What is done on the stage is seen better from the auditorium than from the stage itself. Looking from the auditorium I comprehended the mistakes on the stage at once. . . . (MLIA)
(Alexandra Guzeva’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the HEadlings, 6/3.)
Nowadays, most theaters have stopped using prompters, but the Maly Theater cherishes this tradition and regards prompters as indispensable.
Some people always keep their “finger on the pulse,” but Larisa Andreyeva literally keeps her finger on the text. Her long manicured fingers glide across the page without stopping for a second. Andreyeva has a rare profession – she is a prompter at the Maly Theater in downtown Moscow.
A backstage whisperer
How do you imagine a prompter? A person crouched in a box under the stage, bent over a notebook with only their head sticking out, hidden from spectators by the prompter’s “shell”.
“All the dust comes in through the tank peephole, as I call it, and I’m dreadfully allergic to dust and can’t put up with it for even five minutes – I start coughing and sneezing. Once, someone in the first row said ‘Bless you!’ and I almost flipped out,” says Andreyeva.
That’s why she stopped using the prompter’s box a long time ago and now works from backstage – she sits in the wings, either stage left or right, depending on the set. A small desk with a lamp is always ready for her arrival. She keeps a cup of tea close by because her throat feels dry all the time.
Photo: Mark Boyarsky
(Mia Galuppo’s article appeared in the Hollywood Reporter, 8/29; via the Drudge Report.)
Blake Jenner, Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt will star in an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical ‘Merrily We Roll Along.’
Beanie Feldstein, Blake Jenner and Ben Platt will star in an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along.
Richard Linklater will be directing the project, which is being backed by Blumhouse, and will shoot over a 20-year span. The director shot his Oscar-winning Boyhood over 12 years.
The much-beloved musical, based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, follows Franklin Shepard, a talented composer of Broadway musicals that abandons his friends and career to become a producer of Hollywood movies. The story begins at the height of his Hollywood fame and moves backwards in time, showing important moments in Frank’s life.
Jenner will portray Shepard, while Feldstein will play Shepard’s friend, theater critic Mary Flynn.
Ginger Sledge will produce with Jason Blum for Blumhouse, along with Jonathan Marc Sherman and Linklater.
Principal photography has been completed for the first segment of the film.
The feeling of truth is the best awakener of emotion and the sense of living. . . . At first I did not have to imitate any one, and I felt well on the stage. There was only one unpleasantness—the public complained about the play. (MLIA)
Timberlake Wertenbaker’s adaptation from the French of Marcel Proust’s allegorical reflection on time, memory, art and love.
It begins with the vivid memory of a young boy’s childhood summers spent in the French countryside of Combray and the long nights waiting for his mother to come and kiss him goodnight. The young Marcel takes beautiful walks with his parents and has his first sighting of the young Gilberte Swann, daughter of family friend and well-connected Parisian Dandy, Charles Swann and his wife, the courtesan and seductress Odette de Crecy.
MARCEL (narrator) ………Derek Jacobi
FATHER ………Oliver Cotton
FRANCOISE ………Susan Brown
MOTHER ………Sylvestra le Touzel
GRANDMOTHER ………Joanna David
TANTE LEONIE .……Pamela Miles
GILBERTE (girl) ………Mary Glen
ODETTE …………..Bessie Carter
SWANN ………… Paterson Joseph
MADEMOISELLE VINTEUIL/PROSTITUTE …. Charlotte Blandford
THE DUCHESS DE GUERMANTES (Oriane) …………… Fenella Woolgar
MADAME DE VERDURIN ………Frances Barber
PIANIST …………Daniel Whitlam
DOCTOR COTTARD …………Lloyd Hutchinson
MARCEL(boy) ………Isaac Watts
MONSIEUR VERDURIN …………Jeff Rawle
FEMALE FRIEND……….Phoebe Marshall
Translated and adapted from the French by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Produced and directed by Celia de Wolff
Production Co-ordinator: Sarah Tombling
Recording and Sound Design: David Chilton and Lucinda Mason Brown
Executive Producer: Peter Hoare
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
The greatest obstacle in the artistic development of an actor is hurry, the forcing of his immature powers, the eternal desire to play leading parts and tragic heroes. To give heavy work to weak emotions is the same thing as to sing Wagnerian roles with an immature voice. No, it is even worse. (MLIA)
(Laura Cappelle’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/22; via Pam Green.)
PARIS — Anémone, 65, an impersonator at the famous Chez Michou cabaret, and Freya Kor, 22, the winner of the“Drag Me Up Paris” competition, have remarkably similar jobs: Makeup, wigs and onstage lip-syncs are all part of their routines. Yet in this city, they belong to different worlds entirely.
Ms. Kor is one of a booming young generation of drag queens influenced by the TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” brought to French screens in recent years by Netflix. In bars and nightclubs around Paris, their uproarious, gender-bending performances are drawing increasingly large crowds, rewriting the rules of a local genre once dominated by “transformiste” cabarets like Michou’s.
On paper, there is one key distinction between the two traditions: While transformiste artists take on a range of personas, often impersonating real-life icons, drag queens create a single alter ego. In practice, the shows pull in very different audiences, split along generational and social lines.
Sit down for dinner and a show at one of the few remaining transformiste venues and the crowd will look much as it does at non-drag cabarets like the Moulin Rouge: middle-aged tourists and families. The succession of lip-sync numbers often feels like a nostalgic singalong, with pastiches of celebrities such as Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand along with a roll call of French pop singers.
Photo: The New York Times
The secret . . . Physical bodily restraint, the taming of the anarchy of muscles, to reveal emotion in the strong places and think of nothing, to work out my own image which I was to copy and imitate. (MLIA)
(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 8/21.)
I find myself haunted by the funerals of the AIDS era.
I attended too many of them and the creative lives they celebrated were far too young to end.
Moreover, in the agony of loss you often could discern veiled conflicts: it was hardly unusual, for example, to see pained parents not accepting lovers at the time when we most need to feel a sense of community. It was hardly unusual to look over at a bereaved family and wonder why someone wasn’t there.
The so-called call-out culture is often seen as a contemporary phenomenon, because social media puts so much outrage in our feeds. But we quickly forget how much blame was flung around in the early 1990s. It just came directly out of people’s mouths back then. Time and time again, the unknowing and the innocent were blamed for death.
At what other moment in American history were the deceased so widely perceived as being culpable in their own demise?
“All That He Was,” a piece of theater that I found inestimably difficult to watch on Sunday night, was not the first show to flood my mind with these thoughts. That was “Mothers and Sons,” the vastly under-rated Terrence McNally play that made a brave attempt to reconcile AIDS, death, love and blame by exploring all of the different ways in which people hurt and understanding that pain often is expressed as anger.
Photo: Rick Rapp, Joe Giovannetti, Sarah Hayes and Matthew Huston in “All That He Was” at the Pride Arts Center’s Buena stage. (Nicholas Swatz photo / HANDOUT)
It is much better to imitate an image created by yourself than another’s methods of play or another’s mannerisms. (MLIA)