12.03.2008

oh, what could you possibly have to teach ME, internationally famed director?

Well, this is a very very nice compliment.

I was invited to be part of a workshop on Saturday led by a fancypants international director WITH HIS OWN WIKIPEDIA ENTRY, LULU BULLSHIT TOWNSEND.

A little background on him - via wikipedia of course. This guy is
an English theatre and opera director, with a reputation for breathing new life into familiar stories.
And he's in town with this show:
a multi-lingual production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in India. Although Shakespeare's English remains in key passages, the actors deliver much of the text in their own languages — a mix of seven from India and Sri Lanka (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Sanskrit, Sinhalese). Supple created "a sexy, kinetic production with a circus-like atmosphere" using an "obstacle-course set ... of bamboo scaffolding and ladders, swaths of red fabric and ropes that the agile cast ascend and descend with little regard to anything as prosaic as gravity." The experimental interpretation was considered by some to be the best Midsummer Night's Dream to play at the RSC (Swan Theatre, Stratford).
I saw that Midsummer last week.
I hated it.

I even thought the staging was lousy! Extraneous prop setups that detracted from the story, some straight up BAD ACTING here and there - look, I looooooove spectacle and acrobatics, but they should SERVE THE STORY, or else you're just doing a stage version of a Hollywood blockbuster. And the mechanicals? Dude. So many great jokes, just completely skimmed over.

I'll stop now. I specifically try never to critique theater in this blog. Of course there were good parts (the end was just beautiful) and some great performances, but after you read that paragraph, don't you expect to have your mind Sri-Lanka-blown? I did. It was not. Well, it was blown the other way.

And on Saturday I'll get to meet him and work with him - which I still think is pretty incredible. And in the grand tradition of love-the-artist-not-the-art, I sort of expect to like him a LOT.

I hope he doesn't think I suck as much as I thought his show sucked.


**UPDATE**

Oo!! oooooo! Did you see that he did this??
he directed Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench in Coriolanus.
Oh man.
How did he handle the scene where King Coriolanus talks to his spirit guide, an EAR OF CORN? I wanna know.

2 comments:

Alex Goodrich said...

I will see you there on Saturday. And I won't tell you how many Sri Lankan jokes my wife and I made when we saw it that Wednesday.....

Lacy said...

oh, but we have to talk before then so you can tell me what you thought of that production. Geoff and Rachel liked it... I was the lone hater.