|The Song of Lunch on BBC 2||................................||Oct. 8, 2010|
|John Gabriel Borkman at Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland||................................||Oct. 6 to Nov. 20, 2010|
|Theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 1||................................||Nov. 19, 2010|
|John Gabriel Borkman at BAM's Harvey Theater, NY||................................||Jan. 7 to Feb. 6, 2011|
Artist Talk: Jan. 16, 2011
|Monday's With BAFTA New York (in-depth conversation and Q&A with AR), NY||................................||Feb. 7, 2011|
|Friends of BAM Event: Die Hard (Post-Screening Q&A with AR) at BAM Rose Cinema, NY||................................||Feb. 8, 2011|
|Theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2||................................||July 15, 2011|
|News & Information|
Alan Rickman to star in CBGB film.
- Wednesday, May 23, 2012
After party photos from BAM
UK - Sunday, January 23, 2011
So let's get this Rickman in NY schedule straight: February 6 is closing night for JGB.
Feb 7 is the BAM Monday - A glass of wine and networking followed by an in-depth conversation with Alan Rickman and our moderator for the evening - Lisa Schwarzbaum, Film Critic, Entertainment Weekly.Cost: $25
Tuesday, Feb 8 is the DH screening and Q&A. Cost: Free to members, but sold out.
Monday Feb 21, AR's birthday. What a great month for him.
Wow, a triple post. So nice that he's so busy. , - Friday, January 21, 2011
Lucky BAM members moved quickly - BAM Die Hard screening/Post-Screening Q&A with Actor Alan Rickman on Feb 8 sold out yesterday as fast as a Radiohead concert. Hans on a big screen, then Hans in the flesh . . . Reports, please!
Reminds me to remove winter holiday "Ode to Joy" from DT. , - Friday, January 21, 2011
A new (to me) photo. From the Epoch Times.
[text to review]:
Theater Review: ‘John Gabriel Borkman’
A cold passion
By Diana Barth
Jan. 18, 2011
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Direct from Dublin, Ireland’s Abbey Theatre, in a new version by noted playwright and poet Frank McGuinness, Henrik Ibsen’s dark drama John Gabriel Borkman burns up the stage in its U.S. premiere as the initial entrant in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) 2011 Spring Season.
Starring a triumvirate of theatrical luminaries: Lindsay Duncan, Alan Rickman, and Fiona Shaw, the production grips and moves one under James Macdonald’s astute direction.
Arguably ranking as a co-star is Tom Pye’s frigid set design, which, consisting of a group of several high-piled snowbanks (surrounding a sedate drawing room), holds painful, and may I say, chilling familiarity to New Yorkers during this particular January.
Ibsen’s play, dealing with greed’s dire effects on various individuals, could not be timelier—shades of Bernie Madoff. Borkman, played with enormous dignity by Alan Rickman, has been convicted for embezzlement: A former wealthy banker, he stole funds from his own bank and has spent several years in prison for the deed. Since his release eight years ago he has lived in his home, but on the second floor, not having any contact with his wife and not emerging until this particular night.
His wife, Gunhild (Fiona Shaw), despises him, for he, in her very middle-class bourgeois opinion, has wrecked her life. What should have been for her a life of respect and ease has been turned into one of shame. But she has hopes that their son, Erhart (Marty Rea), can restore the family name.
However, Gunhild’s twin sister and Borkman’s former lover, Ella (Lindsay Duncan), pays an unexpected visit this evening. She wants to know why Borkman chose her sister over her in marriage, when she, Ella, could have given him happiness. Also, she has been close to Erhart and hopes to win him back to come live with her in the city, as she is fatally ill and wants him to spend her last days with her.
Unfortunately for all concerned, Erhart has his own agenda and plans to go off with the divorced Mrs. Fanny Wilton (Cathy Belton) with whom he is in love. “I am young!” he cries.
Throughout the evening passions erupt as conflicting desires collide.
A highly theatrical scene ensues, wherein Ella and Borkman go out into a violent snowstorm, handsomely and realistically displayed, and there Borkman meets his ultimate fate.
The three central actors carry the show magnificently. Fiona Shaw portrays Gunhild as a woman who does not hesitate to wound others with her rage over her disappointed life. Remember, this is an actress who has portrayed Medea to great effect, as well as had brilliant performances in many other great plays.
Alan Rickman’s presence is altogether powerful; in spite of Borkman having fallen from grace and being viewed by most as a virtual criminal, Rickman’s character never loses his sense of pride and the ambition to overcome his obstacles.
Lindsay Duncan’s Ella lends a still and quiet presence, as she unobtrusively goes about the business of gaining her ends. Duncan’s beauty also lends its own impact.
Supporting actors Joan Sheehy as the servant Malene, Amy Molloy as the young Frida Foldal, and John Kavanagh as Frida’s father, Wilhelm, round out the cast.
In addition to the wonderful sets by Tom Pye, Jean Kalman’s lighting, Joan Bergin’s authentic period costumes, and Ian Dickinson’s sound design fill out and support director Macdonald’s vision.
John Gabriel Borkman is a superior production and a welcome addition to BAM’s ongoing series of outstanding projects from abroad.
