Posts Tagged ‘ Grease ’

Baring all for art

Oh, dear.  Not content with attending the powerful, moving play Equus simply for the chance to see Daniel Radcliffe in his birthday suit, the great British public is now being alarmed by Sir Ian McKellen ‘s on-stage nudity as King Lear, in a scene which always seems odd when the actor doesn’t take his clothes off.  It doesn’t help that certain other productions in London at the moment are using naked actors for what seems like pure shock value,as neither of these instances should be titillating or shocking as such, but are a small part of the wonderful plays being performed.  When Equus first opened, I became quite angry with the endless tabloid press stories on the play, which were mostly getting worked up about ‘Harry Potter getting his kit off’.  If they knew the play, they’d be much more concerned by the fact that ‘Harry Potter’ blinds some horses, and, by the way, that’s not Harry Potter (who, I hate to say it, doesn’t exist) on the stage at the Gielgud, that’s Daniel Radcliffe, an actor who will have to play more than one part if he wants to have a career.  Hmph.

Having criticised public and press for getting terribly worked up about dangly bits on stage, I have to confess that I can’t ever see myself going for a role which required me to bare all.  For a start, I think there are very few theatrical situations that truly justify it.  But mostly, I’d just be too embarrassed, though I’d probably use the excuse that I was sparing the audience from nightmares.  It’s strange, as going on stage at all means shedding a whole host of inhibitions, and both acting and blogging could be compared to baring your soul.  I have no qualms about making a fool of myself (as long as I’m playing a role) or taking on a completely ridiculous part.  And on a related note, when the time inevitably comes that I find myself in a stage kiss, I suspect that this will be more problematic in rehearsals than in performance.  I sometimes wonder what other lines I may draw in the sand when it comes to on stage performance, but I know that being a naked librarian is a step too far. 

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Singing Librarian flashbacks: Disasters

This week, I have given much thought to those times when theatre just goes horribly wrong.  When the set decides to cave in, the follow spot overloads the electrical system, the pyrotechnics explode three scenes too soon, or everyone forgets what they’re supposed to do.  It happens to everyone involved in theatre at any level sooner or later, as I have been reading.  In Great Operatic Disasters, one discovers terrible disasters that have overtaken performances in venues as prestigious as La Scala and Covent Garden, while the ever popular Art of Coarse Acting describes the ways in which amateurs and others essentially bring such disasters down on their own heads.  The schadenfreude-seeker in me is now anxious to get hold of a new compendium of real disasters called Stop the Show!, and of course there are many further examples to be gleaned from the biographies of our great stage stars.

Of course, over the years, I’ve encountered a few of these wonderful moments, though nothing to top the more outrageous events recounted in these books.  Continue reading

Singing Librarian flashbacks: Dreams

I don’t often remember dreams.  I’m not sure why this would be.  It could be due to my sleep patterns, or a side-effect of my utter lack of a visual memory (I cannot picture anythingin my head), or maybe I just don’t dream as much as other people.  Whatever the reason, I very rarely wake up knowing that I’ve had a dream, and it’s very rare indeed that I remember what I was dreaming about.  I do remember two different dreams where my house went up in flames, though, and my dream self has killed at least two people I know (so watch out, mwah ha ha!) for some reason.  However, I do normally manage an anxiety dream in the days or weeks leading up to a performance, and this is the focus of this flashback.  No insights into the strange backstage world of the theatre, I’m afraid.  Just into my head!

I’m sure most performers of any kind and at any level have had the usual anxiety dreams – turning up late; forgetting the words, or the steps, or the music; turning up with no clothes on…  But that’s kid stuff!  My sleeping mind seems to be able to come up with some wonderful variations on this theme. Continue reading

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