“All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father! Mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! So big with it, it couldn’t be put in a coffin! But had to be burned like rubbish! You just came home in time for the funerals. Funerals are quiet, but death–not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles, and sometimes even they cry out to you, “Don’t let me go!” Even the old, sometimes, say, “Don’t let me go.” As if you were able to stop them! But funerals are quiet, with pretty flowers. And, oh, what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, “Hold me!” you’d never suspect there was the struggle for breath and bleeding. You didn’t dream, but I saw! Saw! Saw! And now you sit there telling me with your eyes that I let the place go! How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive, Miss Stella!. Why, the Grim Reaper had put up his tent on our doorstep!”
Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in “A Streetcar named desire"
At three and a half hours, it was a draining production for the audience and the actors. You must have been knackered.
It’s such an enigma. Before the two-show day, I thought: “How am I going to get to the end of this?” And then I’d find myself at the curtain call of the second show thinking: “I don’t know how I got here.” - Richard Armitage, on his performance in The Crucible
Vivien Leigh as Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Old Vic Theatre in London, 1937.
Shakespeare’s Titania is a very proud creature and as much of a force to contend with as her husband Oberon. She and Oberon are engaged in a marital quarrel over which of them should have the keeping of an Indian changeling boy. This quarrel is the engine that drives the mix ups and confusion of the other characters in the play.
For the actors, the tour will allow them to convey their personal tragedies and that of Syria, where a five-year war has left up to 470,000 people dead and millions homeless, precipitating the biggest refugee crisis since the second world war.
“The glory of this particular production is that every single member of this large company turns in a memorable performance, no matter how small the role […] but best of all, there is Richard Armitage as John Proctor. Proctor is a star part that requires an exceptionally powerful leading man. From the moment Armitage looms out of the twilight, tall and craggily handsome, tortured and blunt, wary but calculating it’s as if a force of nature has been released on to the stage. You can almost smell the soil under his fingernails; he exudes a brooding sexuality that is all about graft, sweat and emotional suppression. His encounters with his wife are heart-rending in their disconnection, his scenes with his young, sometime mistress crackle with a fearsome erotic charge. As the do-gooders set out to break his spirit and destroy his reputation you can see the shards of agony etched into his every feature.
I don’t expect to see a finer performance this year."