Search This Blog

Friday, May 22, 2020

Double-Barreled Drama

From the Theatrical Vault Dept., or, Look Who We Had in Town! Sometimes there are legitimately surprising surprises to be found in my dusty archives. Take this advance I wrote in 1984 for a visit by the British American Drama Academy with a pair of plays in repertory. “Game of Thrones” star David Rintoul headlined the cast – and I regret that I wasn’t able to see the shows in question. I regret, too, that I had no interview to go on, so I did an admirable, show-offish job of treading water.


“I PRAY YOU ALL, tell me what they deserve that do conspire my death with devilish plots of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail’d upon my body with their hellish charms! Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France? Men should be what they seem. Macbeth shall sleep no more! I have lived long enough!”

David Rintoul, pre-GOT
So declares “Sir,” the aged actor in Ronald Harwood’s play “The Dresser.” This upsets his dresser, Norman, who remonstrates him: “Now look what you’ve gone and done ... go out, go out, you’ve quoted the Scots tragedy.”

“Did l? Macb –  ? Oh, Christ!”

Whereupon Sir is forced to leave the dressing room, turn around three times, knock before re-entering and swear. (“Pisspots.”)

When Peter O’Toole mounted a version of the Scots tragedy at the Old Vic a few years back, it was beset with mishap and fared poorly. Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the shortest of that author’s dramas, is said to carry a curse as well as the usual share of difficulties inherent in any Shakespeare play; perhaps that’s part of its appeal.

Although drawing from his favorite source, the Chronicles of Holinshed, Shakespeare shaped the material to suit his purpose, in this case, a study of the psychic deterioration of a man pushed by greed and envy to occupy the throne of Scotland. Although rife with bloodshed, it is a study of a man’s mind and puts the best of actors to a considerable test. Of two notable films of the play, the more realistic, with Jon Finch in the lead, doesn’t succeed half as well as Orson Welles’s more stylized (and much lower-budgeted) version: Macbeth is a challenge to the imagination.

David Rintoul, best known from TV’s Masterpiece Theatre version of “Pride and Prejudice,” will take on the title role of Macbeth in a production by the British American Drama Academy when the tour stops in Schenectady for a performance at Proctor’s Monday at 8 P.M.

George Bernard Shaw, who considered himself successor (and superior) to the Shakespearian tradition, will also be represented by his comedy “Candida,” featuring the same cast, at Proctor’s on Wednesday, also at 8. Two of Shaw’s favorite subjects – religion and the middle classes – are considered in the unusual love triangle this play depicts.

Proctor’s is offering a special deal: buy a “Macbeth” ticket and get a “Candida” ticket at half price. They cost $15, $13 and $9 and are available at the Proctor’s box office, at CBO outlets and other locations.

“Carol” in Cohoes

There’s no question that Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” gets off to a great start as ol’ Scrooge vents his spleen upon the mawkishness of Christmas. Dickens must have foreseen the coming of shopping malls. Despite the fact that the story has such a disappointing ending, with Scrooge cleaning up his act, audiences seem to enjoy the tale. You have an opportunity to enjoy it with music as Cohoes Music Hall hosts a version for the musical stage. Running Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. through December 22, this Heritage Artists production features a cast made up of some familiar faces. Stephen Foster, who plays Scrooge, most recently appeared in the same hall as Applegate in “Damn Yankees,” as did Andrew Hammond, who plays Marley’s Ghost.

Tickets range from $11 to $8 and may be obtained at the Cohoes Music Hall box office and CBO outlets.

Renovation Revue

If you’d like to relax this weekend with a Broadway-style nightclub show, try the eba Chapter House. Through December 22, the eba company offers a Club Cabaret with catering provided by the Unlimited Feast and a floor show performed by the resident company.

The $5 donation will go toward 'renovating the Chapter House (and is tax-deductible); the club opens at 8M, with the show going on at 10, Thursday through Saturday evenings.

Metroland Magazine, 6 December 1984

No comments: