The play I will be writing about is Silas Marner; it was first published in 1861, and was written by George Elliot. The particular play I saw was directed by Tim Baker, he personally adapted the play and it was shown at Theatre Clwyd, Theatre Clwyd is small but locally renowned for its welsh productions.
The publicity leaflets they use are unimaginative and plain, its design is not very eye catching or intriguing, it doesn’t draw you in and interest you to the degree of actually going to see the play. A few of my friends went to see this production before me and their ratings of it weren’t too high, they said it was good but not memorable. My expectations of the play are not too high I have no clue to the style of the play due to Tim Baker adapting it, and since Theatre Clwyd is not very big they will have problems with space to work in and how many actors will be in it. I have studied Silas Marner in the past and I’m interested to see how closely the production follows the script or whether it strays now and again. I expect I’ll enjoy the play based on the fact I haven’t seen it performed before so it should be interesting to me no matter how good/bad the performance. The theatre was a large old well-built building, with lights out in front of it.
It gave a feeling of importance to the place, the theatre its self was situated in the remote countryside and was surrounded by fields. The age groups turning up to see the plays shown there seemed to be around middle aged people and obviously teenagers on school trips. Inside the theatre, the rooms where the performance took place were small and the stage was a small circular platform. It was an unusual place to perform. I have always been used to a rectangular stage at the head of the crowd, but this was half surrounded by the audience it gave it a more personal feel as if we were part of the scenery. In the theatre there were many pictures hung on the walls of past shows to give you an idea of what your in store for.
The performance does not extend out side of the room into the lobby. The actors stayed out of sight most probably to give the audience some surprise to the actor’s appearances, ushers stood at the doorway and lead you in. inside the first thing I noticed was a semicircle of seats, half surrounding the stage. The rows of seats rose up quite dramatically, the over all space probably seated about 150-200 people, not a very large audience.
In the centre of the semicircle stood the stage, it wasn’t raised higher than the audience it was at ground level, but the peculiar thing was that the stage was a circular platform. This added some mystery to the performance as to why it was designed it specifically that way. Around the stage stood stools, chairs, and instruments such as xylophones and violins, other than that there was just a plane blue background behind them. The stage and audience were very close together this gave a personal feeling to the place, so that you were some how involved in what was about to take place. The only other obvious item in the room to do with the play was the lighting, which I expected to play a large part I setting the mood and tone of the play as it progressed.
The performance began with the actors walking onto stage and jumping straight in to the play I was impressed with the casting, the man playing Silas Marner looked and acted just like you would expect him too, through out the play when the actors people were moving from one place to another they represented this through the circular stag could be rotated so that when the actor moved he more or less stayed in the same position whilst purposely placed props sped past him. I thought this was a great way to use the space they were working in to its full potential. They used different techniques with the stage such as. When they were showing speed and urgency with the characters when they were moving they moved the stage in the actors direction; for example they made him move extremely fast around the stage when Silas was running away from the church after being banished for the accused stealing. The movement of the stage also reminded me of a clock and the change of scene represented the movement of the actors and the passage of time from one event to the other. They changed the story into a musical so that it was more entertaining, and they used a mixture of music and lighting to show the status of the people in the scene whether they were happy, sad, or angry.
Each actor had one or more parts to play; in all there were only eight actors in all and most of them played an instrument when they weren’t performing. In their performance their body language was precise and well thought out, I could see the work and effort that had gone into making the production. In all there were no bad performances given by the actors. One of the funniest and most entertaining parts of the play was when Dunstan was riding the horse he was going to sell, blue dark lights glowed on him and he had a comic sinister look on his face, the other actors were singing, he stared straight into the audience it was in my opinion the best part of the play, it was exciting and dark. The play was split into two main parts act1 and act 2. There was an intermission in the middle.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the play was that the first act of the play, was dark, exciting and plot driven, with fast interesting music through out and a constant mystery to it. Where as the second act was dramatically slower and at time tedious, they hadn’t slowly blended into that type of tone between acts. It was more like two separate plays than one; the second half had no mystery or suspense to it. It was too light-hearted and uneventful; it seemed like a very long ending, which I found boring and dull. The audience’s response to it was good they were impressed by the performance, but I got the feeling that it was mostly from the amazing first half.
The main parts of the film that stuck with me the most after the performance, definitely had to be a part when they portrayed Eppi as a baby using just a sheet, and an oddly talented girl who could do baby noises so good it was frightening. Overall I thought Tim Bakers adaptation of Silas Marner was original and new. It was a brilliant experience, which I will fondly remember[O1].
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