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Party: Opening Night, Die Fledermaus, Royal Court Theatre - The Cult of the Beautiful Boys

About Party: Opening Night, Die Fledermaus, Royal Court Theatre

Previous Entry Party: Opening Night, Die Fledermaus, Royal Court Theatre Jul. 3rd, 2007 @ 09:05 pm Next Entry
24 February

Cast:

Eisenstein: Mr Karl Dostner
Rosalinde: Miss Harriet Poole
Alfred: Mr Terrence Burke
Adele: Mrs Charles Simms (Violet)
Blind: Mr Patrick Murphy
Falke: Mr Alleyn Wallace
Frank: Mr Guy Chadwick
Prince Orlovsky: Miss Theodora Brannigan
Frosch: Mr Ernie Green
Ida: Miss Emily Frost

Guest Tenor: Mr Sven Gunderson
Pas de Deux: Mr Filipov and Miss Tuchkova

Chorus of 16 (8 male, 8 female)

Synopsis:

http://www.evermore.com/azo/98season/df_syn.php3

Production:

The songs are in German, but the spoken bits in between are in English. (I can’t take credit for the crack that is this production – the Met actually did such craziness several years ago.) The backdrops are painted dropcloths, and the drawing room set doesn’t match the furniture. The ballroom set is thoroughly decent, however, and the jail is actually nearly modular – instead of just a dropped set of bars, there’s a full cage for the cell. Very nice, especially since modular (built in/constructed) sets are really just becoming popular. The chorus appears only in Act II, and the choreography is very simple for them – just a basic waltz repeated when necessary. The “entertainment” at the “ball” is written into the show. A lot of opera companies use it to showcase major local performers or bigwigs and thus do the show at the holidays or as a fundraiser. (Washington Opera had a soprano, a couple ballet dancers doing a pas de deux, Placido Domingo, the presence of a few ambassadors and Supreme Court justices, and I think something else – it dragged on and on and on, IMO, drove me crazy. Apparently we got off easy in DC – the list of people he did in LA is just insane.) For this production, Mr Gunderson, who for my purposes is very well known, has performed many times at Covent Garden, sings one aria (Una furtiva lagrima from L’Elisir d’Amore – very famous aria even if the opera as a whole isn’t over-performed), and that’s it. Then a couple of Russian ballet dancers do a pas de deux. Very pared-down scene in this production.

The cast is quite good – not big stars, but solid, dependable performers in vocal terms. In terms of acting, Burke (Alfred) tends to overact, Poole (Rosalinde) to not even bother, and Brannigan (Orlovsky) is extremely obviously in drag, so one can either make jokes about Orlovsky being a total ponce or a total tom, whichever one prefers. (Her most obvious feature is her large bosom, but this has been effectively hidden in the costuming that makes it look instead as if she were in a fat suit – again, I can’t make this stuff up, the woman in Washington Opera’s production was wretched in the exact same way.) Frosch is a non-singing role that exists for comedy only and is usually taken by a comedian. I’ve invented a comedian who was popular in the provincial music halls a few years ago for the task. He’s still amusing, but others are more popular now. Anyone British from outside of London is more likely to recognise his name than the Londoners. The named roles are all taken by people who have done named roles in London opera and operetta before – Murphy (Blind) works very often for D’Oyly Carte. Miss Poole, however, should be completely unfamiliar to the audience and thus there should be some surprise that she does not absolutely suck.

Our producer is Mr Lloyd Dewing – he is friends with Lady Penelope Goldstone, has loads of money, and will marry Miss Poole in the spring (she’ll be wife number 3, so please do note the thirty year age difference). She wanted a proper role before she gives up the stage, so he is giving it her. This much may or may not be known – it is surely gossiped about in his circles and her circles, but anyone coming in off the street won’t have heard it.

