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Posts Tagged ‘brighton’

I would have liked my first post in months to be something nice, but we can’t always get what we want. So on we go.

I was doubtful when I read the description of the Teatr Pieśń Kozła (Song of the Goat) production of Macbeth on the Brighton Dome website. Something about the way they emphasised music and ‘muscularity’ made me hesitant, but I went anyway. It’s been a while since I saw any theatre, and I do love me some Shakespeare. Then I saw the sign on the door of the Corn Exchange that said the production was an hour and five minutes long.

Macbeth.

In an hour and five minutes.

At this point I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong, but I’d already bought the ticket, so I figured I might as well give it a chance. The director spoke to us before the production started, saying that the production had been created for Polish audiences and that was why the emphasis was on musicality, and also that a cast member had recently been injured so they’d had to adjust some staging. He seemed weirdly apologetic, and now I see why.

When I go to see a production of Shakespeare, it’s because I want to see Shakespeare. I do not want to see someone’s oblique interpretation of what Shakespeare might be like if his work was written and staged by a schizophrenic 10-year-old.

It seems like the idea of a rank amateur, thinking they’re going to totally re-imagine Shakespeare. Doing it straight up is for unimaginative plebes, I guess, which is presumably why the production was mostly musical and used only a fraction of the text. This is not to say that a Shakespeare production has to use every bit, or even most of it. It’s just that if you’re going to cut out the vast majority of Shakespeare’s text, you damn well better have something interesting to put in its place. And if, instead of this, you have your actors prancing around onstage, singing in groups, and doing vaguely symbolic choreography, it becomes difficult for even someone who’s familiar with the text to figure out what the hell is going on.

I can see now why the production was only an hour long, since even that seemed like an eternity of silly choreography and slightly disconcerting appropriation of Asian aesthetics. The actual story seemed rushed through in between interpretive dance segments, so that it felt more like a revue than a play. Maybe that was how it was supposed to feel, but the whole thing seemed so disjoined that it put me off.

It wasn’t all bad. Some of the harmonising and singing was quite nice. The use of the female voices during the murder of Banquo was interesting and a bit chilling (even if it did bring to mind Quentin Tarantino films). But the production was inconsistent, and a lot of the talk-singing and really mannered acting just clunked. In the future, I think I’ll stick with the RSC.

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When I came here in September, it was with very specific intentions. Brighton was a step in the right direction, a means to an end. I planned to do my degree and then move to London to work in the publishing industry. I planned to do a lot of things that didn’t work out.

My life has been one of anticipation. I’ve always been waiting for the next stage, the next place, the next step on the trail of something resembling a real life. I’ve always been restless and discontent. I’ve always felt trapped by places, boxed in by circumstance, which only made me want to get out that much more. I don’t feel that anymore.

It could be age. I’ll be 29 next month. Maybe subconsciously I want to Settle Down. Find a relatively permanent place to live where I’m not always straining forward to see what’s next, like an impatient terrier. I’d like to buy furniture. I want to bring my cat over and maybe acquire a few more. I want to get comfortable.

Maybe it’s the people as well. I’ve always thought of myself as a loner, lurking on the fringes of social groups. I am a rock, I am an island. Now I realise that’s probably a load of crap. I like seeing people I know all the time. I like going out and knowing half the people in the room. All the things I’ve been involved with this year, for good or ill, have brought me into orbit with some amazing individuals. I’ve made friends with people that I’m not sure I could bear to leave behind.

There are more things in this city than are dreamt of in my philosophy. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I’ve been spoiled by the juxtaposition of the ocean with parkland. I can get on a train to London and be there in an hour, and by the time I’m sick of concrete and heavy traffic, I’m on the train back home. I can look out the window as it approaches the station and see the hills covered with lights, rows of houses that all lead down to the sea. I can walk home late at night and watch the foxes lope across the grass.

So yeah. I’d like to stay. If that’s okay.

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