06 March 2009

The Bankrupt Man by David Lescot
Translated by Christopher Campbell

Woman - Gina McKee
Man - Nicolas Tennant
Designated Liquidator - Andrew Scott

A rehearsed reading, directed by Lisa Goldman at the Soho Theatre as part of the 'Paris Calling' season in conjunction with the French Embassy and the National Theatre Studio.

It's days like these that make you forget your cares. In this case it was all the more thrilling because of the short notice (to me). I didn't know this was happening until I took a moment to read a regular email from the Soho Theatre with slightly more attention. All this and a free canvas bag while stocks last!

A wonderful piece brought to life by the most amazing cast! Readings don't have any set rules and some are more physical than others. Gina was serene (even when she cleverly stifled her giggles at Andrew's reading), Nicolas put so much physical energy into his reading that I worried for his health and Andrew's performance was just as physical but his energies were used in an unnerving stillness. One might argue this was the harder task. Andrew was absolutely hilarious and his character was deliciously flipping from one stance to another. Nicolas's character had two essential personae which was a challenge he brought off impeccably. Gina's role was smaller but she was radiant.

As if this wasn't enough, we had a post-reading discussion. It was 'led' by a lecturer in modern drama and such is the habit of educationalists, she spent far too long telling us what she thought of the play and suffing her pre-amble with as many self-conscious references as she could so taking forever to get around to a salient question for the panel. Fortunately, the others were so interesting that she didn't completely ruin the event and we had a wonderful discussion.

A version of this was staged at the Edinburgh Festival and also in France, Portugal & Germany. I believe that Mr Campbell made a literal translation from which Traverse produced an adaptation but as the piece became more popular, he was invited to make his own adaptation for a reading in New York (BAM, I think).
I was reminded of the previous night when Mark Ravenhill dissed French theatre and I wanted to say "not so fast, young man".