John Gabriel Borkman
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street
Tickets: 718-636-4100 or www.bam.org
Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Closes: Feb. 6
- Friday, January 21, 2011
Here's a few JGB reviews (including photos):
John Gabriel Borkman (Theater Mania, 1-13-2011)
[text of review]:
Reviewed By: Andy Propst · Jan 13, 2011 · New York
Any staging of Henrik Ibsen's rarely performed John Gabriel Borkman now at BAM is is a welcome treat for theatergoers. And director James Macdonald's uneven new production, which originated at Ireland's Abbey Theater, boasts two powerful and often frightening turns from British stars Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw. When the two actresses share the stage, the production not only sparks with unexpected humor, but brilliantly catches fire.
It's unquestionable that Borkman, written over 110 years ago, resonates for contemporary audiences. The title character (Alan Rickman) is a once-powerful bank manager, who prior to the play's beginning was imprisoned for misappropriating his investors' money. And when Borkman's wife Gunhild (Shaw) describes the details of her husband's shame and the couple's profligacy, the specters of the Madoffs spring into theatergoers' minds. Later, as Borkman details how he had planned to harness the natural resources of his country to create an empire for himself, the memory of the Enron debacle stirs.
Yet, Ibsen's play does not focus on the intricacies of Borkman's misdeeds. Instead, it centers on the emotional and psychological devastation that the man's quest for power has wrought on himself and those around him -- not only his wife, but her twin sister, Ella (Duncan) and his son, Erhart (Marty Rea) -- and the ways in which all of these characters are attempting to rebuild their lives some 16 years after Borkman's fiscal transgressions were discovered.
For instance, Gunhild, whom Shaw imbues with a deliberate icy severity and brittleness, hopes to inspire Erhart to accomplish such great things that the family's disgrace will be erased. Unfortunately, Erhart, who, during the early part of his life, was raised by Aunt Ella, has little patience for his mother's demands, as he's fallen in love with Mrs. Wilton (played with cutting vivacity by Cathy Belton), a divorcee of whom Gunhild certainly does not approve.
Ella, brought to life with fatigued passion, indomitable strength, and understated compassion, by Duncan, also has an agenda for her nephew and for Borkman, who jilted her when they were younger. Ella wants to convince Erhart to reassume his role as her surrogate son. She has come to the Borkman estate -- which is actually her property -- hoping that she might convince his father to assist her in her plans and ready to do battle (on whatever level necessary) with her equally manipulative sister to accomplish her ends.
As the faded, yet still vital, Borkman, Rickman delivers sturdily, but never as intensely. The performer's deep voice certainly demands attention, but somehow in portraying this man who has convinced himself that he has wronged no one but himself, Rickman turns in a performance that is overly muted (particularly under Jean Kalman's overly dim lighting design). It's not until late in the play, when Borkmanrages against a blizzard into which he's wandered, that the actor actually captures audiences' imaginations.
While Rea's turn as Erhart underwhelms, there is fine supporting work from John Kavanagh as the warmhearted Wilhelm, a former subordinate of Borkman's, and from Amy Molloy as Frida, the latter man's daughter, who has become a companion to not only Borkman, but also Mrs. Wilton.
Tom Pye's elegantly spare scenic design surrounds the stage with snowdrifts and indicates the interiors with only a few pieces of furniture. It's a grand visual metaphor for the stormy barrenness of the central characters' emotional worlds.
A ‘Borkman‘ for a long, cold winter (YourNabe.com, 1-13-2011)
[text of review]:
The Butcher's review finds this Alan Rickman-led production just a bit too chilly. But, hey, it's Ibsen, so what did he expect?
By The Butcher of Flatbush Avenue Extension
Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:08 PM EST
For a play that stars some of the best stage actors working today — as well as Snape from the “Harry Potter” movies — the true star may be the set.
In Abbey Theatre’s production of Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman,” running now at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, white snow surrounds a house that is already chilled from within. It threatens to creep in, occasionally even getting swept up in the ladies’ long skirts. It’s a perfect metaphor for the inhabitants’ cold personalities, done in by scandal, deceit and betrayal.
“Borkman,” though written more than 100 years ago and presented here in a new version by playwright Frank McGuinness, is a story that is all too familiar: a once-prominent family is brought under by a financial scandal — in this case, embezzlement. Some 16 years after the fact, the klan is still reeling over the resulting shame and poverty.
Alan Rickman portrays the embattled Borkman, a man who spends his days pacing aimlessly upstairs. He’s estranged from his wife, Gilhund (Fiona Shaw), even though they live in the same house. She spends her days downstairs in the drawing room, listening to his pacing.
Enter into this unhappy scene Ella Rentheim (Lindsay Duncan), Gilhund’s twin sister, who first was Borkman’s lover, until his greed got in the way. She’s ill (the effects of a broken heart, we’re told), and wants her twentysomething nephew, Erhart (Marty Rea), to carry on her name. That doesn’t sit well with Gilhund, who sees her son as the only hope for the disgraced family to make Borkman a respected name again.
The only truly happy person is Erhart, and he wants to keep it that way, so he flees. You can’t blame the kid — these are people who wallow in their misery. They’re all dressed in black, as if perpetually at their own funeral, and they wear their despair like a badge. Gilhund at one point even spits out the word “happiness” as if it’s a disease, in a deft delivery from Shaw that earns laughs.
