domenica 14 marzo 2010

The Gods Weep (but the blogger is very happy!)

This is a cinema blog, I know.
But I would like to make an exception and to talk about a play.
Yesterday night I went to Hampstead Theatre, London, to see The Gods Weep, the new work by Dennis Kelly, considered one of the most talented British playwriters of these last years.
I'm not a huge fan of theatre, and I prefer to declare it now, straight away. My knowledge of it is very poor and every time I go to see a play, there is a specific reason: an actor I love who acts in it.
In the recent past, I went to see Gabriel Byrne playing in New York, Ralph Fiennes playing in London and, well, JEREMY IRONS, twice, always in London.
In 2006 Irons was playing in Embers, written by Christopher Hampton and based upon a Sandor Marai's novel. I went to a matinée and then I waited for Mr. Irons outside the Duke of York's Theatre, in the warm springtime afternoon, for at least 1 hour, but he never appeared. With my great disappointment, of course. It was the first time in my life that I could see him in flesh and blood, on stage, and I was mesmerized by the event.
Yesterday night, it was the third time in my life, and I was even more mesmerized.

Irons plays Colm, a man who created, in 30 years of hard work, a big empire. The First Act takes place in a Board Meeting Room. Colm has gathered all the most important members of the company to announce a big decision: he is handing over complete control to Richard and Catherine, his two CEOs, but he's keeping for himself just a country, the one his son Jimmy is taking care of. Everybody is shocked by the news and his son is very upset, but Colm's decision is taken and he is not going back or change his mind about it.
As soon as this is clear, a battle of power starts between the members of the board, at first in a subtle and sneaky way, but soon enough bursting into a very violent and unsettling conflict.
The Second Act tells the story of this war. Nobody is immune to it, not even Colm, who has been serioulsly injured by his own son and can only escape from the fury surrounding his actions' consequences.
The Third and last Act opens on an apocalyptic scenario: the world is a dead land, where people have to struggle to find food and repair from the bad weather (the atmosphere actually reminded me of a British TV series of the 70s, a masterpiece called The Survivors). Colm, who asked helped to the only person he shouldn't: Barbara, the daughter of a man whose life has been destroyed by Colm himself, has the time to think about what he did. About the horrible things he has created, about his inability to feel love and to give love, about the misery and despair which are the only inheritance he is leaving. He is able to understand all this thanks to Barbara's behaviour: her dignity, her strenght, her pity and courage. But it is too late for Colm and his redemption, and maybe for the one of the rest of the world as well.

The Gods Weep is a very particular play, a strong experience, a real challenge for both the actors and the audience (we're talking about a 3 hours long play). This is a physical experience, I assure you. I spent the whole second act feeling afraid. I was so scared that the actors could actually be seriously injured. The fight is so real, it's almost unbearable.
The incredible set decoration, simple but very powerful, helps to create and reinforce the atmosphere of great fear generated by the story (I adored the effect of the Board Meeting Room's table going down and becoming a platform of war).
The language of the play is extremely strong as well. Impossible to count all the fuckings and cunts I heard, not to mention a couple of chilling monologues that Irons pronounces about his wife and son. Everything here is unsettling and disturbing: life is not a long quite river for Mr. Kelly, this is undoubted.
I really enjoyed this play, I love the way it changes from one act to the other, it is so unexpected. Sure, it's easy to believe in everything you see when you have in front of you the actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company. They were ALL so amazing, but I particularly admired Joanna Horton, who plays Barbara (she had a small part in Fish Tank).
But, of course, this play wouldn't be the same without the presence of Jeremy Irons, who demonstrates here, once again (not that he needed to), his versatility and his unlimited talent.
I know what you are thinking, right now, you are thinking (after one adoring post on him, after I have written at least 10 times in this blog how much I love him) that I am not objective. And it's true, I'm not, when it comes to Mr. Irons, but it doesn't matter, because he really is the most amazing actor. He is so cold and pitiless in the First Act, simply perfect in his representation of a greedy business man (the Armani suits and his outstanding class as a bonus), he is so fragile and defenceless in the Second Act and he is simply magnificent in the last one, where he wins back his humanity, demonstrating to be able to love: his performance in the final 5 minutes of the play left the whole audience speechless (and me, crying).

By the way, I was luckier than the last time I waited for him.
He appeared in the lobby of the theatre after only half an hour and he spent at least 20 minutes talking to me, the most charming and sweetest man on planet earth.
I thought about a Summer of many years ago, when I used to wake up every Sunday morning at 7 am because the RAI was showing Brideshead Revisited at that non-sense time. It was a pre-DVD, pre-VHS era (yes, I am that old), and at that stage I already seen the entire series once, but I simply coudn't bear the idea of not being in front of the screen looking at it while it was passing.
I can't really explain you why, it was like a bond, a sweet obligation, a personal matter between Charles Ryder and I.
And, apparently, it still is.
Was this a reward to my devotion? A small tribute to my craziness? I don't know, but while the Gods were weeping, I was having the time of my life.

2 commenti:

  1. Brava Zazie!! Insomma vai poco a teatro ma sempre a NY e London, sei troppo chic... Spero Jeremy ti abbia dato qualche consiglio per girare il tuo film, lo stiamo aspettando :-)

  2. Eh, che vuoi... si fa quel che si puo', cara Maelle! Sai, non è che ci fossi proprio con la testa mentre Jeremy mi parlava, a stento riuscivo a non svenire... altro che chiedergli consigli!!!


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