Friday, June 23, 2006

Report from the Delacorte, part 2

Hoorah for cross-pollenation of fandoms! dssm from the Liev Schreiber forum is now a convert. She's the one who provided the first ever Macbeth report and has just kindly sent in this autographed program from her second trip. Click to see the enormo version.

dssm also has a report up at the forum. Mosey on by to see how she managed to get the above, and for some info about the standby queue.

The play was even better than I remembered. Overall, I’d say the biggest difference between the opening night & one week later, was the absence of opening-night jitters. The cast seemed bolder – physically & vocally – more confident with their lines (& no mike problems!) & footing. I tried to take note of the little things – since it’s those little nuances that can make an actor’s performance so them – part of what I love about theater – you can get something different every night out of the same play. Things like the Weird Sisters hopping over bodies on the stage, rather than walking around them. Liev tossing wine glasses aside & toppling over more chairs. There was definitely a more intense physical element that added to the play more so than before.

Other changes that I noticed: Right after Macbeth murders the King, a maid comes out & addresses the audience (one of the funniest bits of the play) talking about the “Knock knock knocking” she hears & making references the to devil. They now had spotlights on different sections of the audience – and the maid would zero in on some poor audience member & refer to them as a politician, or a priest & make a wicked remark about them – it was good.

Also had the chance to notice the lighting more. Like during the end battle scene when the soldiers are being bombed – they had spotlights flash on the trees behind the stage, as if there were bombs landing all around – it was cool. In that battle scene they also took away the camouflage netting that the soldiers wore when the marched up (as if they were camouflaged as trees in the forest) – I guess they netting got too tangled on their swords & guns (which is what happened the first night) & they just did away with them.

The swordfight that Liev has at the end was superb. They really had it down, it seemed less choreographed & more like an actual fight to the death (and blood actually spurting out of his neck - I hadn't noticed that before!). Which brings me to Liev, ah… Liev… his performance was as strong as ever. When he speaks, he just commands your attention. The more I watch it, the more familiar the words seem to me – less Shakespearean & more just entertaining – as if I were watching some everyday event. I love the wordplay – Liev has some really great lines – saying them with just the right jab or pause – great laughter from the crowd as they pick up on his intentions. Love it. Even the most common lines… “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” (which I think I had to memorize in the 7th grade or something – I was clueless back then) makes so much more sense to me know in the context of how his character is reacting.

Liev & Jennifer had great chemistry once again. She was even more fierce with him – at times clamping her hand over his mouth to stop his words (I wonder if they rehearse those, or if they just try to surprise each other onstage?). At one point, she stroked his head and muffled his mike by accident (the actors wear mikes that go up the back of their necks & through their hair, with the mini-mike just on the their forehead). Which just goes to show how involved they are in their characters, forgetting their technical modern surroundings.

And for the usual blog trawl, there's a critique from Sandwich Cake who thinks Ms Ehle's channelling Faye Dunaway. In the "I came, I saw, I liked" category there's Schreiber fan Megan who's "seen him on stage an Nsync amount of times", Laura who thought the play "amazing" even though Hamlet isn't her favourite play and Shakespeare in the Park diehard Qsoz, whose description of the queue I find amusing.

Tonight at 6pm there will be an interview with Liev Schreiber on XM radio for the American Theatre Wing's Downstage Center program. This will be online as a mp3 in a few days, no doubt.

By the way, the news about The Coast of Utopia is being syndicated everywhere from Halifax to the North Korea Times (no joke!). There's no new content, which is why we're not posting them.

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