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Posts Tagged ‘Cleopatra’

It’s here in black and white: Fiona Shaw opens in “Mother Courage and her Children” in a version by Tony Kushner (of “Angels in America” fame), directed by the brilliant Deborah Warner at the National Theatre in September.

The poster image is a pastiche of the “shot” of Tony Blair photographing himself on his camera phone, with a scene of massive atomic destruction behind him – so who knows how modern we’re going to be going… Anyway, as I have written before, I hate not to know where my next fix of Shaw is coming from, and so I shall sleep easier now; even if I have also been haunted by the fact that she really needs to get a wriggle on and play Mary Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey into Night” before too much more time goes by. But I think it’s time for her Cleopatra next, though who might be her Antony is a trickier question: Simon Russell Beale? Antony Sher? Ralph Fiennes? Sean Penn? Only one of those would be right – and he’s the only one who is never, ever going to do it…

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I can only assume that Fiona Shaw HATES me.

Sure, we’ve never met – though I have (literally) dreamed that we have – but I can find no other explanation for her cold and unkind treatment of me.

The thing is, I was expecting Deborah Warner’s production of “Mother Courage” to enter The National’s repertoire in January – NOW I am hearing some sort of gobbledegook about “March”! Does she want me to KILL MYSELF? That means (almost exactly) no Fiona Shaw on stage (and let’s be honest, it is only on stage that she is transcendentally magnificent, slaying all comers – good as she can be in film) for almost exactly a year!

She has got a LOT to get through, let’s be honest – because here is a short list (not a shortlist) of the roles that I MUST see her play – and at this rate, she ain’t going to crack it:-

  • Volumnia – clearly essential. No one has nailed it since Irene Worth – and that’s 20 years ago.
  • Mrs. Alving – because I can’t think how she’d do it, but I know it would be brilliant.
  • Prospero– not because of Richard II, but because of her intelligence – and Prospero’s gender is ENTIRELY irrelevant.
  • Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Why say more? It’s kind of predictable, but she’d be riveting.
  • Cleopatra– because there is more to that part than has been played to date, even including Judi Dench’s magnificent performance.
  • The Princess in “Sweet Bird of Youth”
  • More Greek Tragedy. I don’t care what – no-one else can go there like she can: Clare Higgins, Zoe Wanamaker, Vanessa Redgrave: magnificent actresses, every one of them – but they don’t approach the┬áreality that Shaw found in Electra and Medea.
  • On reflection: almost anything else – apart from “The Powerbook”.

I am getting really quite concerned about how things are looking in terms of this working out – and I’d like SOME kind of reassurance from Ms. Shaw that she’s prepared to commit to this.

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