The production takes place at the Royal Court Theatre, in Chelsea. At the time (well, ok, at the turn of the century so I’m saying at the time), it was a popular house for comedies and operettas. Three levels: Stalls, Dress Circle, and Balcony (Gods). Important people in the Dress, less important people in the stalls, and friends of the crew/those who only want cheap tickets in the gods. The foyer and bar are very nice (or so we are pretending since with all the renovations, I’ve no idea what it looked like c. 1910), and for the opening night party after the show, waiters in white tie circulate through the crowd with cham and hors d’oeuvres, and the bars upstairs and down are open as well. The house will remain open, and of course the smoking lounge for the Dress will be well-populated.

So, wander about as you like. Ask people about the show if you think they look cute – it’s a great place to pick up boys *g*. All the actors are around, and the party will run all night because one wants to see if any of the critics a) bothered to come and b) actually said something nice, so everyone will get completely trashed whilst waiting for the morning papers to be printed. (unless they leave early to have sex *g*) Conversations go in the comments - please title your comment with who is speaking, as has been done before.
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 7th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)

Re: August Lowell and Julian Howard

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I know August is looking for me from the start of that first prolonged "Mr. Howard," but I decide to ignore him. Penelope will shut him up. But then I hear him yell my dreaded given name above the heads of the crowd, and I swing around, turning my back on the perfectly nice people Alleyn has introduced me to. Luckily August and I are both tall enough that I can spot him - and the top of one of Penelope's perfectly ridiculous hats - above the crowd. I glare at him, and he grins. He is perfectly maddening.
"I'm so sorry," I say to the others. "But it seems I am... needed... across the room." One of them was just saying how rude Americans can be, and not a few eyebrows shoot up when they realize it is me July has chosen to be rude about. I wave my hand vaguely without really explaining anything and push through the crowd towards Penelope and her irritating ickle July, hoping to reach them before he has a chance to yell again.

When I reach them Penelope is glaring at her cousin so intently she does not even notice me, but July is looking right at me with a huge grin plastered across his face.
"What?" I hiss.
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 7th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)

Re: August Lowell and Julian Howard

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Penelope has noticed me, too, and she gives me a greeting, but August has already covered everything that one needs to say. "I'm fine," I say. "Or was, until you started shouting my name above the crowd. How did you even learn that name?" Once I say that I remember he's seen me with Jonathan... that must be it. I sigh. "Was that really necessary?"

I turn to Penelope, kiss her proffered cheeks, and ask her how she is. I agree with her when she states that she is rather embarrassed. If it was anyone but August I think he would wither under the combined power of our glares. He only keeps on grinning. He knows how to keep himself entertained, that is for sure.
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From:creativepseudo
Date:July 8th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
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I shuffle around, feeling vaguely awkward. The opera's not bad in the least- it's my own fault that I decided to get horribly drunk the night beforehand, and there's simply no way to incite a headache better then a fresh round of german opera. And Adele's "laughing" aria just about did me in. The party is bland; and I'm in no mood conversate.

I see Lowell and I dodge him effectively, taking refuge behind a rather garish set of palms where I can carefully observe him. He's in fine form tonight, and talking in a rather obnoxiously loud american lilt, and I wince inwardly.

Oh, well. I think to myself, letting the champagne slide down my throat. It'll hurt tomorrow, but I'd prefer to be out of misery now. I flirt around with the prospect of finding and congratulating the Falke actor; what was his name? Before I can make my move however, I find myself being approached by Lowell rather rapidly.

I incline my head politely, and say, appropriately coldly, "How does this evening find you, sir? I was not aware you would be present."

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From:creativepseudo
Date:July 8th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)

Damien Hall and August Lowell

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*as creativepseudo*

Sorry for not including the subject! I'm stupid today.
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From:creativepseudo
Date:July 9th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)

Damien Hall and August Lowell

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I raise an eyebrow. Mentally, that is. I raise a mental eyebrow. It's out of the ordinary for Lowell to be solicitous, unless if as a blind for some cynic, cutting remark that's beyond me to counter.

