The Encounter and Hecuba

Two very different shows but I saw them close together so I am merging these posts together.

The Encounter:
I saw this at Bristol Old Vic. I wanted to go and see this show because it was put on by the company Complicite, you know the one who created all those exercise, and I was intrigued. It was a one man show and the one man was Simon McBurney who is a ‘well known’ (ish) actor but I only really know him from ‘Vicar of Dibley’. The show used a really high tech sound system where all the audience wore headphones and a lot of the show was created using this really sensitive microphone on stage or a sound looper-whatnibobble. The show itself is McBurney retelling the story ‘Amazon Beaming’ by Petru Popesco. I found the story interesting and the technology was incredibly, the way it created certain elements of the performance was INSANE. However, it is a long show (2 hours with no interval) and it felt long…very long…so bloody long. Also you know how there are some performers that you may like as people and you don’t think they are bad you just don’t enjoy them? That is how I felt about this performance as it felt a little self involved, if that makes sense? Maybe a little wanky? This is my opinion though so feel free to have your own. All in all, I found myself more interested in the technology than the rest of the show. I could have quite happily coped with it be a purely audio show.

Hecuba:
I saw this at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Swan Theatre which is my preferred theatre there, sorry die-hards. This is an adapted version by Marina Carr and hot fucking damn. Damn. I was captivated. The play is set just after Troy lost the Trojan war and Hecuba and her daughters and all the other women are taken prisoner by the Achaeans. Of course you can tell that shit must have got real and then got even more real. The dialogue involved a lot of reported speech from characters having a conversation and direct address to the audience. The dialogue was searing. There were times when it was hilarious, there were times when I actually cringed at the verbal cutting ability of these people on stage. Also there is a sort of sex scene that was done amazingly! It wasn’t graphic, there was no grinding or humping or even that much bodily contact between the two characters. The words were used with such passion and the words themselves were so full, it was the most uncomfortable I have ever felt watching a sex scene as it felt almost the most real and emotional. That sounds weird but I felt they were much more connected than if they had just simulated bonking on stage. While this show was also pretty decent in length, 1 hour 50 minutes with no interval, I felt that unlike The Encounter it didn’t drag and I wasn’t praying for each sentence to be the last. I loved this show because it felt so powerful, so beautiful whilst also being so bleeding tragic. Marina Carr may have just become one of my favourite playwrights.

That is it for those two shows, I have a few more coming up before Christmas and a couple of workshops that I have got for my birthday so I will keep you posted about them.
Good luck with whatever you are up to at the moment and go and see Hecuba! 🙂

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