29 May 2009

the hotel by wallace shawn (rehearsed reading)

Wonderful bit if clever nonsense & I am too lazy to type all the details so here is a clickable facsimile.
Part of the Shawn Wallace season and this was the first of five rehearsed readings. I had the advantage of sitting at the right angle to see the joyful, friendly tortoise both mouthing and laughing at his own words like a child at Christmas. This needlessly enhanced my enjoyment of the piece to levels that I hardly knew how to contain.

The next bit of joy, since I was not familiar with the text, came when having previously imagined that with a cast of 60 and a running time of just over an hour, no one actor would have much time on stage, it transpired that Benedict Cumberbatch was ringmaster and his deliciously dry interludes gathered the whole randomness of the vignettes together.

This cast clearly had a good deal of fun with the piece and most were off book as their lines were short. I would love to know how long they had to rehearse this because it could have been chaos in the wrong hands. Some Royal Court front of house staff and a couple of members of the creative team were also roped in. Using the Aunt Dan and Lemon set had it's advantages from the respect of all the entrances and traditional room setting but it must have taken a good deal of effort to stage this jigsaw of a production.

The bar was buzzing afterwards and various people dropped by to either see the reading or meet up with friends. Apart from the cast, we noticed Martin Crimp, Mel Kenyon, Hattie Morahan & Neil Tennant.

Fortunately, there are cheaper places to find the playtext than this.