To be honest I have not seen such a stunning piece of theatre in a while.
The quality, honesty in delivery and the beautiful design really struck a cord with me.
I have compiled my thoughts a bit and here they are:
The Picture of Dorian Gray is exactly why I go to theatre: thought provoking, aesthetically inspiring, and beautifully scripted with acting & directing to boot. I was thrilled to experience this production for many reasons and I am going to try to do it justice in the following.
Neil Bartlett has done a superb job in adapting and directing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray which was no easy task. He took the most critical elements and stayed true to the original but not without bringing a real sense of theatricality to it. One piece of evidence, through Kandis’ set design, microphones poignantly reminded the viewers of important truths. This honoured the intentions of the story and characters while keeping the modern day audience in mind. In addition the Greek chorus provoked and encouraged the resonating themes through out the play by reinforcing the audience’s attentions to the illusions and the inner voice of the characters.
Not only was the directing on queue but Kandis Cooke’s set & costume design gave such clarity and really exposed the play. With the stage striped back to the brick wall it was spar but illustrious as only the useful was on stage and every article revealed a part of the story. The conceptual stage within a stage and the fourth wall, at times, broken, was successful in setting the intention to communicate directly with the audience. The costumes led us through the years but they also described each character in detail, so they didn’t even need to open their mouths to speak and we knew their purpose. The aesthetic beauty in the design was in the rich textures and gold’s contrasting with the barren black while the creative use of historical costumes with theatrical liberty brought an extra element of ingenuity. In fact I was so excited about the design I emailed Kandis Cooke to congratulate her personally, I would absolutely love to assist her on a future production.
My favourite performance by far was Jasper Britton’s Lord Henry. At first entrance of Lord Henry Wotton I was immediately nervous for his role in ruining Dorian Gray, and truly felt for Basil in his despair of loosing his pure love to Henry. Though Basil at first had my heart, as the play moved forward I fell deeper and deeper in love with Jasper Britton’s captivating delivery of Lord Henry. In fact, I started to root for his motives and secretly look forward to his every scene. He gave a stunning performance of the entire being of Henry. From his descent into old age to his eloquence in speech, he was brilliant.
One point on which I wasn't as connected was Tom Canton's, Dorian Gray. Although well acted, I would have liked to see a greater development, a greater build in character from his innocence into his destruction and the inner turmoil he wrestled with. Sometimes I felt his rise and falls were too fast, there wasn't enough substance and I couldn't connect. I would have liked to see a bit more discovery in the character. All in all however I did enjoy his performance and this wasn't a huge distraction, I just wasn't as committed to belief as I would have hoped.
I really feel strongly in theatre's ability to heal, build bridges and create conversation in the community. Theatre should encourage an audience to think and Neil Bartlett’s adaptation did just that. Guaranteeing the audience was aware but not forcing the concepts of; our personal illusions, homosexual shame and the relationships art creates between us all. This I think was the greatest success, having a production that pleased all the senses but provoked thought and conversation. Well done to the Abbey for commissioning such a pleasurable production.
Let me start by saying that this was the first production I have ever seen in The Gaiety Theatre. The theatre itself is stunning. Beautiful architecture, design and an incredible feeling of being apart of something fabulous as soon as you walk in contributes to your initial of awe of the Gaiety. It's just what comes with an old theatre I think. The unfortunate side effect of a beautiful old theatre is the sight lines (especially during this production). If you have not been so fortunate to get seats in the stalls or lower balcony, you will (almost without a doubt) be struggling to see the entire performance. So many of the scenes in this production took place quite far downstage that you were leaning forward trying to get a glimpse and thus ruining the sight lines for those behind you, who now couldn't see over your head.
The script had been adapted from James Joyce's The Dubliners, which included 9 out of 15 of the stories. For me I felt the stories hadn't been adapted enough for the stage as most of the characters still spoke in 3rd person. This view however may be partly because I haven't read the stories in many years and needed the characters interactions to pull me through the stories. The script being almost entirely narration meant most of the characters spoke in 3rd person which resulted in the audience being detached emotionally from the characters. This made the production feel more like a staged reading than an actual play.
