public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:06 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: "Merchant of Venice" staged by Mats Ek
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:34 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:29 am
Posts: 1
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal Dramatic Theatre
‘The Merchant of Venice’
by Renée Öberg
July 21, 2005 – The Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden

The Merchant of Venice is, when you think about it, the obvious choice for Mats Ek. It deals with something that is almost something of his trademark, the life of the outsider. In the Merchant we meet plenty of them, but the most obvious one is Shylock, the Jew making his living as a profiteer is hated by everyone including his own daughter. In Ek’s production Shylock is played by a woman, his sister Malin Ek, making the character even more “different”. Malin Ek’s performance is discreet but distinct, and every now and then she explodes in moments of pure magic. The despair that Shylock feels when coming home to find his darling daughter Jessica gone, leading up to the, in this version, very low-key crescendo ( “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”) sends me shivers down my spine.

All the different stories of The Merchant are being treated with the same respect and thoroughness, and Mats Ek has managed to weave them all together beautifully. One of the threads he is using, is having the noblemen Salerio and Solanio played by two dancers from the Cullberg ballet, Yvan Auzely and Bernard Cauchard. Not only are they playing the noblemen, they also have the function of the chorus of the play. As in the Greek tragedies, this chorus is commenting on things happening and pushing the story forward, but for this chorus the language is mainly the language of movement.
In this dark Comedy? (as it says in the programme) the humour is never far away, and the audience is constantly having fits of laughter just to choke on them the very next second. The play actually had to pause a couple of times when the ovations wouldn’t stop. One of these occasions being when Mats Ek, once again, plays with the gender roles and present Auzely and Cauchard as the entourage of the Prince of Arragon, as full fledged flamencas complete with dresses and fans.

Mats Ek has never been afraid of experimenting with different art forms, and The Merchant of Venice is no exception. The actors are speaking, singing and dancing their way through the play and what amazes me is how natural it all feels. Having an actor starting his monologue speaking just to finish it dancing, or maybe dancing while speaking, is never something that feels contrived in any way. One of the secrets behind this, in my opinion, is that Ek has managed to make everyone on stage comfortable with speaking his unique language. Considering that most of these actors never had to perform this kind of demanding choreography before, one of the greatest surprises is the dialogue between Jessica and Lorenzo in Act 5. Lorenzo (played by actor Jonas Malmsjö) enters the stage flying, suspended in the air by wires. Flying in over Jessica the romantic dialogue turns into a beautiful pas de deux, showing the very essence of this young couple falling in love.

The Merchant of Venice, directed and choreographed by Mats Ek, is nothing short of a little piece of magic. When the play now comes into its third season, it’s already been seen by almost 60 000 people, and it is a success well deserved. For those who will not have the opportunity to see it in Stockholm, there is a chance to catch The Merchant on tour in Italy in October.

_________________
Renée


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
Welcome to criticaldance and many thanks for the review!! We look forward to hearing more from Sweden.

Kate


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group