I’ve been back from my England/France trip for over a week now, and I’m beginning to settle back in. (Though a quick trip to Kansas City didn’t help, either in terms of jetlag or Putting Stuff Away.) So today’s post will be catching up on this and that, and rather miscellaneous.
Thank you to everyone who joined in the discussion for our first “meeting” of the Jane Austen Movie Club last week, when we discussed the 1995 Persuasion! What a lot of fun.
Our next meeting will be August 7 (remember, it’s always the first Tuesday of the month), and we will discuss the 1996 Emma (the one starring Gwyneth Paltrow.) It’s short, it’s easy to find, and I know there are differences of opinion on it, so I think it should be fun to discuss! (And Lois already has a copy.) đź™‚
I know very little about the Dumas original, but the Sartre play takes what it wants from Kean’s life, and substitutes fiction for the rest. So the Kean socializing with the Prince of Wales is not only older than Kean was during the Regency, but older than Kean ever lived to be. (And still single!)
So what Sartre did, basically, was take the idea of Kean — a not-terribly-handsome actor from a lowly background, whose passionate and groundbreaking acting style made him an overly-indulged celebrity — and use it to talk about reality vs art (and various other things) in a play (which is nonetheless full of humor).
One choice of director Adrian Noble really threw me in this production: he set it during the 1950’s… I confess, I’d much rather have seen a Regency setting!
Here’s a picture of Antony Sher as Kean. (Photo credit: Tristram Kenton.) Interestingly, Sher is famous on the London stage for playing some of Kean’s favorite roles, including Richard III and Shylock.
Reviews of this production were mixed, with most seeing some problems with it. (For a nice overview, see http://www.theatre.com/story/id/3007600 ). The mixed reviews may have led to the low attendance which is causing the show to close earlier than originally stated…though it’s not the only show in the West End with that problem. (The musical The Drowsy Chaperone, even with Elaine Paige in the lead, is closing six months ahead of schedule, after a miniscule run.)
I confess I was severely jetlagged while watching the play…so perhaps I didn’t give it a fair trial. I found it amusing, and it certainly held the attention (the gentleman next to me who slept through it was, I am convinced, even more jetlagged than I.) But it didn’t seem to entirely succeed as much of anything, in my opinion. Sher was fine, as were the other actors — I’m not sure if I’d blame the script or the direction, but in the end none of it seemed to matter (and there were parts where things seemed to suddenly change, and the audience felt like we’d been lied to a bit, which I hate.)
The big news is I survived Heathrow! We flew the day after the terrorist attack on Glasgow — it was insanely confused and stressful (though, come to think of it, most of that was probably just Heathrow being true to itself). Then we flew to Kansas City and back, ending up stuck in our plane on the runway for an extra hour due to an unattended package.
But now I’m back! Back from London and the French Riviera. Back in the land of Mexican restaurants, the land of soft drink refills (and iced tea!), the land of wide streets and too many, too-wide cars. The land of cheap stuff, of smoggy skies, of dollar bills that all look alike, of freeways and Asian groceries and ranch dressing.
So…what do you notice when you come back home from somewhere?
And for those of you going to conference — have a great time!
Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester, who hasn’t left a bag unattended in a very long time