Thoughts on…Blogs this week

Having just moved Miching Malicho over here to Between the Acts, I have been a little bit more interested in what other Theatre/Culture blogs look like this week.  In reading through some blogs I came across  Cultural Tales of Two Cities.  I really like the way that the blog focuses on the two cities of Manchester and London, though there is a review of the RSC Twelfth Night there so clearly towns and cities between Manchester and London count.  There was a very interesting comment on the casting of Richard Wilson as Malvolio in the RSC’s Twelfth Night  on the blog this week.  The blog notes that this production was

A play of two halves really for the RSC’s latest Stratford offering. This production of ‘Twelfth Night’ was apparently delayed until Richard Wilson was available to play Malvolio. I am just not sure that someone who is so known for one character can credibly play another. At times it felt like the audience was waiting for him to announce ‘I don’t believe it’… (Cultural Tales of Two Cities accessed 8th November 2009)

 I always think that Peter Kirwin’s Bardathon is so informative, and  this week he was writing about the RSC’s Days of Significance and commenting on its relationship to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.   I was interested to see that Blogging By Numbers was writing about Mother Courage and Their Children last week with a big But:

But – and this is one of those huge, clunking buts – I was never less than engaged. I loved the invention. I loved the humour. I loved the money I could see had been spent. I loved, loved Fiona Shaw as a Mother Courage that you were at once compelled and repulsed by. (Blogging By Number accessed 8th November 2009)

This still makes me feel I should have gone to see the whole thing after all after having the just the first half experience.

I’m writing about blogging at the moment, as well as blogging about blogging, which feels a little indulgent.  I am interested in the idea that Web 2.0 opens up the web for the audience to produce and to inform what is being written and produced.  The myriad of opinion out there is often engaging and interesting and we have the choice to read or not. 

As blogs appear and we all get a say, one blog that seems to have gone is Patricia 1957 Arts Diary.  I really enjoyed reading the posts on Patricia 1957 Arts Diary , but it looks like this has been deleted which is a shame.   My move from Miching Malicho to Between the Acts is about changing virtual personas.  However, the disappearance of  Patricia1957ArtsDiary shows that on the blogosphere we can have a voice and silence our own voices just as quickly. 

 

Mother Courage and Her Children (National Theatre, 10th September 2009)

Yes – I was there that night.  That’s my feeling looking back at my experience at the Preview of the National Theatre’s Mother Courage and Her Children.  The pre-show was a busy chaotic affair and it felt like the lines between setting up the show and the show itself were blurred.  The sound of an explosion every now and again created some tension.  However, the pre-show seemed to go on and on and it didn’t  seem to be going anywhere.   Then the director took a mic on stage and introduced herself.  Deborah Warner then informed us that the cast had been working up to 5 pm, but hadn’t finished to the technical side and as there was a danger to the cast so they were going to perform the play as far as the interval.  Deborah Warner then went on to say that if anyone left they could get a refund, but if the audience chose to stay they could also ask for a refund.  Some got up to go.  Others got up and came back.  Most of us stayed.

I must admit that I wasn’t sure if this was really going to happen and that this was just part of the performance or that the performance would stop at the point when the interval was to take place.  The performance was an eclectic mix of things.  There was a use of multi media which I thought worked much better than in Julius Caesarat the RSC.  Yes Fiona Shaw can’t sing beautifully but her singing added to the performance and I really liked the way the backing band could mimic her voice.  No this wasn’t the seventeenth century with its floral deck chairs and a wagon that would look in place at the side of a busy road.  I was surprised, mystified, entertained and I enjoyed what I saw. 

So when the interval came nearly two and half hours later, I really felt that I had seen enough.  There was another six scenes to go.  Was it an interval or not?  There was a curtain call.  Some people stood up to applaud and others cheered.  My interval drink wasn’t poured, but the glass stood on the bar empty in case I wanted my drink.  I travel a long way to the National and I won’t be able to find the time or money to come back to see this production.  Was I disappointed?  Not really.  It had been a theatre going experience that I will remember and yes two and the half hours was worth my money.

Articles

Mother Courage delays Press Night (What’s On Stage)
Mother Courage – The Preview that Wasn’t in The Guardian
Mother Courage rehearsal diary in The Times