amruniel: (corsage)

Let me start with saying that today, for once, I'm damn proud to be an Austrian.

Today Conchita Wurst, who won the Eurovision Songcontest 2014 about a week ago, had her first concert in Austria. It's been a free "thank-you"-gig at the Ballhausplatz and well... Let's say Austria hasn't been that great about a drag-queen with beard representing our country at the Songcontest for a long time. Obviously, once the rest of Europe actually voted for her the public reaction changed to "we're so open-minded, we're great with any kind of "different" lifestyle", etc. But still, the loud and persistent homophobia running wild mostly online put a major damper on at least my mood oftentimes.

the reasons ;) )

Another thing I ... well, I actually DIDN'T want to talk about is this interview with Viggo Mortensen: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10826867/Viggo-Mortensen-interview-Peter-Jackson-sacrificed-subtlety-for-CGI.html
But since I can't stop mumbling and grumbling about it and I'm driving people nuts with it, I figured, I might as well get it out here...

grumble grumble )

And then, there are these two videos of Orlando talking about acting in "Romeo and Juliet" I've watched today:


I absolutely adore the way he's talking about stage work. I mean, that's true love and passion for theatre speaking.
I particularly enjoyed the way he's talking about the beauty of Shakespeare's language in the first video as well as his description of the incident where the actor playing the friar completely lost track of his text. I mean, that's a real great way of dealing with the situation, and such a great thing to witness if you're afraid of exactly that happening to you (as Orlando obviously was).

And the second video? Just so much goodness in there ;) I mean, first, the fans talking to him were really great. Really focussing on the theatre part, asking quite insightful questions and keeping their cool for the most part.

And then him revealing that he's actually reading a poem to get into Romeo's mind-set? There's just no doubt in my mind WHICH poem he's reading there... *whistles innocently* And don't even get me started on the last few minutes of the video... I mean... I so loved how he obviously stopped himself from calling Viggo a genius (he really deserves to be called one, so... just keep on gushing about him, honey!) and his reaction to the comment that Viggo is a good-looking guy???! "He's devastatingly handsome"... I... I... I completely and utterly adore this reaction. And it makes my little fangirlish heart beat a lot faster. That's for sure ;) *happy sigh*

So yeah, I could go on and on about these videos, because they once again show me that Orlando really, truly belongs on a stage. He's obviously very happy there and he absolutely can and should be proud of what he accomplished as Romeo. (Although seeing his dedication to the text and the work he put into bringing this person to life really shows me how much it means to him - I wouldn't have needed to see him actually act to completely understand that he'd do his absolute very best in the theatre because it means so much to him....)

But now I do shut up and get to work... it's quite late and I should do something now. I really want and need to get at least 4 hours of sleep before I have to face my co-workers tomorrow *sigh*


amruniel: (corsage)
Let me start by saying that I am trained to analyse theatre productions. I've been studying theatre and film science for years, I really know what I'm doing...

...usually.

This is one of the few times that I am left speechless. This is one of these glorious times where the analytic part of my brain simply shut up in face of the brilliance and enjoyment before my very eyes.
I can assure you, it usually sucks big time to have a little (or rather highly persistent most of the time) voice in your head that constantly rambles on about staging, acting and technical details, when you just want to sit back and enjoy a play or movie. I know I've lost a lot of enjoyment of these things during the last years, and I also know that I'm not too good company in any theatre - constant commentary usually isn't that high on people's priorities when going to a play or a movie. And harsh criticism is not everybody's post-movie/play pastime of choice either. Thankfully, there are a few people who either are trained to do what I do, or who don't mind my rambling who still watch things with me (and big kudos to them, I sometimes can't even stand myself...)
The times a theatre production or a movie really makes an impression on me are limited, and the times I fully sink into the story, just enjoy and don't analyse are very, very, very seldom.

And yet, against all odds, it happened today.

