And talking with new friends. When a partnership breaks up and a new character is involved in the break-up there is a time for re-assessment and review. Meeting the new partner for lunch yesterday must have been much more trying for him than it was for me. Being paraded in front of new acquaintances and feeling that you are being compare with what has gone before must be nerve wracking. However, the meal went very well. We went to Jamie Oliver’s and I had a small portion of scallops and squid ink dyed spaghetti that was more than acceptable and left room for the next meal that I was due to have before the evening’s entertainment!
When we left Jamie Oliver’s we went to an adjacent pub where I had my first pint of SA for many months. I had every intention of limiting my intake of Skull Attack to just the one-pint, but the company and the cooling weather and the insistence of my companions saw me weaken and almost match them pint for pint. I suppose it is one way to cement a relationship!
Alison was duly met in Barroco’s and we had another meal before going to “Macbeth”. This National Theatre production was a live broadcast from a deconsecrated church in Manchester where the action was largely set in the nave of the church with the live audience on steeply raked seats at each side giving the appearance of a jousting arena. This was a widely and enthusiastically awaited production and I hated it.
The direction was shared between Rob Ashford and Ken Branagh and at times I wondered where it was. I could see no real connecting idea which linked the action of the play and the speed of delivery of lines meant that much of the detail which could have expanded the meaning was lost in a welter of English.
The church setting was referenced from time to time but not enough was made of it in my view and I kept feeling omission rather than accretion as the action progressed.
The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth was unconvincing and in spite of a few moments of action I felt it lacked passion. Lady Macbeth (Alex Kingston) worked hard, but her key scene, the Sleepwalking Scene, was performed on a sort of raised stage and looked more like some sort of puppet show with extreme actions and a multitude of voices so that it became something of a farce rather than the chilling re-telling on the whole murder.
Because of the accelerating pace the internal logic of the progression of action was largely lost for me and the declamatory style of delivery emptied the words and lost sense.
It was deeply disappointing, but I think that the idea of producing a live broadcast to a variety of national and international cinemas is a wonderful one and I will certainly be looking out for further productions and hoping that they will be shown in Barcelona.
The drink with Alison (who had found out about the production and who had bought the tickets) was a somewhat subdued affair as I was beginning to feel the draining process myself and tiredness clumped up towards me.
Today is a calmer day with only lunch with Hadyn planned and then tomorrow I get the flight back to Barcelona. For a rest!