Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Review’

I finally managed to watch Henry IV, part I. And I have mixed feelings about the second installment of the BBC series The Hollow Crown. Maybe because Henry IV did not have the same visual poetry as Richard II or because the protagonist was not as appealing.

Tom Hiddleson as the charming prince Hal

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Hiddleson as much as the next Tumblr obsessed girl, but his Hal was too easy to like. Everything from his cute boyish smile to his leather jerkin clad body to his effortless charm just swept you away. He was just too likable to be a compelling character.  The morally ambigious Richard was more interesting to watch. Though it did feel that up until Hal got to the battlefield, he was not really enjoying himself. Whenever I saw him in the dingy little tavern or playing pranks on his bawdy friends, it all seemed rather forced. At times he almost looked bored. But the man on the battlefield was very different from the slightly detached young man in the taverns. This was a stern, brave Hal, ready to lead and command. There was also a shadow of sadness in him.  His victory over Hotspur was not all glory; we see Hal realize that war is an ugly, painful and bloody business.

Jeremy Irons is great as the perpetually disappointed King Henry IV

Jeremy Irons was, well, Jeremy Irons. Superb as usual. Though I found it difficult to believe that Rory Kinnear’s  Henry Bolingbroke grew up to be Jeremy Irons’ Henry IV, he gave a great performance of an aging king weighed down by his office and the knowledge of how he came to be there. This was a king whose body was giving out, but whose spirit was still strong.

They don’t call him ‘Hotspur’ for nothing

Henry Percy aka Hotspur, played by Joe Armstrong, I absolutely loved. He was great fun with his impetuous hotheaded speeches. I relished every scene he was in, especially those with Michelle Dockery as Kate, Lady Percy. The couple was constantly bickering and making out. Hotspur was flinging insults and Lady Percy was rolling her eyes (Ah, Michelle, no one rolls their eyes quite like you. And you have Downton Abbey to prove it). Fun fact: Hotspur’s father, Earl of Northumberland, is played by Armstrong’s real-life father, Alun Armstrong.

Falstaff (Simon Russell Beale) is a mix of hilarious, repulsive  and touching  

And finally, we get to Falstaff played by Simon Russell Beale. This particular character seems to be pretty polarizing. I saw a lot of comments that could be summed up as “Agh, he was horrible. That’s not how I imagine Falstaff.” Which is fair enough, but, never seeing this play before, I thought this was an interesting interpretation of the character. He was rowdy and uncouth and full of humor, but he was also tragic and pathetic. He clung to Hal with so much desperation that we could see how much he wanted his love. Beale’s Falstaff was dirty and unpleasant. He was not the merry mentor to an adolescent boy that looks up to him. It seems that what drew Hal to Falstaff was the opportunity to have a few laughs at his expense, but also Falstaff’s honest roguery. As King, Hal would have to deal with falsehood and deception all the time, and Falstaff’s lies are so over the top and transparent that for the future king they may seem cathartic.

Hal and Flastaff both foresee that their friendship and love will not last

Towards the middle of the film, Falstaff and Hal put on a mock play where Falstaff plays Hal and Hal plays his father. The scene goes from pageantry to raw emotion when the poor old man begs Hal, still in the role of Henry IV, not  to banish Falstaff. It is such an ardent plea for Hal’s love that you begin to understand why Hal keeps this company. It is very doubtful that he could ever find anyone so thoroughly and honestly attached to him. And he looks at Falstaff with mingled love and sadness, because he knows that this pure love could never last. One is a king and the other is a rogue. They have no future together.  Maybe in Falstaff’s pure love Hal finds that emotion that he could never get from his father.

Parent- child relationships is never been easy. Not even in medieval England

I did like how this installment played up the personal relationships rather than any metaphysical musings on the nature of kingship. It was very much a coming-of-age story that focused on a father and a son told in the bleak, medieval surroundings with blood, gore and dirt in abundance.  While I found Hal’s tavern life unconvincing, his relationship with his father, his desire to prove himself, his anger at his enemy and his pain at seeing his enemy vanquished, showed me a compelling Hal. A Hal I look forward to seeing in the next two episodes of the series. Can’t wait for Henry IV, Part II.

Read Full Post »

I just finished watching the first film, Richard II, in The Hollow Crown series. And it was magnificent! Directed by Rupert Goold with Ben Whishaw as Richard II and Patrick Stewart, Rory Kinnear, David Morrissey and David Suchet.

