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Life Upon the Wicked Stage - All Things Theatrical
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The Perfect World >> Literature & The Arts >> Life Upon the Wicked Stage - All Things Theatrical

Life Upon the Wicked Stage - All Things Theatrical

Melusina -- Tuesday, September 03, 2002 -- 09:32:47 PM

The place to discuss theatre: shows you've seen, shows you're working on, your experiences in the theatre, what have you.

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Melusina -- Tuesday, September 03, 2002 -- 04:43:24 PM -- 1 of 1323
Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit, not. (Stephen Sondheim)

I was in London last month and saw 3 wonderful productions:

1. 12th Night done at the restored Globe. The stated goal of the production was to duplicate (as much as possible) an authentic Elizabethan performance. All the roles were played by men, they used period music and dance, the costumes were built using period tailoring and only materials that would have been available in Shakespeare's time, etc. It was the perfect production to see in that setting, and I really enjoyed it, despite disagreeing with some of the stylistic choices.

2. The premiere of Stoppards new play Shipwreck. It's the second in a new trilogy about 19th century Russian intellectuals / proto-communists / socialists. Like all Stoppard, it's a play of ideas, but the characters are so fleshed out that it all becomes concrete and engaging. It was absolutely fabulous - I'm just sorry that I couldn't see the other two plays (they're performing them in a rotation - a different play each week and all plays in a marathon on Saturdays).

3. The RSC's production of Much Ado - enjoyable, but not outstanding (Branagh set the benchmark here). It was set in 1930's Italy and the concept worked fairly well (the messenger entered on a loud motorcycle, disrupting the quiet village life). Their Beatrice was also quite good.

Marsie Dotes -- Wednesday, September 04, 2002 -- 11:55:56 AM -- 2 of 1323

Thanks for the thread, Melusina!

Was the production of Much Ado at Regent's Park? I saw a summer production of the same play there back in 1980 and loved it. Then I took my husband back to see Midsummer Night's Dream in 1989, and we got rained out. It was dumb anyway--done in late 60's hippie style.

I just went to the first readthrough for my first play in a long long time. I'm going to play Miss Hannigan in a community production of Annie. It is a part I have coveted for some time and I am thrilled. The part is quite a release. I can't wait to belt out Easy Street!

Melusina -- Wednesday, September 04, 2002 -- 12:14:29 PM -- 3 of 1323
Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit, not. (Stephen Sondheim)

Thanks for posting, Marsie - I was beginning to think I was the only one who wanted to talk about theatre!

Much Ado was at the Haymarket. I can't remember what they were doing at Regent's Park, but we couldn't fit it in. We were in London for 4 days and we saw a candlelit concert at St. Martin's-in-the-Field, the Stoppard play, the matinee at the Globe, and Much Ado. We did manage to squeeze in some non-performance related activities, but not many!

I bet you'll have fun with Annie. It's a fun play and Miss Hannigan is probably the the most fun role to play (as an adult - I think every girl I knew wanted to play Annie when I was 12). I'll be interested to hear how rehearsals go.

I'm a director and I'm in the process of forming a non-profit theatre company with a guy I know from grad school. I'll be Artistic Director and he'll be Managing Director. We're planning on hiring a small company of actors and doing very stripped down performances of Shakespeare at local high schools (simple costume pieces and hand props, no scenery). We'll also offer some educational material for the teachers to use in the classroom, and lead discussions after the plays. We've qualified for not for profit status and begun to do some fund raising and grant proposals. We're scheduled to participate in a children's theatre festival in March and we hope to start touring the schools next school year. I'm very excited about it.

Marsie Dotes -- Wednesday, September 04, 2002 -- 12:27:54 PM -- 4 of 1323

Your project sounds really cool. You'd like the director from our production. She is setting up a children's theater company in the low income part of town. Her concept is an afterschool program, complete with transportation from school. The kids participate in theatrical productions entirely rehearsed at afterschool. The cost is minimal. She's a real visionary.

My brother teaches English in an afterschool program in Tokyo. He uses Shakespeare's plays, at times, to make the learning process more fun.

Melusina -- Wednesday, September 04, 2002 -- 01:50:53 PM -- 5 of 1323
Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit, not. (Stephen Sondheim)

That sounds like a really neat project that your director is setting up. I think that kind of stuff is so good for kids.

CalGal -- Wednesday, September 04, 2002 -- 04:32:09 PM -- 6 of 1323
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

I wonder if GJ saw this thread? He is a hound for Broadway musicals.

Marsie Dotes -- Thursday, September 05, 2002 -- 01:11:45 PM -- 7 of 1323

Send him around!

Marsie Dotes -- Monday, September 23, 2002 -- 12:51:04 AM -- 8 of 1323

NOOOOOO! Archived already?

Lila Jones -- Monday, September 23, 2002 -- 01:46:47 PM -- 9 of 1323

I just saw Metamorphoses at Circle on the Square. Terrific production. The stage is taken up almost entirely by a shallow pool of water, which gets deeper as the actors move toward the audience.

They pulled together several stories: Orpheus turning around while exiting the underworld with his love, King Midas accidentally turning his child to gold, what'shername losing her husband to a storm at sea (dramatized by Poseidon's thugs wrestling him into the water) and then grieving so continuously that the gods took pity, and sent her a dream to convince her that her husband was really dead. That one made me cry.

Also, Phaeton trying to drive his dad's chariot across the heavens, Psyche sneaking in to look at Cupid while he slept, and a couple others. Very well done.

Melusina -- Monday, September 23, 2002 -- 03:25:42 PM -- 10 of 1323
Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit, not. (Stephen Sondheim)

Very cool, Lila. The water sounds great - I love "real" stuff on stage.

