the-british-theatre

British English vs. American English: Spelling

English is my second language, and I often struggle with spelling certain words because of these differences between British and American English.

-our / -or

British English: colour, labour, favour

American English: color, labor, favor

-re / -er

British English: centre, theatre

American English: center, theater

-ce / -se

British English: defence, licence,

American English: defense, license

-se / -ze

British English: to analyse, to organise, to criticise

American English: to analyze, to organize, to criticize

-ogue / -og

British English: catalogue, dialogue

American English: catalog, dialog

-t / -ed

British English: spelt, spilt; burnt

American English: spelled, spilled; burned

-dgem- / -dgm-

British English: judgement

American English: judgment

-l / -ll

British English: skilful; to fulfil; canceled

American English: skillful; to fulfill; cancelled

-mme / -m

British English: programme

American English: program

-que / -ck

British English: cheque

American English: check

-ae or -oe / -e

British English: gynaecology

American English: gynecology

Punctuation

British English: Mr, Mrs, Dr

American English: Mr., Mrs., Dr.

I guess you should pick one form of spelling and stick with it for consistency!

Please let me know if there is anything to correct/add!

10

“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare

National Theatre, 2017

Starring Tamsin Greig, Phoebe Fox, Adam Best, Oliver Chris, Claire Cordier, Imogen Doel, Mary Doherty, Ammar Duffus, Daniel Ezra, Whitney Kehinde, Emmanuel Kojo, Tamara Lawrence, Andrew Macbean, Doon Mackichan, Tim McMullan, Brad Morrison, Daniel Rigby, Imogen Slaughter, James Wallace, & Niky Wardley

Jessica Tandy, 1939, photo by Horst P. Horst, 50 years before Driving Miss Daisy. 

A British theatre actress before moving to New York in 1940, she created the role of Blanche Dubois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948. Her American film career began with The Seventh Cross in 1944, and she continued to make films up until her death in 1994. (Her last film was Nobody’s Fool with Paul Newman.)

Kenneth Branagh interview: ‘Tom Hiddleston and I were always honest about Hamlet’

Kenneth Branagh has directed the theatrical event of 2017 – but there will be no encore, he says

Kenneth Branagh is bounding about on stage at RADA’s Vanbrugh Theatre in Bloomsbury, central London. As well as being one of the country’s best-known actors and a feted film director, he’s also president of the oldest, most prestigious drama school in the UK, and everything about his bearing suggests confidence and an ownership of this plush space. But at this precise point, he’s recalling the moment in 1979 when he recited a soliloquy from Hamlet – “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I…” – in front of the Queen and Prince Philip to mark the school’s 75th anniversary.

He gestures round the intimate auditorium, incredulous: “There was John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Edward Fox, John Hurt, all these people – and the Queen of England! I was about 19. Talk about learning to deal with nerves!” At the end, the Queen asked him how he managed to remember his lines. He meekly replied that he didn’t know.

In contrast to that daunting rite of passage, Tom Hiddleston – playing the Dane under Branagh’s direction in a special fundraising production at the school, where Hiddleston also trained – might be thought to have got off lightly. Yet he too has felt the heat this past month. A huge talking point, “Hiddleham” has eclipsed this year’s putative standout account of the part from Sherlock star Andrew Scott.

Keep reading

Kenneth Branagh interview: ‘Tom Hiddleston and I were always honest about Hamlet’

Kenneth Branagh has directed the theatrical event of 2017 – but there will be no encore, he says 

Kenneth Branagh is bounding about on stage at RADA’s Vanbrugh Theatre in Bloomsbury, central London. As well as being one of the country’s best-known actors and a feted film director, he’s also president of the oldest, most prestigious drama school in the UK, and everything about his bearing suggests confidence and an ownership of this plush space. But at this precise point, he’s recalling the moment in 1979 when he recited a soliloquy from Hamlet – “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I…” – in front of the Queen and Prince Philip to mark the school’s 75th anniversary.

He gestures round the intimate auditorium, incredulous: “There was John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Edward Fox, John Hurt, all these people – and the Queen of England! I was about 19. Talk about learning to deal with nerves!” At the end, the Queen asked him how he managed to remember his lines. He meekly replied that he didn’t know.

In contrast to that daunting rite of passage, Tom Hiddleston – playing the Dane under Branagh’s direction in a special fundraising production at the school, where Hiddleston also trained – might be thought to have got off lightly. Yet he too has felt the heat this past month. A huge talking point, “Hiddleham” has eclipsed this year’s putative standout account of the part from Sherlock star Andrew Scott.

Hiddleston, 36, became a household name in the UK on the back of his brooding (and bottom-baring) turn on The Night Manager, and has gained an international fan base playing Loki in Marvel’s Thor series, a role Branagh cast him in when he directed the first of three Thor films in 2011. Tickets for his pop-up performance at RADA – allocated by ballot for the three-week run – have been like gold dust and there has been much wailing and teeth gnashing from those, including critics, excluded from this collector’s item event. Even the Guardian’s film critic pleaded for the production to be “beamed into Britain’s movie theatres”.

That’s not going to happen, Sir Ken affirms as the final performances loom this weekend, arguing that the 160-seater Vanbrugh “isn’t set up to do a big-screen transfer – though I embrace that idea in other venues. I am pro accessibility”. He also rules out the production having a further life. “We have been honest from the word go. No one was in an option to go to the West End – and there have been no conversations with Tom about doing it again down the line.”

