Friday, June 14, 2013

Queen Elizabeth II, aka Helen Mirran

Two sold out showing of the simulcast (or near-simultaneous) of Helen Mirran in yet another role as Queen Elizabeth II by the same writer, Peter Morgan.  She was The Queen in the movie a few years ago and now, again The Queen in the stage play, The Audience. The movie was the more successful, at least in America because we Americans don't have enough history of British prime ministers to get anything like all the references and political situations that were discussed although the writer tried to make them very straight forward and clear.  As expected Mirran was superb -- and the stage craft was wonderful (also as expected)-- amazingly quick costume changes-- often including wig changes. 

The casting of the various prime ministers was problemmatic for us with our stereotyped mental picture of Winston Churchill (the actor didn't resemble that near mythological figure at all) or of Margaret Thatcher who was so brilliantly played in the American bio-pic by Meryl Streep -- the actress seemed a giantress approriately dressed but looking nothing like Thatcher herself or Streep. The portrait of the queen was sympathetic, nuanced and believable -- the man ought to have that right and he was convincing.

In an intermision interview Morgan disappointed me. The dialog had to be entirely invented since the meetings were entirely private and no one spoke of what they discussed except when a few prime ministers wrote autobiographies and in those cases were circumspect. So Morgan invented all the dialog pure and simple. He had the historic facts right, he had the characters clear. When asked about how he wrote it he talked about truth and accuracy -- he hoped to portray the truth of the meetings by being accurate to the facts of the situation.  But he never came right out and said that writing is an act of the imagination and an art and that a writer with enough research and information, with understanding of human character can write imaginary conversations with the patina of truth --which the play had.

1 comment:

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

Love Helen in anything she does. Going to check on The Audience. Thanks