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A Few Words on the Edinburgh International Film Festival(Comments Off on A Few Words on the Edinburgh International Film Festival)

June 22, 2011

Though the weather has hardly been Cannes-like in Edinburgh for the past month, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has been screening films which show that it can be just as cutting-edge as Cannes.



Nicola Roy as Agnes and Peter Forbes as Arnolphe appear in Educating Agnes, by Liz Locchead, directed by Tony Cownie, at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. Photo Douglas McBride.

Educating Agnes at the Royal Lyceum Theatre

“You have to laugh,” Horace (Mark Prendergast) says to Arnolphe (Peter Forbes), the antagonist of Molière’s play, newly translated into rhyming couplets by the Scots Makar Liz Lochhead and revived by Tony Cownie for the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh this spring. This adage is repeated twice more, and the audience must take comfort in it. The world of Educating Agnes is disturbing, devoid of human feeling, and the only coping mechanism for both the audience and the characters is to laugh. The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh is perfectly suited to taking on this type of 17th-century drama, both in atmosphere and sheer theatrical clout.



Tess McHugh as Blanche DuBois and Sam Crane as The Doctor in A Streetcar Named Desire at WilliamsTheatre. Photo © 2011 Michael Miller.

Tennessee Williams at 100, Two Early Impressions: Vieux Carré from the Wooster Group and Streetcar at Williams

There can be no doubt that Tennessee Williams was the preeminent American playwright of his time—at least for a period which, sadly, covered only eighteen years of his life, beginning with his first great Broadway success, “The Glass Menagerie” in 1944 and ending with his last great Broadway success, “The Night of the Iguana,” in 1962. Between those years Williams wrote a series of profound, deeply-affecting works, in which a heady atmosphere originating from his deep southern origins proved irresistable to New York critics and audiences, not to mention certain Hollywood producers and enough people in-between to bring him wealth and celebrity. After “Night of the Iguana,” it all ended as swiftly as it began. His later productions irritated critics and audiences with their lush language and melodrama, if it made much of an impression on them at all.



Tim Mead as Orlando and Sally Silver as Angelica in Handel's Orlando at the Scottish Opera. Photo Richard Campbell.

From the Stalls: Handel’s “Orlando” at the Scottish Opera, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

The terrain of the Scottish Opera company is very broad and rich, and as a result, it yields some strange, glorious fruit. Georg Friedrich Haendel’s baroque opera Orlando, replete with the classic themes of love, madness and redemption, hit the stages of Glasgow and Edinburgh this February and of course, all the audience could do was sit in their seats in awe. Scottish Opera gave this 1733 baroque masterpiece a complete face lift to lighten the drab northern winter, and has garnered nothing but four-star reviews for its efforts.




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