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As curtains rise again, the theatre is set to look very different

“FOr last This year’s language belongs to last year’s language, “TS Eliot wrote in the” Four Quartets. ” “And next year’s words are waiting for another voice.” Ralph Fiennes speaks these lines on a stage with only a table and two chairs. From sunset to the fiery red of the bombing, the lighting effects shine behind him. At Theater Royale in Bath, a 200-year-old playhouse known to Jane Austen, Fienne is a 75-minute solo performance of Elliott’s long poems, four-part meditation on time, change and pandemic. It marked the emergence of the theater from hibernation. Destiny and faith.

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This is a good starting point for a post-puncture trip to the theater. The “Four Quartets” address not only the crisis of Elliott’s personal beliefs and identities, but also the public emergencies of World War II. He composed three of the four works between 1939 and 1942. Mr. Fines had known poetry since he was a kid, but he was blocked and revisited, chime in a turbulent time when “all normal infrastructure and expectations are lost.” A colleague who helped put the show on the street said, “I volunteered to offer how modern it is. A sense of respect for myself, life and soul.”

A restless barefoot presence on stage, Fines chats, discusses, and muses Elliott’s gorgeous images and complex ideas not as a sermon, but as a dialogue with an audience who shares a path of loss and confusion. , Or chant bunter. The first quartet, “Burnt Norton,” invites them to the pandemic-common experience of “descending down … into a world of eternal loneliness … inner darkness, deprivation.” The mystical “four quartets” of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity suggest that there is no going back to the past and no recovery of the status quo. As Elliott wrote in his third quartet, The Dry Salvages, “Time is not healing. The patient is no longer here.”

Fienne’s solo exhibition, which opened last month, presents spartan and simplified works that were broadcast online or on television when the drama’s flames flickered when the theater was empty and social distance increased on stage and stalls. Reminds me. However, national progress touring several other British cities during the summer marks a turning point from private communion to public spectacle. Since mid-May, the British theater, which has a limited audience, hopes to return to full capacity soon. When they and the American venue are on the verge of closure, many experts say in their final quartet, “Little Giding,” that “old factions cannot be revived / old policies can be revived.” You can’t / or you can’t follow antique drums, “shares Elliott’s claim.

My beginning is my end

The pandemic has been devastating to the theater. In the UK England The Theater and the Society of London Theater, a twin industry group, shows that the sector suffered a joint loss of approximately £ 200 million ($ 182 million) by March 2021. A quarter of freelance theater workers have stopped trading. As Julian Bird, CEO of both agencies observes, covid-19 spotlighted the drama’s human infrastructure vulnerabilities. He says the building itself is worthless. “We absolutely clearly realized that theater would be nothing without its workforce.” It is imperative to regain the designers and engineers who have been forced into other jobs.

The New York Playhouse is allowed to open from May 19th with no limit on capacity. So far, only small venues other than Broadway have been revived. The Broadway stage remains largely dark until at least mid-September, but “Hades Town” (a musical update of Orpheus and Eurydice mythology, another voyage through purgatory) will resurface sooner. is. The Public Theater will then return to Central Park’s outdoor home, the Delacorte Theater on July 6th, a version of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” set in the West African community of Harlem.

The work reflects the new social consciousness of theaters on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. At a recent symposium on the future of drama, public theater artistic director Oskar Eustis recommended to his colleagues: “Don’t just come back, go back more democratically and more comprehensively,” said Nataki Garrett, artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “usually ended in March 2020. We will not return to anything. ” Racial issues become more prominent on and off stage, sharpened by protests during the forced dismissal of the theater. Among other recommendations, the White American Theater, a pressure group, wants non-white writers to perform at least half of the plays performed on the main stage.

But alongside politics, many spectators crave escapism, all singing and all dancing. As Elliott wrote in one of the most famous passages in the “Four Quartets,” “Humanity / not very real.” In addition to Hades Town, there are old-style big cast shows scheduled for a comeback, such as Cole Porter’s musical “Anything Goes,” which will open at the Barbican Center in London.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein responded to a similar longing for post-WWII spectacle and glitz. The situation today is different. In particular, the impact of social distance on box office revenues is different. It may put a large budget luxury out of the reach of many venues struggling from the blockade. Therefore, some of the innovations caused by the pandemic are set to endure and evolve.

Small casts and solo works, such as the performance of Mr. Fienne himself in “Beat the Devil”, a monologue about David Hare’s brush, are one of them. Another is the new outdoor venue, which addresses ventilation needs. For example, the Alcora Theater in London built an open but canopy auditorium reminiscent of a semi-roofed playhouse from Shakespeare’s time. Then there are immersive tech projects, such as the adaptation of Jose Samarago’s novel “Blindness” by both Donmar Warehouse in London and Darryl Ross Theater in New York. Instead of seeing the actor, the audience wears headphones and encounters the story through lighting and recording.

“You can eat the fruits of last season,” Elliott wrote in the “Four Quartets.” “And a full beast will kick an empty bucket.” As Fines points out, this poem is from the past to escape the cycle of “continuous time” and “living in the present moment.” It is a call to break away from both the future. At its best, it’s one of the theater gifts. If you’re lucky, the audience will rediscover when the curtain rises again.

This article was published in the printed Books & arts section under the heading “The Turning World”.

As curtains rise again, the theatre is set to look very different Source link As curtains rise again, the theatre is set to look very different

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