Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Adventures of Pericles - in retrospect

I liked relying on Rebecca to do all of the pre-show work for me. In Victoria, she used to teach us the connections between all of the characters, have 10 famous quotes from the show taped to the door between the living room and the dining room and she would do a synopsis of the show as we were eating our meals together.

Now I have to do all of that on my own.  I went to the work to do it, even printing out a list of the characters and taking it with my on my early morning walk, memorizing their names and functions from my who is who in Pericles.

Since one of the reviews said that this was a mediocre play, well acted, I had the bar set low.  I wasn't expecting much -- just thinking I was putting in time by seeing some acting from Stratford.

When I got to the theatre 15 minutes early, only one patron was sitting there.  I went over to her to speak to her.  Tonia told me that if I am looking for friends to go with me on these adventures, perhaps it would just be easier to find those friends among people who are already there, since their presence would already tell me they are interested.

So I looked the person in the eye, and instead of saying "How many people do you think will be here today", I said, "How lovely to find you here today.  Do you remember me from the library?"

"Happy Birthday to you
You are 400 years old
I still like to see your work
37 and that's just the plays."
"Of course, Arta", she said, "I know you.  I am here, alone.  It is Shakespeare's 400th birthday, so in honour of that, I decided to see how many of his 37 plays I can see.  That is my new bucket list."

Why didn't I think of doing that?  I could make a list of how many of the plays I have seen, and how many I have yet to see.

Last year's The Winter's Tale and now The Adventures of Pericles are surely among the plays less performed and harder to access.

And Hamlet?  Now really, I can't count the number of times I have seen Hamlet:  for sure twice last year and once this year.

When I get a moment, I am going make my own list.  It will be short.  I will  probably have about 27 more to see.

I forgot to take this selfie with Kelvin at the theatre.
I only remembered after he left.
Perhaps at Butterfly I will get both of us in.
I was pleasantly surprised, enjoying this play much more than I had anticipated.

I don't know if it is the fact that the unusual conventions now seem common -- is it that familiarity that makes me comfortable?

The Greek chorus is a less used form in modern plays (though it is a delightful trop in the musical, Legally Blonde).  The careful wrapping up of all of the threads in the conclusion seems heavy-handed nowadays.   But I enjoyed it yesterday.  Relished it, really.   And the miraculous events:  a waterproof coffin making it to shore, people who should be dead, found living, a riddle which when solved would cause death to the person who solved it.  All of that is perfectly acceptable to me now.  I think my willing suspension of disbelief may be out of control.

Rebecca called me about an hour after the play was over for me.  Alex and she had gone to see it in Victoria.  She had felt too sick to go, but he is the one who didn't want to miss it.  I laughed when he reported that the shipwreck scene almost made him feel sea sick.  I had the a similar engaged feeling when Marina ran at one point to the end of the stage and looked far ahead.  There was the sound of sea gulls and on cue, my mind added the sound of the water, the smell of the salt, the long shore to either side of her.

The play's the thing.  Whoops.  Too much Hamlet.


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