sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2009-01-09 03:01 am

I do haunt you still

The Actors' Shakespeare Project's The Duchess of Malfi rocks my world. You who are in the Boston area, I suggest looking into tickets; it is a revenge tragedy, but onstage it reminded me much more of a film noir, an atmosphere which is not at all suggested by the set design—a strip of stage between two one-way mirrors of audience, light spilt like blood or finality between doors always locked, unlocked to be locked again, never ajar; no one is ever untrammeled, private, alone—and therefore all the more interesting to me. Bill Barclay as Bosola, Jennie Israel as the Duchess. There are bones underneath the greatest of houses. You can die suddenly or by degrees or they can be the same thing. What would I do, were this to do again? Also, in performance? Surprising quantities of Webster are funny. Of course, the same holds true for Sweeney Todd. In short, a terrific evening with [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving, [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, and [livejournal.com profile] gaudior—I will have to hunt down [livejournal.com profile] eredien on my own time—and we did not freeze to death hiking from South Station to the China Pearl to the recently ex-warehouse Midway Studios, which was a plus. I hope to write more on this topic tomorrow. I should probably at least try for sleep first.

We are only like dead walls, or vaulted graves,
That ruin'd, yield no echo. Fare you well.

[identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 11:24 am (UTC)(link)
no one is ever untrammeled, private, alone—and therefore all the more interesting to me.

why all the more interesting? (asked not belligerently, but in curiosity)

For myself, I can see how this would be true simply because most of our lives, we're interacting with people; mainly we don't have the privilege of being untrammeled and alone--and also because drama and story are often (but not always) more intense when they involve more than one person.

But how about you, why for you?

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 05:48 pm (UTC)(link)
But how about you, why for you?

I think we have crossed wires. I was speaking of the sense of film noir: which is not at all suggested by the set design . . . and therefore all the more interesting to me, because it must therefore be an effect of the original text and not this particular production.

[identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 05:53 pm (UTC)(link)
aha--got it. And wow, yeah--Webster, an anticipator of film noir!

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2009-01-10 08:01 am (UTC)(link)
And wow, yeah--Webster, an anticipator of film noir!

Seriously. Come to Boston; tell me if I'm wrong. It's running through the first of February (https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/921/1230832800000).

[identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com 2009-01-10 01:01 pm (UTC)(link)
With that long a run time, maybe I can actually manage it--thanks for the link!

[identity profile] poliphilo.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 12:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes.

I've always thought that film noir was the 20th century equivalent of Jacobean tragedy.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I've always thought that film noir was the 20th century equivalent of Jacobean tragedy.

It held the more films came to mind—I started out with The Maltese Falcon, because Bosola is very much the kind of character Humphrey Bogart would have played, except that Bogart usually discovered he still had a heart left before things went all to hell, but by Double Indemnity or Out of the Past or The Lady from Shanghai, yeah; there's the same kind of blood on the floor.

[identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
The Duchess of Malfi is actually one of my favorite (and perhaps the favorite, Bard be damned) Jacobean tragedies. Unmitigated bastardry mixed with the noblest of intentions crossing the most desperate of pragmatic survivalism. It is a goddamned shame that Bosola is not a cultural icon like Iago or Lady MacBeth or even the venerable Jew of Malta.

Still, being #4 on the list of best playwrights of the Elizabethan/Jacobean era isn't too shabby.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2009-01-10 07:58 am (UTC)(link)
The Duchess of Malfi is actually one of my favorite (and perhaps the favorite, Bard be damned) Jacobean tragedies.

Then I hope a production comes near you. Unless you are in New England, in which case I suggest road trip.

It is a goddamned shame that Bosola is not a cultural icon like Iago or Lady MacBeth or even the venerable Jew of Malta.

Heh. I wouldn't class him among the villains; he is much of the reason the play reminds me of film noir, because he starts out with a tarnish and a willingness which is not irredeemable, but not—in this case—in time to save anyone including himself. And this particular actor you couldn't look away from, whether through charisma or trainwreck. He's not innocent. But you don't want to see him dying.

[identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com 2009-01-11 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Unfortunately, most of the theatre productions down my way (South of the Mason-Dixon) are scrabbling for contemporary luminaries or are absolutely mired in pandering to the lowest-common theatre-going denominator, so something like Webster is just not going to hit on the radar of any Artistic Directors. Meh.

Who's Second -- Massinger? Fletcher? Middleton??

[identity profile] klhoughton.livejournal.com 2009-01-11 12:35 am (UTC)(link)
I'm assuming you're putting He-Who-Must-Be-Revered first, and Marlowe in the top three, if only for sentimental reasons.

Which leaves me fearing that Boring Ben Jonson is going to be the answer.

Re: Who's Second -- Massinger? Fletcher? Middleton??

[identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com 2009-01-12 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry to disappoint, but the canon seems sort of demands that it be Jonson. Not that I feel that way myself. Meh.

[identity profile] ap-aelfwine.livejournal.com 2009-01-09 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Sounds splendid. I wish I were in the Boston area.

And I'm exceedingly glad that you none of you froze to death during the hike.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2009-01-10 08:00 am (UTC)(link)
Sounds splendid. I wish I were in the Boston area.

May there soon be Jacobean theater in your life! So long as it is actual theater, not the events of your day-to-day; that would bode poorly for everyone's life expectancy.

[identity profile] ap-aelfwine.livejournal.com 2009-01-10 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
May there soon be Jacobean theater in your life!

Thank you!

The local community theatre did once, perhaps ten years ago, put on an obscure Jacobean comedy called "The Knight of the Burning Pestle." And, of course, anything can be found in NYC--it's only that the finding of it can be very difficult. So I suppose it's possible, sooner or later, that this will happen.

So long as it is actual theater, not the events of your day-to-day; that would bode poorly for everyone's life expectancy.

Yes, that would not be good. Especially as I've not fenced in years--it would be exceedingly annoying for it to suddenly become a survival skill, and I being so out of practice and shape.