I did however find some of the performances quite griping such as Mark O'Halloran in "An Encounter". His physicality was brilliant and resulted in the whole audience being connected, captivated and responsive with laughter. This was a much needed boost to the pacing. Mark Lambert's portrayal of Mr. Alleyne in "Counterparts" was extremely successful. His characterization was so strong and with his over the top performance- chicken influences and all, it gave such a significant contrast to the severity of the ending that it really brought a depth of character and even believability to an exaggerated persona. This was well done. In addition to these, Mark O'Halloran gave another strong performance in "A Painful Case" bringing affective intentions where you could see his personal struggle in the relationship between Mr Duffy and Mrs. Sinico.
In regards to the design, which always particularly speaks to me; I was so looking forward to the make-up. From the posters and press packs it seemed to exude exaggeration and characterization. The particular eyebrow, chin & cheek forms that were created, I had hoped would greatly affect the characters and the audiences decisions in regards to them. It was however so hard to tell from the audience what was happening, that the effect was lost. Yes, I was sitting quite far back however I heard the same critique from friends sitting in the stalls: that though the make up were supposed to be character choices, it was not strong enough to be communicated past the first 10 rows. This was definitely a disappointment. Otherwise I felt the costumes were consistent and clear choices for the characters. The lighting posed no probelm with the costumes and held a significant importance as it helped to create definition on a wide open stage as well as set many of the scene locations.
This was a show that would be best viewed up close and to make sure you are well versed in James Joyce's stories before attending. Overall the Corn Exchange took on a huge challenge by adapting stories that had such high expectations that they really do deserve applause for taking chances in a world of theatre that so often plays it safe.
Ok so yes I realize I am fairly behind in my posts. So much has happened since I last blogged, and it is fairly embaressing! I really need to catch you all up on my experiences at Van Fashion Week, my recent catalogue shoot, and my most exciting news so far: MOVING! However I was recently reminded (by a very good friend) about an old entry that I would like to reshare so I thought I would copy & paste it, from my very first blog (that I am currently locked out of because I don't know what email I used to set it up or my password). So please enjoy (and excuse some of the poor grammer)...
They are everywhere. I especially see them riding the bus and more are venturing onto that new train, the canada line. They do a lot of window shopping and they drink a lot of tea. Discounts are a perk when shopping and going for Sunday brunch. All too often they seem to be over looked and generalized and fashion wise never really considered. But oh are there ever significant stereotypes. The ederly are every where and lately their sense of fashion has captivated me.
The most blatant image of an elderly woman that comes to mind is one with a taste for gaudy gold jewelry. Huge clip on gold earrings and a cashmere sweater that has been embroidered with sequins and Swarovski crystals. She wears dress slacks with front pleats or a 1940′s conservative calf length wool skirt. Otherwise she can be spotted wearing a sweet 1940′s swing era skirt pulled up and over her belly resting under her ribcage with a bloused top, gathered shoulder yokes and a v neck, crossed in front, or button down top.
Then there are the overly made up eldery asian women. Those poor souls that decided to get perminent eyebrows tattooed on when there hair was a much darker colour and their skin a lot tighter. They attempt to overcompensate by wearing the most defining and dark lipsticks with lipliner drawn just a fraction of an inch over their natural lip line. Also conveniently a shade or so darker then the actual lipstick. This allows for a pair of smacking burgandy lips to be painted on a pale with yellow undertones parchment called skin, with eyebrows never ceasingly arched hovering in place
On the other hand there are the down trodden elderly woman who, quiet as mice, walk from rubbish bin to rubbish bin searching for cans. Their attire is usually a pair of old grey sweatpants, a larger sweater or tshirt and very small feet shuffling in Mary-Jane style Chinese slippers.
Far from hiding in the shadows are the brilliantly coloured Indian woman adorning themselves in every colour of the rainbow with beading and silks that sparkle and drape majestically over their curvy and soft skin. Old and wise eyes look out from a face full wrinkles and lines and they order the same thing every other elderly woman orders.
A cup of tea.
