Phedre

A two hour production with no intermission and the audience was totally captured throughout!
Seana McKenna turned in a fantastic performance – the look on her face when she found out that Hipploytus was in love with Aricie was worth the price of admission. The look on Jonathan Goad’s face when she confesses her love was a close second!
Tom McCamus was an excellent Theseus – and such a contrast to the actor who played the role in London. Roberta Maxwell was also great as Oenone.
It was interesting to contrast this with the National Theatre production starring Helen Mirren which I thought was great. But it does point out that live theatre is different, even when the film is recording a live performance, it just does not have the same immediacy.
The translation used by Stratford was different – they used a new one by Timberlake Wertenbaker, where the national used the Ted Hughes version. Unfortunately, I don’t know the play well enough to know whether it made any difference. I just liked them both!
As we saw the first preview and Seanna said that they are still making changes, we are going to make an effort to see it again.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Phedre

  1. Keith says:

    It was hard to believe this was a first preview and they were still rewriting the script, it seemed so solid a play and production – I wish we could get back and see it again, but the Stratford schedule (and ours) does not make this likely. I hope they hold out against the translator's desire to juxtapose a formal style against modern expressions, the effect would be jarring without adding to the play.I enjoyed it more than the (excellent) National Theatre version too – although it is hard to compare as the National took the look back to generic ancient greek while Stratford stayed with Racine's time. You have the same issue with Shakespeare often – Elizabethean, the time and place the play is set in, modern or (as in the case of this year's Julius Caesar) a planet in a nearby galaxy. I think setting it in Racine's time worked better with the language, even in translation.The cast was good, but I did not really see Tom McCamus as Theseus – he's no monster slayer.

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