January 24, 2006

The Comedy of Errors

Saw The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors today. Never seen a fouler misogynistic bawdy slapstick thing in my life. Loved it totally! Spent fifteen quid on the ticket, and got to sit in a forty five quid seat. I’ve decided to forgive my parents for bringing me into the world one year too soon, and denying me the young persons discount. I’ve used that extra year to qualify myself for a job that pays me more than enough to cover for the loss. Being extra optimistic because expecting PMS and essay evaluation soon, so playing for the contrast.

On either side of me at the play today sat two gentlemen aged well over 60. During the interval, they struck up a conversation, to which I was a silent and most amused party. The man on the left was disapproving of all the stage “business”, the ragtag extras who add effect and impose meaning upon Shakespeare’s text in a performance that does not otherwise seem overtly reinterpretative. He pleaded for Shakespeare being allowed to tell his powerful tale alone, without the monkey business. He was, as the gentleman on the right pointed out, a “Globe” man; one who likes the bare stage and sparse cast of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare is less suffocated by the addition of spectacle to his tale. Of course layers of meaning get added in the performance, but no more than would have been done in his own time.

The man on the right then described the last interpretation of the Comedy of Errors he had seen. It was by a group that calls itself the Oily Cart, and if you visit the site, you’ll have a fair idea of what it must have been like. It sounded most interesting! Also, I felt like I was among peers, a feeling that no classroom has afforded me so far in this country. I smiled silently to myself, for being a 70 year old British man on the inside.

Peeped into the programme that the lady in front had paid three quid fifty for (one day’s food budget, not to be wasted on colorful paper). Apparently Southwark Playhouse is staging Macbeth! Going to that website directly after posting this!

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