Monday, June 30, 2014

Valentina's Experience with The Crucible - Guest Post

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(Note: If you haven't read or seen the play The Crucible this post may have some SPOILERS.  Fabo)


MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CRUCIBLE



There I am again! Thank you so much Fabo for hosting me again on your blog!!

First of all I must say that this is not a theatre review..it's a fan report.

When I heard that Richard was going to play John Proctor in The Crucible here in London, I was so excited! As I said before, I've always dreamt of seeing him on stage! I booked a seat in row J... but I wasn't sure how far I would be from the stage. Then I found out that the first rows had been removed so I was in 4th row!

I tried to imagine how big the Old Vic Theatre might be, and I never imagined I was so close to the stage!! This theatre is beautiful, it's a very intimate experience, because the audience surrounds the stage and the actors are so close.

I didn't like the smell of alcohol  all over the show.  People next to me were drinking vodka or wine... bleah. How is that? In Italy nobody is allowed to drink in the theatre...not even water! Furthermore, the girl next to me had a huge rucksack that prevented me from sitting properly in my OWN space!..not to mention that her feet were stinky.

Natalie and I met up quite early in Waterloo. It was a beautiful sunny day.  Judit also joined us and we had a nice chat and dinner. We almost forgot that we were going to see the Richard on stage! I must say that I was so excited and nervous. I don't know why, but I think it's normal when seeing the Richard.

We went back to the theatre at 7:00pm and took our seats...oh my God! I was so close to the stage! Actually...there isn't a stage! We were so incredibly excited ! I was trembling..and I never stopped.

The lights went down and a mysterious music started … I'm not going to describe every scene... it would be too much !

Richard first appeared in the middle of the stage, surrounded by the other actors.  His presence is so majestic... he's a big man! He comes on stage for the first time when he meets Abigail in Parris' house. You can feel the tension between them. He looks really vulnerable against her, he tries hard not to be too involved while she tries to seduce him. Suddenly the tension between them leads to a flaming  “fight”, where they touch and reject each other with anger. Abigail literally jumps on him so unexpectedly...wow. That really gave me the idea of the “flying witch”.

This scene is really good , I held my breath until it ended...but to be honest...I held my breath through the entire show!


Richard's voice is amazing,  I agree with someone who said that it's different to Thorin's voice, it's deeper and rougher.. it is roaring in certain moments, and sorrowfully soft in others.

The mysterious music plays again in the intervals between one act and another. All the actors move the props for the next scene.

My lovely friend Natalie sat just behind me (Judit was on the other side of the stage), so we had the chance to gaze around during some scenes...and we suddenly looked at each other when we saw a girl bringing a wash basin. We knew what was going to happen!

John Proctor appears in the dark... tired, gasping.  He leaves his rifle in a corner, takes off his boots.. and goes to the fireplace. I couldn't imagine he would strip in the middle of the stage...in fact, he didn't. He squats over the basin  and takes off his shirt. It seems he knows that there is an audience around him, so it's a very intimate and private moment for him. OK! I know what you want...

I was shocked ! His shoulders are big... he's a built man, not too muscular but well shaped. His chesticles... ahhhhhhhhhh sorry! I’m sorry I couldn't scream in the theatre! His arms are so strong...wow I wish somebody could steal that moment...he's got a beautiful body, perfectly proportioned. His feet are perfect too, almost “elegant”!

 He puts his shirt on again while he is still squatting. Proctor's wife enters, she's a very cold woman. She became remote after her husband's betrayal. Their house is quiet, dark...there's no more love between them. John Proctor feels guilty but he knows he won't be able to change the situation. Their dialogue goes very slowly until Mary Warren arrives … I won't explain what happens here..it's too long!

Richard is wearing a shirt opened in the neck...you can clearly see his chest O_O it gets really hard to follow the lines!!!! He wears black trousers and he's barefoot...his feet!!! beautiful!

Elizabeth is accused of being a witch by Abigail. She asks John to talk to Abigail... he's confused, he doesn't know what to do, he knows he can't see the girl...he feels guilty. Richard is gorgeous here (well...everywhere!)

At the end of this scene, Elizabeth is brought to jail and  John Proctor (Richard) goes mad, he fills up the whole theatre with his voice, the lights hit his beautiful eyes...they're shining and sparkling... he's lost.....he cries, he's desperate. Ohhhhhhhh Richard was amazing!  We have never seen him acting like this, he shouts with his full voice ... very passionate! I can still hear it in my head.

