Friday, March 26, 2010
$10. (25 & UNDER) FOR SUPER SONNET PERFORMANCE
Peter Brook's production of LOVE IS MY SIN, featuring veteran Shakepearean actors Natasha Parry and Michael Pennington, presents some of the finest performances of Shakespeare's sonnets I've ever heard. The interpretation of individual sonnets integrates conversational inflections with vocal sophistication. This is post-Gielgud Shakespeare. (See below for a complete review.)
Hearing these sonnets live should be part of every student's education. (Sadly, at the performance I attended there were perhaps 25 unused seats. Live theater disappears into the aether forever, even as it is being played. Great, unique theater should never be wasted!)
Every high school student taking English; every college student taking English (ie all students!) and certainly every actor should take the opportunity to hear this performance.
Oddly, they can. Tickets for people 25 years and under are only $10.00. Theater For A New Audience is certainly trying to find a new audience. Here's the policy:
Running Time: 60 minutes with no intermission
Age Recommendation: 13 and up
Youth Tickets: For ages 25 and under, $10.00 New Deal tickets may be purchased in advance for any performance by using the code “NWDL1568” online, over the phone (646-223-3010) or during box office hours at The Duke on 42nd Street. New Deal tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis along with all other tickets. There are no restrictions on the number of New Deal tickets available for each performance, but there is a limit of 2 that can be purchased via the phone or online. Valid ID listing proof of age must be shown for each New Deal ticket purchased; failure to show proof of age will result in a surcharge for a full-price ticket.
Peter Brook's take on the sonnets is to divide (loosely, I think) 31 of them into 4 categories: Devouring Time, Separation, Jealousy, and Time Defied.
The two actors alternate in performing the sonnets. In contrast to my own sonnet play, (also called LOVE IS MY SIN), there is little attempt to create a story, or for the performance of one sonnet to set up the circumstances and situation that calls for the response of the succeeding sonnet. Except for the grouping of sonnets into the categories, most sonnets are performed quite independently of those before and after.
Some sonnets are played with interaction between the two characters, but in most cases there is little or no physical life connecting the characters while the sonnet is performed. Each individual sonnet is performed with exceptional expertise, insight and beauty. The "line readings" place the emphasis and phrasing within the sonnet brilliantly (and often unexpectedly) so as to illuminate meaning in the poem. Except for one or two cases when the actors seemed to be looking at the sonnet text for their cues, the life of each single sonnet performance, taken individually, was nearly perfect. The excellent musical accompaniment by Franck Krawczyk provided a palette refresher between sonnets and augmented and sustained the mood.
In general, the interpretations are quite gentle, with deep emotions. It is also possible (as in my version) especially when presented as a story, to present the sonnets as fierce, with torrid emotions, deep pain, and profound passion.
The actors have amazing vocal control, beautiful voices, and exceptional intelligence in their performance. Natasha Parry was always a pleasure to listen to, and Pennington's performance of sonnet #138, "When my love swears that she is made of truth..." teasing out all its many jokes, was just one of many highlights.