Who are these woman that so often go unnoticed or over looked? Where are their stories and what do their wardrobes say? Why do they wear what they wear and when does our sense of style change to that?
Sometimes I fantasize about what kind of ‘old’ lady I could be. I think about playing golf and riding around in a golf cart on sunny days and clutching my purse with my gnarled fingers as I plunk away at the slot machine on rainy days. Obviously I’m displaying big gold earrings and a giant sparkly broch pinned to my granny sweater. I imagine sitting in bermuda shorts and a “sleeveless” shirt with a big sunhat and sunglasses while lounging by the poolside on my latest cruise around the world.
Then my thoughts settle on what old lady I want to be. I want to be the woman who proudly walks in (even if it is with a walker) wearing my tried and true chanel matching skirt and blazer. My small, modest pumps and perfect nylons are simple but practical. A tasteful line of pearls sits gently on my neck and I wear my diamonds proudly on my left hand. I still go to live theatre, design clothes and of course I know the sales attendants at my local chanel boutique. But if I woke up that morning feeling playful I’d grab a pair of my glitzy Betsey Johnson earings and wear lepard print gloves with my tasteful cream and sand tones (cause there’s soemthing about the off whites, beiges and browns that the ederly love) wool skirt and silk blouse. Then I take out my Vogue at my local tea shop and muse about the ‘new’ fashion I saw coming 50 years earlier. And after a long and leasurly morning of reading and crooning about design, while simultaneously putting the finishing touches on my latest haute couture line; I head to my yoga studio. Yes thats the woman I want to be be. Elegant, Educated, Creative and Respected. Nimble, alive, fashionable and still ever much following my passions.
This makes me wonder again if that’s who I want to be in 50 years, who are the elderyly now, what were their dreams, where are their dreams and what do they think now?
She’s still watching, judging and forming, Her point of View.
I am so looking forward to Vancouver Fashion Week!
I have been endlessly following Garance and The Sartorialist's updates on the fashion week's around the world and now it is finaly our turn!
The opening gala is tomorrow night, so I am expecting to come back with lots of photos of fashion for you- as well as my own thoughts about who turned up! So looking forward to seeing everyone again. Anywho it's time to get some sleep, but will update you all soon! xomatiachuk
Ok So I realized, that this will be much more than just a fashion blog.
What makes me get really excited is the ideas behind art, the reasons, the culture, the experimentation.
As I started to think about what really drives my passion in fashion, costumes, theatre, architecture, couture, art, even weddings, it's the aesthetics. How everything goes together, how it gets to the end product and TALKING about the visuals do to you, me - how it has impacted our world.
I once took a class in university called, Aesthetics.
The proff actually refered to the class as the, Ways of Seeing Class.
I LOVED this class.
The concept that 'aesthetically speaking' was an integral part of the art, no matter what form it took- fashion, costumes, sets, architecture, really just enthrawled me.
I hope that this onlineconversation can have an aspect of that too.
Ok so here I am finally blogging. You know what the hardest thing about it is?
Creating your blog name.
This shouldn't be difficult.
All it is, is putting a title onto the body of your work- so people know its yours.
Like saying Hi my name is Hannah, then you continue on to say what your point of view is on the subject you are blogging about. Not that hard right?
Wrong, all of a sudden there is the pressure for it to be catchy- or simple.
After all the time you spend thinking of catchy phrases and something to describe yourself with you think- ok I'll just use my own name. So I played around with matiachuk... but then it's hard for people to remember a name they can't pronounce.
So by now I just want to skip the whole title- maybe I don't need one- all I want to do is record my fashion musings, opinions and ideas and hopefully just maybe have a conversation with a few of you out there! For now it will just be my points of view as I don't really have any followers... In other words, her point. xomatiachuk
I am originally from Vancouver, Canada but I made the big move to Ireland in September 2012. I work in a design & buying office called Styletex and want to work towards a career in Buying. My degree is in Costume Design which is my first love but my heart is also in production design, theatre, fashion, history, culture and style. I love seeing the world and I may have a small obsession with weddings and bridal fashion- so visit my other blog: http://unveilthis.blogspot.com to see that side of me.