Posted 11 March 2007 - 04:16 PM
Posted 11 March 2007 - 05:48 PM
I have to disagree. I have worked there and watched shows and I love the space. Horses for courses, I guess
As you have worked there have you had some seats not available to the public (as mentioned above)? The acceptable seats can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The worst are the most expensive - bench seats in centre of the stalls that are impossible unless one is sitting next to an ultra thin person.
And it really is the same every time design wise, really predictable, and the whole style of the performance. I have seen only two productions that worked there - Adrian Noble's Little Eyolf (Ibsen), and the Judi Dench All's Well. Everything else has been a compromise.
And the whole infra-structure smacks of the village hall, and a not very well equipped one either.
Posted 11 March 2007 - 08:10 PM
I'm not a devout proscenium-ist and believe that thrust stages can work well if properly designed and used imaginatively. I'm sure I saw somewhere that part of the reasoning with The Swan design was to do with authenticity to Elizabethan proportions. I'm afraid I have little patience with those arguments - we are not an Elizabethan audience and can never see a play throught Elizabethan eyes - so why should we not profit from the advances that have been made in theatre design over the last four hundred years?
It was, however, interesting to see how some of the visiting companies used it during the Complete Works season - I thought that Tim Supple's 'Dream' and Kneehigh's 'Cymbeline' used the space well... but even they couldn't do anything about the cramped discomfort and crook neck.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 03:55 PM
Posted 12 March 2007 - 04:12 PM
very pleased to see william houston getting some recognition though.. his sejanus was wonderful and he's a great guy.
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should
Posted 12 March 2007 - 04:39 PM
The best production I sw there was the first Season's The Fair Maid of the West, when with the flick of a rope or a table cloth suspended, or a curtain half drawn, the scene was changed from a inn courtyard to a Moorish boudoir to the deck of an Elizabethan galley! Great stuff
But this is waa-y off topic, sorry! Would be interested to see Coriolanus, so soon after the Globe's last year. Must make an expedition up there soon!
Posted 12 March 2007 - 11:48 PM
The loos, I agree, are awful [ not enough and cramped, scalding water and silly hot air driers ] and getting a drink in the interval painful but then that's the same as the West End, but you do get to go outside on a summer evening. And The Cherry Orchard there was magical even from a side seat in an upper gallery. You don't need to be face on to the front any more than you do at The Donmar.
The Courtyard, the temporary theatre thay have built next to the The Other Place, feels quite different; I think it will be interesting to see how McKellen for example gets on this summer connecting to the audience. I think there is disconnection between playing space and audience in this theatre. Difficult to define. But this is a very user friendly theatre with good loos and lots of foyer area and again with outside space for those balmy summer days of global warming.
I do however share your concerns about the reconstruction of the old theatre interior. I am dreading that bleak auditorium feel, the integrated plastic seats, the steel rails, the fake wood effect and the trendy logo flooring...
I shall be saying my goodbye to the old interior this weekend and patting affectionately the seat I sat in on my first visit so many years ago.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:33 AM
Posted 13 March 2007 - 04:31 PM
We are not 'wrong' about the Swan - we just have a different opinion to yours, as valid as yours is.
I think the Swan appeals to the hair-shirt, Puritan element, the kind of audience that T.S. Eliot mentioned in his essay about Poetry and Drama, as thinking they had done something 'meritorious' by attending a verse drama. I'm sick of 'right-on' studio spaces. Give us a good proscenium arch with a decent set!
Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:49 PM
Lynette, interesting to read your thoughts about McKellen in The Courtyard. I think it's a phenomenal space and I've actually performed on the stage itself too. (As part of a performance on my school's speech day, which is usually held at the RSC - I'm no actor!) It felt fantastic to be up there, I felt very close to the audience, and it seemed quite intimate as a space. We found the acoustics in there hard though, it's quite hard to fill it - I'm sure it's no problem for trained actors, but I have heard rumour that some of them have had the same comment. I hope if there are problems that these are ironed out for the RST refurb. Having said that, from the audience (with a full house) it feels like you could hear a whisper from the stage with no problem at all.
On Coriolanus - I'm surprised people enjoyed it so much! It didn't do much for me - I didn't like the first 15-20 mins, although I thought the 2nd half much stronger.
And no-one's mentioned Timothy West?! I saw it in preview and he fluffed almost every line, from his very first appearance. It made me feel awkward every time he came on - it looked like he was struggling to remember his next line all the way through and just waiting for his cues. What a liability!
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