The Crucible on screen

WP_20150305_001[1]In April 4th 1875 it was executed for the first time the most famous of the symphonic poems (Ma Vlast) of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, dedicated to the river Moldava, in which the sound of the strings and flutes imitates the whirling sound ot the water. I was listening it yesterday morning, while walking from the subway to work. It was the perfect soundtrack for the day: heavy rain soaked my leggins, gusts of wind hit my umbrella, my feet splashed the puddles of water formed in the pavement of Via Ottaviano and Saint Peter’s Square. This was yesterday’s weather condition; Italy was (and still is) striken by a phenomenon that our meteorologists, always in search of original and poetic (every Italian has a Dante in their veins) titles for storms and anticyclones, have baptised as “the Artic Whip”. But, notwithstanding this, a small army of well wishers yesterday night defied the elements to watch The Crucible on screen. Fortunately rain stopped in the afternoon although the artic whip keeps leashing us ruthlessly.

The cinema was almost full, the audience formed mainly by women, exception made of two or three resigned husbands (including mine) and a courageous solitary young man near us. Unfortunately I’m not intrusive enough, otherwise I’d have asked him why was he there. A fan of Samantha Colley? A theatre-lover? A well-wisher himself? Should you read these lines, young gentleman, an anonymous comment on the matter should be much appreciated.

Whatever I may write now about the play is old stuff, and something that you have read dozens and dozens of times. How was Richard Armitage? I won’t be the only one to criticise a flawless performance, what else can I say? Only that fortunately countdown for digital download has begun and in about ten days I will be able to enjoy every single nuance, smirk, gesture. There was not an expression out of line, from June 2014 John Proctor and Richard Armitage are all a single thing.

But I must confess that I have remained a little bit disappointed about the quality of the images; I was hoping to experience a high resolution live experience, as we have seen in the trailer…

http://youtu.be/1M-ZEUoMjkU

 … but unfortunately they were not. Maybe the third row where I was sat was a little bit too close to the screen and the ideal position to watch the play was the central or back rows. The fact is that the image gave not at all the impression of a high resolution recording. Anyway, I had my reasons to book those seats. I have realised that the most restless members of a cinema audience prefer the central rows, even if I must say that yesterday’s was the most educated audience that I’ve seen lately in a cinema. Nevertheless the usual disturbing plastic bag crunch was heard every now and then and, above all, what I feared the most happened: a childlish nervous giggling during Proctor’s “bath” scene. The effect that giggle in such a moment of the play had on me was the same of someone exploding a bubble gum during the opening string chords of “La Traviata” overture. Richard Armitage was not there selling his “pound of flesh”, as he had done in other occasions in tv films. He was Proctor overwhelmed by the sense of guilt, trying to wash his sin away. Proctor felt guilty for having seen Abigail again, even in those circumstances, he was ashamed for not having been strong and truthful enough. That scene is perfect as it is, that naked flesh, that furious scrubbing was full of sense, as it had to add the salt to Goody Proctor’s insipid stew to say later to reverend Hale that it was tasty.

Adrian Schiller as Reverend John Hale. The Crucible on screen website

All the cast was a perfect ensemble; I was delightfully surprised by Adrian Schiller. I have the tendency to focus my attention on the performer’s hands as I think that they are the most difficult part of the body to control when acting, being able to make them move naturally or to change require a high dose of skill. Marama Corlett nails that nervous trembling spasms when “awakening” from her posession, and Adrian Schiller gives a slightly parkinsonian movement to his right hand from the very moment he feels remorse for the role he has played in the trials. I am sure that I will write more posts in the future about Mr. Schiller’s performance, the edition of the film and the rest of the cast, but right I feel myself quite incapable of writing anything with a minimum of sense.

For those of you curious about hubby’s reaction. He was quite shocked on learning that the play was in English with English subtitles, but it took it all very sportingly. He enjoyed it even with language barriers (this is just an opener of what he will experience in May) and acknowledge that Richard Armitage was extraordinary. His second favourite actor of the cast? Harry Attwell

Harry Attwell played Thomas Putnam. Source: crucible on screen
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Yes, yes, yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TC

Believe it or not, this is still the blog of a slightly distRActed woman. Nothing like a piece of news like this to make me write my first strictly and voluntarily RA focused post : a TC screening in Rome! And with some luck also, they day after I go to Spain for a weekend visit to my family.

How do I feel? Well, I still cannot believe it. Husband has accepted his fate with not such a big deal of resignation, as this screening will be the apetizer for our 2015 London theatre season. We will be there in May to see Ralph Fiennes in the National Theatre and I hope to be able Monday to get tickets also for Globe’s Merchant of Venice with Jonathan Pryce as Shylock. I guess that amazon is quite sorry about this, as my orders in 2015 amount still to… zero. Their Italian 1Q review will show a decissive revenue decrease, untill The Hobbit BOFA DVD, of course.

JP
Edited screenshot of TC – DT official trailer

Why I won’t see The Crucible (ouch, this post hurts)

I have always thought that things, in life, cannot be forced. If they should happen, they happen. I’m not a person of strong believes, I’m always skeptical and very ironic but I guess that I believe in fate. In something written, pre-established. I am also quite convinced that, should we have the opportunity to turn back time and live again a certain moment, trying to change what happens, it will never change. The result will be the same, maybe different but never the one we intended.

