Sunday, April 22, 2007


Last night we wrapped. Although I didn't see the final show, I know it was sold out, and I gather it went extremely well. Monica suffered one final costume malfunction, and that threw her off for the last 15 minutes or so, lending a strange, almost manic energy to the couple's decline and fall. The other actors were excited, in a way, as though that simple mishap had opened up new doors of possibilities which we could have explored, if we'd had another week of shows. As for Monica, I think she was just happy to be done, and to be wearing a 21st century brassiere at last.

The strike was absurdly simple, since we were instructed to leave most of the set in place for a fundraiser next week. So that left lots of time to drink and party. Unfortunately, I was bone tired from ushing at a friend's wedding earlier in the day, so I couldn't stay too late. I managed to hold out for a few hours, though, chatting with various actors and watching them get even goofier than usual as they drank. Each time a cast member would depart for the night, the rest of the team would yell "SALUTO!" and drink to them. When I left (at 3am or so) I got a great big group hug. Nice.

So, that wraps up that show. I don't really feel like doing an autopsy on it right now, partly because it's still fresh, but also because I feel like even though I may not have done everything right to my satisfaction, the show still rocked. Therefore, any critical analysis I do at this late hour would be introspection at best, and self-flagellation at worst. I'm better off accepting that this was a great show, and who cares if it was because of me or in spite of me?

Actually, maybe I can answer that. I don't usually give much credence to reviews, but the reviews of A&C were revealing, because they said what they always say about my Shakespeare productions. They called it fast-paced, poetic, and accessible; and then they slammed it for failing to achieve whatever they consider "authentic Shakespeare" (one reviewer called it "the Coles' Notes version" of the play, and another paradoxically declared "Shakespeare's language is beautiful, bit [it] drowns out Antony & Cleopatra"). In other words, the show lacked the emotional "weight" that contemporary Canadian reviewers associate with Shakespearean tragedy.

This is my perennial weakness, if the critics are to be believed. So I can take the blame for failing to imbue Antony & Cleopatra with tragic "heft" or emotional "weight."

But hold on: does anybody (other than the critics, it appears) really want to endure two hours worth of "heft"? Does anyone enjoy leaving the theatre under five acts' worth of Shakespearean "weight"? Or would they prefer to feel uplifted -- to experience something light but thoroughly accessible? Again, since the reviews always seem to arrive at the same conclusions, I suppose I can take responsibility. I wanted to make this story feel real, to make the "immortal longings" of the two larger-than-life leads into something modern audiences could understand. And I think that's exactly what we ended up with.

So, saluto, my cast; and my wonderful crew, and everyone else who helped to make this show a hit. Saluto, until next time.


Anonymous said...

Just remember, critics don't pay the bills - audiences do. Your production was first-rate. Saluto to the director as well as the cast and crew.

オテモヤン said...