Indeed, for a play about miserable people, “Borkman” can be, at times, a good time, thanks to some witty performances by the cast. It’s also due, though, to the melodramatic nature of the plot; even the most serious scenes — a heated moment where Gilhund strikes her son comes to mind — elicited laughs from the audience.
But such “comic relief” isn’t enough to overcome the intensely overwrought remainder of the show, one in which it is not out of place for a woman to literally collapse onto the floor in grief, and say, “You killed the love in me.”
I enjoyed the quiet moments best, rather than the tour-de-force ones — Shaw with a chip on her shoulder and a smirk on her face, ready with a quick one-liner; Duncan when she’s dignified, not hysterical.
Of the men, John Kavanagh’s portrayal of Vilhelm Foldal, an old friend of Borkman’s, was excellent, giving a very natural, warm performance that was, alas, too brief. Rickman, surely the big draw for theater-goers here, sheds his usually formidable screen presence and effectively turns into a shell of a man on stage, lost and weak, though occasionally a bit of a mumbler.
And then, of course, there’s the elegant, sparse set by Tom Pye, paired with the precise lighting by Jean Kalman. During one particularly striking scene, Borkman and Ella leave the debatable warmth of the house and go out into the middle of a blizzard. Snow swirls around the stage — it’s snowing! — and the darkness of the night envelopes them. It’s a deep, deep darkness that seems to go on infinitely, even though the back of the stage couldn’t be more than 20 feet away. It just goes to show that even the simplest moments can be the most transporting.
“John Gabriel Borkman” at the BAM Harvey [651 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], through Feb. 6. Tickets $25-$95. For info, visit www.bam.org.
Stage Dive: Fiona Shaw and Alan Rickman Rip into Ibsen (nymag.com VULTURE, 1-14-2011)
[text of review]:
By Scott Brown
“Henrik Ibsen,” wrote the New York Times in 1897, “is not a ‘nice’ person.” This was in response to his latest (and second to last) work, a windy tragedy of ambition and modern solipsism titled John Gabriel Borkman. The title character is a disgraced banker living under a sort of self-imposed house arrest after serving time for an embezzlement scheme that reached Madoff-ian levels of infamy and sullied the family name forever.
In the revival currently at BAM, Borkman is played with sour defiance by Alan Rickman. His bilious wife Gunhilde (Fiona Shaw) loathes him passionately and keeps him confined to the upstairs chambers, where he paces constantly, audibly, “like a sick wolf.” Her twin sister Ella (Lindsay Duncan) keeps them both afloat, out of longstanding loyalty to the man she once loved. Borkman felt the same way, but threw her over when a man in a position to advance his career made it known that he wanted Ella. Borkman shrugged and married her twin instead. “I am a man — remember that,” Borkman explains to his ex-inamorata. “I loved you as a woman — you meant more than life to me. But when, if it has to be, one woman is replaceable by another.” (If there’s a Norwegian equivalent of "Aw, snap!" please Google-translate and embed it here.)
This is not “nice” stuff, springing as it does from the grim chasms Ibsen opened up in his later work, where he moved beyond prescriptive social critique into more bleak explorations of modern moral vacuity. It’s so lavishly not-nice, in fact, that it plays today somewhere in the neighborhood of black comedy. (But don’t tell me Old Henrik didn’t know what he was doing: A senior citizen getting run over by the jingle-belled sleigh his daughter is riding in? That was just as funny at the turn of the century as it is today.) James Macdonald’s production for the Abbey (working from Frank McGuinness’s new version) looks plenty tundralike and blasted (the set is nothing but snowdrifts, shabby furniture, and a menacing wood stove with an infinite chimney pipe that goes up and up and up, into nothingness), but quite a lot of energy’s been (well) spent on refining the comic timing. No one does blustery, operatic fury quite like Shaw (“I will build a monument on top of your grave!”), and watching Rickman dig into Borkman’s demonic/heroic existential narcissism is worth the price of admission. “No one but you would have done it,” says Gunhilde, speaking to her husband about his crime. “No one but you.” “Perhaps not,” he shoots back, “but that’s because they could not do what I could do. And had they done it, that would not have been with my exact aims in mind. Things would have been quite different. So you see, I find myself innocent of all charges.”
Rickman’s gelid self-possession clicks best against Shaw’s piping-hot hate; in scenes with the chilly Duncan (whom Macdonald seems to have designated the straight man), the dialogue goes a little damp and drab, and the energy ebbs. There are moments when he looks ready to bow out completely, and the play’s near-Wagnerian conclusion, with its screaming snowy gales and swirling symbols of capitalist despoilment, remains a staging challenge. It’s occasionally difficult to parse Borkman’s overreaching as a master of the universe from Rickman’s over-extension as an actor: He works best at low, pensive, menacing volume, and his final fist-to-the-sky manifesto feels off-key. But the play practically guarantees this awkwardness for any actor; it’s trying to swallow itself up, to become the self-negation it seeks to describe in modern ambition. For better or worse, it succeeds.
Greed ruins banker in 'John Gabriel Borkman' (Washington Examiner, 1-14-2011)
[text of review]:
By: JENNIFER FARRAR 01/14/11 5:25 PM
A disgraced financier plotting his comeback; a family name and once-admired reputation in tatters; the banker's relatives struggling to emerge from the shadow cast over them by his greed and lust for power.