What has all that to do with the subject of the post? “The Crucible” production was announced a few days later I’ve booked a trip to London to visit my dearest friend M., in the weekend of May 2nd. Should I have waited a couple of weeks to prepare that trip I would have planned it differently. I would have organised it for end June and right now I would be one of the happy few (not so few) to have seen Richard’s extraordinary performance. I would have gone probably to a matinee in order not to bother my friend returning home after midnight, and even hubby would have liked to see the play although he would understand more or less 10% of what was said in it. He endured stoically an Othello’s production in English in Rome’s Teatro Valle without sleeping nor snoring and he didn’t even fall asleep on Turandot, and that was definitely a harder test for him.

That was the appropriate moment to see the play.

For my August holidays I had already planned to go to Northumberland to visit Vindolanda, the Roman Army Museum and the forts in Hadrian’s Wall. We had to make that trip last year, but we had to cancel it when we got everything already booked. Frankly speaking, I didn’t give a second thought to “The Crucible” when booking the Northumberland trip for the second year at the beginning of June. I really want to visit Hadrian’s Wall and I am as fond of Richard as I’m of history of the Roman Empire.

I’ve actually mixed objects of admiration in a fanfic – that’s what fanfics are for, aren’t they?
I’ve actually mixed objects of admiration in a fanfic – that’s what fanfics are for, aren’t they?

Of course, plane, guest house’s reservation in Haltwhistle, and hotel in our way back in Newcastle were made before being conscious of what I was missing. I was sure that “The Crucible” would have been great but not SO great. And here is where the big “ouch” goes; it hurts, it really hurts.

Therefore in a month, when I will be in Northumberland walking the moors, reading the famous Vindolanda letters, admiring the view of the garden in Ashcroft Guest House, eating a chicken and mushroom pie in a Haltwhistle pub, I will feel a small twang of regret, a tiny shadow of nostalgia thinking of the man giving himself to his audience several hundreds of miles south, in the same country, and me not being there watching him.

But, as it seems that Mr. A lives mostly in airports, it would be nice if he passes by Newcastle airport on Sunday August 24th around 3 pm. Just a glance from the distance would be fine for me, I respect too much someone who works as hard as he to disturb him in an airport.

PS. Nevertheless, I have the weird feeling that I won’t go to Northumberland neither this year. Maybe I’m wrong, I also thought this before travelling to Berlin two years ago.

I wonder…

… if I’m deeply moved by this video… What should it be to be there?

PS. “to be there” = “to be in the Old Vic to see the play and the final bow”. As I have written elsewhere in this blog, I will never ever be found in a red carpet or a stage door.

Thanks to the Anglophile Channel.

But what says your husband?

tumblr_n7crfl44qw1qzl9nfo1_1280

I don’t know how many of you have heard this sentence when someone passes by your computer and comment your wallpaper. I’ve heard it, several times, and this morning about the above. And, everytime I hear it, it gets on my nerves.

I am an admirer of beauty and arts. In my pc at work, before Mr. Armitage, I have had for about six months a picture of the Roman Forum, before that a painting of Caravaggio, and a Bernini sculpture, just to talk of the last ones. But for certain people those images do not sow a kind of doubt about my capacity of marital fidelity. And I wonder… what’s the difference? Which is the Pavlovian reflex that provokes my “living man wallpaper” in them? Chances of ever touching Richard Armitage are unfortunately even more remote than those of touching this sculpture of Antinous.

Antinous as God Bacchus - Vatican Museum
Antinous as God Bacchus – Vatican Museum

I would be able to steal a caress to the marble when the watchman in the Museum is distracted, but my absolute and complete shiness will ever prevent me to be consciously near Richard Armitage. You will never find me in a red carpet or waiting for him outside the stage door (without considering the fact that there is a considerable distance between my door and his nearest stage one).

Distance between doors
Distance between doors

But, nevertheless nor Antinous, Botticelli or Caravaggio have ever inspired conversations like this:

She.- Oh! But who is this gorgeous bearded man?
Me.- An actor, Richard Armitage.
She.- Oh, you always find this kind of beautiful men. He is really handsome indeed! I guess you just have the chance to watch this beauty here at work, you probably won’t have this picture in your computer at home, where your husband might see it.
Me.- Well, I have the same wallpaper in my laptop at home.
She.- And your husband has never said anything about it?
Me.- Should he?

I guess that the heart of the matter lies in the fact that I admire the beauty (but what I like the most in Richard Armitage are his brains = acting skills/intelligence/etc/etc/etc) of a living man, made of flesh and bones, and that this admiration implies looking down the one I share my life with. A reasoning that I find five times more absurd than the distance between the door of my office and that of the Old Vic Theatre.

Old Vic Theatre
Old Vic Theatre. Picture taken during my trip to London last May.

If you are curious to know what my husband says about my new wallpaper the answer is: nothing. Every now and then he makes sarcastic comments about the haircut of a certain actor (he has not found yet a-terrible-physical-defect in Richard to criticise) or refer to a certain character with the sentence “yes, it was played by one of those actors you like” but he has never reproached me over it. Also because it is not something quite advisable to do when he is not the one who scans and cleans the computer we share: should he say something, my gun is full of bullets.