Thursday, January 17, 2013

"It's the little lies that get you into trouble"

Image: from National Theatre Live Website
... sequence involving magistrate wearing a red tie ...

I was an hour early to get tickets for the The Magistrate tonight. I knew I was going too early, but I was just excited to get there in case the tickets were sold out. They weren’t. They never are. And I can’t figure out why. I bought one adult ticket for Dalton. He was sandwiched between tickets on either end for Ceilidh and me – a child’s ticket and a senior’s ticket. I used the extra hour to exercise in the Cineplex lobby. I can pretty well tell you what movies are playing now, what is Coming Soon, who the actors in each movie are and who sits in the lobby before the movies begin. As I walked in the lobby food court, I loved seeing one couple hold hands over their hamburgers and fries, bow their heads and say a prayer over their dinner. I walked in the video arcade part of the lobby as well, enjoying the sounds of the machines, letting the sounds of bells and whistles remind me of the excitement generated in gambling arcades.

We watched the introduction to new shows that are coming before The Magistrate began. I can’t remember the names of what is coming soon. But I know to book my calendar for Feb 7, Feb 17th and late March – I think there is a fabulous modern dance special coming from The Hague and the second National Theatre Live performance is on one of those dates.

The Magistrate was great fun. Imagine how happy I am, watching the kids out of the corner of my eye, listening to Dalton chortle over some of the jokes, hearing the gentle munch of popcorn provided byu Wyona and Greg, and hearing Ceilidh say, “I didn’t understand all of it, Grandma, but the part I did understand, I liked. I don’t think it was quite as good as One Man, Two Governors, though.” I had to agree with her. Tonight we were seeing a Victorian farce that is 130 years old now – the conventions of that farce are not the same as the ones we recognize in modern day comedies. The kids did fantastic as they adjusted to the old forms. The premise was silly – all built around the vagaries of problems that can erupt over the simplest of lies about the ages of one’s children. Of course some things that generate laughter are the same: the Charlie Chaplin walk, the alternate (mis)bobbing of bodies when songs are sung, perfect miming (i.e. kicking a dog that has been nipping at your heels – the imaginary dog seemed to fly up and out over the audience), and a monologue done by the magistrate who demonstrated ‘should I, or shouldn’t I’ kept me in stitches.

The Greek chorus came in the form of Victorian singers / carolers. I could hear Ceilidh humming some of the tunes as we left the theatre: "It's the little lies that get you into trouble" along with "Tipping and the Tuppence" and the "Magistrate".

A good time was had by all in our company.



  1. I skipping my plans for the evening and went to the Magistrate instead. While walking to the theatre I met an acquaintance I know from the music/art scene in Winnipeg. I asked what show he was seeing, and he and I at the same time both looked at each other and said, 'well the Magistrate of course'. It was a given. Both patrons of the arts knowing which film was the only one to truly see this evening. He joined his wife, and I joined myself as I sat with room on both sides of me to stretch out, relax and enjoy my popcorn with Smarties. It was a simple plot, as you said Arta, but the acting was overdone which fit the plot and the humour, and the audience was responding to the jokes in the theatre in which I was sitting. A delightful night!

  2. Hi Tonia,

    I loved all of the little touches that I wouldn't have seen without the help of the 6 minutes of film that lead us into the second half. How about the set being designed as a pop-up-book. When the penny fell for me on that one, I watched with more interest in the second half. Wyona said she thought that even some of the furniture was cardboard (pop-up). I didn't catch that.

    I was wondering if Greg was enjoying all of the street names, having lived in London so long -- Argyll Street, Baker Street, the woman being told she lived at a very good address. All of that was making me laugh as well.

    I enjoyed the actors talking about their characters -- it was easier to respond to the earnestness of the magistrate when I was able to step back and give myself over to a character in whom I did not have to suspect deviousness -- simple, yes, but not devious.

    I agree with you about sitting down, stretching out, putting coats on one seat, leaving spaces between us and other patrons. These shows give the ultimate in space because so few people go. I take that back. They said that 80,000 people were watching via satellite.

    On films coming up, did you like the clip of the Netherlands Dance Company in their production called Move to Move, Feb 17, 2013. Wasn't that too amazing for words. I hope I can make it that day -- starts here at 12:55 pm.


  3. In Victoria, the theatre was nearly full. We had to sit in the lower 4 rows right near the front! Not sure why this one was so full when so many others have been relatively empty.... maybe the Victoria audience has started to know about the NT live series?
    In Victoria, there was a glitch in the last 15 or so minutes, and the broadcast 'stuck' for 5 minutes til they could get it going again.... it meant we had 5 minutes to watch a frozen screen... AND, to notice that there was a cardboard pop-up-cat in a cat basket right by the fireplace! :-) wouldn't have noticed it had the screen not stuck! hahaha
    Duncan agrees with Ceilidh (good but not as good as One Man Two Governors). I agree that the 'extra bits' (before and after) add serious value to the piece. I have also bookmarked the next ones in the series!