Friday, December 16, 2016

Magnificent acting

Harold Pinter's play No Man's Land  was simulcast, live, yesterday and shown at the Cape Cinema, to a very sizable crowd. Pinter is not easy to understand and in this case I simply didn't care, I suppose they could have been speaking almost any language. The pleasure of watching two of England's most experienced and brilliant actors was pure delight.  I think they have both been knighted. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart make every moment they are on stage glow with their immersion in the roles. My son-in-law appreciates good acting and good plays but he thinks of McKellen as Gandolf (from Lord of the Rings) and Stewart as Dr. something (Picard?) from Star Wars. I think of McKellen as Richard III and Stewart as the kind of older man who I REALLY would like to know.  Two other characters in the play were acted by Damien Molony and Owen Teale, Molony introduced as Stewart's son and Molony as a butler. Just who they all are is a question my thoughtful  son-in-law answered on the way home as "all the same person at different ages" and that is very likely right although I am going to read some commentary when I get a bit of time and see if others agree with him. 

I admit to an elitist taste in theatre, and as I've noted before, I do not own a TV and go only to movies that are somehow more than "just entertainment". The almost stunning complexity of the conversations between the two stars doesn't necessarily tell a graspable story, some of it is Pinter's love of language and playfulness with it.  The physical interplay, sometimes subtle, sometimes broad, was at a level that is very rare in New York theatre but a trademark of the English style. The simulcast format actually gives viewers around the world a clearer look at the nuances of their facial expressions that one is like to see from most theatre seats). 

This gives me enough joy to keep me smiling until the next simulcast, Amadeus on February 2nd.  I feel enormously lucky to live an easy drive from the art cinema that brings National Theatre Live and also brings live performances from the Metropolitan Opera and from the Bolshoi Ballet.  All affordable as they would not be in their cities of origin.


Lynn Guardino said...

June, I thought the two younger men were "caretakers"
I agree with you about what a privilege it is to be able to get to NTL.
As my friend Pam said, "someday we will look back and say that we were fortunate enough to have seen those two brilliant actors work together" What an experience!
Can't wait for Amadeus.

June Calender said...

Thanks, Lynn. I"m looking forward to Amadeus too -- from brief preview, it will NOT be like the movie.