The visual style was mesmerizing to the point of being hypnotic. They took full advantage of film as a medium. The lavish beauty of some scenes and deep darkness of others was made possible by superb cinematography.

But the best part of the film is the acting. Ben Whishaw plays Richard II as a man out of his depth. The king is a delicate man, fretful and peevish, with graceful movements and a high voice. He struggles to maintain the appearance of authority, but it’s quite clear that no one really listens to him. And no wonder. He’s surrounded by the likes of the charismatic John of Gaunt (Patrick Stewart) and the tough, masculine Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear). From the beginning it is clear that he cannot control these men, and when he tries, he bring about his own downfall.

Patrick Stewart looking gaunt as John of Gaunt

I don’t think I spoil anything by saying that in trying to resolve a dispute between Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, King Richard ends up banishing them both, setting in motion a chain of events that would bring Bolingbroke back from banishment, deposit Richard and take his crown.

Rory Kinnear as the reluctant rebel Henry Bolingbroke

Rory Kinnear is a strong, loyal and passionate Henry Bolingbroke. He is dutiful subject to the king and a loving son to his father. It feels like he becomes a rebel despite himself. He comes back to claim his land after exile and realizes that he can be king. Of course, he has to live with the consequences of his actions – deposition of the rightful, if inadequate, king. His performance is subtle and understated, and when the script doesn’t give him lines, he still manages to carry the emotion.

Clémence Poésy as Queen Isabella

The rest of the cast is equally impressive. Patrick Stewart makes a great  John of Gaunt, going from a happy lord and father to a sick and angry old man. David Suchet plays the Duke of York who switches sides so often that his sense of loyalty overgrows to the point where he is willing to denounce his son for treason to a king who came to power through treason. Two wrongs do make a right, apparently.  Clémence Poésy is Queen Isabella and is given very little to do or say. For most of the movie she is either crying or looking despondent. But I suppose that’s all Shakespeare gave her. Though the last scene between her and the king is very touching.

Watching the scenes with the deposed Richard, as he tries to come to terms with his downfall, is heart-rending. Whishaw’s performance is flawless. His struggle and pain seem very real. And  even though most of us cannot imagine what it would feel like to be a deposed king, we still feel for him. Despite not being very likable, he is still very sympathetic, possibly because of his extreme vulnerability and loneliness.

Richard learns humanity the hard way

There is a lot of religious symbolism in the film. Richard is compared to both Christ (especially when he is taken to the new king’s court in white robes riding on a white horse) and to St Sebastian (when he is pierced by arrows). This is surprising, since Richard is no saint.  He is set up to be selfish, petulant and capricious. I suppose it could be a metaphor for his gaining humanity through suffering. He dies a better man than he ever was as a king.

If you haven’t seen The Hollow Crown: Richard II yet, go and do so now. The film is visually beautiful, the acting is superb and the language flows like a symphony of words.

The next installment, Henry IV part 1, comes out on Saturday, July 7th.

Read Full Post »

Last week I went to see a play. At a movie theater. London’s National Theatre came up with a very high-tech way to bring their shows to a broader audience, many of whom live abroad. Their plays are broadcasted live in a number of theaters around the world. Last year I went to see their production of Frankenstein which was absolutely mind blowing!

This year I missed a few of their shows, but last Thursday managed to get a ticket to Oliver Goldsmith’s  She Stoops to Conquer. And what can I say? It was hilarious! And I don’t mean a chuckle here and there or a pleasant smile at a witticism. I mean out-loud, roaring laughter for 3 hours straight.

The story is as follows, a wealthy country gentleman Hardcastle (Steve Pemberton) wants to marry his daughter Kate (Katherine Kelly) to the son of an old friend. But because of a  practical joke played  by his stepson Tony Lumpkin (David Fynn), he is mistaken for an innkeeper and his daughter is take for a barmaid by the perspective bridegroom Marlow (Harry Hadden-Paton). This turns to be a blessing in disguise because while Marlow is incredibly shy around upper-class women, he’s quite the charmer with girls of a different sort. As Hardcastle  grows more and more incensed by the rude behavior of his prospective son-in-law, his daughter is quite taken with her confused suitor. At the same time, her cousin Constance (Cush Jumbo) is trying to claim her dowry and run away with her sweetheart Hastings (John Heffernan), as Mrs. Hardcastle (Sophie Thompson) schemes to marry her off to her son Tony. Chaos ensues.