I was fully prepared to sit through 2+ hours of my brain drawing comparison to the umpteen other stagings of Romeo & Juliet I've seen (or had to criticise at uni) in my life, of derogatory comments of my inner critic and of the much-hated feeling that I'd like to love what I'm seeing yet still being utterly unable to do just that.
I was looking forward to see Orlando Bloom acting on stage, but I dreaded it at the same time. As I said before, I always felt that he belonged in a theatre, yet I really expected to be disappointed. Not because I thought he would be bad, but because I feared he wouldn't be able to shut up the annoying voice inside my head. Very few actors can do that. I've seen some of the best theatre-actors of the German-speaking world, some of the most acclaimed actors, and hardly any of them really got me. So chances were good that I could respect Orlando's performance, that I could rationally tell he was as good, as I suspected him to be, but at the same time it was highly unlikely that I could really enjoy the whole thing.

Well, I've been proven wrong. Thankfully. Stunningly. Unbelievably.

I'm still not really ready to get out the trained part of my brain and try to make real sense of the why's and how's. I know that I could analyse the performances to death, I know that I could figure out why this staging touched something in me that made the experience so special if I really tried, I know that I could say a lot about the individual performances, about the stage- and production design, about every little detail that I should consider...

...but I simply don't want to.
I don't want to spoil this unexpected experience by putting everything under my usual scrutiny. I want to just relish and savour it for once.

Yet, there are some things I really do want to say. Without going into too much detail, without waking the inner critic out of its stupor. Just a few things that I feel should be said.

Let's start with the obvious - the stage. I'm usually a Shakespeare-purist. Okay, scratch that... I'm a theatre-purist. I hardly ever like modern stagings of old plays. They're usually overdone and awfully forced. I don't want to see some people with pink bunny-tails tucked into their trousers chasing each other around the stage waving floggers, while the heroine recites her lines swinging on an oversized four-poster bed dangling from the ceiling. And yeah - I've sat through that. That's not my over-active imagination speaking.
I'm more than happy to see a modern play set in a modern set. I've actually seen a brilliant contemporary play that ended in a scene of ripped-out intestines and gushing blood that would make any splatter-movie proud, while the surviving characters had their glorious masturbatory moment fully naked. It's been great! Trust me. It's been fucking great because it fit. I was the right ending to a disturbing and deeply unsettling play about modern society and the numbing effect media has on our lives. While about 90% of the audience left in a huff somewhere in the third act or even sooner, my friend and I had the time of our life,
But as I said - I usually don't like a modern setting, and particularly not when it's Shakespeare we're dealing with. But here? It worked. Beautifully. It worked for me because the whole setting has been so perfectly reduced, that it opened up a new canvas for my imagination to paint on. I particularly loved the constant of the wall and -most of all- the wonderfully executed symbolism of the "bell of doom" as I termed it.

And now to the actors. Except for Orlando I don't know any names, and I honestly don't want to go and find out about them now, because it really doesn't matter in the long run. (Remember, I don't want to wake up the annoying voice inside my head... and checking actors and their previous work, etc. just hits too close to home to my profession.) Let's just say I particularly loved Juliet's father... a groovy, charming performance that made the beautiful rhythm inherent to the text so brilliantly obvious. Mercutio also rocked big time... energetic, seductive and perfectly dancing the fine line between humour and parody. Friar Laurence had me at the opening soliloquy and continued on this high level. I also enjoyed the performance of Juliet's nurse, but I've seen the actress somewhere before, so it wasn't so much a surprise.
Juliet herself was great at the humorous parts - I particularly loved her crawling along the "balcony", unfortunately she couldn't hold that level in the dramatic scenes. All in all she played the character too naive for my taste, but I recognize that this is actually quite near to the original text, so I guess that's just me and not a real point of criticism.

