20 February 2007

Bad Theater

Went to the Toneelschuur in Haarlem today for my first dose ever of Dutch theater. It was exciting - would I manage the language? Would the play be fun? Do I have the same taste as the friend who suggested we go?

In the end, it turned out to be the longest two hours of theater of my life. Not that I'm claiming to be a big theater buff, but I have enjoyed a show or two or dozen in my time. The play was called "Elk wat wils. Iets van Shakespeare" or, roughly translated, "Something from Shakespeare." They describe it as Shakespeare put through the shredder and back together again. So, count on something non-traditional but recognizable in bits.

First of all, it was Shakespeare in translation. Unrecognizable and, because it was all pasted back together out of sequence and order, plotless. There were entertaining costumes and a lot of Beatles tunes played on a Hammond organ and sung by the actors. However most of the delivery was more or less deadpan, and I think they were doing it on purpose. The first two sections had entertaining costumes and the occasional songs to make it nearly bearable. The last section was four actors in matching suits standing at microphones going on and on and on. It was hard core.

This play was a disaster. After the first 20 minutes, it became apparent that nothing else was going to happen. After about 45 minutes had gone by, I was wondering if anyone would object to going home during the intermission. After an hour and 15 minutes had gone by, I realized there was no intermission in sight. The last half an hour was pure endurance. My fellow attendees agreed and we laughed all the way home.

We're going to another play in a couple weeks. I'll let you know how it goes. Um - has anyone seen "Winterkant?" If not, I have an extra ticket.

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