Hastings (John Heffernan) surrounded by servants who all want to give him boots

This is definitely one of those plays that has aged well. Even though it was written in the 18th century, it feels as fresh and as funny today as it must have been two hundred years ago. Director Jamie Lloyd went for very broad humor. Every one is hamming it up to the max; there is no subtle acting in sight.

Hardcastle (Steve Pemberton) and his daughter Kate (Katherine Kelly)

Kate is a wonderful heroine – funny, saucy and resourceful.  ‘Stoops to conquer’ really defines her personality; Kate is very much a negotiator. She gives a little to get a lot both with her father and her groom. Marlow, on the other hand, makes for a wonderful neurotic (did they have neurosis in the 18th century?) hero. He’s a bumbling fool around high-class ladies, but quite the rake among the simple folk. Sophie Thompson, whom I loved in Emma, plays a wonderful Mrs. Hardcastle. She speaks in a strange bellowing accent, probably imitating what she thinks is a way a fine lady in London would speak, and has the most peculiar gestures and facial expressions. Tony Lumpkin is a lovable buffoon. But the person who really steals the show is John Heffernan as Hastings. He is sweet, devoted to his beloved, a bit dopey and naive but very kind and generous. To me he was the emotional core of the whole play; and with his almost equally dopey, though determined sweetheart Constance, in many scenes outshone the main couple.

I was really glad that they decided to go with an 18th centurylook for the play. First, because I love 18th century costumes. And second, because this play just doesn’t need to be updated. Though the theme can easily translate into a modern setting, it works just as well as a historical play.

Rich heiress Constance Neville (Cush Jumbo)

The costumes were absolutely gorgeous! Everything from powdered bouffant of Mrs Hardcastle to the richly embroidered but distressed outfit of Tony Lumpkin to the exquisite dress worn by Constance made from sari fabric and decorated with tiny bells, looked absolutely perfect. I can write more about the costumes, but I feel like they deserve their own post.

What are they doing back there?

I often get very uppity about classical plays being remade for a modern audience with excessive amount of sexual innuendos and nudity, but unlike many other productions, She Stoops to Conquer really works as a bawdy comedy probably because it was written as one. There is no shortage of cleavage on display or very suggestive gestures and poses, but they work very well and only add to the general atmosphere of confused and rowdy fun.

If you haven’t seen this play already, I highly recommend you check it out.

Read Full Post »

A Woman of No Importance was commissioned by the actor-manager of London’s Haymarket Theater, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, after the success of Lady Windermere’s Fan. Wilde wrote the play during the summer of 1892 and it opened in April 1893.

The play, as it is usual for Oscar Wilde’s plays, is about the decadent and cynical leisured aristocrats who gather for amusement in a country house. Among them is a clever and witty dandy Lord Illingworth,who takes a shining to a young man, Gerald Arbuthnot, and hires him to be his secretary. Mrs. Arbuthnot, Gerald’s mother, a pious and seemingly respectable widow, is invited to the house to hear the good news about her son’s new position. However, on arrival, she realizes that the man who offered her son this post is also the man who seduced her and is Gerald’s father. Lord Illingworth is delighted to find out that he has a grown son and decides that this is the perfect time to start caring about him.

MRS. ARBUTHNOT. Stop, Gerald, stop! He is your own father!

Mrs. Arbuthnot wants to prevent her son from going with Lord Illingworth but finds herself in a hopeless situation realizing that because of his moral upbringing and upright character,  if she were to reveal to her son that Lord Illingworth is his father, Gerald would be the first to condemn her. The irony of this is not lost on Lord Illingworth. But when Mrs. Arbuthnot all but gives up,  Lord Illingworth makes a grave mistake. He makes a pass at Hester Worsley, a young, idealistic and opinionated American heiress. This young ‘puritan’ is outraged by this behavior and Gerald, who is in love with her, challenges Lord Illingworth.

MRS. ARBUTHNOT. There is no room in my boy's life for you. He is not interested in YOU.

