Life is beautiful…

Posts Tagged ‘tragedy

The Cherry Orchard

As you can see in my previous posts I just love going to the theatre. A theatrical experience almost never fails to thrill me. Last season I went to see 14 plays! But this year, my boyfriend pointed out that I didn’t have time for as many so I only have 5 shows planned for this season. I find it likely that I’ll be able to squeeze some more in my tight schedule… fingers crossed.

A few weeks ago I saw the first play of the season. The play was The Cherry Orchard in Borgarleikhúsið theatre. The play is written by Anton Chekhov, a Russian playwright. The play is really a tragedy but it is performed in a comical way. I know that might sound confusing but there really is no better way of putting it – the plot is tragic while there is a lot of life in the play. The story is about a family that is losing its estate and the old and beautiful cherry orchard that is on it, due to debt and squandering of money. It starts with the return of Madame Lyubov to her home, but she has been abroad for several years. Lyubov is a sad woman that has survived a great loss in her life. Although she is about to lose her home she thinks of herself as rich and loves spending money on beautiful things for herself and her daughters, expensive wine and she also gives money (she doesn’t have) to those in need. Time and time again, mr. Lopakhin tries to help her help herself but she doesn’t listen to him. She is not a bad person, she just doesn’t realize how bad things are or realizes but doesn’t care. Other memorable main characters are her daughters Varya and Anya who have subplotted love-affairs or lack of love affairs. Also the old, and slightly crazy, servant of Madame Lyubov’s brother and the disaster prone clerk, who is never far away. I read somewhere that the characters are all symbolization of different forces in the rise of the middle-class in Europe and while that is an interesting view, I know nothing about the situation in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century so I just enjoyed the story as it was presented for me.

So, what made this experience great? The music in the show played a big part for me. There were three musicians that appeared on stage, the characters did not hear them but in at least one scene they could sence them. The musicians carried their instruments around, accordians, drums and even large bass instruments. The music was kind of… well Russian I guess… and really added a lot to the play. I loved the way the cherry orchard itself sounded when the “wind” blew through them. I did not particularly notice the lighting inside the house but outside it had a pink/purple glow that underlined the beuty of the orchard. The setting and props were beautiful, I especially liked the use of the hall. One thing I found weird was that the room where a most part of the play took part was the old nursery… they even held parties in there… so that’s a bit odd. One thing that I have to mention was the curtains. Instead of the normal velvety curtains of the theatre there were beautiful purple chiffon ones with different sorts of white crocheted lace doilies. They must have taken hours to finish and I heard that the producers asked women to make them and get tickets instead. That is awesome!

Overall a fun show that leaves you with something to think about – I can’t imagine that a single soul left the theatre untouched by the final scene… tsk tsk….  I’d recommend The Cherry Orchard for all adults who are not afraid to try something else than comedy in the theatre. I give it 4 stars.

Thank you for reading this post! I’m currently reading a great novel in which I learn a lot of life and flowers… stay tuned:)

I went to the theatre a few days ago. There… I did it! I finished the sentence without having to tell you which day. That’s perfect. If I don’t think about it at all it won’t get stuck on my mind. Stop looking at me like that… Oh alright I’ll say it: “FRIDAY!” Are you happy now? You all know what I’m talking about though, don’t you? That awful song just won’t leave me alone. And the worst part is that the song get’s more and more bearable each day:)

Anyhow… this post is not about Rebecca Black but about one of the best theatre experience I have ever had. I really don’t want to use the word “play” or “musical” because this one is so much more than that. It was originally a German children’s book, written by Heinrich Hoffman in the year 1845 (Der Struwwelpeter) and it contained rhymed stories and some really frightening pictures that showed children what happened to them if they were bad. In 1998 it was made into a “musical” where Tiger Lillies made the soundtrack. As soon as you buy your tickets you know that you are in for something unique as you get to know that you will be standing throughout the show.  

Strýhærði Pétur í Borgarleikhúsinu

I really don’t know if I will be able to do the experience justice… This was definetely the most awesome thing I have done this year! For me what stood out were the details in the production – everywhere you looked there was something new to see. The music was absolutely great. I have listened to the songs in English and the lyrics are great but the Icelandic translations were so perfectly written and perfectly in tune with everything else that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself (Lyrics are kind of my thing and more often than not I walk out of a show feeling certain that I would have done a better job than the translator). The actors were hilarious as their characters (specially the children). I remember thinking a couple of weeks ago that I was getting tired of seeing the same actors in so many productions but I take it back. We get to see the actors take on many roles and I noticed how talented Icelandic actors really have to be. Everything else in the play – the costumes, light and use of space had great design that really went well with the show.

I really have just one criticism. I was kind of looking forward to being more a part of the show since I was already on my feet. It would have been great to have the show a bit more interactive. Still I am telling everyone I know to go and see it and I am positive that I will go again! I give it 5 stars and would give it more if I could. Although it’s based on a childrens book it is definetely not for children so I recommend it for adults and teenagers.



King Lear

Posted on: 5.3.2011

In February I went to see “King Lear” in The National Theatre of Iceland. One of my favourite theatre buddies came along and we were excited to see the play and compare it to the other Shakespeare play we saw a while back “The Tempest”. I wrote about that one in my last post. This one was very long, with the break it was more than three hours but I sat through it without being bored.

King Lear is a tragedy about a king who is getting old and has to divide his kingdom to his three daugters. He decides that they will each get a share of his kingdom in portion with how much they love him. Since one of his daughters is not willing to promise to love only her father, she doesn’t inherit anything but her love for her father turns out to be greater than her sister’s.

I knew nothing of the story before I saw the play. The only thing I did know was that it was a tragedy and was written in early 17th century. I was surprised to see that I followed the text pretty well, there were one or two monologues that I didn’t understand word-by-word but I got the main idea.

In the opening scene the stage was filled with hundreds of red, blue and white helium balloons that were floating with strings some two meters in the air. I heard someone point out that the dresses of the three daughters were actually in these colors. Cordelia the youngest was wearing white and continued to do so throughout the play but the other sisters wore darker and darker outfits as the plot progressed. The balloons were used a lot throughout the play for various effects, they were used to show a party, comedy, as a hiding place, as sound-effects and even as they had all been blown up there were some limp balloons in one scene that indicated that ‘the party was over’.

I did not find the actors outstanding. The daughters were not very believable but I liked the performance of Arnar Jónsson as Lear. He was at times hard to understand but I sympathized with his characters. The play also had one of my favorite Icelandic actors, who was great here as always Eggert Þorleifsson.

The music was okay, a playback that was backed up by a live cello. I didn’t notice it being used very much for the purpose of adding something to the experience. I remember that sometimes I wondered about the lighting. It was usually great and eg. clearly indicated the difference between day and night. But there was one scene where the lights came all the way down and were very yellow and I didn’t see the point.

I cannot finish this post before I talk about the rain! There was pouring rain on the stage for full 40 minutes and it was beautiful, wet and cozy. I really loved to see that and it made this play a great experience. The only thing, me and my friend agreed on that one, was that sometimes you couldn’t hear the actors clearly through the splashing sounds of the rain. But mostly it was a great addition.

I will remember this play for a long time. It was very interesting and fun.  As with The Tempest I give the play four stars and would recommend to adults to seniors, theatre lovers.

That’s it for now