I should reply with some sort of sarcastic quip, but I'm too tired for verbal sparring.

"I'm tired. And my head hurts. And I hate German."

The words are out before I can catch them, shove them somewhere else, and say something witty. I try not to look to mortified, and pretend to be engrossed in examining one of the palm leaves.
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From:creativepseudo
Date:July 9th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Damien Hall and August Lowell

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I step awkwardly away from him, backwards, and my back hits the exposed brick. "Maintain your distance, please. I do have some sort of reputation to maintain, and I hope that you'd respect it more, and not torture me as you did to your boy-" I motion vaguely in Julian's direction.
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 8th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)

Alleyn to Julian and Penelope

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I am profoundly grateful that Julian did come, though it cannot be easy for him with his keeper and his lover in a room full of strangers. I introduce him to Terry and Violet and Pat, and Simms, Vi's husband, and it is a perfectly nice, though general, chat about the production, until Lowell feels compelled to interrupt us. I make excuses - previous acquaintance, such a shame Americans cannot be expected to behave properly in public, etc. I try to keep a bit of an eye on that part of the room as I find myself mostly talking to Simms about phonographs.

When Lowell departs, I note that Julian is now stuck with his keeper. Do I continue with the discussion of the utility of recordings for acquisition of language despite the limited length of time one can put on a disk, or do I see what was so compelling that Lowell had to make an arse of himself? He looks distracted, watching Lowell, who has now accosted some stranger. Is that what it is? Jealousy? Lowell jealous that Julian spend time with another? Then is he now attempting to repay the compliment by flirting with someone, or is he a hypocrite who keeps multiple men on retainer, as it were? My head is not in the conversation - I make my own excuses and cross to where Julian and Lady Penelope are standing.

The best course is perhaps to distract the keeper. "Lady Penelope?" I bow slightly. "Alleyn Wallace. I would like to thank you for the loan of your nephew. Mr Lowell was invaluable to tonight's success on stage."
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 9th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)

Re: Alleyn to Julian and Penelope

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Penelope smiles graciously at Alleyn. "I am glad," she says. "I know he can be a bit of a bother, but my August is such a wonderful pianist. And you! You were wonderful, Mr. Wallace. I do so enjoy a good bit of opera. And, oh, this is my friend, Mr. Julian Howard. He sometimes escorts me to the opera when my husband is unavailable."

I give Alleyn a sideways smile. I am surprised he even ventured into this mess of acquaintance and sex, but is good to have someone about who is not part of the Goldstone and Lowell family.
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 9th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Alleyn to Julian and Penelope

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She did not note us speaking earlier, it seems. Still, the truth would be far easier than attempting to maintain a lie. It is not that I am a poor liar, simply that the truth is usually easier. "Mr Howard and I have met through the gallery where he works. He has provided me with some excellent advice in reference to some art in my collection."

I turn to Julian. "How did you think tonight went?" We've gone over the preliminaries already, but a rehash for her benefit should also suit my purposes.
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)

Re: Alleyn to Julian and Penelope

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"Very well, I should say. German is not my language as a rule, but it was a fine enough production. The entertainment was well done... I've seen it drag on terribly, and I do like seeing a bit of ballet in the midst of all the singing."

Penelope pats my arm. "Julian has a weak spot for ballet," she says. I smile at her then turn back to Alleyn.

"And you were quite good, of course, Mr. Wallace," I say. "Supremely. And I dare say you would have been even without the German records."
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 12th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)

Alleyn and Julian (and Others)

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I take the woman's and and shake it gingerly. She looks different out of her men's clothes, but I do recognize her even before she introduces herself. Poor Alleyn looks as petrified as I feel when I encounter August or Penelope in public.
"Julian Howard," I say. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Brannigan. Your performance tonight was stunning." Well, stunning may be an overstatement, but she accepts my compliment graciously.
There is a brief pause during which I consider what to say next; I seem to have run out of inane things to say in company a few sentences too early. I cannot think of anything but questions about what Alleyn looked like with plaited hair, so I silence myself with another long sip of from my glass. It is too much - those cheerful bubbles get up in my nose, and I feel my eyes start to water. I cough a little and try to keep from grimacing. Bloody hell, that hurts.
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 12th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Alleyn and Julian (and Others)

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"Thank you. Such a dear boy, Alleyn."

