Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dickens on Stage

You may remember that I did a readalong for Tale of Two Cities back in December.
Well, my favorite ever theater company - Lifeline Theatre - did an adaptation of it, and I went to see it last Friday! It was my mother's birthday present for me... :-)

Firstly, let me mention how similar Darnay and Carton looked. They found some excellent actors who actually could be mistaken for each other, if you didn't look close. Check it out:

(Darnay, Lucie, and Carton, in that order.)

(Carton on the left, and Darnay on the right, out for a drink.)
The actors were all spectacular, as always, but I'd like to make special mention of two.
First, the fellow who played Dr. Manette:

Father and child.

He played the doctor so well, both in his difficult times, and his stronger moments. And his relationship with Lucie was perfect.

Secondly, this guy:

An interesting individual

Because there are so many things in Tale of Two Cities that cannot be incorporated into a 2 hour production, they clearly had to make some changes (more like omissions - they never really change from the original book). And one of their most interesting things they did was make the character of Jerry Cruncher into a sort of narrator/omnipresent viewer that guided the audience along back and forth between London to Paris, and took on minor character roles. The adaptor gave him (whom they called the Resurrection Man) many of Dickens' beautiful descriptive passages, that would otherwise have been lost in a theatrical adaptation. A wonderful choice. (And the fellow playing him was spectacular in his oratorical skills - he opened the play with the famous "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." passage, and managed to deliver it, in his cockney accent, with a strange elegance.)

Another change that they made was that they completely omitted Mr. Lorry! I suppose that there just wasn't enough time for him, but I would have loved to see him portrayed. The entire bank where he works, with Dickens' fantastic description, was nonexistent. Oh well - you can only hope for so much.

But apart from that, the adaptation left nothing to be desired. I adored Miss Pross (performed, in a strange reversal of roles, by the same actress who played Milady in The Three Musketeers). And Carton's final speech put tears in my eyes. 
Okay, whom am I kidding - I was straight out sobbing. 

Now I am even MORE excited about their production of Monstrous Regiment this summer! Yippee!


P.S. Today is John Steinbeck's birthday! Unfortunately, he won't get an entire post devoted to him like Hugo did yesterday, because I really haven't read any of his works and know nothing about him. But I am planning on reading him at some point - he's too classic to skip!
An interesting fact: today, he will be 112 years old - exactly 100 years younger than Hugo! :-)
And check out the cool Google Doodle in his honor.

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