Thursday, October 25, 2007

I wanted to like

the RSC production of The Seagull. I promise I did!

At intermission JW and I ran into an acquaintance of his who told us about how he got tickets to the King Lear in the cancellations line and suggested we do the same; I had waited too late to try and get tickets and Lear was sold out, but I managed to get these Seagull tickets. That was actually fine with me, too, as I'm a big fan of The Seagull.

I was actually considering the whole cancellations routine for a while, but I have to say I turned on this production somewhere around act IV, and it was such a sharp turn that I do not think it would be wise for me to return for Lear.

I was also fantasizing about writing a play riffing on the losers in Chekov's plays, which was nicely diverting, actually. I've always been so fond of Yepihodov in The Cherry Orchard, and there's the teacher who's in love with Masha in The Seagull. I'm not as strong on The Three Sisters or Vanya, but something tells me there might be just such a supporting character in those plays too. Am I right? I can't remember. Anyway, wouldn't it be fun to write a little one act in a bar with all the loser small roles from Chekov's plays? Getting drunk on vodka and crowing about how unrequited their love is and how boring their conversations are and how badly their shoes squeak? Something to think about, I guess.

12 comments:

BT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BT said...

Of course in Vanya you have the neighbor Telegin, who is called "Waffles" or "Pineapple," depending on the translation, due to his facial condition. He comes along and strums the guitar at just the right moments.

Zacki said...

You have to write that. For inspiration you should read, or if possible see, Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Not sure if you've encountered it, but its a great little play.

Kyle said...

BT's back! Where ya been?

Zack, that's one of those plays I keep meaning to read or see and never get around to. One of these days....

BT said...

I've been living and working in London, actually. Moved here in August of last year. Between work, writing, theatregoing, and other prurient distractions, been keeping v. v. busy!

Have been checking you out though, and about time I pick up blogging again. Mine is http://allrightblog.blogspot.com.

I didn't see the RSC Seagull, heard it wasn't all that, at least not as compared to the phenomenal one that the Royal Court did, with Kristin Scott Thomas, Mackenzie Crook and Chiwetel Eijiofor. I didn't get to see that one as it sold out months before it opened. They wanted to transfer it to the West End but Kristin didn't want to spend so much time away from her husband and kids in Paris.

When were you over here for study abroad? Must have been slightly before me. I was here in 97-98 and saw Katie Mitchell's production of Uncle Vanya at the Young Vic, with Stephen Dillane as Vanya and Linus Roache as Astrov. That rare production of Chekhov that gets it just right, so you are laughing and crying simultaneously at the right moments. Remains one of my favorite shows to date. But I don't think you would've been here for that one.

Kyle said...

Yeah, I was there from December 96 to March 97. My Chekov experience there was an RSC production of Cherry Orchard, which to date is the best of three Cherry Orchard productions I've seen, for the same qualities you describe in the Vanya...that tricky balance of comedy and heartbreak.

As for the Young Vic, I saw a good production of American Buffalo there. That was fun.

hfitz said...

Hi Frank,

I too had issues with the Seagull. There were nice moments I thought. HOWEVER, the WHINING and WOE is ME is enough to make you want to puke. AND, why was it that I could barely hear these actors? I had decent seats too. It's the "RSC" for Gods sake. Whatever! Maybe the acoustics suck, I don't know.? i see LEAR on sunday. I've heard mixed reviews.

hfitz said...

Did anyone catch "The quality of life' at the Geffen?

BT said...

You should write the play, by the way.

I've always thought Chekhov is one of the trickiest playwrights to get your head around if you're just reading him. There's that extra dimension to the flow of the characters. In our dramaturgy class at UCLA, John Glore liked to say Chekhov was "planar" where most playwrights are linear. I liked that.

Worst Chekhov I saw was the Vanya at the Geffen, this was in 2000 I think. Robert Foxworth and other forgettable TV people. They all kept stumbling in and out of doors and slamming windows. Almost French farce. Only good thing was the dress Yelena wore in the second half which was this unbelievably deep purple.

But then that's the Geffen for you.

Kyle said...

hfitz: We were up in the balcony and there was only one actor I couldn't hear, but I think it had as much to do with the affect of his speech as it did the acoustics or how well he projected, but I hear ya, the sound wasn't great.

And I didn't see Quality of Life; I was considering it for Laurie Metcalf, but I let it pass. Did you see? Did you like?

BT: Hah, that's funny; my favorite part of the Taper's Cherry Orchard with Annette Bening was her dress during the party scene.

BT said...

Not a good sign when all that remains is one of the costumes. Not to bash costume designers, but . . .

On a related note, the most brilliantly bad moment in Chekhov I've seen was in a Cherry Orchard, at the Great Lakes Theater Festival, ironically (or perhaps nefariously) also starring Robert Foxworth.

They had these enormous tree boughs full of cherry blossoms high above the stage. At the moment in Act III when Lopakhin says "I bought it," all the blossoms fall down to the stage all at once. Yes, corny, but not the bad moment.

The bad moment was in fact the THREE MINUTES it took the stage hands to sweep all the cherry blossoms off the stage in the scene change before Act IV. We were only in high school, but we were riveted. All that broomwork in the dark.

hfitz said...

Lear was good. I sat on the stage. I thought the fellow playing Edmond was one note and the sisters a little un-interesting. Trevor Nunn really wanted to stage another Phantom and put organ music over everything!!!!! Geesh!!!