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09/01/2002 Archived Entry: "My Fair Lady"
Thank goodness it is September...when things start slowing down a tad.
Not that it hasn't fun. On Friday, Brad & I sojourned to the Stratford Festival (Stratford, Ontario) to see two more plays: the musical, "My Fair Lady"; and, the one-man play, "The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet." (We punctuated the performances with our usual picnic on a bank of the Avon River, watching the swans, gulls, and ducks circle by in hope of being tossed bread.)
We purchased tickets to "My Fair Lady" on a whim in order to see Geraint Wyn Davies perform as Professor Higgens. Wyn Davies was the main character, Nicholas Knight, in the television series "Forever Knight," which did a credible job of presenting vampires in the 20th century. I was curious. (FK was shot in Toronto, BTW.) Thank goodness for whims! We were both surprised and enchanted by Wyn Davies' performance...indeed, by the entire musical with the exception of some technical difficulties.
It is risky to see a play after having viewed a seemingly definitive movie version, which I believed the Rex Harrison version to be. Last year, I was disappointed in the onstage "Inherit the Wind" for just that reason: the movie is superlative and I kept making comparison even tho' I vowed not to in advance. Imagine my surprise at "My Fair Lady." Wyn Davies easily rendered the *best* interpretation of Higgins, finding humor when I hadn't known it existed -- the same with pathos, irony, warmth... "My Fair Lady" was easily one of the two top plays experiences of the year.
"The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet" was another story. Those tickets were purchased on the strength of two factors. First, it is written, directed, and acted by Brian Bedford, a very good actor, especially when he deals with farcial material such as that produced by Moliere. Second, the premise of the play intrigued me. It presents the life of Shakespeare "in his own words." (Forget revisionist theories about Shakespeare: Bedford accepts the traditional approach, as is his right.) The play interweaves narrative about Shakespeare with passages from his work, which is presented in chronological order to illustrate the development of the man's personal life/beliefs. It was fascinating...or it could have been and was occasionally. I like Bedford so I will say little else.
Well...back to "real" writing.