michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

Nineteenth Century Literature- Drama Presentations 06

Well done all. Here is a whole class shot to pop into your LJ as a reminder:

Thank you all for bringing back into focus these 3 amazing plays we have been studying. Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard", Ibsen's "Hedda Gabbler" and Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest". What connects these 3 plays - aside from the date of publication- is their satire on the emptiness of middle-class life when shorn of any inner human or spiritual values. These characters all suffer a kind of ennui- and the reason these plays are still popular is because this touches a chord with our own lives today. We might not be dressed so fancifully, but we are still beleagured by the loss of meaning that these three plays embody... in this sense you might say they are "existential" concerned with the problems of existence... and they are a blend of comedy and seriousness... that is part of their charm. But I loved the way a couple of the productions extracted the comic, melodramatic components of Ibsen's play... despite its oh so serious and tragic dimension... I think Ewan has to take the prize as the king of melodrama here!
Here is a quick run through my key comments on various productions- I wont be able to mention everyone by name- you were ALL good: here is a selection:
Group 1 I. of B. E. had a very strong cast with many lines learnt by heart... best actor has to go to Earnest's brother ( the doll!). This was a very polished and well conceived performance overall - with all actors playing strong roles (Cameron- Chasuble/ Carolyn-Augusta/ David - Earnest/ Lauren and Lisa C and Gwendolyn/ Mirna a great Prism!

Group 2 H.G. A strong Hedda G in the presence of Karyn... with gracious tone and rhythm supplied by Jana and others. Adam was a specially vain Tesman!

Group 3 C.O. Go Michael W as a great dancer!!! Some great moments in this production. Good use of music for creating dramatic tension.
Gp 4 I of B.E. Good clear enunciation of lines. Danneth and Christina making a great pair of brothers... Neil a perfect Meriman and Daniel another great Chasuble!...

Gp5 H.G. Ewan's narrator's presence on stage was an innovation that helped to bring out the absurd melodramatic qualities in the play... despite its attempt to overthrow melodrama!

Gp 6 Great idea to turn the Cherry Orchard into an Australian Drama... you could smell the wheat farms and the outback... Daniel's Acubra helped to intensify this impression.
Gp 7 A very forceful Lady Augusta in Justine and some fabulous sex role changes in Josh and Shaunus' versions of Cecily and Gwendolyn... Josh nearly losing his bra at one point!

Gp 8 HG - great idea to have actors circulating here with 2 Hedda's for the price of one: Liana and Nicole... both bringing an international perspective to the role (German and American.... thank you both for your great participation this semester!)
Gp 9 A fantastic modernized version of the Cherry Orchard.... with a great depiction by Stephanie of the diassaffected Charlotta lying upon the piano at the start and Launce as the idiotic Yephikhov... and then a fabulous depiction of the way Chekhov excells in writing in multiple conversations happening on stage simultaneously... capturing the feel of everyday life.. where no one is really listening to anyone except themselves! Thank you Jennifer, Lina, Alyssa, Olivia and Michael...

And thank you to all the behind the scenes tireless workers who made the space for the star actors to strut their stuff.

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