Keeping it real

There’s something about live theatre, live performances that I love. And I love being up close. The immediacy. The realness. The connection.

I can’t get excited about movies. And rarely have a burning desire to go to the cinema – Harry spotter films excepted.

In the last month I’ve see three live shows. A feast after a year of little. Quite the member of the literati intelligentsia! Cultural elite, that’s me.

I think some of the audience in The Last Confession with David Suchet bought tickets because they confused Suchet with Poirot. Some didn’t return after intermission. You know I love Poirot! But who is so silly to think actors are the one character and will be that character in a different story? And silly enough to part with $100 for a ticket.

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The play did have a crime, well a possible crime, and an investigation and a court case. Very wordy, in the manner of A Man for all Seasons, with little action. And very male. But that’s to be expected in a play about the Vatican in the 70s.

Such strong acting, though. Impressive performances all round. The only annoying bit was the set. It was as if the set designer was proving how clever he/she was with a movable feast of backgrounds. So much flipping and twisting took away from the play and the changes didn’t really make a noticeable difference. I started to get irked and wanted them to just stop already.

Oh, and I was right up the front. Row four. Have I said I’m in the in crowd?

Another week, another performance by a visiting Pom. Saw Bill Bailey. This was absolutely the best stand-up comedy routine I have seen. Ever! Talented, smart, verbally dexterous. He is amazing. I was worried as I was so tired. Friday nights are not good for me. But I laughed so much, my tiredness disappeared. As my partner in comedy said, there were so many jokes, so many stories, so much too laugh at, that you can’t remember individual lines or jokes.

Bailey sung Wrecking Ball in German. Played and sung heavy death-metal in an Australian and Devon accent. (He’s right. It just doesn’t work.) Played the instrument of geeks, the theremin. Moved with the fluidity of a boneless chicken. And regaled us with stories, replete with actions. What a range of faces he has! Such a raconteur, a Bon Vivant.

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Oh, and less than four metres away was sitting Australian royalty – Brian Brown and his wife, Rachel Ward, with Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne. Don’t worry, I played it cool. No photos. Cause you know, I’m cool, as well as part of the literati. (Have I overplayed this yet?) And then we saw that Dr Karl K was sitting with them. Not quite Australian royalty, but loved in my family of science geeks.

Lastly, I went to a local theatre production. Community theatre group’s production of Pride and Prejudice. It was my first visit to this local theatre company and I was thoroughly impressed.

Pride and Prejudice is one of my top three favourite novels. It is a rollicking tale and I wondered how it would be condensed into an evening’s entertainment. (Who doesn’t love the BBC miniseries? Imagine that abridged!) Well the play captured the essence.

And the acting? The mostly young cast (after all the main characters are all young) were fantastic. I was entertained and could see them as the character, rather than “acting”. I will definitely be returning to this theatre.

All in all, live performances are in my definition of a gorgeous life. (Together with travel, books, gardens to sit in, and a lovely home. Bugger about work and making a change in people’s lives.)

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17 thoughts on “Keeping it real

  1. OMG! Forget the theatre – you sat near 4 of my favouritest people ever! I would not have contained myself. There could even have been surreptitious photos. And I totally would have hassled Jennifer Byrne and forced her to converse with me. And Denton. And I would have invited them home for dinner. My husband is even worse, he actually regularly approaches any class of ‘famous’ people (generally footballers, here in Melbourne) and makes small talk.

    I adore Bill Bailey as well. I would have invited him home, too.

    • Now where’s your Melbourne cool?

      Anyway, if you’d seen Rachel Ward, you wouldn’t have approached them. She had a bubble of self-containment, and a Don’t Mess with Me look.

      But it was exciting.

  2. Oh wait! I forgot to add that I *have* indeed approached Dr. Karl in real life several times to chat! He lived near us when we were in Sydney and I used to see him at the shopping centre sometimes – lol!

  3. I went to musicals at school – compulsory culture as a boarding school attendee. I do not like them. I suppose there’s so much unknowns with theatre, at least some musicals (I know) are better known. I’m not great with ballets either, but I love the photos and the form and a doco I saw some of at the gym yest. I don’t have the long attention span? or the late nights? I don’t know. I had some compulsory culture injection, but it wasn’t enough to get me infected… still a movie fiend :p

    • Agree with you on ballet. Love the beauty of it but couldn’t sit through a performance.

      I’d pick theatre over movies, though. Already have two booked for 2015. One with Richard Roxborough. Love him!

  4. Well, I was a theatre major at school (before library degree) so I am biased. I love to watch shows and think about how they did things and what’s going on behind the scenes. The performances are different every night so you never know quite what you’ll get (but can expect professionalism, regardless). And the audience reaction to the show affects how it plays out. If it is a play for which I’ve already seen the movie version, I am usually impressed by how they adapt the script and situate it on a stage rather than filming on location around the world! You saw Bill Bailey – lucky, lucky you! And I have never casually approached a celebrity except purposely at a book signing or a merch table!

    • Yes, you strike me as someone who wouldn’t casually approach a celebrity. Too respectful of their space.

      A theatre major? Interesting. I, too, love thinking about how they think things out. I am always impressed with the creativity of people. And, of course, I love words, so theatre is my thing in a way other performing arts are not, like ballet and dance. Just don’t get them.

  5. I love theater too! Happy to hear you enjoyed yourself! 🙂 In college, we had to memorize and perform an act of Othello two ways, and my group chose to act it out in the classroom and videotape an at-home performance to play on the classroom’s tv. It really hit home how different the two mediums are from an actor’s perspective and even our audience commented on how much more genuine the live performance seemed.

    Thankfully Hubby is game for theater as long as it’s humorous, and if it’s something particularly sad or dramatic (or involving what he deems “too much” singing, heaven forbid), then my mom is a willing companion. So I usually get to see something at least once a year, two or three times if I’m lucky!

    • That sounds like a very interesting assignment!

      Mr S saw a live performance of Othello when he was in his final year of secondary school. Imagine a theatre full of high school students who have studied Othello for their leaving exam. 17 and 18 year olds. It’s the 1970s, all hair and sexual revolution. Desdemona came on stage in full frontal nudity! I think anything else is downhill for Mr S. He never comes with me to the theatre. Or perhaps he was scarred for life. (Unlikely!) though he did come and see a performance of The Importance of Being Ernest.

    • Thank you, Lovely Jo. Sometimes we have to shut down to conserve our energy and life force, like switching off all the peripherals to keep the central unit functioning! Full energy is almost restored. Hope you are feeling well after your massive year?

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