What Makes This Country Gal Smile Part 2
As a theater lover, I was so pleased to hear what the Globe Theater in London had planned. They have decided to do all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays performed by 37 different countries and in 37 different languages. What an endeavor! What a wonderful way to bring the world together in such a world famous theater The Globe Theater in the heart of London. I just wish I could attend but I have the next best thing, my daughter , an actor, attending and calling me at intervals and at the conclusion of each play she attends.
The very first participants in this unprecedented event was the Ngakau Toa Theater Company from New Zealand. My daughter was moved beyond her expectations. I hoped that she would. Troilus and Cressida and the Haka!! What a magnificent start to the Festival:
Last evening was the play Measure for Measure performed by The Vakhtangov Theater Company from Moscow. I received my usual report call at the interval and at that point it was fabulous. She also said the performance was, ” Daring, passionate and physically fearless! ” I was unable to locate a video yet but I did find some reviews:
The Vakhtangov is at the heart of Moscow both geographically and theatrically. From humble beginnings in 1913, this company grew to inhabit one of Moscow’s most beautiful theatres. Always following the twin influences of Meyerhold and Stanislavsky, of spectacle and psychological truth, it has created many of Russia’s most respected productions. This is their first visit to the UK. Part of Globe to Globe.
Moscow Vakhtangov’s Theatre on stage of London’s Globe
Apr 25, 2012 13:33 Moscow Time
The company of Moscow’s Vakhtangov Theater has successfully performed on the stage of the legendary Shakespeare’s Globe open-air theater in London as part of the international Shakespeare’s festival.
The audience warmly received the production staged by director Yury Butusov despite chill weather. The actors played in Russian but the spectators could read short English comments about the play’s development on two big screens.
The Globe is one of the oldest theaters in Britain which was active from 1599 till 1644. The theater is associated with the writing and acting career of William Shakespeare. It was recreated in the late 20th century on the south bank of the Thames.
1st TV channel
The Arts Desk
Globe to Globe: Measure For Measure, Shakespeare’s Globe
Free-wheeling Russian take on the morality play
What a joy this once-in-a-generation season is. From Moscow comes this free-wheeling production of Shakespeare’s great morality play, and one that also makes remarkably free with the text too. Even those familiar with Measure For Measure will be thankful for the subtitles, particularly in the second act when director Yury Butusov dispenses with whole scenes, including the denouement.
It starts with the familiar story; we are in Vienna, a city that has fallen into dissoluteness, where the Duke hands over power to his stern deputy Angelo, only to disguise himself as a monk to see how Angelo will go about the task. But Angelo is corrupted by power and after condemning Claudio to death for making his lover Juliet pregnant, he then demands that Claudio’s sister, Isabella, abandon her nun’s vows to sleep with him in exchange for her brother’s life. The Duke devises a plan to save Claudio and bring Angelo to book, but also to have Isabella for himself.
Vakhtangov Theatre (named after the influential director Yevgeny Vakhtangov, who died in 1922) is famed for uniting the twin influences of Meyerhold and Stanislavsky; Meyerhold was big on symbolism and it shows here. As the play opens the cast litter the stage with rubbish and when Angelo appears they clear it away, and tables are repeatedly turned in various scenes on an otherwise empty set.
Vakhtangov is also known for the physicality of its performances and there’s an awful lot of stage business – mugging, having a member of the audience to hand a prop to the cast, making improv comedy out of a plastic glass being stood on noisily by a groundling. It could be irritating, but when it works, it really does work; we see the moral tightrope Isabella is walking between virtue and loyalty as she carefully treads an imaginary line on stage, and her scenes with both Angelo and later the Duke are choreographed as if in a ballet.
The director has cast Sergey Epishev (pictured with Evgeniya Kregzhde) as both Duke and Angelo, so he sets out his stall early; we know that they are two sides of the same coin, men who are equally prey to their weaknesses, whether it be lust or ego. The casting means the denouement, where the Duke reveals to a shocked Angelo and Co what he has done, cannot, of course, happen here. Instead the surtitles tell us what has transpired and this production’s last scene, between the Duke and Isabella, has a stunning impact.
This is a very clear, if very individual, reading of the play. Epishev nicely delineates his two characters, while Evgeniya Kregzhde is heartbreaking as Isabella and Vladimir Beldiyan makes the cowardly Claudio very sympathetic. The rest of the cast are expressive in a highly original and gripping production.
One small quibble with Globe to Globe; why no productions in Celtic and Gaelic languages from the British Isles, or British regional vernaculars? Maybe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole is already planning another season, homegrown this time – I do hope so.
As a Shakespeare trained actor, my daughter was in absolute heaven watching the brilliance of these interpretations of Shakespeare’s wonderful plays. The first two productions were performed in the rain and like actors anywhere, these actors from around the world are the same when it comes to adjusting to circumstances beyond their control; rain, slippery stages and airplanes going overhead. Please note for those who have not been to this theater, it is an open air theater with no roof.
I am not sure which plays my daughter will attend , but I will try to report back on which ones she plans to attend. We have discussed the plays and I have encouraged her to attend as many as she can. I am so excited to get her reports. I so wish I could be there with her to partake of this most historic event at the Globe Theater.
I need to remain at Gullringstorp because we have goat babies on the way. Alika, Keriana and Nanna our mothers-to-be are doing just fine and growing larger everyday.
Goat babies or Shakespeare? This country gal must stay in the country for now!
Quick update : Frida is doing well on her 2nd day of her broad spectrum antibiotic injections !