Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Middlemarch - The Trilogy

theatre: Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond
author: George Eliot, adapted by Geoffrey Beevers
director: Geoffrey Beevers

I went on one of their popular trilogy days which means, the novel has been split into 3 separate plays, each lasting 3 hrs, but all get performed in one single day. I bought the cheaper standing ticket.

plot: In Dorothea's Story, the young and intelligent Dorothea is enamoured of the intensity and greatness of the academic Reverend Casaubon, so much so that she marries him, much to everyone’s shock. On their honeymoon in Rome a meeting with Casaubon’s young cousin Will Ladislaw arouses suspicions in her new husband and he will do anything he can to stop Will’s quest for Dorothea’s heart.
In The Doctor's Story, idealistic Doctor Lydgate arrives in Middlemarch determined to achieve great things. The mayor’s beautiful but self-centred daughter Rosamond has her sights set on him and as he is tragically torn between his ambition and his loyalties, he is drawn into an alliance with a corrupt banker with a secret past.
In Fred and Mary, Fred is trying to please his parents and become a country gentleman, but his childhood sweetheart Mary will have none of it. Set amongst those dependent on the countryside, this poignant but light-hearted story shows the importance of true and shared values in love and work.

what I liked: Who doesn´t like a nice bit of period drama!?
The actors were all playing soundly, nothing broke up the illusion of 19th century rural England. The director avoided unneccesary props or breaks so the transission between scenes went smoothly.

what I didn´t like: I didn´t like pretty much the same things - it was like watching a live version of a BBC period drama so in theatrical ways they played it safe, very safe, a bit too safe for my taste that is toughened by German experimental State theatre productions.

verdict: It was a nice escape from reality to immers myself for an entire day in 19century England. Bought the BBC TV adaption on dvd now and will start reading the book soon. More worth seeing if you love the book than if you are after some exciting theatre.

So how was it to stand for roundabout 9hrs in total? Well, with a lot of wriggling, re-positioning, leaning and stretching it was ok - actually it got easier some hours in than it was to start with. Not something I need to do each week but all in all in was alright. And I just can´t resist taking part in slightly obsessed things like this :-)

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