The postulate behind ‘Guerilla Shakespeare‘ seems clearly an anathema to good theatre practice. Ensembles are to be nurtured. It cannot be best policy to banish rehearsal time, to forbid all group exploration, and expose the most vulnerable moment of the rehearsal cycle as t’were a worthy spectacle.
Those who nevertheless wish to witness: a stripped down, elemental, rehearsal-free KING LEAR to help inaugurate the initial season of Truth & Beauty Evenings at Westminister HUB – New Zealand House, Haymarket, London UK, are of course welcome. Sunday 26th November, 1800 hrs.
Lear – me,
Duke of Burgundy – Anton,
Kent – someone called Andy,
The rest of cast = a inconveniently anonymous collection of great unknowns!
The organisers allow for a frightful mess; but that somehow small moments of inspired beauty might coalesce out of the quagmire. Why such chaos should constructively illuminate the fate of tyrannical patriarchs in the latter days of the colonial project, escapes me. It smacks more of an ungrateful younger generation usurping time-honoured tradition and opting for yet another lark to serve as blogg fodder.
(The rationale for importing a decidedly balding, but not quite yet 80, actor into a land full of gifted Shakespearean veterans, also bodes utterly peculiar.)
And worse it might be yet…
The day when actors first leave their scripts to stumble empty-handed and zombie-like around the stage, is usually a disaster. At this point, finally making eye contact with ones fellow players remains a horrific distraction rather than the viable life raft that it is meant to be. We are to be are naked, abandoned and dispossessed. Within the inner tempest in our skulls, we will frantically strive to bridge the half-secure constructs worked upon in our several garrets with the merciless realities of a, for many, unvisited performance space. For this recipe to provide anything akin to a visionary evening is beyond presumptive.
To break this impasse, the traditional solutions posit direction.
However, this role too has been jettisoned as unessential, decadent paraphernalia.
That said, as titular King, we can but instinctively grasp for our forlorn crown. The way forward is unforgiving; adulterating the alchemy of youthful hubris, by forcing into the distillate the secret ingredients of a lifetime, may prove fateful. We should not anticipate gratitude.