tisdag 3 mars 2015

The Old Vic's The Crucible (English only)

I just got home from watching The Old Vic production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at the local cinema. And I can’t not write something about it. Perhaps because I went on my own and could have this rant in the pub afterwards. Perhaps because it brought into focus some things I’ve been thinking about, or around, lately. At some point I’ll do this post in Swedish as well, but for now I’ll stick to English. I might not be as into it then as I am now, this things tend to pass after a night’s sleep, but in that case I’ll just do a rewrite in the translation.

     A.   Great play! Lately I’ve been feeling slightly ashamed of the fact that I’ve read and seen very few of “the classics”. I remember reading some Arthur Miller in my teens – but that was mainly because it was some of the few plays in the library. There was Shakespeare of course, which didn’t really interest me in my teens, apart from Romeo and Juliet, thanks to Baz Luhrmann. There was some Strindberg, but I’ve never got on with him. Instead I read Americans plays from the post-war years, by playwrights like Williams and Miller. Although I don’t think I ever read The Crucible, probably because I thought it was going to be difficult and long. Which wasn’t a very good excuse for not reading it. Obviously a lot of the hype around the plays has to do with Miller and the McCarthy era in American history. Watching the play today it resonates with that, but it also resonates with things going on right now, or 20 years ago. All of this without any misplaced attempts of making it “contemporary”. It is contemporary because it is human. It doesn’t have to be forced to be contemporary. It is. And I, watching, can figure it out all on my own, without the restrictions of too much directing trying to bend the play one way or the other.  
     B.   Great production! No production of is perfect of course. For me, a lot of the things that weren’t so great were mostly to do with the filming. It was done slightly differently to the previous two I’ve seen in the cinema, both done through NT Live. This was “captured” live but there were certain effects (like pictures on top of each other, slow-motion, etc) added on to. The space, and the way the stage was set up, brought its own problems with it for filming I’m sure. But what made it a great production for me, was that it was about the story, all the way. The actors knew what they, and their characters, were doing. There was purpose to all of their lines and actions. They might have misled the audience from time to time, keeping us on our toes, but it all came together, they were all whole characters who had to make decisions and take actions. And the language as well, as an equal part of the whole artistic expression – that something that I had a long discussion about today with a collegue. Unfortunately that seems to be quite rare at the moment. All of these things made it a pleasure to watch, even through a screen. It started out with the stakes high, and just kept raising them, but all within the logic of the world of the story. A lot of tears, sweat and saliva, but hey, for once it worked. A bit of stalking around the stage because burdened with trying to save you wife and being helpless in the face of mass psychosis (more or less), but hey, that didn’t really bother me either.  

     C.   How great is it to be able to see productions like these? It’s really great. This is the first time I’ve seen this play performed and it was great to see it in a production like this.