Normally I don’t go and see all that many, if any, contemporary plays (namely plays that have been written during my life-time), and after seeing Hangmen I realised why – they tend to be quite boring. Okay, I probably shouldn’t bag this particular play too much, however, despite it being English black comedy (which tends to be really good), the play itself didn’t hold my interest all that much. The main reason that I went and saw it (and it was one of the National Theatre Live productions by the way) was that it was advertised at another film/play that I saw recently (As You Like It) and it looked quite interesting (and it also gave me an excuse to get out of the house for a while, since I tend to travel all the way to Brighton to see these film/plays).
I remember when I first read this play and I was actually rather shocked and appalled. In fact, if there are any of Shakespeare’s plays that are going to rub up against the grain of our modern society then it is certainly going to be this one – the reason being that the whole plot is about how a husband figuratively beats his wife into submission. Sure, his wife is definitely one nasty piece of work, but the thing is, living in a world where more women are killed by their husbands/partners in domestic violence situations than terrorist attacks (at least in developed countries) one wonders why such a play is still staged, and one also wonders why I actually sat down and spent three hours watching it.
I’ve probably mentioned this before but a friend of mine has suggested that the problem with Australian theatre is that it is basically rubbish. Okay, if that is the case then that is a really big problem, but a part of me feels as if I am becoming somewhat influenced by him. My problem is that Australian theatre tries to be so different that it ends up failing as good theatre. Sure, there are probably some good theatre companies, as there are probably some good playwrights, but the more that I am exposed to international theatre through National Theatre Live, the more that I begin to understand what he means by good theatre. In fact, it is probably a good thing that they ended up showing a version of As You Like It because I had recently seen another performance of it (which I have already written a blog post on) and it has given me the opportunity to be able to compare both of them. I have to admit that the version that I saw performed live in Melbourne was actually a little dry, whereas this version seemed to be much more dynamic.
Sometimes you discover a performance that you know that you should go to, even if it probably isn’t something that you are all that interested in. This was the case when Simon and Garfunkle, years after they had split up, decided to do a reunion tour and come to Adelaide. I’d never been all that interested in their music, however, I knew that not only was it going to be something that my brother would enjoy (he did), but it was one of those experiences that I knew wasn’t going to come around again. As it turns out that seems to be the case because rumour has it that Paul Simon isn’t really all that fit to be able to go on tour again (though I could be wrong).
I had just managed to make my way through this book a second time, namely because I wanted to write a review of it on Goodreads (and Booklikes), and while it was pretty rushed, I had decided that I would leave it at that and move on to my next book (and project). However, as I am prone to do, I read through some of the other reviews of Goodreads (such as this one, this one, and this one) when I realised that I simply couldn’t just leave it at that scrappy piece of work that I wrote up on the train on my way home from work. Okay, while I have covered several points, albeit briefly, I suddenly realised that there is so much more to this book that I had to continue with my exposition on this blog.
One of the things that I don’t like about seeing plays while I am away is that I don’t always get a chance to sit down and write about them while they are still fresh in my mind. In fact that makes it even more difficult, considering all of the experiences that I’d encounter while wandering around the place means that I inevitably land up with so much in my head that it pushes the experience further back, and it is not until I have returned to my comfort zone (or my writing zone as I should say) am I able to think more about it. Then again, that isn’t going to happen for at least a month, so while I am sitting on the train heading out to the Sunshine Coast, I probably should take the time to actually write about the third play that I saw – Merchant of Venice.
Well, in the space of a couple of days I have gone from one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays to one of his more complex, and detailed plays.… Read more “Chaos in the Forest – A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Okay, this may not be the first Bernard Shaw play that I have seen performed, however the previous one, Man and Superman, was a performance by the National Theatre that was filmed and then distributed to various cinemas around the world. Okay, while it may not have been live, it was close enough, and seeing Ralph Fiennes performing on stage was an experience to say the least.
I initially suggested that I have seen the Tempest three times on my Goodreads and Booklikes posts that is) but now that I think about it I believe I have only seen it twice before I saw this production (and I believe that both of those previous productions were also by the Bell Shakespeare Company). Anyway, when I discovered that they were staging another production (this time only in Sydney) I pretty quickly booked my tickets because it happens to be one of my favourite Shakespearian plays.
Honestly, I’m not really all that sure whether I appreciated the Bell Shakespeare Company bringing this play into the 20th Century in much the same way that they do with quite a lot of their plays. The thing is that while the idea behind a lot of plays are timeless, somethings seeing a performance set in the original setting is so much better than having to sit through another modern Australian adaptation.