A Room With A Very Good ViewFriday, September 14, 2012
|Alan Morgan & Sarah Rodgers|
The United Players of Vancouver have given the adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel, by Roger Parsley & Andy Graham its premiere production in North America. And a lovely premier it is.
I knew that anything that Rodgers does (be it low or high budget, all immaterial) would be worth seeing. I invited my eldest daughter Rebecca (a 15 year-old living the Middle Ages) who immediately accepted. She had met Rodgers when we (with sister Lauren) attended Music Man at Malkin Bowl last month.
We were not disappointed. And consider that I was out to compare and contrast Helena Bonham-Carter’s performance in the Merchant Ivory 1985 screen adaptation with that of Emma Middleton’s for the United Players of Vancouver production. I was further involved in the comparison as I had met and photographed Helena Bonham-Carter in her hotel room in Vancouver in 1990 and we had chatted at length in Spanish as Bonham-Carter speaks it flawlessly. I told her I was going to photograph her as an adult and not as the eternal in her 20s which she portrayed much too often. She smiled and told me she was excited at the prospect.
I am happy to report that Emma Middleton’s performance did not disappoint me. She is terrific, and when at one point she let down her hair to reveal a Baroque curl that left me breathless (and made me feel many years younger) I was as happy as this frequent theatre goer can be.
The production included a young blonde woman, Maja Futtrell-Fruhling, who would bring a sign with the title or a sentence on the scene coming. After parading it like a card girl at a boxing match she would hang it on the lovely but minimal set. One such sign said “The Middle Ages” Rebecca asked me if this was the same as medieval and why exactly it was called that. I explained that after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the Renaissance there was a middle period of history in which some say (not entirely correctly) that nothing happened except for wars. There was little learning. I further explained that some of us liken the middle ages to that period in a young girl’s life (between 14 and 16 or 17) when all brain activity ceases. It is our hope that these young girls eventually slip into womanhood and a personal Renaissance. She did not take my explanation too seriously as she smiled and informed me she was having a very good time.
I must confess that I not a regular to the performances of the United Players held at the Jericho Arts Centre. But I was quickly reminded of the delight of putting your feet on the floor on our front seats, on the very floor that is the stage. The players sometime were a mere three feet away from us. This intimacy is both priceless and charming.
As we left, very happy I told Rebecca, “Make sure you tell your mother that tonight you saw three dicks!”
Indeed we both did and we laughed lots in a play that director Rodgers and all the players have injected with verve.
|Maja Futrell-Fruhling & Fencing Master Maitre Bac Tau|
The play is on until September 30th.
Cast: Lucy Honeychurch (Emma Middleton), Mrs. Honeychurch (Trina McLure who also played a most arresting woman dressed in black with a penchant for kissing coins), Freddy Honeychurch (Mitch Hookey), Charlotte Bartlett (Helen Martin), George Emerson (Graeme McComb who I thought was a hunk but Rebecca was too embarrassed to agree with me), Mr. Emerson (Michael Wild who played a very friendly socialist), Mr. Beebe (James Gill), Mr. Eager (John Harris), Miss Lavish (Louise Phillips most deft with her umbrella), Cecil Wyse (Alex Pangburn playing the English prig to perfection) and Signorina (Maja Futtrel-Fruhling whom I would never challenge to a fencing duel behind the cathedral).