I, trying to look anywhere except directly at Thea, for fear of making eye contact, note Julian suddenly looks ill.

"Please excuse us," I say, not looking at her. "I believe Mr Howard is unwell." I take him by the shoulder and direct him towards the WC. "Inhaled cham?"
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 12th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Alleyn and Julian (and Others)

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I nod weakly. "It went up my nose," I explain. "It was rather unpleasant." He removes his arm from my shoulder and I lean against the wall near the WC and wipe my eyes, then smile. "I think the cham is going to my head a bit. Maybe sending it up the nasal passages helped in the delivery." I look back into the room; Miss Brannigan has moved on to another group. "It seems I have accidentally executed an escape for you. How brilliant of me."
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 12th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Alleyn and Julian (and Others)

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I take a look - she has moved on, but moved on to Violet. Dear god. Where is Simms? Across the room. Oh, dear god. "Not exactly an escape. I think she is telling Violet about my 'new boy', heaven help us. The half the cast that knows what I am will be convinced that I picked you up off the streets by the end of the night."
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 13th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC)

Re: Alleyn and Julian (and Others)

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I laugh at that. "And this is a problem?" I reflect a moment. "Ah, yes, that is a problem. Oh, well, I'm sure they will forget me by morning, if they all keep drinking like they are now." Everyone is holding glasses of champagne, and judging from the increasing volume of the talk and laughter in the room I would say that I am not the only one who has already downed several. "Which reminds me..." I say. I've gone empty again, but a quick dart to the edge of the crowd in the other room gains me a fresh glass.
Upon returning I stand with him to watch Thea make her rounds. It appears Penelope has gone. "So you've met my woman, and I've met yours," I say. "And you know my shameful given name, and I know yours. I'd say we're becoming fast friends." I raise my glass to him again and grin.
I was right; the champagne is rather going to my head, and for all my general hatred of losing control of my faculties, tonight it feels nice. I just cannot overdo it. This should be my last glass, I scold myself. After this, no more.
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 18th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
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"I'm sorry," I say again. "I need to get better at keeping quiet." I sit up and have to try quite hard not to sway in place. I can no longer tell if I am drunk or just exhausted. I take off my waistcoat then sit perched on the edge of the mattress, my hands on the quilt. "You can't let me sleep in your bed, Alleyn."
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 18th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
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"Who else is going to look after you?" I carefully hang his clothes over the edge of the wardrobe door and start undressing myself just enough for comfort, hanging up my tailcoat and waistcoat properly, stuffing my tie into the appropriate box. "Lay down. I insist."
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 18th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
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"Could sleep on your couch," I say. My body is trying its best to fall asleep, but I am now feeling rather stubborn, and I am fighting my urge to do as he says. I am unhappy with myself for invading his life like this, though I am aware that I am not well enough to go home.
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From:mmebahorel
Date:July 18th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
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"No, you can't." I squat down in front of him. "Come, you'll feel much better in the morning if you've slept properly." I put one hand on his knee. "I'll stay with you." There's something profoundly wrong, with both of us, tonight based on our behaviour. I turn down the bedclothes. "Please. You need to sleep this off."
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From:eclectictastes7
Date:July 18th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
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I do not exactly understand why Alleyn is being so good to me, but I cannot bring myself to think very hard about it. I feel like crying again, but I do not want to think about that, either. I bow my head to gather my wits; it almost touches his where he is squatting in front of me. I take the hand that has been resting on my knee and squeeze it briefly. "Thank you, Alleyn," I say, and then I lie down. It feels remarkable to be at rest.
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