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#2174 - 08/10/11 07:47 PM Almost LIVE !
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
A new and possibly unused topic, prompted by a promotional blurb shown at a local theater promising Broadway shows to come. Unfortunately, the sound was not working, so I don't know if they'll be live transmissions or digital recordings. All that the screen showed was a series of actors' faces that flashed by too fast to be recognized, punctuated by the word BROADWAY! in huge letters every five seconds. All I can say for certain is that something is coming.

Also, I wanted to post something about The Globe's productions, and the fact that I saw Henry IV, Part 1 in a movie theater doesn't make it a movie. It's a recording of a stage production. Almost live. So, on to Henry...

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#2175 - 08/10/11 07:52 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
I had mixed feelings about The Globe's Henry IV, Part 1, but mostly I enjoyed it. Frankly, with a few exceptions, the acting was not all that good. King Henry, for instance, was not at all kingly. Light voice, loose body movements, monotone delivery...no authority, no dignity; he came across as just a ranting old man. Prince Hal and Hotspur were played by two puppies who yipped their lines while bouncing around the stage like a couple of hyperkinetic kids. They were both obviously of the school of thought that if you say your lines fast enough, the audience will never know it's poetry. The women, in their tiny roles, gave high-schoolish performances.

But there were two outstanding performances, not coincidentally given by the two actors with the best voices. One, of course, was Falstaff, played by Roger Allam, a man completely comfortable in the role. Part of his performance was schtick (director-instructed, I suspect), but Allam's sense of comic timing carried it off beautifully. At times you could see him working the audience, but he did it with such panache that you didn't mind at all. The scene following the robbery was hilarious, real laugh-out-loud funny. That scene alone was worth the price of a ticket. This was Allam's play; all those royals and other people were just incidentals.

The other outstanding performance was given by William Gaunt in the role of Worcester. Beautiful, resonant voice, and Gaunt delivered his lines as if they actually had some meaning. I wish he had been cast as Henry.

It was an unbalanced production; clearly more attention had been given to the comic scenes than to the serious ones. Perhaps that's necessary, with this play; Falstaff plays funnier than he reads. But the serious scenes should be something more than just waiting periods until Falstaff comes back.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how they all do in Part 2.

[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 08-11-2011).]

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#2176 - 08/11/11 03:58 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Christopher Offline
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Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
I've never heard of Roger Allam, but he must have been around for a while to give a performance like that. Hm, I guess I'll be going to Part 2.

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#2177 - 08/11/11 04:52 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Anonymous
Unregistered


He was the Queen's private secretary in (you guessed it!) The Queen and a supercilious author and philanderer who got his come-uppance in Tamara Drewe. Plus various roles on TV in Britain.

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#2178 - 08/12/11 08:51 AM Re: Almost LIVE !
Lorna Offline
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Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
I'm wishing now I'd gone. I've never seen a production of this two-part play, and I'm sure that must be the reason I've never found Falstaff funny. Just didn't see it.

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#2179 - 08/12/11 09:42 AM Re: Almost LIVE !
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
Oh, thank goodness! I thought I was the only one who didn't think Falstaff was funny.

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#2180 - 08/12/11 11:42 AM Re: Almost LIVE !
Anonymous
Unregistered


Falstaff isn't all that funny. He's bombastic, he's a coward, he's drunk most of the time... but in HIV Part 2 he becomes rather pathetic and is eventually humiliated (to the extent that even he can understand). There's something of this in Verdi's opera, except that it ends on an upbeat note. But Shakespeare makes him die offstage in HV and it always brings a lump to my throat.

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#2181 - 08/13/11 04:19 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
In the very first act of Part 1, Hal says:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
Henry IV isn't about a young prince maturing into a king, as I've often heard claimed; Hal had his plan in place right from the very start.
So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
Hal is using Falstaff, using him to make himself look better. Falstaff is being set up; he's the "sullen ground" that will make Hal's "bright metal" shine even brighter. That makes Hal sly, conniving, and manipulative. I think we're meant to be amused by Hal's cleverness instead of taking it all too seriously, but I would never buy a used car from him.

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#2182 - 08/14/11 12:25 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Could he just be making excuses? Like, "I'm having too much fun to stop now, but I'll make up for it later?"

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#2183 - 08/14/11 02:59 PM Re: Almost LIVE !
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Ha! Yes, I suppose it could be that.

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