Theatre

You learn something every day…

broadwaybanner51Yep, there’s always something new. I mean, can you believe that only recently (I’d say late last year, early this one) I discovered that there was actually a Broadway production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? The movie I’ve been watching ever since I can remember (it comes tie with the number of times I’ve watched The War Wagon, also ever since I can remember). I absolutely adored this musical when I was young (and still have a very soft spot for it now), especially Milly (Jane Powell) and her wonderful dresses. Not to forget her fluttering eyelashes and that wonderful voice.

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So, one evening, fairly recently as I’ve mentioned, I was wondering what else Jane Powell and Howard Keel starred in together (and was also curious about all the other brothers and sisters of said movie) while surfing (or rather, trawling) the web, as is bound to happen,  along came a webpage with characters that didn’t look familiar. Huh? What’s this? Ah, not a remake or such but a stage production. Broadway in 1982. And various others too.

When the Broadway Bound Blogathon came along I got all excited to enter this movie but, alas, looking at it in a bit more detail, I read that it wasn’t really successful on Broadway or subsequently in London. Well, I guess the “original” was (is) special so, while I’m sorry that the live performances didn’t make it, in a way I’m also relieved that my precious childhood movie treasure stays exactly that…special. Although, not all is bad – the Broadway version did receive a Tony nomination for best musical score.

I’m not going to go into the story…I’m sure you all know it by now. So, at risk of warbling on and on, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Rather head on over to Taking Up Room  over here to read up some more Broadway entries…or read my second entry in this Blogathon, a personal little gem called Proof, over here.

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Proof…a little gem..

Proof_poster…in my humble opinion. If I remember correctly, it didn’t get too many positive reviews (but then, I don’t really care about reviews anyway…it’s all about personal preference, isn’t it?).

Having watched this one when it first came out on the “big screen”, I’d only realised afterwards that it was based on a play by David Auburn which won both a Pulitzer Prize as well as a Tony Award in 2001. As to who wrote the screenplay, I’m a little hazy…one source says David Auburn, another Rebecca Miller (I love her works) and yet a third credits them as co-writers. Anyway, the play that this movie is based on was originally staged Off-Broadway (I’m learning new things from this Broadway Bound Blogathon hosted by Taking Up Room) and was later moved to Broadway.

broadwaybanner51What’s the story? Often told in flashbacks immediately after brilliant mathematician Robert’s (Anthony Hopkins) death, this is about Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), also a mathematician struggling to deal with her father’s death, her potential brilliance and at the same time, the fear that she, like her father, may be mentally ill. To complicate matters, Robert’s former student Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) spends many hours at Catherine’s (and formerly Robert’s) house sifting through endless notebooks believing that something noteworthy is to be found. Add Catherine’s prim and proper (or is that uptight?) sister Claire (Hope Davis) to the mix and you have some sums working and others not (ok, sorry, that wasn’t a good line)…let me retry that…you have quite a mix of characters which make for some interesting dynamics.

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The cast, for me, works well. Gwyneth Paltrow and Hope Davis are the contradicting sisters…one not worried what she looks like, the other totally obsessed with appearances. In the flashbacks, Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow have a believable father-daughter relationship. Jake Gyllenhaal rounds off the equation as academic/hobby-musician.

And it’s not only the play that received accolades, but the movie too. Gwyneth Paltrow was nominated for a Golden Globe in this role. Well deserving. She’s excellent…just enough balance of normal and loopy. You’ll find yourself wondering about her sanity long after the credits roll. I’m still not sure what to make of her after multiple viewings…hmmmm.ProofScene3

 

Wonderful Woyzeck…

There really is something in the saying that the youth is the future or something along those lines. This was made very evident in the brilliance of a Woyzeck production I’ve been lucky enough to watch this week. Originally written by Georg Büchner, the Deutsche Internationale Schule Johannesburg learners have performed their own interpretation of this stage play.

I love modern. I love different. And this was exactly that: refreshingly modern and different. What blew me away were the ideas, the brilliant, brilliant creativity and the fantastic range of performers (the youngest 5, the oldest around 16). However, without the backing of behind-the-scenes crew, teachers and mentors (and anyone else I have forgotten about) Woyzeck wouldn’t have come alive the way it did. And they all “gelled”…when a production moves this smoothly and everyone seems in-tune with each other, they’ve clearly had fun getting to this point. Well, fun intertwined with lots of hard work. But that goes without saying…or rather, should go without saying. I overheard a comment that the performance was better than some put on by professionals…wow…that says something.

So, here’s a great Thank You to the entire team involved for presenting a wonderful work of art! You can be proud of yourselves.