Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Where I've been: 'Coriolanus' and 'The Phantom Of The Opera'.

So, in a solid attempt to get this blog up and running again, I feel it's time to let you know what I've been doing with my time instead of this! Obviously, University has taken up a large portion of it. As mentioned in my previous post, I am in my final year and so am working on my end of year project, a Multimedia Performance that centres on the story of 'Little Red Riding Hood'. I won't be performing, instead I will be directing and scripting the entire thing, as well as sorting out the programming for the multimedia aspect of it. I am so excited about this project, and have drafted in a good friend of mine to work on the art for it. As well as this for my other modules I am both Company Managing and providing Sound/Lighting Design for two separate nights of shows so as you can imagine I have been a bit of a busy bee!

I have however found time to do other things that I will share with you because I am so excited about them and need somewhere to vent this excitement. Firstly, on the 16th January 2014, a friend and I traveled up to London to see the Donmar Warehouse's adaption of 'Coriolanus' (currently running up until about Mid-February). It starred Tom Hiddleston as the lead, and other famous faces included Mark Gatiss (Mycroft from the hit TV series 'Sherlock') and Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas in the 'Harry Potter' film series). Readers I don't think I can quite put across just how excited I was to see this. I have always been a huge lover of Shakespeare, but to me, Tom Hiddleston is currently one of the finest actors of our generation and I have been a huge fan of his since watching him as Loki in Thor and The Avengers. Having watched his fantastic interpretation of Prince Hal/Henry V in the BBC TV Series 'The Hollow Crown', I knew I needed to see him in this, be it live or in the upcoming broadcast in worldwide cinemas. I was very lucky to get tickets to see him at the Theatre, as they sold out fast every time they were released.

The performance itself was stunning. The set was simple, yet effective and I found myself unable to draw my eyes away from the action for even a second, so lost was I in every cast member's performance. Deborah Findlay was every inch how I imagined Coriolanus' overbearing mother Volumnia to be played and I found her exceedingly entertaining. Gatiss was, as I imagined his Menenius to be, hilarious making his later emotional grief all the more difficult to bare. Hadley Fraser too struck me with his excellent and very brave portrayal of Coriolanus' sworn enemy Aufidius and I would very much like to see him act again. Finally, Tom Hiddleston's representation of the titular character, Caius Martius Coriolanus was quite frankly a breath of fresh air and showed fully Hiddleston's amazing ability to play a broad spectrum of emotions, and in doing so, create a complex character that an audience can instantly connect with. He made me laugh and cry many times as I watched Coriolanus' pride and passion draw him deeper into his inevitable fate. I have loved his many onscreen characters but to anyone reading I will say, if you ever get a chance to watch him act on stage then take it and don't look back. You won't regret it. All in all this adaption, directed by Josie Rourke, was a wonderful interpretation of a Shakespeare that is not often performed. Well done to all cast and crew!

After the Matinee performance, my friend and I decided we would go and eat, and then queue to meet the actors after the performance so that we may tell them face to face that we enjoyed it. We did manage to get an autograph from Alfred Enoch, who was also wonderful to watch, and he was lovely to chat to. Sadly, there was no sign of Mark Gatiss, who I suspect had snuck out of a different door. After much waiting (in the pouring rain I might add), Tom finally came out. My friend and I were at the front of the queue, along with a lovely girl from Latvia with whom we were sharing an umbrella, and I instantly felt terrible that the poor man was coming out to sign for us after two exhausting shows. His voice was a little hoarse but he was very friendly and seemed in fairly good spirits. I told him that I had really enjoyed the show, though I wish that I could have talked to him properly rather than having my mind go blank (yes, I was a little starstruck) but to be perfectly honest I'm just glad I managed to say anything at all in an existing language. He was very gracious and thanked me for my compliments. To be honest, it's all a bit of a blur, but I came away from it happy that I had finally got to meet someone that I really respect and admire and I hope I do get an opportunity to meet him again in the future.

I will also briefly mention (well, probably not briefly) that last week, on Monday 20th January, my boyfriend took me to go and watch 'The Phantom Of The Opera'. I was so, so excited about doing this because it is the show that got me interested in Musical Theatre, and subsequently Theatre in general, and I have been wanting to watch it since I was eleven and have never had the chance! I was so overwhelmed by it that during the Overture, I cried because my dream was quite literally coming true. But I managed to compose myself enough to say that it was a wonderful performance, definitely worth a watch. The costume, set, lighting, and sound were all beautiful and it was clear that a lot of work had gone into the whole production. The singing was just perfect,  and I came out of the Theatre with a huge smile plastered across my face and unable to stop singing. A true classic of the London 'West End'.

So there we have it, a general update on what I've done over the past couple of weeks. It's a bit Theatre focused, but other than Uni work that is really all I have been doing. With regards to the book reviews, my current reads are Stephen King's 'It' and David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' which I shall definitely be reviewing so stay tuned for those when I finish them. I have a Goodreads account now so check that out if you want to see what I'm planning to read next and what, after I have gone through the books that I own, I want to buy. To fill any gaps, I'll also be letting you know each day, with a short blog post, what I've been up to and keep you all up to date with my future plans for this blog. For example, today's activities really involved sorting out my new Goodreads account and this blog, as well as doing a few bits and bobs for Uni, as this morning's lecture was cancelled. I hope you all enjoyed reading this rather long catch-up of my life, please do follow me on Bloglovin'!