Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mooning @ Kevin Spacey

I was in London for an appointment yesterday & had hoped to get to the Serpentine Gallery to find out what Damien Hirst has been collecting, but once I'd run all my errands and braved the madness which is Oxford Street (out of necessity only) there was no time. I think we can go on Sunday instead, when parking would be easier, and going in daylight would be a better chance to go for a walk around Hyde Park! I had managed to get a ticket for A Moon for the Misbegotten at The Old Vic, the play for which Kevin Spacey's tenure at the theatre was finally vindicated, if only by the critics. I wonder if they had to cast him in their own narrative of failure until he was 'allowed' to succeed.

I never know what to expect of the theatre, or any performance, but I always want something to be good because otherwise I feel bad for those performing! When something is good, I cry, which I think is something of an emotional connection with the effort and talent on the stage. I cried last night, and I stood up (being well to the side of the stalls so I couldn't block anyone Else's view!). I don't know much about Eugene O'Neill, or about the play, but now I find it to be at least the third of his plays Kevin Spacey has appeared in so I'm guessing he has an affection for the playwright. My awareness of O'Neill was raised when Spacey took a part in The Iceman Commeth at the Ameida Theatre in Islington, it was my local theatre at the time, but I was (perhaps misguidedly) resisting the trend for American actor appearing on London stages. I don't think I had much money to get there anyway, but I suspect I also some loyalty to friends in the business who needed jobs, even though they are quite happy to go to Broadway... I think Iceman was directed by Howard Davies, as is Moon, and the program for Moon has a really interesting description of his methods written by a theatre historian.

It was a real joy to find O'Neill to be one of a fine tradition of American playwrights, & echoes of Tennessee Williams & Arthur Miller resounded, despite their different locations on a trajectory of time. I somehow felt something of the pathos of Willy Lomax in Kevin Spacey's interpretation of Jim, perhaps the past that never was, not to give too much away. Moon's narrative is only predictable with hindsight & paints a rich emotional landscape, located in a life of poverty, whose inhabitants are not to be underestimated.

It would be easy for me, starf****r that I can be, to have just harped on about Spacey, but it Moon is an ensemble piece where a star turn would stick out like a sore thumb. Eve Best is though worth a mention, hard to see her as the ungainly woman that O'Neill writes about because she is too beautiful, but she is also brilliant & talented. I know a lot of my visitors are in America, & I think Moon will be on Broadway in 2007, thought I'm not sure about the cast except for Kev!

There are some great backstage videos on The Old Vic site, this one showing Kevin Spacey on his way down to the 'vanity box', had I known, I might have stuck around. It isn't so much about the autograph, nothing so crass for me! More the chance to say thank you.

On the way home I listened to Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand, which is written and read by by Alex Kapranos, lead singer with Franz Ferdinand. He is reading from an account, especially written for broadcast, about what he ate while touring the world; a gastronomic tour of the world in fact. Once a chef, Alex creates a witty tale, which is eloquent, sometimes appalling, sometimes phenomenal, but never predictable. It is on all week, & listen again is available! What would I do without radio 4, & lovely that it is attempting to reach its tentacles into the 21st century; especially resonant when the narrative is punctuated by the band's music.

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