michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

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King Lear at Bondi Pavilion Theatre

I took third year Shakespeare students to see King Lear at Bondi. Thank you Kelly for spotting the show AND for providing the parking: Go Kelly!! We had a relaxing 10 minutes in the Bondi Pub before the show... the beer was good... thank you Simone and Co.(too many important names to mention: Carl, Louwana, Prya, Suzie etc etc... who have I forgotten??) The play was a fascinating production in that it was presented in Kimono style with much Samurai type stage movements. I would have preferred the stage voices to be more strident... but then I am becoming hard of hearing (too much Rock and Roll in my youth!), but the choreography was very original and worked well in some sections. Overall it was a highly stylized production, visually very mobile, almost balletic. Dance and movement were key ingredients. The cast moved in patterns across the stage and there was much roll swapping. The conversation with the Director (who also played Lear) was the highlight of the evening. He gave a new insight into the way Shakespeare wrote both for the dramatic effect, or for the story line AND for the theatrical effect of calling attention to the whole business of Theatre. We do know this about Shakespeare, the fact that he loves to exploit the metaphor of the stage, but a new insight was given by this actor/director. One example he gave was the moment when Edmund stands soliloquizing on stage and then tells the audience how he plans to ACT the part in gulling his father and his brother, his aim being to gain his father's property. At the same time Edmund tells the audience: now watch how I am going to act this out. So Shakespeare uses this and many other opportunities to call attention to the "Acterly" or Theatrical side of the theatre- as opposed to the more formal dramatic qualities of language and story. So the suggestion was made that it was this "Theatrical" element that catered for a wider audience range than the more middle-class and intellectual appeal of the dramatic language... this was a fascinating insight into the theatrical side of Shakespeare on stage. Another idea that was pointed out was that so much of Shakespeare's meaning is expressed through the visual possibilities of what happens on stage- in addition to what happens through the language itself... all in all a very rewarding experience... so one can often gain a great deal from seeing a less than perfect performance... especially when given the opportunity to hear and actor/ director express his own sense of the dramatic possibilities of the piece... AND his frustration with certain elements that did not work as well as he had hoped....

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