For those in Peril on the Sea

A pertinent caption there as I have seen two show this week about exactly that. I should catch Titanic again and make it a trio. But first up was my beloved noye’s Fludde – 55 minutes of joy. This was at the Theatre royal stratford east – I think I have only been once there, but what history it has there. And a gorgeous theatre too. This production was rather good, in shades of grey until the rainbow, which was not a rainbow but splashes of colour. I know every word of this piece and thrill at hearing it’s ripe language. The production had some glorious moments, especially the appearance of the ark, but they opted out for showing the Firmament which is sad as musically it is so great at the moment, with the handbells going ten to the dozen. The animal masks were a bit casual but it was full of lovely images and moved me enormously.
The second piece was the Life of Pi, over at Sheffield, a provincial theatre with a good reputation, but heck what a first class production this was, and the loud gasps that echoed through the theatre I apologize for. Wonderful detailed but very stylised puppets, lighting that really put us at sea, and staging that I just wanted to clap. An imaginative script that juggled the three narratives beautifully segueing from on to the other with such lightness. and boy did it ask some major questions, and certainly did not shy away from the animals being killed and eaten. The beautiful turtle gliding silently round the stage met a ghastly and pertinent fate, and I could not really believe that I was seeing it. and the moment that Richard Parker finally gave in and rested his head on Pi’s lap did make me gasp and cry. So many such images. I was elated and dumb, but now I am so depressed as this is the sort of thing I should be doing, solving such problems with theatrical dexterity.
I did go to a one to one creative session with a local theatre this week, and felt utterly patronised with them looking at me clearly thinking I’m not one of the clique. But the thing that galled me was talking quite naturally about the arts and not showing off, but even the most basic cultural knowledge was outside of their frame of reference. And these are people supposedly giving out money for exciting projects. Shameful.
And what of the CG Lion King that is causing so much fuss. Basically without the artifice, realistic lions bursting into song is certainly uncomfortable. The artifice gives license for such things as overt composition, music and choreography and funny movements. This is causing much heated debate. My answer is look at the dumstruck audience at Pi yesterday. Did it worry us that we could see three operators with the tiger or that the jackall had no back legs, or that the lifeboat was rather crowded. not one jot! it was more powerful than the film, way more powerful.

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