Friday, March 25, 2011

mar 17 + 31 | danny boyle | national theatre live: frankenstein

I saw this Thursday. Absolutely extraordinary, I urge you to see it. The design elements are astonishing: no surprise, I suppose, when you consider Danny Boyle is so visual a director, and so bold. I thought often of Electric Company. It's clear that the approach is fully theatrical, very much conceived for the three-dimensionality of the live stage - but also that Boyle (or his cinematographer?) had always in mind just how it should be captured for film: the placement of the cameras is many times breath-taking. And the provocative questions about the nature of the human soul, the potential horror of man playing god, creating life in his own fallen image.

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein
Mar 17 @ 7pm | Additional performance Mar 31

Danny Boyle's stage production of Frankenstein, a play by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley.  Performed by Britain's National Theatre, broadcast live to cinemas.

Silvercity Riverport, Metropolis, Coquitlam
Park & Tilford, Scotiabank
Danny Boyle: A rare man in a universe of monsters
Feb 27, The Telegraph

Fittingly for an Oscar-winning film director whom colleagues actually seem to like, the ex-altar boy’s foray into theatre exposes the human side of 'Frankenstein’, says William Langley.

. . . Last week, at the National Theatre, Boyle, the Oscar-winning film director, attempted to take a monstrous step towards rescuing the story from itself. Here was no lumbering Herman Munster-lookalike with spinachy skin and a bolt through its neck. The pared-down, elemental Frankenstein Boyle served up with playwright Nick Dear won rapturous notices, with The Daily Telegraph’s critic Charles Spencer declaring: “At its best, there is no doubt that Frankenstein is the most viscerally exciting and visually stunning show in town.”

. . . He was raised in a sternly religious home in Radcliffe, a down-on-its-luck Lancashire mill town, the son of a steel worker and an Irish-born dinner lady. “My whole life was full of saints, growing up,” he says. “It was a very strict Catholic family. I was an altar boy for eight years. I was supposed to become a priest, and, really, it was my mother’s dearest wish that I should become one.”

At the age of 14, when he was in advanced preparations to enter a seminary in Wigan, the family priest, Father Conway, took him aside and told him he shouldn’t go. “Whether he was saving me from the priesthood or the priesthood from me, I don’t know,” says Boyle. “But quite soon after that I started doing drama. And there’s a connection. All those directors – Martin Scorsese, John Woo – they were all meant to be priests. There’s something very theatrical about it. It’s basically the same job, poncing around telling people what to do.”

. . . In her preface to her novel, Mary Shelley declares that: “I have tried to preserve the elementary principles of human nature.” These, presumably, being the ones junked wholesale during the 200 years that the tale has been turned into hokum. If the National does have a triumph on its hands, it will be because Frankenstein has finally found someone who shares them.

1 comment:

retroghetti said...

Scorsese - yes, I can see the priest angle - maybe it happens to italian-americans when they grow up on the "mean streets" - you gotta flip one way or the other: there are wierd references in his films too