Monday, February 26, 2007

She plural

From Variety's report on the Salvage opening:
Any psychiatrist could tell you that playing three major roles throughout playwright Tom Stoppard's sprawling, eight-hour play about pre-Revolutionary Russia, "Coast of Utopia," could cause schizophrenia.

Luckily, star Jennifer Ehle diagnosed herself as having split personalities before she ever joined the "Coast" cast.

"I knew that a long time ago," she said at the Feb. 18 opening night party at Ruskie Restaurant Row haunt Firebird for "Coast's" third installment, "Salvage." "You have to be to get into this profession." [...]

Terry Teachout raves about Salvage for the Wall Street Journal (sadly not online). The most verdict-y bit:

[...] On the other hand, it could be that Mr. Stoppard has written an all-but-unstageable masterpiece that my generation of playgoers will not see again in our lifetimes -- and judging by a single viewing of the complete trilogy, I think "The Coast of Utopia" might well be a masterpiece.

To be sure, Mr. Stoppard's penchant for making his plays out of the ideas of other men has led some to wonder whether he might be less a playwright than a kind of journalist -- albeit one of genius. But "The Coast of Utopia" is far more than just a brilliantly pointed primer on the historical significance of Alexander Herzen and his contemporaries. By interweaving the revolutionary notions of his characters with the mad disorder of their private lives, Mr. Stoppard has contrived to give us that rarest of plays, a pageant that has real emotional depth. I confess to wondering whether I would have been quite so impressed with "The Coast of Utopia" had I first seen it in a less memorable production, and it may also be that I responded to it so strongly because I share its author's antiutopian vision of the tragedy of modernity. But countless other viewers who feel otherwise have been no less deeply moved, suggesting that Mr. Stoppard has succeeded in transfiguring the unpromising raw material of politics and turning it into high art. [...]

And what's this, more NY Times on Utopia? Indeed; Edward Rothstein weighs in this time.

Some survival stories from the first marathon are up at All That Chat. robert_j is mixed though considers the marathon format effective, while StageStruckLad, who had been considering leaving after Voyage, was glad to have stayed til the end. Both report that Richard Easton did not perform at the marathon. whyohwhyoh isn't happy with the cast except for Mr Easton and Ms Ehle.

In blogland, lizellis is in raptures over the show and spotted a coupla famous faces in the audience, The Playgoer saw Tom Stoppard at Wallace Shawn's The Fever and RS thought Voyage "good but not great". Unrelatedly, a reciprocal shout-out to us from Philip Shaefer.

We've posted these videos before, but thought it might be a good idea to gather them together. Here: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage.

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