omplete QPORIT: MARIN IRELAND - SPARROWS DANCE & MARIE ANTOINETTE

Monday, November 12, 2012

 

MARIN IRELAND - SPARROWS DANCE & MARIE ANTOINETTE


SPARROWS DANCE
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY NOAH BUSCHEL

Paul Sparks and Marin Ireland
SPARROWS DANCE
HIFF 2012
Photo Courtesy HIFF


World Premiere
MARIE ANTOINETTE
By DAVID ADJMI
Directed by REBECCA TAICHMAN
A Co-Production with American Repertory Theater

Yale Repertory Theatre
October 26-November 17, 2012



Marin Ireland Fred Arsenault Brian Wiles Teale Sperling
MARIE ANTOINETTE
Yale Rep
Photo © T Charles Erickson, 2012



Marin Ireland is one of the best and busiest actresses around. I managed to catch her at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival. (She starred in SPARROWS DANCE, plus two other films at HIFF!)

She had just come in the night before from LA where she was filming a TV pilot about a young lawyer at an Innocence-Project type of organization, and leaving the next day on her way to Pennsylvania for some final shots to wrap the project, then off to Yale Rep where she is (CURRENTLY!) starring as MARIE ANTOINETTE in an interesting new play. And then there's another film in the works. It's exhausting just to write about it, yet she looked fresh in the Hamptons, and chipper again when I saw her at Yale.

I spoke with Marin in a small space at HIFF where other interviews were also taking place, so it's just a bit too noisy, even after I softened some of the alien sounds, but I think Marin can be easily understood (though her voice sounds slightly tinnier than in life, since I had to filter out some of the bass to soften the voice of the guy talking behind me).

Marin talks about the film, the play, and some of her thoughts about acting in films and theater.




Marin has a phenomenal range: from films to theater; from experimental modern plays to Shakespeare. She is a very natural actress -- she seems to just make each character a part of herself -- or herself a part of each character. Her style (though not her appearance -- she is slight, not tall) reminds me strongly of Jill Clayburgh who also excelled at inhabiting her roles with a versatile naturalness and intense inner life.

SPARROWS DANCE is a sensitive film about an agoraphobic young woman. She won't leave her apartment, but when her toilet overflows the world's nicest plumber comes to fix it.

The actress, director and writer convey a feeling that they deeply understand her situation. They understand the plumber, too, and his relation to her. Paul Sparks gives a terrific performance. (I'm less convinced that they understand plumbing... The plumbing problems she had, and the repairs they seemed to be making, did not seem to make sense to me. But, then, it's a minor issue and I don't understand plumbing either.)

It's a small-scale, low budget, indie film... a very very good one and it leaves you with a satisfied feeling that you have understood something about the characters, about life and about love.

(Note to producers: market it for Valentine's Day.)

While SPARROWS DANCE is very simple and naturalistic -- albeit about a problem that is extra-ordinary enough to be interesting, MARIE ANTOINETTE, a new play at the Yale Rep is mannered in the extreme, about a Court that was mannered in the extreme.

In this production Marie appears at age 21 or so, with a valley girl accent, fashion obsessed. The opening tableau in fact is so original and spectacular it draws immediate applause.

It's not completely clear whether this accent is the creative team's specific impression/translation into English of young, somewhat ignorant, self-centered, light-headed Marie Antoinette’s poor Austrian accented French; or just a way of conveying a light-headed immature woman out of her depth.

Actually I don't think the production was aiming for historically detailed accuracy. So this is more of a generic Marie Antoinette in a story about discovering responsibility too late, and (since a major part of the story is The King, who's not up to the task) how a Kingdom can be lost for want of a King -- at least a King who can make the right decisions in a tough military and financial situation.

It is probably not a coincidence that this play was in fact written during the Bush years.

On the one hand, this play reminds me of CLOUD ATLAS, which in part deals with the relation between the leaders and the population; and even the BACCHAE, which (at least for me) is the story of a revolution by the subjects -- who consider themselves the real gods -- over a repressive regime; and, on the other hand, the recent A ROYAL AFFAIR which also deals with a similar period and a similar situation: a young woman trucked in (or carriaged in) across Europe in the mid 1700's, to marry a difficult and immature King, and the politics of governing.

At one point, Marie begins talking to a sheep (played by David Greenspan with a puppet/sheep-dummy). It is deliberately ambiguous -- the sheep could be an external metaphor for Marie's thoughts, or for the "polis" as in a Greek Chorus, or the playwright's voice, or absurdist theater, or an extra character that was needed when no human was available... or some combination of these... changing from scene to scene. These scenes were developed and experimented with extensively in rehearsal until they "worked". Even if we are not sure what The Sheep means, we do believe that The Sheep knows what he means, and so we can accept him.

David Greenspan and Marin Ireland
MARIE ANTOINETTE
Yale Rep
Photo © T Charles Erickson, 2012


Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst had a much more sophisticated Marie. Yes, she arrived as a young girl, but she had more depth, and the debacle was less the result of royal incompetence in Sofia's film -- which was something of an "apologia" for Marie Antoinette -- than in Adjani's story, which was more of a condemnation of royal incompetence.

Marin fully embraced the vacant Marie Antoinette at the beginning and the desperate Marie at the end; both completely different from the self-inflicted blockage that characterized the agoraphobia in SPARROWS DANCE. All different, yet all Marin.


This Marie Antoinette was produced in cooperation with Diane Paulus' A. R. T. in Cambridge Mass, where there was an earlier production of Marie Antoinette with another lead actress.

Yale Rep is quite a wonderful place for interesting theater. It's only 90 minutes from NYC and worth the trip.

Here's their schedule

October 26-November 17, 2012

World Premiere
MARIE ANTOINETTE
By DAVID ADJMI
Directed by REBECCA TAICHMAN
A Co-Production with American Repertory Theater


November 30-December 22, 2012

World Premiere
DEAR ELIZABETH
By SARAH RUHL
A play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell
and back again
Directed by LES WATERS



January 25-February 16, 2013

STONES IN HIS POCKETS
By MARIE JONES
Directed by EVAN YIONOULIS


March 15-April 13, 2013

PAUL GIAMATTI
HAMLET
By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Directed by JAMES BUNDY


April 26-May 18, 2013

World Premiere
IN A YEAR WITH 13 MOONS
Film and Screenplay by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Adapted for the Stage by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Featuring Bill Camp




LINKS

HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
www.hamptonsfilmfest.org

SPARROWS DANCE
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1822311/

NOAH BUSCHEL
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1231757/

MARIN IRELAND
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1677477/

PAUL SPARKS
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0817027/

NOAH BUSCHEL
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1231757/

ONEZERO FILMS - PRODUCER
http://www.onezerofilms.com/OneZero/ABOUT_old2.html

YALE REP
http://www.yalerep.org/

DAVID ADJMI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Adjmi

QPORIT ON A ROYAL AFFAIR
http://qporit.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-royal-affair.html

QPORIT ON SOFIA COPPOLA'S MARIE ANTOINETTE
http://qporit.blogspot.com/2006/11/secret-spine-of-marie-antoinette.html


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