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Utopia slideshow in NYT

Posted by jennite on 2006.10.14 at 17:12
Taking the leap :) Here's the slideshow from the New York Times, with seven photos.

To get the conversational ball rolling: why are you interested in The Coast of Utopia? Stoppardian, Russian history aficionado, saw the London production, fan of the castmembers, etc? Also, when are you seeing the show?

Edit: the article accompanying the slideshow is now publicly available. Basically about the complexity of producing the plays- an interesting read.


Mme Bahorel
mmebahorel at 2006-10-14 22:16 (UTC) (Link)
Seeing Voyage in two weeks - matinee on the 28th. Earliest I can get up there and combine it with something else.

I saw the first preview of Voyage in London - so beautiful, immediately became a big fan of much of the cast (I mean, it was the first time I'd seen Raymond Coulthard, Guy Henry, Eve Best, Will Keen, or Lucy Whybrow in anything, and it was the first time in ten years I'd seen Douglas Henshall).

I went because hello, new Stoppard play, plus it's about revolutionary thinkers in the 1830s? I've been a Les Mis geek since 1995, so obviously the entire concept was right up my alley, even though I'd only heard of Turgenev and Herzen at the time and read none of their work. And, funny thing, the only Stoppard I'd actually seen or read was Shakespeare in Love.

I had to move back to the US two days later - I saw the show on Friday, flew home on Sunday. So I haven't seen the other two plays, and that really annoys me because I have no idea how Dillane was as Herzen. I know the script like the back of my hand, but I don't know how his performance was. But I see him and the other cast members in my head whenever I read the scripts. Which I didn't get until several months after they were released because I didn't want to bother with shipping when I knew I'd be going back to the UK a few months after the publication date. So I don't have first editions. But I do have UK editions.

I'm very worried about the new production. The cuts to it, really. I know Tom is the one making the cuts, but as I said, I know these scripts. I've read them so many times. I'm afraid of whole scenes going, like Natalie and Maria in Shipwreck - the whole "I know what it is - he's got your tits too high and your arse too small" bit. Good lines are going to go. Bits of Belinsky's ranting are probably going to have to go, and Vissarion may well be my favourite character, so it's going to be painful if things I like are cut.

I'm part of the reason there are even people on LJ who list Coast of Utopia as an interest - I told ladybretagne that she had to read them, and she got kyttenfae to read them, so in a roundabout way, I'm the reason this comm exists.

And I'd just like to reiterate: Billy Crudup as Belinsky rather than Stankevich/Herwegh? WTF? Will Keen will always be my Belinsky. I've done some background reading (the first half of EH Carr's bio of Bakunin, a bit out of a book on Stankevich's Moscow circle, and Randall's bio of Belinsky, plus now I can't read Turgenev without pointing out "this character is Tatiana Bakunin, and this one is Nick Ogarev, and here, this history is straight Belinsky", and I lately got a copy of some of Turgenev's letters in translation, including some early ones to Stankevich, that I'll start reading this week). Trust me - Will Keen *is* Belinsky. He even looks like Belinsky! Billy Crudup, quite frankly, is too good looking for Belinsky but would be thoroughly adorable as Stankevich and Herwegh. And I worry for Ethan Hawke as Bakunin, but that's much less WTF than Crudup as Belinsky.

As a result, I'm not planning on Shipwreck and Salvage until I find out if Voyage is going to give me chest pains.
jennite at 2006-10-17 11:40 (UTC) (Link)
Well my interest is probably obvious - I help run the fan blog on Jennifer Ehle, and we'll be keeping up with CoU news and reviews. But I'm particularly excited about CoU because I happen to be travelling to NAmerica from Australia during the run so actually get to see the show. A bunch of us JE fans are going to see Voyage & Shipwreck over the weekend of Dec 9-10. Alas, I leave before Salvage starts.

I'm kinda a theatre virgin but have been swotting up- read the UK versions of Voyage once and Shipwreck a couple of times. Still getting my head around them. The "I know what it is" bit rocks mmebahorel, it'd better not be cut! Also have read some of Isaiah Berlin's Russian Thinkers, my only background on the period. Very interesting book - practically a companion to CoU.