Bloodshed is prevented by Mrs. Arbuthnot, who admits that  the man is Gerald’s father. After everyone has cooled off a bit, Gerald tries to persuade his mother to marry Lord Illingworth, since that is the only way she can reclaim respectability, but Mrs. Arbuthnot flat out refuses. Hester  sides with Mrs. Arbuthnot and asks them to come with her to America where they can start a new life. The play ends with Lord Illingworth trying to claim his son once again, but is told by Mrs. Arbuthnot that neither she nor her son need him anymore.  Lord Illingworth leaves, shamed and made redundant. At the end of the play he turns into a man of no importance.

The play may not be one of Wilde’s finest, but it has an array of great comedic characters and plenty of witticisms. The first act, which is often criticized for its lack of action, works very well as a contrast to the melodramatic and emotionally charged final acts. The insipid group of aristocrats with their petty problems sitting around and exchanging pleasant nothings sets up the mood for the rest of the play. These people never find out what drama is playing out between the main characters and they go about their business oblivious to almost everything except their own pleasure.

Mrs. Allonby, Lady Stutfield and Miss Hester Worsley by Yale Repertory Theatre, 2008

We have Lady Hunstanton who is a well-meaning, but generally clueless hostess; Lady Caroline, overprotective of her husband, who has problems with names and is rather traditional;  Lady Stutfield who is a bit naive and very silly;  Mr. Kelvil a politician and a moralist who has very poor social skills, a meek Archdeacon Daubeny; Lord Alfred Rufford who is constantly in debt and Sir John Pontefract, Lady Caroline’s quiet and weary husband.

Mrs. Arbuthnot, Gerald Arbuthnot and Lord Illingworth by Yale Repertory Theatre, 2008

However, the supporting cast is a lot more exciting and interesting than our main characters. Hester is very judgmental and self-righteous, while Gerald is pretty naive and uninteresting. Lord Illingworth is too cold to be a fun character and he seems to be trying too hard most of the time.

A poster for a production of' 'A Woman of No Importance' by Birmingham School of Acting, 2011

The subject matter and the tone of the play also feel very dated. The social mores have changed quite a bit since the late 19th century and the opinions of the characters, even the sympathetic ones, seem very archaic. The play suffers from Victorian moralizing and extreme melodrama. It is not easy to do and is not easy to do well.

I would stay away from re-imaginings or postmodern productions of this play. The text is so thoroughly a product of the late 19th century that it is almost impossible to imagine it in any other setting. Though, I would say that 1920s with its decadence could be a good place to set it in. The 50s, with its moral and social rigidity, is another era that would work for this play. If trying to avoid late Victorian fashions and the cost and difficulty of making them, these two time periods could be good alternatives.

All in all, A Woman of No Importance is an interesting piece on Victorian morality written by a man who was condemned, imprisoned and then exiled for not falling in line with said morality. This is not a comedy of sparkling wit; the undertones are too dark and the one-liners are delivered primarily by the villain of the piece. But if done right, it could still make people think about the the value we place on conventional morality and how it affects people’s lives.

—-

Read A Woman of No Importance online 

Find out more about A Woman of No Importance 

Read Full Post »

The Widow from Valencia (La viuda valenciana) was written by the great Spanish playwright Lope de Vega. The first version of the play was probably written around 1604, around the time when the author was visiting Valencia. It was rewritten between 1618-1619 and eventually published in the fourteenth part of Lope de Vega’s Comedias.

I could not find an English translation of The Widow from Valencia, which is a real shame, because it’s a fun play with great characters, apt comments about marriage, love and honor as well as great story loosely based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche.

Leonarda, a young and beautiful widow residing in Valencia, is devastated by the death of her husband and vows never to marry again. She shuts herself up in her house, devoting all her time and energy to pious thoughts, pious books and pious images.  She remains unmoved by her three illustrious, if somewhat buffoonish suitors, LisandroOtón, and Valerio, and her uncle, who is constantly trying to get her married off again. But her resolution doesn’t last; she sees a young man named Camilo and falls madly in love with him. To enjoy her love and to avoid scandal she comes up with a clever plan. The young man is invited to her house,  but is made to cover his eyes and is only allowed to visit her at night in a dark chamber with herself and two of her servants wearing masks at all times.

Camilo is brought to Leonarda, La viuda valenciana (Estudio 1, 2010)

Camilo, who has become disillusioned with his love for a city woman Celia, decides to embark on this adventure when prompted by Leonarda’s masked page Urban. In the dark of the night, with the widow’s face hidden behind a mask, Camilo meets her and falls in love with her. Their love proceeds with all the usual trappings including jealousies, frustrations and fear of detection. In the end, all is happily resolved with the marriages of Leonarda and Camilo, Celia and Camilo’s servant Floro and Urban and Leonarda’s maid Martha. The ex-suitors have no ill-will towards the happy couple and the uncle is just glad that the widow has finally found a husband.

