By John Ford
Dear Reader, It’s with freakish amounts of excitement that I disclose to you this:
Love’s Sacrifice is a paragon of exceptional theatre.
From the language which is rich in bawdiness and passion and intent, to the characters who are devious, besotted and crazed – this production doesn’t just make you sad, or nervous, or horrified – it also makes you laugh and gripped and determined to make sure more people see it, stage it, read it and recognise that this play needs to be out there at a theatre near you.
I had the great fortune of seeing it put on by the RSC last night and I have been creepishly animated ever since. Cogitating the maths; weighing up the pros and cons of reducing my wine intact in a bid to fund seeing it, many more times. Put simply, I’m fixated and need to share.
The cast are convincing and I feel it would be impossible to impress upon them how blown away I was by their brilliance. The energy, anger, venom and distrust – was uncomfortable and I couldn’t get enough.
And…nothing beats a thrust stage…being that close to the action really lends to the immersion.
(images sourced from google images)
by Arthur Miller
(image sourced from google images)
Dear Mr Edward Norton in case you are reading and before I start, I do confess I saw this particular theatre delight in ‘preview’, and though prior to taking my seat I did start to query the sense in this decision (post watching your terrific performance in Birdman), I can happily report now however, it was one of the best decision I’ve made. Not only did I secure the opportunity to be entertained by some of the best stage actors out there, I did so at a reduced price.
Now to my principle driving home post production pondering.
- Why has it taken me so long to discover Arthur Miller?
I mean I studied ‘The Crucible’ at school, loved it and had the hots for John Proctor, and then as luck would have it, saw ‘A View from the Bridge’ at the Young Vic last July, (loved that too), though sadly it’s only these three that currently mark my Miller education/appreciation/experience dance card. Shocking I know.
Alas there is good news, Wikipedia has just advised me that I have approximately 33 more plays to explore.
So why do I like Miller so much and in particular Death of a Saleman?
- The interactions between the characters and their thoughts/opinions not only feel authentic, but the dialogue fits it to a tee.
- It’s great to spend time examining personal insecurities (though best not my own).
- Walt Loman – you want to shake him and say pull yourself together man, but you also want to put your arms around him and just sit quietly.
- The futility of the dream, the ultimate job a man can do, is excellently explored and exposed for what it really is.
- The relationships – not only between the family members who all have concerns and things they hide from each other and themselves, but also the constant kindness of Charley.
- Exploring certain aspects of life built on invented truth and thinking I know people like that…maybe I’m like that…
- And the setting – for I’ve always been intrigued to learn more about this time in history and the effects of the Depression.
So what makes the RSC production super great?
- Casting Harriet Walter as Linda and Antony Sher as Willy Loman
- The use of space on stage available to the actors.
- The sheer talent and ability of all the acting team. You feel the anguish and are brought close to the raw emotion of the action.
- The affective roller-coaster you the audience are strapped to through-out.
- And the tapas and churros I had just prior to the show in the Circle Bar.
It’s such a fabulous production and very wisely it will transfer to the West End post its Stratford season.
Go find a ticket.
I hope you haven’t been too alarmed by my silence and it’s not that I haven’t been cheering in the audiences of great RSC productions (The Jew of Malta, Death of a Salesman) or turning the pages on some fabulous collections of short stories (The American Lover, Married Love, Difficult Loves…hmm, theme maybe?… Katherine Mansfield’s Selected Stories and The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis), it’s just, I dare say, I’ve discovered a very powerful and oh so tempting pastime.
Yes, you guessed it…Procrastination.
It’s become my coffee buddy; my it’s alright to head back to bed buddy; that non judgemental, ideal friend buddy…however… with Easter Resolutions all the rage these days, I’m going to say thanks for those great days of achieving butt all, though now it’s time for me to get writing, reviewing, sharing and possibly offering up some ideas for your pleasure seeking time.
I’ll return…just after I’ve had a coffee.