western section (for Punchdrunk regulars it was Vinicius Salles tonight) and he has an insane and wonderfully performed dance naked in the sand, really clever use of the sand (and it must get everywhere.....)
4) also followed Conor Doyle whose Hollywood side character is called Frankie, he's an aspiring actor who seems to parallel the Faye Greener character from the other side. His acting is compelling with probably the other best solo dance that I've seen (around the boardroom table).
5) Lots of characters played by different dancers tonight, it's a punishing show physically so no surprise there.
6) There were a lot of beeps in the Hollywood side on the second preview, they've all gone, were they used for timing?
7) There are one on ones, not for me though. It looks as though, as with previous shows this is going to grow organically throughout its run.
8) The dance is really a step up from any show of theirs that I've seen, a much greater variety and greater complexity, tonally there are even comic moments which is a first. I would hope that critics have seen that but I'm not sure that dance critics will be reviewing it.
The critics are likely do their worst though, many of them are getting on a bit, even more than me, and not really the target audience and, the way these things go, I suppose it's also the time in a company's life cycle which is ripe for 'the backlash' (as Andrew Haydon called it) . Could be wrong but snide comments from Coveney, Billington and so on recently suggest that's what they are aiming for. In the end it's ticket sales and audience that counts though.
Audience was fascinating, I had a break of ten minutes or so from the main action and I'm astonished at the number of people (and they are usually in pairs or groups) that were just wandering aimlessly, they look at an actor as they walk past them as though they are some sort of alien being and spend so much time making 'committee decisions' that it's too late if they do decide to follow them. These are also the ones causing pile ups of audience who get stuck behind them, would be nice if there was a way to split them up.
A woman in the audience was quite heavily pregnant and I also saw a guy on crutches. For a moment I thought I was at Lourdes.
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 30 June 2013 - 10:42 PM