"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
On Saturday I went to the theatre to see a production of A Tale of Two Cities. First, I love plays. Second, I enjoy acting. Third, I think A Tale of Two Cities is a phenomenal piece of literature. My roommate, being the lovely person she is, won tickets at work and took me to the theatre (side note: I like the British spelling of many English words. Theatre looks ever so much better than theater). To my surprise and delight, this play was performed in an arena theatre or a more technical term, theatre-in-the-round. This was the first time I saw a play in a setting other than the traditional, proscenium theatre.
The play was excellently done and I enjoyed it very much. However, I think I enjoyed watching the mechanisms of the stage just as much as watching the play. There were quite a few moving platforms or pieces. In the middle there were at least six different pieces. An outer ring that glided around, an inner circle and four quarters of the middle circle. The latter two move together or separately, move in a circle and descend into the bowels of the stage. There was this great bridge that lowered from the ceiling and a ladder that led up to the cat walk. I loved watching how they distracted the audience towards one part of the stage and used that to create time to get another part ready to carry the action. There was no curtain to hide behind so all set changes were open to the audience, but most of the time I didn’t notice them until the action moved.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I came away resolved to go to more plays and maybe audition for one myself. As always, I’m sure I will become distracted with regular life and be too busy to even think about auditioning. An icebreaker for a weekend retreat: If you could play any character in a drama what would it be?