Sunday, June 21, 2015

Janie Dee in The Seagull

Curtain call - sorry about terrible photo
Last night to a preview of the wonderful production of The Seagull with Janie Dee at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park.  It is truly outstanding and you should go to see it if you can. The text is an adaptation by Torben Betts which is really fresh and exciting, and the cast are all excellent!

The set has a giant mirror above it and a lake in which people can and do swim at the back. In addition to the incomparable Janie, Lisa Diveney as Masha, Sabrina Bartlett as Nina and Matthew Tennyson as Konstantin shine, with Danny Webb as the Doctor Eugene Dorn and Ian Redford as the retired State Counsellor Peter Sorin also providing lovely layered performances.

To get a feel for the text compare the openings:

MEDVIEDENKO. Why do you always wear mourning?
MASHA. I dress in black to match my life. I am unhappy.
MEDVIEDENKO. Why should you be unhappy? [Thinking it over] I don't understand it. You are healthy, and though your father is not rich, he has a good competency. My life is far harder than yours. I only have twenty-three roubles a month to live on, but I don't wear mourning. [They sit down].

vs

MASHA: Alright then. Let's hear it! What's so wrong with black?
SIMON: I'm just  saying it's an unhappy colour...
MASHA: Well I am unhappy so...
SIMON: But you've nothing to be unhappy about.
MASHA: You've got that wrong so..
SIMON: You're healthy, your family's got cash. Look at me: I'm the unhappy one. I've got no money in the bank and, like teachers everywhere, I'm completely exploited. And I don't always go about as if someone's just died, do I?

Catch it if you can!  And take some time to explore the rose garden in the park first.

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