Monday, February 13, 2006
A night at the theatre
When you only ever go to the theatre to see things written by people you know, or actors you went to college with, or something experimental in a small room above a pub, there's a whole level of polish and style and years of craft that you never get to see. A whole world of actors who can make their voices carry across a full house without ever seeming to raise them above the conversational, without covering the front row in spittle.
Mister Monkey and I went to see Brian Friel's The Faith Healer at The Gate, starring Ralph Fiennes, Ingrid Craigie, and Ian McDiarmid. Quite the cast of heavy hitters, and quite the night they delivered. The play is great and interesting and says much about the nature of playacting and storytelling and desire for glamour and a belief in unattainable happiness and a need to be noticed and loved and to be in the spotlight. The simple staging, in which monologues are delivered to the audience as if the audience were a journalist interviewing each of these people about their memories, is very effective and successfully brought us into the action so that, even from the very back of the theatre we wanted to answer the actors whenever they appeared to fumble for their places in the story.
It was just great. I would be interested to see it again with a different cast, just to compare, because I thought that Ralph Fiennes in particular was absolutely mesmerising, and not just, you know, because of the charm and everything.