This play is not a literary masterpiece like The Dog in the Manger – it has too many unnecessary scenes and characters, plot threads that lead nowhere, and the resolution comes too quickly and abruptly to be wholly satisfying, yet the language is doubtlessly beautiful, the plot is engaging and the characters are interesting.

Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Leonarda

Unlike most English plays, Spanish plays, and this one in particular, is driven by the female, not the male, protagonist. She is at the center of the narrative, she is the primary planner and schemer and she is the one the audience is asked to identify and sympathize with. Leonarda is clever, willful and strong.  She is also flawed, which certainly makes her even more compelling. She sets out to be the most pious woman in Valencia, but falls short of this goal. Yet she embraces her love and feels no shame about it. She is keenly aware of the disgrace that would befall her if her love is discovered and takes precautions to avoid detection. When she thinks that her secret may be discovered she comes up with another ruse   putting the honor of another person in danger and claiming that to protect one’s reputation it is acceptable to smear someone else. Camilo, the ‘blind’ lover, is both a valiant knight who protects those who are weaker and an adventurer who is not afraid to pursue an unseen lady, but also a callous lover who has left his old girlfriend and is now going after another. At the end, when her is frustrated with loving an unseen lady he had dubbed Diana, he is not above bringing a hidden lamp and discovering the identity of his secret mistress against her wishes.

The Widow from Valencia plays out the myth of Cupid and Psyche, but switches the genders around. In this version it is the lady and not the man who remains unseen and it is the man’s and not the woman’s curiosity that is the central conflict of the story. Interestingly, while Psyche’s curiosity is treated as a character flaw that nearly destroys all chances of happiness, Camilo’s curiosity is not condemned; it is deemed natural; and in the end his desire to know and his subterfuge bring about the happy ending.

Is this happily-ever-after or the begging of a horrible and abusive relationship?

The issue of marriage and love take center stage in this play. One of the opening scenes of the play is Leonarda’s argument with her uncle regarding marriage. She, as a widow, who in the 17th century had a lot more rights and privileges than a maid or a married woman, delivers a very apt speech regarding the precarious state of marriage and how it puts women at the mercy of unscrupulous and abusive husbands. Throughout the play she never even mentions a desire to wed her lover Camilo.She seems perfectly happy with the arrangement where she can see him and enjoy his company without being tied up in marriage or endangering her honor. In the end, it is Camilo’s rash act and her discovery that forces her to pronounce to her uncle that she and Camilo are engaged to be married. There is no guarantee that the two would be happy in this state and that her dark predictions regarding marriage would not come true.

There's nothing Leonarda would not do to protect her honor

Honor is another persistent theme in the play. Leonarda’s uncle warns her about the dangers of her widowhood. He points out that even if she does nothing wrong, her honor would be in danger from the gossips and insinuations of others. This proves to be true when the three rejected suitors, feeling that their own honor has been injured, begin a smear campaign against the widow implying that she is involved in an illicit relationship with her page. To guard her own honor, Leonarda endangers the honor of her cousin and also shows contempt for Celia, who makes a scene in the middle of the street because of her jealousy over Camilo. Honor is shown to be both precious and fragile. It is also shown to be at the mercy of others. It can be taken away easily and there would be almost no way to get it back once it is lost.

The Widow of Valencia, Teatres de la Generalitat (2009)

The play has many dark undertones – the uncertainty of marriage, the danger of putting too much emphasis on honor, the unstable nature of love – yet the overall tone of The Widow from Valencia is light and breezy, and a little decadent. With masks and secret lovers and all sorts of pleasures that come with masked anonymity. While it may be modernized and updated, it bests suits a historical or faux-historical setting where rigid norms of behavior live side by side with love affairs and fun romps.

Find out more about Lope de Vega and his works.

Read an essay about The Widow from Valencia (only in Spanish). 

Hear the music from The Widow from Valencia ballt by Aram Khachaturian.

 

Read Full Post »

Life is a Dream is a story of self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s a story of cruelty begetting cruelty. It contemplates the notion of free will and reality of existence. You can also go into a Freudian interpretation of a son trying to kill his father, but I’d rather not.