The third act takes place at Court where the trial is being held.

Proctor comes with Mary Warren, she might save his wife from hanging. John tries to convince the court that the girls are pretending to be witches. Mary Warren says she has never seen the Devil. The situation turns against John Proctor. The girls go crazy and start shouting and trembling. John (Richard) runs around them to try to make them stop... he's desperate...his only hope was Mary but the other girls make her change her mind and she starts behaving like a fool. Proctor's last attempt is to proclaim his guilt publicly, calling Abigail a “whore”... but this only leads to his own arrest. He goes wild. Richard shouts with all his breath “God is dead!!” 

His voice rumbles everywhere... he spews out all his anger like a Vulcano... “..we will burn together”... I think I fired up there!

Last act takes place in the dungeons, Elizabeth and John have been there for three months. She's pregnant. John is going to hang. He wears a tattered white shirt, blood stained, ripped trousers, he's dirty.

Richard speaks proudly, his voice becomes softer as he speaks to Elizabeth. Proctor is devoted to her, he cries. They hold hands. Richard made this scene between Proctor and his wife very intimate.

Proctor refuses to give a false confession for personal and religious reasons.  A false admission would also dishonor him, staining not just his public reputation, but also his soul. By refusing to give up his personal integrity Proctor implicitly proclaims his conviction that such integrity will bring him to heaven.

As Miller describes this scene..”with a cry of his soul” (Richard) Proctor cries out all his pride, crying...his eyes are full of tears..so intense! He goes to the gallows redeemed for his sin.

There's a kiss between Elizabeth and her husband, that is described as “ a kiss with great passion”. I think the train scene in North&South was much more passionate !! I think there's no chemistry between them anymore or there's not much chemistry between RA and the actress.

I held my breath throughout the whole show. The entire cast was amazing, our Richard was outstanding! His performance was impressive. I didn't expect such a powerful interpretation. The whole experience was fantastic.

They got another standing ovation, the audience loved the show, and they praised Richard with much applause.

Personally, I loved Natalie Gavin's performance, I think she was great, whereas I wasn't really impressed by Samantha Colley. She doesn't steal the show at all, in my modest opinion.


Photo Property of Valentina - Do Not Publish Without Permission


After the show we flew to the stage door, there was already a long queue but we were quite close. Natalie couldn't meet Richard unfortunately because she had to catch the coach. What a shame!! Richard appeared five minutes after she had left. Me and lovely Judit stayed in the line.. I was calmer this time...or so I thought!!!



Photo Property of Valentina - Do Not Publish Without Permission

There I was again, in front of Richard Armitage! I brought my book for him to sign, he was pleased!! “Oh the book!”  I told him he was outstanding. I don't know if he said something. I asked a Belgian girl to take a picture of the three of us. So me and Judit hugged him and he put his arms around our shoulders. I managed to smell him again. Judit gave him a letter from Alessia. He was so happy! He said : “ Thank you for coming” and we left..

What a pity that my camera didn't work. That pic would have been a good one, but I shouldn't complain as I have a great one of me and Richard.

I would like to bump into him one day by chance and have a little chat. The stage door is not the right place for that, he's tired and in a hurry. He can't talk with everybody.

I am very proud of being part of this group of well-wishers, or at least of those who really “wish well”.  They stay in the line and are very respectful of him and for the others.

Last time I saw different kinds of people queuing. I think there were not just RA fans but also theatre lovers who wanted to congratulate him, because he's a very talented actor.

Thank you for reading my humble report. I tried to express my feelings as best I could.

Thank you Fabo for your help and for sharing with me this attempt at writing my story!!

Valentina


Read more of Valentina's story, her first meeting with Richard Armitage, and more  at the links below





4 comments:

  1. Valentina, what a beautiful account of your experience of what it was like to meet a man that so many adore😀😀 well done.. It's amazing to me that he comes out night after night after a gruelling evening and interacts with his fans.. He's a true class act!! I'm glad you were able to see him again. Makes me seriously consider going to London!! 😃😃

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    1. Thank you Mary! I think he's wonderful with his fan's, he's probably very tired and still he stops and meets everybody! He's very talented! It was an amazing experience!

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  2. Very nice little story! Glad you got to meet him again. I liked your impressions of the play. Thanks for sharing! @peppgrad Lori H

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    1. Thanks Lori - glad you enjoyed Valentina's eyewitness account.

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