Sounds eerily like recent Wall Street news and film plots — but this story was actually written more than one hundred years ago, by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
The delusional family members at the heart of "John Gabriel Borkman" are a complex lot, and the powerhouse cast now on display in a limited run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater create strong, nuanced interpretations of Ibsen's tragic characters.
Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan co-star in the Abbey Theatre of Ireland's searing production. The new adaptation by Frank McGuinness, directed with precision by James Macdonald, finds the bleak humor in Ibsen's florid, charged dialogue, keeping the play in 1896 while allowing the audience to form their own contemporary parallels.
One eventful winter evening at the Rentheim estate will forever alter the once-proud Borkman family, with a devastating chain of events set in motion by a surprise visit from a long-estranged relative. Everyone's got long-stored grievances to air, and it's as emotionally cold inside the home as the icy blizzard outside.
After embezzling large sums from his trusting friends and countrymen, formerly powerful bank manager John Gabriel Borkman — along with his wife — has been scorned by society for sixteen years. Now isolated in his home, firmly unrepentant and still obsessed with regaining his power, he paces the upper floor, dreaming of his lost glory while awaiting a new job offer.
Rickman gives a hollow air to Borkman, cloaking him in a still-imperious attitude of hubris and weary contempt. His Borkman is a self-pitying, occasionally hammy man, layered with peevishness, surly humor and occasional bewilderment. Rickman saves true passion for Borkman's loving speeches about his dreams of the treasure and kingdom he nearly possessed.
Meanwhile, Borkman's resentful wife, Gunhild, portrayed as tense, semi-hysterical, and often grimly comic in a feisty performance by Shaw, confines herself to the first floor. Listening angrily to her disgraced husband's footsteps above, she still fitfully plots her own return to the good graces of society.
When Gunhild's twin sister, Ella Rentheim, suddenly arrives, strife immediately ensues. Played with cool, reserved power and luminous elegance by Tony Award-winner Duncan, Ella initiates a power battle over the Borkman's son, Erhart, just as the two sisters once competed for Borkman's love.
Ella also has demands to make of Borkman, who personally betrayed her long ago in his greedy quest for power. Alternating solicitude and bitterness, Duncan eloquently hurls Ella's long-nursed accusations at Gunhild and Borkman, who counter with snide, self-pitying defenses and equally accusatory outbursts.
These contentious interactions are relieved by glimpses of the younger generation, in particular Erhart, now in his twenties, to whom Marty Rea gives an exuberant, recklessly naive quality. While the three adults have desperately pinned their hopes for future redemption onto Erhart, he's got ideas of his own.
John Kavanagh is delightful as Borkman's equally delusional and only remaining old friend, Vilhelm Foldal. Along with Erhart, Foldal's cherished daughter Frida has fallen under the manipulative spell of a local divorcee, Mrs. Fanny Wilton, (a lively, glittery-eyed portrayal by Cathy Belton.) While Foldal blithely views this as aristocratic benevolence, this relationship will doom the future hopes of the Borkman household.
Tom Pye's set design, minimal period furnishings surrounded by encroaching mounds of snow, along with rich, dark costumes by Joan Bergin, anchor the play in Ibsen's repressed 19th-century society. Bleak, wintery lighting throughout portends the icy, melodramatic finale, enacted within a wondrous onstage snowstorm equal to the howling obsession that has consumed Borkman.
A Bad Banker and a Blizzard at BAM (Carroll Gardens Patch, 1-15-2011)
[text of review]:
Cold weather and financial misdeeds — talk about a well-timed play!
By Stephen Brown | January 15, 2011
It is hard to imagine a more timely play than Henrik Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman,” which chronicles a particularly dramatic day in the life of a disgraced banker during a brutal blizzard.
The Norweigan playwright’s penultimate work is being performed at the BAM Harvey Theater, and though many of its themes — namely, the consequences of a Madoff-esque lust for power — seem as relevant as when they were first performed in 1896, “Borkman” shows its age in the most critical moments, which come across as way over the top.
Rather, it is the more casual conversations among the play’s all-star cast that audiences will find most memorable.
The titular character is played by Alan Rickman, whose command of the stage is rivaled only by Fiona Shaw, who plays the banker’s disgraced wife, Gunhild.
Borkman, fresh out of jail, paces back and forth in his room like a caged lion, plotting his next move though he is doomed to a life of ignominy. Meanwhile, downstairs Gunhild plots her own road to redemption, though the anxiety etched in her face portends a similar fate.
Enter Ella Rentheim, played by an icy Lindsay Duncan, the twin-sister of Gunhild and a former flame of Borkman.
Both women struggle to cope with Borkman’s reprehensible greed, yet fight with each other for control over him and his son.
The casual exchanges that convey the characters’ shared history are the most compelling. Borkman’s bottomless greed and his wife’s hopeless obsession with her reputation draw regular laughs from the audience — they’ve all seen it before in the headlines.
Still, when the drama reaches its crescendo, Gunhild’s hysterics and Rentheim’s angst evokes a turn of the century view of women that detracts from the otherwise timeless themes in the play.
But “Borkman” has many riveting moments, just the same. When the trio venture into a blizzard the stage is blasted with snow, creating a stunning scene that might bring flashbacks of December 26.
Ultimately, it’s the way Ibsen’s work echoes through to modern times that make this play worth seeing. You may even find the tragic ending somewhat comforting —actual consequences for grand-scale financial misdeeds are apparently something more appropriate for the stage than real life.