Needless to say, SPOILERS ahead.

Life is a Dream is a play by Pedro Calderon De La Barca, commonly known as Calderon, that tells a story of a Polish prince, Segismundo, imprisoned in a tower by his father King Basilio because an oracle prophesied that the young prince will grow up to be hateful, cruel and generally unpleasant. As the king  grows old, he begins to have second thought about this whole locking-his-son-in-a-tower business. Basilio decides to test fate by restoring Segismundo to his rightful place. And if the prince turns out to be violent, he will be drugged, taken back to his tower and told that all that he saw and felt was just a dream.

Of course, when Segismundo is released after years of mental and physical abuse, the first thing he does is kill a servant, then he tries to rape a woman, injures the king’s adviser and insults the king. So back to the tower he goes, where he is  told that he dreamt the whole thing. He mourns the loss of his greatness and his freedom and contemplates how fleeting and illusory life’s pleasures can be.

In the meantime, the Polish people are rioting. They saw their rightful heir to the throne and refuse to accept Astolfo, the king’s nephew, as their king. They break Segismundo out of prison and swear allegiance to him, but he is still not sure if this is all real or just another dream. Segismundo amasses an army and defeats the king, but spears his life. Basilio is touched by his child’s generosity and can now see that oracles are not always right and Segismundo proclaims that one should always do good since all that you see around you may turn out to be just a dream.

Detail from bronze relief on a monument to Calderón in Madrid, J. Figueras, 1878

The story has an interesting subplot about a noble Muscovite lady named Rosaura (and no, that is not a typical Russian name) who comes to Poland to find the man who seduced and abandoned her. Some scholars thought that Rosaura didn’t fit the plot and was a lazy and cliched stock character. However, it is as much her story as Segismundo’s. She is the very first character we meet and the first time we see Segismundo, we see him through her eyes.

Throughout the play she constantly appears as someone she is not – just like Segismundo – first as a man, then as her rival’s lady-in-waiting named Astraea, then as an orphan of obscure birth. In the end, just like Segismundo, Rosaura regains her identity and her rightful place in society when her father acknowledges her as his daughter. The same way Segismundo is granted his princehood by the King.

Just like Segismundo, Rosaura is angry, vindictive and full of rage. She is constantly berated by other characters for these qualities, but they are simply reactions to the abuse she has expreinced at the hands of these same characters, just like Segismundo. The play deals with the issue of how abused become the abusers and how vindictiveness and cruelty are instilled in people by circumstances.

Costumes of the Polish Szlachta, 1500s

The play has three acts and  a fairy small principle cast – with only 8 main characters, and only 2 female parts.

There are very few scene changes, no complicated contraptions or devices and it can be performed with minimal scenery.

Life is a Dream lends itself to a number of interpretations and the tone can vary. It can be played as a tragedy with dark colors and brooding atmosphere. It can have a light, surreal feel to it, almost as if it was a dream, with misshapen sets and fanciful costumes. The boundaries of reality can really be pushed with this one to the point where the audience wouldn’t know if this is real or just a dream. It can be done as a historical drama with a strong emphasis on the nature of authoritarian power and government in general. Or it could be turned into a dark comedy with actors hamming it up to the nth degree.

Or it could be a combination of all these.

Life is a Dream, 2008, Galiasgar Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre

The costumes can also be done in a number of ways. If you decide to go for a straight-up historical interpretation and look, remember that 17th century Polish nobility wore fashions that were very similar to those worn by the rest of Europe. If you want a more exotic look, you will have to borrow elements and motifs from Russian costumes.

Of course, you can use the difference in costumes to establish a difference between Muscovite (Rosaura, Astolfo, Clarin) and Polish (Basilio, Estrella, Clotaldo) characters.

Russian nobility, 17th century

Polish nobility, 17th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But like the play itself, the costumes can also be fanciful and dream-like, invoking the surreal nature and existential themes of the text. They could  mix and match a variety of historical and modern elements. Or you could go for a simple straight-up modern look. If you’re working with a small budget, the last option could be the best one for you. Draw inspiration from present  and not-so-distant-past totalitarian regimes and dress your characters in contemporary suits and dresses.

Sources:

Life is a Dream by Calderon De La Barca, trans. John Clifford. ISBN-10: 1854591886  

Galiasgar Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre

Zur Geschichte der Kostume by Schneider Braun

Read Full Post »