Saturday, April 28, 2007

A night of Shakespeare

My last assignments was to attend a play or a reading and then write about it. H and I went on a date last night to a performance titled "A One Woman Night of Shakespeare". It was an impressive performance of many scenes from different plays. I wrote a short paper describing it. I'm posting it below to share the experience with you.

“One Woman Night of Shakespeare”
On Friday, my husband and I attended a performance titled “ A One Woman Night of Shakespeare” by Alex Mackenzie. It was hosted by the Children’s Theatre and School of the Arts. Alex Mackenzie had donated her time and efforts for this performance as a fundraiser for the theatre. Alex is from the UK and has a BA in English Literature and Theatre from Warwick University, UK and an MA in Theatre Studies from BYU. She is not only talented, but is also very kind and amiable (sorry, couldn’t think of another word). The theatre was very intimate, seating only about forty. The performance area came right up to the audience and Alex used this proximity at times to include the audience in her actions. She had pre-selected ten scenes from various plays; including “Macbeth”, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “Troilus and Cressida”, “Twelfth Night”, “King Henry the Fifth”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and “King Lear”. She chose to alternate her comedic and tragic performances.

When a scene involved two players, she successfully performed both parts, distinguishing the switch with a whirlwind movement and each character with a distinct voice and air. Her most comedic character was that of Launce from “Two Gentlemen of Verona”. She explained how her regular accent was different from the UK Northerners, which is what Launce was. She then did a wonderful job of performing his monologues, in the Northern accent, with great comedic timing. Her only costume of the night was that of Launce’s, since one scene called for the use of the clothing items. All other scenes did not require costume.

Her most strenuous scenes were those of “Macbeth”. She played out the scenes of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plotting to kill the king, the murder of the king, Lady Macbeth’s madness, and the final scene with Macbeth. These scenes were the most emotional and physical of the night. Alex would throw herself around, from one character to another, from standing to falling and back again. She would run, flee, and cower in fear and in conviction. She commented after the performance that she had sustained many bruises in these scenes. But her pains were worth the captivating performance she gave.

To close the performance, she ended with King Henry the Fifth’s dramatic monologue in Act IV, Scene III. In this monologue, Henry is telling his men of the pride and honor bestowed upon them to fight this day. It was beautiful and stirring, and called to my mind our servicemen that have fought and still fight today, as brothers.

After the performance, the audience was invited to snack and chat with Alex. She was very gracious in thanking us for coming. I had learned of the performance from a flyer at the Market, where Alex actually works. She thought it was wonderful of us to decide to attend. As difficult as the language of Shakespeare can be to grasp, even the children in attendance were very entertained. She has a wonderful talent of bringing Shakespeare’s words to life.

1 comment:

Tom Abbott said...

Hi there - hope you don't mind the intrusion but you might be interested in a podcast we did at Warwick Uni on the Women who have Played Hamlet -

Hope the essay goes well