I'm looking for scripts for a project I'd like to do at my church. I'd appreciate any suggestions of plays that are family appropriate and Christian themed (although they do not have to be explicitly so).

CalGal -- Monday, September 23, 2002 -- 07:48:50 PM -- 11 of 1323
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Joan Littlewood dies

RainCityChick -- Monday, September 30, 2002 -- 03:13:43 AM -- 12 of 1323
in dreams begin responsibilities

I'm looking for scripts for a project I'd like to do at my church. I'd appreciate any suggestions of plays that are family appropriate and Christian themed (although they do not have to be explicitly so).

Melusina--send me an e-mail. DH is a career actor/director/theatre management type and has specialized in faith-based theatre. We can give you some tips--let us know how many cast members you are limited to; musical or not; etc....

We can also refer you to a local member of Christians in Theatre Arts--a very cool international networking organization.

Marsie Dotes -- Monday, September 30, 2002 -- 10:20:51 AM -- 13 of 1323

Well, I'm doing a "club time" drama and improv group for my daughter's middle school. These kids are a scream. Ask them to improv a scene, and they pick: "So do you want to go to the mall?" Cluestick!

Lila Jones -- Wednesday, October 09, 2002 -- 04:47:01 PM -- 14 of 1323

Bump. I just want this thread to come to the top, so Annie G. will post her review of "Into the Woods". Have you gone yet?

Marsie Dotes -- Sunday, October 20, 2002 -- 09:36:01 PM -- 15 of 1323

So things on the set of "Annie," the show I'm doing in community theater are beginning to get frenetic. The first cast opens on Nov 1, so people are understandably a little edgy. Most of the adults are in the run for the long hall, but I am only in the second run, beginning after Thanksgiving. We have a second set of orphans and Annie for that show as well. I am doing one performance for the other Miss Hannigan in November as she has to be out of town on business. So while I want to master the role, I've got a little more time.

The group is really nice and there is lots of talent there, but I think the blocking is pretty dull. I've tried to keep my trap shut, but sometimes it is tough. The director and her staff are devoting a great deal of time to the kids and leaving most of the adults to just figure things out for themselves. I've noticed several people just kinda doing things on their own and no one seems to care. On the other hand, the choreographer is just the opposite--she'll give you line for line interpretation for each song, as well as your steps. Irritating!

Marsie Dotes -- Tuesday, January 07, 2003 -- 07:35:09 PM -- 16 of 1323

Responding to palmist:

Annie was a blast, and went by too quickly. It had been 12 years since I had done anything except directing kids' shows at school, and I cannot let that much time go by again! I was heartened by the warm response (and a few comparisons to Carol Burnett), and found that a year of voice lessons have given me a passable character actress voice. The next show I'll audition for is "The Pajama Game" next summer. Hernando's Hideaway, anyone?

palmist -- Tuesday, January 07, 2003 -- 07:49:01 PM -- 17 of 1323

Glad to hear it was a good experience. I was sure you'd be great. I thought of you last week, when I overheard some furclad matron complaining to her son on the Metro the other day. She was just a heartbeat away from moaning, "Just throw me out like the empty cans of Bumblebee tuna, and let the pussycats walk all over me!"

Marsie Dotes -- Tuesday, January 07, 2003 -- 08:13:44 PM -- 18 of 1323

Lord love you, I'd give a left arm to play that part again! "But what's the difference, I'm only a mother and for a mother a Trailways bus is good enough!"

Lois -- Friday, January 10, 2003 -- 04:52:26 PM -- 19 of 1323

It may be a bit ridiculous to post about plays I saw over three months ago, but I just saw this thread. The first post was about plays in London, so I thought I'd add mine. I saw these in mid-late Sept/02. I've added the prices to dispell the myth that London theatre has to be enormously expensive. Considering the productions all have great sets, and the lengths of the plays, I think the prices are excellent.

  • Uncle Vanya (Chekhov, at Donemar Warehouse in Covent Garden) (5 pounds, had to stand)
  • Midsummer Night's Dream (Globe Theatre) (5 pounds, had to stand)
  • The Coast of Utopia: Shipwreck (Tom Stoppard, Royal National Theatre - one of a trilogy ofStoppard three plays focusing on the Russianaristocracy ca. 1850. Melusina also saw this one. (10 pounds, reasonable seat, but not the best)
  • My Fair Lady (Drury Lane Theatre Royal) (7 pounds, seat had a slightly restricted view due to the balcony, but I could just lean forward a touch if I wanted)
  • Ivanov (Chekhov, again at one of the three RoyalNational Theatre sites on the Southbank) (10 pounds, reasonable seat, but not the best)
  • Les Miserables (Palace Theatre) (7.5 pounds, slightly restricted view)
  • The Golden Ass (an author who I can't recall who inspired Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Globe Theatre) (5 pounds, standing)

All were excellent productions. I'm not a picky critic, so I may have missed the shortcomings. I mostly had a sense that the directors paid a great deal of attention to making even small details perfect. I have seen Stoppard's Arcadia done not so well and so I was a bit concerned about Shipwreck, but it was very engaging.

Marsie Dotes -- Saturday, January 11, 2003 -- 12:47:28 AM -- 20 of 1323

I have an unnatural love for Tom Stoppard, and see far too little of his work.

At the beginning of next month, we have tickets for Les Mis. My kids know the plot because we have listened to the CD ad nauseum in the car, but they've never seen it. My eldest turns 12 at the end of this month, and our tickets are part of her birthday gift. My mother just saw the same tour show in DC and called to tell me that it is an excellent production. I admit I stood in line the first day tickets were available and secured six seats in the third row (owing to the fact that this is a special occasion and I have to keep a 6 year old interested in the production) and I am far too embarassed to tell you what I paid for the tickets.

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