“John Gabriel Borkman” at the BAM Harvey runs Jan. 7-Feb. 6. Tickets are $25-$95.
TX USA - Sunday, January 16, 2011
Anybody at opening-night? :-) Here's a great interview/article:
Alan Rickman is a Corrupt Banker (in John Gabriel Borkman) (The Village Voice, Jan 5, 2011)
[text of interview]:
By Alexis Soloski
January 05, 2011
Alan Rickman has a voice that's bitter and rich and sinister, like a malevolent cup of coffee. "At drama school, it was the subject of a great deal of criticism and a lot of hard work," he says during a recent phone interview. "They said I had a spastic soft palate. They were right." Actually, he can't discern his distinctive tones. "I don't hear what anybody else hears," he says. "I'm six-foot-one, I wear size 11 shoes, and I have this voice."
Rickman will lend that voice and that height and indeed those feet when he takes on the title role of Frank McGuinness's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, which begins at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on January 7. Borkman, Ibsen's penultimate work, concerns a disgraced banker (played by Rickman), who spends his days pacing an upstairs room and bemoaning his downfall. Below, his wife (Fiona Shaw) and her twin sister (Lindsay Duncan) battle for the affections of his son.
Considering the current economic climate—particularly in Ireland, where the production debuted at Dublin's Abbey Theatre—the role of a corrupt banker would seem quite a wicked one, though Rickman resists such a classification. "As an actor you must never judge the character you're playing," he says in a slightly scolding tone. He does suggest that audiences may see certain resonances between Borkman and the actions of Bernie Madoff or Conrad Black, and believes that the financial situation gives the script immediacy. "It's a play completely about now," he says. "It's about the dichotomy between the fact that this man has manipulated and used other people's money, but at the same time that even now we need these people because they have larger visions."
Does Rickman need "these people"? Surely, his career has benefited from playing villains, such as the German terrorist in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the menacing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. Borkman might easily be seen as joining their villainous ranks. But Rickman bristles politely at any suggestion of typecasting. "I've played many more people who aren't villains," he says. "Most of the work I've done, most of the people I've played don't have one word you could tie to them."
Indeed, you might struggle to find much in common among his three New York stage roles—the scheming, seductive Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons dangereuses; the dapper, ironic Elyot of Private Lives; and the decrepit, rageful Borkman. Rickman doesn't see much similarity among them. "The part chooses you," he says. "You don't choose it. Time moves on, and you change, and you're not the same person anyway—your center is different, your experience is different, what you have to say is different."
Rickman first encountered the part of Borkman as a student at London's Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts. Sir Ralph Richardson, for whom Rickman once worked as a dresser, played the title role, flanked by Peggy Ashcroft and Wendy Hiller. "It was a rather seminal influence on me, actually, at the time," Rickman recalls. "Watching an extraordinary actor and two extraordinary actresses. It stayed with me."
The current production also boasts a pair of extraordinary actresses in Duncan and Shaw, though with one so fair and one so dark, few would think to cast them as twin sisters. This is Rickman's third pairing with Duncan, who previously played the Marquise de Merteuil to his Valmont and Amanda to his Elyot. "What I have is the most profound respect and affection for her," he says of Duncan, "but the important thing is that she would never trade on either of those things. We don't piss about. We're out there doing our best for each other." Duncan is equally complimentary, noting that Rickman "doesn't seek approval for the characters he plays, so you'd better engage and keep up. I think there's always an invigorating hint of challenge in the air."
Rickman has partnered Shaw almost as often. She also had a role in Les Liaisons dangereuses, and they have shared the stage in Mephisto and As You Like It. "It's one of those great moments in life," he says, "where you all come back into the rehearsal room again, and go, 'Well, where have you been for the last God-knows-how-many-years? What's been happening to you?' And, of course, in Fiona's case, enormous things, so it's a real privilege to get back together again."
Since they last prepared a play, Shaw has begun to direct operas, which Rickman suggests makes her particularly acute and inquisitive in rehearsal. Rickman has also become a director, staging the documentary play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, which ran at Minetta Lane after New York Theatre Workshop unceremoniously dropped it from the schedule, and a marvelous revival of August Strindberg's The Creditors, which played at BAM last spring. He says he would like to direct again, but can't discuss any forthcoming projects. "Ask me in a year's time, when the things that I'm attached to are over or have started or have found their financing," he says.
You might wonder why Rickman continues to bother with the theater at all, considering how much more remunerative film is and how it plays to a much wider audience. But theater, he notes, "is part of me, it's where I learned anything. It's in me, and it puts its hand up every so often and says, 'Oi, it's about time you used this.' " In addition to directing and acting in it, Rickman attends the theater as often as possible and will try to see Time Stands Still and The Merchant of Venice before Brooklyn rehearsal begins. "I'll go see anything," he offers. "I'm a willing listener, a willing viewer. The aim is to keep current."
And he's eager to assure viewers that John Gabriel Borkman is very current, despite its 1890s composition and setting. "To me, John Gabriel Borkman isn't an old play—it's brand-new and of the moment," he says. As to those who consider Ibsen rather hidebound, he absolutely dismisses the charge. Ibsen, he declares, "is thrilling and monumental and often very funny. Stuffy? Forget that. There won't be anything stuffed on view."
