?dark? ?(4????Punk Abstraction? ????? ?? ???Rating: 4.5 (44 Ratings)??538 Grabs Today. 26786 Total Grabs.
??????Preview?? | ??Get the Code?? ?? ???????????? ????Easy Install Instructions:???1. Copy the Code??2. Log in to your Blogger account and go to "Manage Layout" from the Blogger Da BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Friday, October 23, 2009

For Camelot!

I had planned to do a post about writing today, as I haven't written about my author-ish efforts of late, but then I watched Camelot, and decided I needed to write about that.
This isn't the movie version of Camelot; it's an actual stage performance that was videotaped. Richard Harris still plays King Arthur, although he's quite a bit older than he was in the movie, and Meg Bussert plays Guinevere. We've been watching this for school over the last three days (hey, c'mon, it's a LONG SHOW) and just finished it up today.
*Rubs hands together* Now, where do I begin?
First of all, let me say that I'm much more easily touched by watching stage performances than filmed ones. Yes, this stage performance was filmed, but it was still a stage performance. Whatever happened onstage that night, be it the perfect run or the show where everything fell apart, that was what was going on that tape. And what happened onstage was something magical.
As an actor, I think that one of the most important skills you can develop is having what I call a "range of emotions." This basically means versatility; the really astounding actors can go from heartbroken to outraged to lovestruck to ecstatic and everything in between, they can do it in a brief span of time, and--here's the clincher--they can do it believably. There are very good actors who don't have this quality; they're the ones who get typecast, or stick with the character bits where they can showcase their talents. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to talk about having a range of emotions, let's talk Richard Harris for a minute. Oh, my word.
King Arthur is such a legendary figure to begin with that tackling this role must be a challenge. Throughout the show Camelot, Arthur is everything; from an empty-headed schoolboy to a fearful husband fleeing from his bride, from a young king bursting with ambition to a weary, desolate king who has lost everything important to him. And everything in between.
Richard Harris pulled this off STUNNINGLY. Everything he did was textbook perfect. In the first act when he meets Guinevere for the first time, he was spry, energetic, and absolutely charming. In the second act after he argues with Guinevere over Lancelot he is nostalgic and tender. But the section that really blew me away was act thrree, when Arthur realizes that Guinevere and Lancelot are in love, his illigetimate son is plotting to take the throne, and his beloved round table is breaking up.
Take the scene when Guinevere is going to be burned at the stake for treason. Richard Harris walked onstage--no, really, he didn't say a word. He just WALKED OUT ONSTAGE--and you instantly knew everything he was thinking. His step was both despereate and exhausted, both tortured and uncertain. He turned to face the audience, and your heart broke. He didn't even have to speak!
And then there's the scene right towards the end, when Guinevere and Lancelot come to him just before the battle, begging to be taken back to Camelot and punished rather than face the coming war. Richard's face was soaked with tears by the end of that scene. Soaked.
...and I thought that I was hot stuff when I cried a little onstage for the first time last year during acting camp. Sigh.
His performance alone is enough reason to watch this rendition of Camelot, but it gets better. Although I do believe that he is far and away the best actor in the cast, his fellow cast-mates do measure up. Guinevere is very good, and although Vanessa Redgrave's performance in the movie might have been more fleshed out, Meg Bussert can SING! Woohoo! Richard Muenz as Lancelot is smouldering and passionate and a joy to watch; and Richard Backus is a positively eerie Mordred. (Hmmm...lotsa Richards in this show. Heh.) And don't even get me started on Barrie Ingham's King Pellinore--the second he walked onstage in act one with that dog, I was rolling on the floor with laughter. The sets and costumes are exquisite, too; I could wax eloquent on both, but fear that I've expounded the virtues of this performance long enough.
The bottom line is this: if you haven't seen either version of Camelot, see at least one of them (and I HIGHLY reccomend this version.) If you've already seen the movie version, see the stage version, too. It's SO worth it.