Well, and then, there's Orlando.
And there's brilliance. A kind of brilliance I wouldn't have thought I'd see. This man really belongs on a stage. That's where he can shine, that's where his heart is. And he really shone.
I particularly tip my hat for the utterly brilliance of his portrayal of the stunning character-change he put his Romeo through. Where in the first "half" (let's not bother with acts here, okay?) he played the young playboy, relying on his boyband-charme and enthusiasm for everything female brilliantly, with a sometimes highly annoying high voice that tumbled over the words - an overdramatic performance of the exuberance of youth, the second "half" turned into a maelstrom of despair, pain, grief and madness. It was sheer brilliance. A performance one can only hope for in a Romeo. And the stunning and so subtle changes in character-performance I hinted at? It's all in the voice. In the second half there's no more boyish sighing and melodramatic recitation, there's a powerful voice ploughing through the text, seemingly tearing the words from his tortured soul. It's all in the voice - and it's a stunning transformation, a heady ride.

The absolute high-point of Orlando's performance was the scene with Friar Laurence after Romeo killed Tybalt. I really can't say much about it ... I was spellbound. I've had goose-bumps chasing up and down my spine, a thing that very rarely happens to me in a theatre-setting. I loved and revelld in the enormously powerful emotions pouring out of every word, every gesture. I don't think I blinked even once during the whole scene. I simply couldn't miss a single second of this performance.
Even now, hours after the fact, I can't think about this scene without my brain simply shutting down and just feeling. THAT'S what powerful theatre can do, ladies and gentleman. THAT'S what a stunning performance feels like. (And bear in mind, that I've watched the whole thing second-hand in a movie-theatre thousands of miles away from NYC... I might have stopped to actually breathe if I'd been live on Broadway...)

My verdict? So worth it! So fucking worth it. Stunned. Relieved. Touched. Aaaaaah.... simply loved it! (and, oh boy, Orlando on a stage might be exactly what I've been waiting for in order to reconcile me with actual stage-work and make my love for theatre come back - and I won't even start about the very high probability of a distraught, pained and emotional Orlando featuring in my dreams tonight....)

Utterly brilliant. So happy!

OMG!

Mar. 26th, 2014 04:54 am
amruniel: (corsage)
Oh my god! OH MY FUCKING GOD!

I'm about the happiest person on earth at the moment. I guess.

I've always mourned the fact that I'm living a long, long, long way from America, which always made my dream of catching a Broadway-play a bit difficult ;)
When I fell in love with the great VigOrli pairing, I mourned the fact that I simply couldn't catch a plane and go to New York to see Orlando act in "Romeo and Juliet". Since I first set eyes on Orlando I've told all and sundry that I'd love to see him in a play, that I'm sure he should be on stage and not (just) on film. When I learned some time later that he actually attended Guildhall and learned to be a stage-actor there, I had my suspicions confirmed. This guy should be on a stage.

Well, as I mentioned - he finally got back on stage, and yet I didn't have a chance to catch the play. And YouTube didn't prove very friendly towards me in that regard... there's hardly anything on "Romeo and Juliet" there either. So I resigned myself to the fact that I simply would have to wait and that maybe somewhen in the future the fates would be a little nicer ... I hoped that he would someday play theatre in London, which is just 3 hours of flight from here. I really could go there and fulfil my dream.

Well, and today I got an email from my local cinema, the usual newsletter I hardly ever read except if something in the title catches my interest... and oh boy, it did! So, I don't know how, I don't know why... fact is, on April 1st my cinema has a special planned, namely they're showing a performance "Romeo and Juliet" from Broadway... and yep, the lead is really Orlando...

So, I got Himself on board, booked tickets (and hell, they're really really really expensive, but hey, money doesn't matter in this case) and I'm going to make my dream come true as best as possible at the moment in just a few days... I'm really going to see Orlando act on stage... I can't believe it! I really can't!

This really is the next best thing to actually being there in the theatre... and I'm really looking forward to it.
(And I still hope that someday he'll be playing in London... because then I'll be there for real! No matter what!)

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