How do you guys know each other? I swear I've seen your names around before, praps while blog-trawling for CoU news.

Re. Billy Crudup's excessive hotness...praps the huge tache will help to disguise it! There's an interview with him in Gotham Mag about the show, btw.
Our Heroine aka Jenn
kyttenfae at 2006-10-18 10:05 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you're going to get to see it! I've been a theater fan all my life, but due to having very conservative parents (who hate all Broadway after about 1970) in charge of the first 21 years of my life and being a starving college student the next three, I've only actually seen two Broadway tours, a ton of regional stuff and nothing ever like CoU. As Jessica said, I heard about it from Britt (ladybretagne), my girlfriend, who heard about it from Jessica, as Britt and Jessica have been friends for years. *g* I fell insanely in love with it (see Natalie and Natasha from the London cast in my icon) and began researching the actual lives of the people involved, driving the librarians at my old school crazy with all my odd book choices (as did Britt and Jessica, and several of our other assorted friends). Britt and I are planning to buy our tickets next Tuesday once we've the money, and want to see it in middle-to-late Feb., when we can see all three over a weekend or mid-week, and stay with her aunt and random friends who live there, to help cut the cost. *wry grin*

We'd heard off and on that it was going to be done in NY, eventually, but somehow, being busy, missed the cast announcement and all, until I saw your post and very nearly fainted. Jennifer Ehle has been one of my favourite actresses for years and years and I've always longed to see her perform on stage. While I have some reservations about the rest of the cast, mainly Ethan as Michael (I've seen Billy play Belinsky-like characters enough that while I think it's a bit of an odd choice visually, I think he'll be able to get the character well) and not having seen any of the London cast in person, although I've seen most of them in films and love them all, I'm less attached to any one of them. Eve Best especially is wonderful and I've seen almost everything she's been in, and I think Jennifer will be able to remain as true to the character(s) as I've heard she was. But yes. Seeing Jennifer in person would almost be a big enough draw to get me from CA to NY... but Jennifer as one of my favourite literary /and/ historical characters, let alone *three* of them, is more than enough! *grin*

Seriously, Stoppard isn't a stupid man, so I doubt the "I know what it is" bit will go, it's one of the most quoted lines in critical reviews... I hope Belinsky's darling rambles don't get cut too much, I'm sure they (and a lot of other things) will get trimmed and changed here and there, since he didn't have a breath to edit them with before they got staged, but I think coming to the shows without having a huge emotional investment in the original production will help, as much as I love the plays-as-written and have re-read them a million times (and am doing so again in prep).

Thanks so much, Jennite, for posting all the info as you have been! I can't poke about and find things as I would, normally, since I'm currently not going to school and have lost the ability to do much more than google searches, so I really appreciate it! Oh, and the picture of Jennifer and Martha from the slideshow is adorable... I can't wait for their Natalie and Natasha!
jennite at 2006-10-20 15:45 (UTC) (Link)
Have you guys been following the news? Much drama - Papa Bakunin (Richard Easton) collapsing onstage at the second preview. He's alright, thank goodness. Some reports from the audience as well, all positive so far. BC's been singled out a couple of times for his perf.

Wow, I'm kinda surprised that CoU has inspired such intense fandom...I like the plays, they're witty and moving, but also pretty dense. There are some bits I still don't understand after multiple re-reads (what's the deal with the smoking cat in Voyage- is that some allusion I'm not getting?). What about them caught your imagination? More the characters/drama or the big ideas?

Btw are you guys students? There's a StudenTix program where you can get $20 tix in advance.

And another thing- at the JE blog we're rather desperate for a guest blogger for the end of Nov til early Jan while I'm away, cos my co-blogger Chelsea will be swamped. You guys seem like ideal candidates: CoU diehards + blogging experience. And a JE fan to boot, fannore! Anyone interested? It's really not that hard. Blogger's a cinch, and finding reviews etc should be easy once the shows open. Half the work is done by signing up for Google & Yahoo news alerts. You only need to commit to about 2-4 days/posts a week. So yeah, we'd really really appreciate it! If you're keen or want to know more, just email me at jenniferehle@gmail.com . Sooner rather than later would be good so we can show you the ropes.
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