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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2415  Tuesday, 23 October 2001

[1]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 14:07:47 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2401 Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

[2]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 19:12:50 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 12.2401 Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 14:07:47 EDT
Subject: 12.2401 Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2401 Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

I recently caught up with the controversy over the replacement of the
old RSC homestead.  I live in a historic neighborhood in a historic
home, but I side with the professionals on this one: tear it down!
Build something that works, something that should have been built in the
first place.  Part of the equation for me is that the preservationists
are not calling for the preservation of the hall for any
theatre-history-related reasons, so why keep the old barn?

(Now, if only someone would offer to tear down our warehouse and build
us an appropriate space...)

Dale Lyles
artistic director
Newnan Community Theatre Company
http://newnantheatre.com

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 19:12:50 +0100
Subject: Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Comment:        SHK 12.2401 Re: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Can I endorse everything that David Lindley has said?

Those who have done the backstage tours at the RST are certain to be
amazed at how cramped, how utterly unbecoming the facilities are for
arguably the major Shakespeare house in the world - quaint, 'cosy', and
full of atmosphere, maybe, but most of the actors hate the place with a
passion. Technically, it is a nightmare: ask the lads backstage about
the recent 'The Secret Garden' which they could not get rid of fast
enough to the West End. It is a surprisingly narrow mainstage, still
firmly prosc-arch, and narrows alarmingly upstage. Acoustics are odd in
the main house too.

Perhaps a touch more controversial in some ways are the plans for The
Other Place which look bound in fog and mystery to me, and might lose a
following. They have pioneered several excellent ventures there however
in totally dire conditions: the fairly recent Nigel Williams scripted
'Lord of the Flies' (script a disgraceful travesty - almost a
crucifixion, production excellent) involved local schools and had the
public queuing round the block. If they pursue initiatives like that,
maybe there will be a greater sense of indigenous community and less of
'them patronising Lunnon folk' stuff, which does slightly creep in and
is occasionally heard in the town. The commuting of casts from London to
Stratford is exhausting and frustrating for the company as well. If
Noble manages to sort out that edgy bone of contention he might make
serious progress. The problem is that if you divide the company into
what looks to be discrete companies for different venues for a season or
part thereof, the company fear that the old 'company spirit' will
disintegrate and become like the National, and parochialism may come to
rule, or even unhealthy rivalry, and / or a first division and second
division syndrome. Very fraught days behind the scenes, as David Lindley
said, and much more NOT hitting the press than one might suppose given
actors' tendencies to gossip. Perhaps that is an indication that it is
all too serious to gossip about?

The Swan is far and away the best space back and front for both punters
and the quality, and the one the company are apparently increasingly
locating the best work in.

Might be very interesting to hear what overseas visitors feel about the
RST.

Stuart Manger

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