TX USA - Saturday, January 08, 2011
Need to relax from holiday errands with some photo overload? (And I do mean overload.)AR fanpop photos. Many I've never seen, some pretty awful, and some very intrusive (on the street). A few h*nd shots new to me. Which is why I pass it on. Click away.
- Wednesday, December 15, 2010
AR at the 2010 New York Stage And Film Winter Gala. Also some here.
A Happy 50th Birthday to Kenneth Branagh.
Renie, - Monday, December 13, 2010
I just came across this gorgeous John Gabriel Borkman picture. It literally took my breath away. Enjoy!
Evelyn O. <email@example.com>
Alameda, CA - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
New Snape movie clip from Deathly Hallows.
usa - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
If you're lucky enough to be a Filmbase member, Filmbase presents an Audience with Alan Rickman - 3pm, Thursday 18th November
- Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Ah, I found the source. And it includes more great photos! They're on the Abbey Theatre website.
TX USA - Friday, October 22, 2010
Here's a great photo from John Gabriel Barkman. I don't know what the original source is, but I found it on Facebook. And I believe it's from the first scene of the play.
TX USA - Friday, October 22, 2010
Vera posted the link to a review from the Irish Independent on Claudia's website which was very interesting.
Reivew: John Gabriel Borkman (source: independent.ie)
[Text of review]:
By COLIN MURPHY
Friday October 15 2010
HERE'S a paradox: John Gabriel Borkman is a tragedy about a banker with delusions of grandeur.
When it previously played at the Abbey, in 1928, one reviewer saw Borkman as a "broken idealist" and "a man in whom we could all believe".
Frank McGuinness's new version, as directed by James MacDonald, makes passing reference to those ideals: Alan Rickman's Borkman is a man whose desperation for power may have led him to overstep the bounds of legality, landing him in jail, but he claims he sought that power in order to improve the common weal rather than for its own sake.
Rickman broods and stalks the empty halls of his once fine house (strikingly rendered by designer Tom Pye), going over and over the sequence of events that led to his downfall.
"The only person I harmed was myself," he protests -- and the audience laughs.
Instead of seeing a tragic figure whose flaw was excess of ambition, they see a pathetic one whose self-deception renders him ridiculous.
In a play that needs a Lear at its heart -- a man of nobility, even in his rage and his madness -- the audience finds a Willy Loman (the hero of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'), a small man laid low by the everyday temptations of capitalism.
As a play about a corrupt banker, Ibsen's drama certainly has contemporary resonance. But the audience appears to read it as satire; moments of dramatic revelation tip over into farce, pathos into bathos.
Ibsen's final act is known to be difficult. But MacDonald bizarrely decides to stage much of it with Rickman awkwardly on his knees, practically in the wings, leaving the audience's attention to fall on two thin plumes of fake snow falling unconvincingly on the centre of the stage.
There is much to enjoy or admire in this Abbey production -- Fiona Shaw's wild-eyed, muttering banker's wife in particular.
But the overriding sense is of a production that has not yet found its rhythm. I suspect it might be worth returning to.
NZ - Friday, October 22, 2010
Ruth, from the Free Tibet Organization, sent me an e-mail to let us know that Alan Rickman did an audio recording this past January. It is for a campaign to stop the torture in Tibet. Alan's audio is Phuntsog ‘s testimony, a young Tibetan man who was tortured at the hands of the Chinese.
Three other British actors (including Juliet Stevenson) have also participated with video testimonies of survivors. If you are able, I would urge you to please try and make a donation.
Thank you, Ruth, for bringing this to our attention.
TX USA - Thursday, October 21, 2010
Posted on the BAM site
Tickets to John Gabriel Borkman Jan 7 - Feb 6 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music will go on sail Nov 22 (Nov 15 for Friends of BAM.
Also there will be an Artist Talk: Lindsay Duncan, Alan Rickman, and Fiona Shaw, Moderated by Paul Holdengräber
Sun, Jan 16 at 6:45pm / 75min BAM Harvey Theater $15; ($7.50 for Friends of BAM)
MD USA - Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thanks everyone for the FANTASTIC links!
Here are a few more articles and reviews:
TV review: The Song of Lunch (source: Ethiopian Review)
[text of review]:
by Lucy Mangan
October 8th, 2010
A dramatised narrative poem might sound a bit dull but this one with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson was wonderful
There are certain phrases that make the spirits of all but the most truly, thoroughly, devotedly highbrow television viewers (and I am not one of the eight left in the country) quail within them. They are "a dramatisation of a narrative poem", "to mark National Poetry Day" and "starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson". They were all deployed in the lead-up to The Song of Lunch.
But, if like me you steeled yourself, searched your soul for parts not yet rendered wholly moribund by a 10-year diet of reality TV and other assorted rubbish, and brought them quivering and blinking into the light, something rather strange happened.
The Song of Lunch – poem by Christopher Reid, direction by Niall MacCormick, brought to fruition against all the odds by the stump of BBC Drama Production – was the story of a man and a woman (played by Rickman and Thompson respectively – it wasn't that artsy-fartsy) who meet for lunch in a Soho restaurant, an old haunt, 15 years after their relationship ended.
