Tag Archives: Helen Mirren

Best. Shakespeare. Ever.

I was initially a tad dubious about these beamed-in theatre productions where theatres film their output and transmit it simultaneously to cinemas all over the world.  Whilst I could see that it enabled thousands more people to see a play which they might not otherwise get to attend, it seemed a rather dislocated experience.  It must also be hard for the actors, knowing that they are performing for a dual audience and that as well as having to project to the gods at the National (or wherever) they will have cameras on them doing a close-up.

But I am now a total convert, having seen not only Hedda Gabler from the National but also, on Saturday, the completely amazing NT production of Twelfth Night, starring in a gender-bent role, Tamsin Greig as Malvolia.

I always respected Tamsin Greig as an actor.  Her ultra-distinctive voice is rarely heard on The Archers nowadays, as Debbie is permanently in Hungary, but I loved her in Black Books and various other things on the good box.  But I basically thought of her as a soap/sitcom actress and had No Idea of what heights of comic invention she could ascend on the stage.  Her Malvolia was the funniest, most striking, most pathetic, most hilarious and outrageous I have ever seen.  And though she was the best thing in it, the cast as a whole was far from dusty.  Setefane claimed that Phoebe Fox was the finest member of the cast, playing another gender-bent role, Olivia (a woman pretending to be her own brother).  And ’tis true, she was indeed brilliant, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Tamsin Greig.  Best.  Twelfth Night.  Ever.  In fact, possibly the best Shakespeare ever – in my experience at least.

Gender-bending is common in Shakespeare when not only did boys play women, but characters often pretended to be of the other sex.  But recently in more feminist style, roles have been swapped; so recently Helen Mirren has played Prospera in The Tempest and Maxine Peake, Hamlet:

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2014/sep/26/female-hamlets-sarah-bernhardt-maxine-peake-in-pictures

If you get a chance to see this production, go.  Sell your house and all its contents, but go.  It’s terrific.

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/twelfth-night

Kirk out

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Training update

According to Mark, the phrase “Peace be upon him” which Muslims are supposed to utter when mentioning the Prophet, is abbreviated to “pub”.
– How? I said. How is that abbreviated to pub?
With a lot of imagination, I suspect.

A lot of memories of my early life coming back to me. A sign of senility, I’m sure. Remember those 1/3 pint milk bottles?

I used to hate school milk. Thatcher’s first claim to fame was when she stopped it and earned the sobriquet “Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher.”
Watched “The Queen” last night. Really excellent film, sympathetic to both sides. Helen Mirren is one of my favourite actresses. I truly love her.

I have discovered something about myself in a moment of epiphany. But it’s not time to tell the world yet.

Watch this space!

Training today – I’m feeling a little shy. A bit unfortunate as I’m going to be up on the plinth doing it in front of – well, six people and a pigeon. Plus the webcam. But Mark (blessings be upon him)* is going to come with me at lunchtime.

Great teacher training yesterday. Theme of maya (illusion). Plus lots of interesting talk about mudra.
Enjoy!
Kirk out.
* is this abbreviated to “bub”?

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