Polite fan asked for OK to post: (Thanks to Micra)
I was trying to post this at about 4:30, but I was missing the title and some comment. I had something like @RCArmitage is Impatient, and I was trying to work something out with fire – but before I was finished. a friend stopped by for a drink and some cocktail food.
My friend like Yaël Farber, is a South African Jewish woman, and like Yaël Farber, she wound up in Canada ( but via Israel and London.) Now, she lives in Mexico.
We had an engaging talk on various subjects, as we always do, though, until tonight, I have never gotten her interested in either Yaël Farber or The Crucible. I succeeded tonight, but she was more interested in Farber’s South African focused work -that might be for another post.
We moved on to discussing the Olympics, and swimming – and it turns out my friend has a fear of water ( another Richard Armitage connection). But her pram did not fall into a pond.
The story is, that after watching numerous fictional characters get stuck in, sucked in and rescued from quicksand, which I wasn’t even sure was a real thing, I actually met a person – yes, my South African friend, who walked into a pool of quicksand when she a child in South Africa, and, according to her, got sucked all the way under until only her arm was above the muck, and she pulled out by her mother.
I just can’t believe I met someone who was stuck in quicksand! I’ll cross that off my bucket list.
P.S. being submerged under quicksand was what led to my friend’s fear of water and swimming.
Quicksand – damn.
Yaël Farber’s The Bacchae adaptation cancelled at Baxter Theatre Center, Cape Town, S.A. CANCELLED.
One door closes, and others open
and then there’s this tweet “liked” by Richard Armitage
Thanks to @VioletsTFB for sussing out this bit of info at the end of Yaël Farber interview here. I couldn’t get it to stream earlier, so missed this bit.
Odd, because I was just mentioning the myths around this play in reference to another post ( about Michele Forbes, I think).
Yaël Farber’s next project is an adaption of the classic Euripides play, The Bacchae, to be staged in South Africa. I know this play: it’s sexual, chaotic and violent ( also beautiful)- characteristics shown mostly through women. It’s right up Yaël Farber’s alley, especially as she plans to reinterpret it. It’ll be interesting to see how she handles a work that depicts women as the ultimate instrument of violence against men.
I don’t think this is exactly the play alluded to by Richard Armitage when he spoke of working with Farber again, and doing something really old. Yaël Farber has adapted and directed ancient works before, including those by Aeschylus and, more recently, an ancient theme, in Salome. But if it is an Armitage project, either now or later, then WOW!
Richard Armitage as Pentheus reimagined ( or even as originally imagined) could be something special.
SPOILERS?? All I will say is he dies in the end.
I will leave it to the classicist among us, Obscura to tell us more, if she’s in the mood and keeping in mind that Richard Armitage’s participation may be a long shot.
SPOILERS: Delusional Fangirl writes a detailed review of Salome. Many thanks to her for taking the time to write such an elegant piece for my blog.
I saw Yaël Farber’s “Salomé” a few nights ago with great anticipation, after reading several glowing reviews and having found the Digital Theatre film of “The Crucible” gripping and moving.
After a lovely autumn train ride from the Shenandoah Valley, across the Blue Ridge Mountains and through Virginia’s piedmont, I met my husband, who was in DC on business, and we strolled to the theater. That was the best part of the evening.
I was disappointed in this production and am still trying to figure out why. The cast was uniformly excellent; the visuals, sound, costumes, singing and lighting wonderfully evocative. So what went wrong for me?
When I go to the theater I tend to gravitate toward the classics or musical theater. I haven’t seen many avant-garde productions, for which I guess this play qualifies. Perhaps this inexperience on my part explains my annoyed bafflement when the curtain (figuratively) came down and the actors barely made it offstage before the applause stopped.
Farber brings a new vision to the old story: this Salome is a fiercely independent spirit oppressed by her society — represented by her drunken, lecherous stepfather Herod Antipas, as well as her chastity belt-like leather girdle. Her society is in turn oppressed by Roman occupation which she abhors. She can only find her voice and realize her selfhood by helping John the Baptist fulfill his destiny – his death will signal the revolt against Roman rule leading to the renewal of the Hebrew nation. At least I think that’s what it’s about. . . .
Farber apparently wrote the script, after reading numerous sources ranging from the Old Testament’s “Song of Solomon”, Babylonian texts, the New Testament’s brief narrative of John’s story (which apparently does not mention Salomé by name), contemporary historians, and later dramatists, including Oscar Wilde.
The script seemed to me to be a pastiche of ancient Greek dramatic conventions, pseudo-biblical declamations, and metaphor-laden aestheticism. Movement was often over-stylized á la “Afternoon of a Faun” and dialogue was usually shouted, with copious amounts of saliva issuing forth (we were in the nose-hair seats – as opposed to the nosebleed seats – and it felt like the first row at Sea World.)
There was some stunning stage witchery – a downward blast of vapor forming an enormous backdrop; a sheet of water cascading from the catwalk; monumental draperies ringing the stage evoking the Seven Veils; a massive ladder seeming to rise unsupported to the heights. But the tricks went too far, especially overuse of the revolving stage as the players, frozen in mid-gesture, slowly rotated past like figures on an elaborate cuckoo clock (once or twice was great; five times was too many.) And the dialogue was just too portentous – and pretentious – to tell a coherent story. Two choices I found very effective: the use of a multi-national cast, and the fact that John the Baptist spoke only in Arabic, which brought to mind a true zealot, speaking in tongues. His thoughts were translated by a character playing the role of a Greek chorus, effectively narrating and commenting on the action.
A side note: we met a charming French lady and her daughter on the way to the theater, and chatted afterwards. She, too, looked puzzled and pronounced it “surprenant.” They were waiting to meet one of the actors whom her daughter knew. Turns out he was John the Baptist hisself, standing quietly alone outside the main entrance. As is often the case, he was slighter in person than he seemed on stage, modest and unassuming and genuinely pleased by our enthusiastic praise.