She lives a glamorous life in Paris, married to a successful novelist, and is still vibrant, interested in the world and its people. He, on the other hand, has sunk into a melancholy middle age, bored with his publishing job, frustrated with himself and his lack of writing success. They sit across the table, two people in search of a wavelength they once shared but never quite finding it.
And it was wonderful. Every other line of the man's interior monologue – his mineral water's bubbles "mobbing up to greet him", the succour offered by another glass of wine "an insufficient bliss but repeatable later", even the smell of the men's toilets, "that jabbing kidney reek that calls all men brothers" – made you marvel. Rickman was, as apparently effortlessly as always, mesmerising, and even Thompson's apparently ineradicable de haut en bas inflection served her well in the role of a woman confronted with a now pitiable version of her past.
It was quietly moving, clever, beautiful, sad and true. Just wonderful.
The Song Of Lunch - BBC2, 9pm (source: Mirror)
[text of article]:
by Jane Simon
Oct. 8, 2010
It was National Poetry Day yesterday, apparently. What do you mean, you didn't know? Well, you can catch up with this unusual, one-off drama based on a poem by Christopher Reid.
And if your instinctive gut reaction to poetry is boredom or fear, then relax. You probably wouldn't even realise that it was a poem at all if I hadn't told you, though the language is a bit, well, poetic.
You might have heard of Reid. His book of poetry A Scattering, inspired by his wife's death from cancer, won the £30,000 Costa Book Prize back in January.
The Song Of Lunch is less emotionally devastating but it lends itself beautifully to being dramatised in this smart two-hander starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.
Rickman is the narrator, a copy editor in publishing, meeting an old flame (Thompson) at what used to be their favourite Italian restaurant in London's Soho.
They've worked together before, most memorably on the film of Sense And Sensibility, and they're perfectly cast here. She as the glamorous and poised wife of a successful author, he as a grizzled alcoholic wondering where it all went wrong.
Poetry that's modern, relevant, witty and absorbing? Who'd have thought it?
John Gabriel Borkman - review (source: Guardian)
[text of review]:
by Helen Meany
October 15, 2010
The protestations of Ibsen's disgraced banker were greeted by laughs from the audience on opening night, but in Frank McGuinness's new version of the play contemporary echoes are not allowed to overwhelm the central drama. The period setting anchors us in Ibsen's world, where men take actions and women suffer their consequences.
Alan Rickman's John Gabriel Borkman has served a sentence for embezzlement but, returning home, is still imprisoned. He paces the upper storey while his wife Gunhild (Fiona Shaw), listening nightly to his footsteps, is also incarcerated.
Against mounds of snow, Tom Pye's miniature domestic interior reflects the text's wintry imagery beautifully. James Macdonald's production emphasises the inertia of this household, as the frozen landscape extends to the hearts of husband and wife, and to Gunhild's sister Ella. Once loved by Borkman, she was betrayed by him as he pursued his ambitions. Her arrival sets in train a battle between the sisters over Borkman's son, Erhart, to whom they have transferred what is left of their feelings.
The verbal duel between Shaw and Lindsay Duncan, as Ella, is riveting; one ironic and twitchy, the other glacially dignified. Rickman, meanwhile, presents a hollowed-out man, who could, as Gunhild says, already be dead. Unrepentant and vain, he waits to be vindicated. Rickman gives him chilling grandeur as he refuses to acknowledge the failure that nevertheless haunts him, denying the possibility of change.
Even these superb actors can't make the third act seem anything other than melodramatic. Each tries to hold on to a future with Erhart, while the young man makes his bid for freedom. The pace becomes laborious, and as Borkman walks into the snow, it seems histrionic rather than tragic. Only in the final moment, as the sisters clasp hands above his body, is there an eloquent image. It seems a belated acknowledgement of their complicity in his fate, leaving them as "two shadows over a dead man".
Rush, Rickman, Jacoby to play BAM (source: Variety)
[relevant text of article]:
by Gordon Cox October 15, 2010
Geoffrey Rush, Alan Rickman and Derek Jacobi are among the thesps lined up for stage stints as part of the spring 2011 season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Theater-heavy lineup, which also includes opera and dance offerings, kicks off with the Abbey Theater production of Henrik Ibsen play "John Gabriel Borkman" (Jan. 7-Feb. 6), which reunites Rickman with his "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" co-star Lindsay Duncan. Fiona Shaw also appears in the play about a bank manager recently released from prison for embezzlement.
Production, helmed by James McDonald, recently began perfs at the Abbey in Dublin. Frank McGuinness provides the new version of the play.
And another HP Deathly Hallows poster of Snape... very large and close-up
TX USA - Saturday, October 16, 2010
Check out this poster for the next HP movie!
Champaign, IL U.S. - Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Emma looks fabulous (even if it is shot softly) and I'm hunting for a link to the full poem. Meanwhile here's the Faber & Faber volume. I'll enjoy this film again (I promise) when it comes to the US on PBS.
If you like poems that include the those that are not so lost in the translation, try the poem "LItany" by Billy Collins.
- Monday, October 11, 2010
All of The Song of Lunch is, at the moment, available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5xPBNeIdPo
- Saturday, October 09, 2010
Saw that a paperback edition of Christopher Reid's The Song of Lunch has just been published by Faber in London. And guess whose faces grace the front cover? That's right, Alan's and Emma's!
edinburgh, - Friday, October 08, 2010
Here is a spectacular interview with Emma Thompson about Song of Lunch and working with Alan.
