Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Adventures in the Dublin Theatre Festival - part one

I saw a couple of things, mostly in foreign, and sat too far back to enjoy them properly.

Orestes (not in foreign) won plaudits from many for being the first classically themed production in some time to not have some spurious relationship with the Iraq War grafted onto it. It tells the story of Orestes and Elektra on the last night before their death. The educated among you may remember their tale – they had murdered their mother to avenge her murder of their father; they are then sentenced to death as matricides. This production was based on Euripides' version of the story, and focuses mainly on the psychological effects of murdering your mother, even if it might in some sense be justified. Orestes has completely gone to pieces and has to be looked after by Elektra in a somewhat creepy manner. The play does unfortunately end abruptly, but I liked it.

The Vacationers (by Maxim Gorky) was performed in Russian by some Russian theatre company, with English surtitles. Sadly, the surtitles were not the best and often seemed to bear no relation to what was happening on stage, so it was all a bit incomprehensible. The characters seemed to be all incredibly annoying representatives of the pre-Revolutionary bourgeoisie who were out on holidays somewhere in those dacha things Russian people go on about. The cack-handed surtitles severely detracted from my enjoyment of the play, but it was nice to look at the attractive Russian lady actors.

La TempĂȘte was a Canadian production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, done in a high tech styleeee, about which there was always a "blimey, how did they do that?" air. It was all very impressive and so on, but maybe a straighter production would have been better, especially for someone like me who has never seen the play before. I also found having the same (excellent) lady actor play both Caliban and Ariel a bit confusing.

I enjoyed comparing the whole thing to Forbidden Planet, considering out how the characters could be mapped onto each other.


Trish Byrne said...

In the RSC's London season early next year, Patrick Stewart will be playing Prospero in the Tempest. I imagine that would be a good production to start with.

ian said...

Imagine if Patrick Stewart actually had Prospero's powers.