Rather incredibly, neither he nor Hiddleston seems to have fully anticipated the demand. “I’m very, very surprised at the amount of attention it has got,” he confesses, suavely dressed in dark blue blazer and jeans, still boyish at 56. His leading man even worried there might be empty seats. “We thought we should do a ballot, because we knew he had fans, but Tom was very sweet about it and genuinely asked ‘Do you think we’ll sell out?’”

Branagh was the golden boy of British theatre who slightly got people’s backs up in his heyday, what with his get-ahead work ethic, the precocious age at which he penned his autobiography Beginning – just 28 – and the public relationship that played out between himself and first wife Emma Thompson, popularly referred to as Ken and Em. Has he got people’s backs up again?

“I hope not. Of course, you never want to disappoint anyone,” Branagh protests. “You have to accept a choice has been made. It was about being here, using this setting, for this purpose. We wanted to do an intimate, psychologically focused staging.”

For Hiddleston, a formidable Coriolanus at the Donmar in 2013, the challenge was to stretch himself at close quarters: “He wanted to discover an emotional depth that might have surprised people who consider him a cerebral actor.” In an interpolated opening scene, the audience sees the black clad prince of Denmark at the piano mourning his dead father in song – “He’s this raw, grieving thing,” says Branagh.

No play in the canon has fascinated Branagh more. Seeing Derek Jacobi play Hamlet as a teenager in Oxford changed his life. He got the role outright at RADA in his final year, then made his name with it in the late Eighties with his trailblazing company Renaissance, reprising it again for the RSC in the early Nineties. Then there was his adieu to the part in his star-studded 1996 film adaptation that found little favour at the box office but a lot of admirers among critics.

“That I should have pursued the play’s mysteries so assiduously continues to puzzle me,” he wrote in a foreword to the screenplay. Reflecting on his obsession now, he says: “Gielgud summed it perfectly as being about the process of living, of having to deal with the problem of losing the people you love. At my age you feel that keenly.”

Some say there’s something rotten in the state of acting; that thanks in part to the profile of public school alumni such as Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Damian Lewis and Eddie Redmayne, it’s the toffs who get to the top. Branagh disagrees. “Tom will tell you that he was the only one in his year at RADA from a so-called posh background. Some 70 per cent of the people who come here receive financial assistance from us. No social group is excluded. The success of these actors resembles a wave but it’s not a trend. When working-class actors came to the fore in the Sixties, middle-class actors said: ‘Unless we have a regional accent and a rough diamond story, we can’t get a job’. But those are exaggerations.”

Things go in cycles, not least Branagh’s own fortunes. His Hollywood film career as both actor and director is burgeoning once more (after his critically slighted Frankenstein in 1994 he talked of having acquired “failure disease”, so pained were the glances strangers gave him).

He gave a sterling performance this summer as the visibly blanching naval commander evacuating terrified troops in Dunkirk, an opportunity for him to watch director Christopher Nolan in action. “It was remarkable seeing [Nolan] up there at the canvas, absolutely possessed by this thing, smart as a nut.”

His latest directorial project, a revamp of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, with a cast including Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi – and himself playing Poirot – is due for release in November.  How can he improve on David Suchet’s performance? “You tip your hat to people who have played him before but it’s only the part that counts. I discovered Poirot is a surprisingly emotional character – compassionate and morally complex.”

For the moment, the “Branagh-bashing” as he himself called it in his autobiography – seems to have stopped. “My parents drummed into me not to get above myself, though that’s the sin I’ve been accused of throughout my career. I’ve had plenty of kickings, I will have plenty more but if you’re going through hell, the best thing is to keep going.”

At one point, the pressure was so intense it took all his courage to go back on stage. An actor friend of his, Jimmy Yuill, never forgot witnessing his opening night terror in 2002 at Sheffield, where Branagh was playing Richard III after a long hiatus from the theatre.

“I was in this contraption that was supposed to be realigning Richard’s spine. Jimmy told me: ‘I was coming down a corridor and heard this strange rattle and I realised it was your entire body shaking with fear’. I’m the other side of it now,” Branagh affirms, contentedly. The play is still the thing. “There are a few major Shakespearean roles circling and I hope to do more sooner rather than later.”

As for Hiddleston, fans shouldn’t feel distraught. “I’ve played Hamlet in four different productions, Derek Jacobi played it hundreds of times. And I’m sure Tom is interested in playing Benedick and Richard III. So, the public need to be assured that there will be a lot of pleasure coming our way.” Watch this space.

I know this is written right directly above, but I am putting it here again because it needs our attention: “…And I’m sure Tom is interested in playing Benedick and Richard III. So, the public need to be assured that there will be a lot of pleasure coming our way.” Yes, please!!!!!

BBC Two will celebrate Dames Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins in a one-off programme later this year.

Sixty years ago, seismic changes ripped through the cultural establishment and together with music and fashion, British theatre underwent an explosion of creativity and talent. Right at the heart of the action were four young actresses: Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. Over a weekend, these four old friends and icons of film, TV and stage share over seven decades’ worth of insights and revelations, looking back at their days as bright young things and pondering their status as the Dames they’ve become today.
Nothing Like A Dame has a unique focus that can only come from great actors who are old friends and have lived through some of the most extraordinary dramatic landmarks of the 20th and 21st centuries. All have received Dame-hoods in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the acting profession and have become international acting icons.
Funny, poignant and intimate, Nothing Like A Dame is a unique opportunity to share the insights and revelations of the amazing friendship of four extraordinary women as they gather at the weekend retreat that Joan Plowright once shared with Laurence Olivier.

No transmission date yet, but this looks very much like a Christmas programme. (x)