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Here is a short youtube of the relevant bits of AR, Shaw and Duncan from the Late Late Show.
At 5:51 a weird pair of hands shows up in the background. Hmm.
Or maybe it's just me . . . , - Sunday, September 26, 2010
Here's a link to the Late, Late Show episode with Alan, Lindsay, and Fiona--they show up about 15 minutes into the show. Be sure to look for the phantom hands behind Alan (LOL!).
Dayton, OH USA - Sunday, September 26, 2010
Here's a couple of John Gabriel Borkman articles:
All the world's a stage for Rickman as Abbey calls (Independent.ie 9-22-10)
[text of article]:
HE has played arch villains in movies like 'Die Hard', Severus Snape in 'Harry Potter' and portrayed Eamon de Valera in Neil Jordan's 'Michael Collins'.
Now actor Alan Rickman is taking to the stage in Dublin to star in a production of Henrik Ibsen's play, 'John Gabriel Borkman' at the Abbey.
Directed by James Macdonald, this is a new version by Frank McGuinness as part of this year's Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival.
The cast also includes actors Lindsay Duncan, Cathy Belton, John Kavanagh, Amy Molloy, Marty Rea and Joan Sheehy.
'John Gabriel Borkman' opens on Wednesday, October 13, for a six-week run.
Rickman, Duncan & Shaw Bring Back Borkman??? (whatsonstage.com 9-21-10)
[text of article]:
It’s a line-up worth travelling for – or possibly, so good it’s made for travelling. The Abbey Theatre, Dublin’s upcoming production of Henrik Ibsen’s 1897 classic John Gabriel Borkman stars Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan (whose previous renowned onstage pairings have been in Les Liaisons Dangereuses for the RSC and Private Lives in the West End and on Broadway) and Fiona Shaw. The play, in a new version by Frank McGuiness directed by James Macdonald, follows the once-great John Gabriel Borkman (Rickman) as he attempts to put his life back together following financial scandal and jail. But the arrival of an ex-lover, Mrs Ella Rentheim (Duncan) changes everything for him and his wife (Shaw).
The last major London production of the play starred Ian McDiarmid, Penelope Wilton and Deborah Findlay at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007. Is the West End ready for another one? With that kind of line-up, we’d guess yes – but you may want to book your flight to Dublin now to ensure you don’t miss out. John Gabriel Borkman is at the Abbey Theatre from 6 October to 20 November 2010.
Did anyone happen to see (or better yet, record) AR on the The Late Late Show on RTE One last night?
I don't see a video of it on their website, but I did find a Deathly Hallows trailer I haven't seen before (Snape speaks!) on their Video page.
TX USA - Saturday, September 25, 2010
Here is the direct link for the AR portrait by Raoul Martinez recently shown in the BP Portrait Award show at the National Gallery. You can send a free e-card or order prints directly from the website (print prices start at 6 pounds).
Text from the page: "Raoul Martinez left formal education at the age of seventeen in order to work as an apprentice in the studio of the artist Paul Benney (also selected for this year's exhibition). Martinez left to set up his own studio after two and a half years, and is working towards his first exhibition.
The portrait is of actor Alan Rickman who is collaborating with Martinez on a project called ï¿½Creating Freedom', comprising a series of paintings with films by Martinez which Rickman is narrating. Martinez wanted the portrait to capture Rickman's grounded and relaxed presence."
There is a larger version of the image on the artist's own website, as well as a brief blurb about the "Creating Freedom"project.
Philadelphia, PA USA - Friday, September 24, 2010
First cast picture from Dublin HERE
- Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Here's a couple of articles about The Song of Lunch:
Alan Rickman & Emma Thompson Star in The Song of Lunch (Rapid Talent 9-16-10) Includes a great photo.
[text of article]:
Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in The Song Of Lunch, a powerful and visually arresting film, made by BBC Drama Production for BBC Two, to mark National Poetry Day on 7 October.
The film, a dramatisation of Christopher Reid's narrative poem, tells the story of an unnamed book editor (Alan Rickman) who, 15 years after their break-up, is meeting his former love (Emma Thompson) for a nostalgic lunch at Zanzotti's, the Soho restaurant they used to frequent.
"The Woman" is now living a glamorous life in Paris, married to a world-renowned writer, while the unnamed editor has failed in his writing career, detests his mundane publishing job and regrets the end of their love affair.
When he arrives at Zanzotti's he finds it under new management and much changed, and this seems to fuel his resentment about growing older and being left behind. The stage is set for an emotional and bittersweet reunion.
As the wine flows, and the couple rake over their failed relationship, nostalgia turns to recrimination.
The single film sees Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson working together once again – they both starred in Sense And Sensibility and Alan directed Emma in A Winter Guest.
Poet Christopher Reid won the Costa Book Of The Year for A Scattering, in early 2010. The Song Of Lunch has been described as displaying the full range of Christopher Reid's wit, craft and human sympathy.*
The Song Of Lunch is directed by Niall MacCormick (Wallander, The Long Walk To Finchley) with producer Pier Wilkie (Criminal Justice) and executive producers Greg Wise and Sarah Brown for the BBC.
RapidTalent's Industry Buzz reporter Jason Nicholls on 16/09/2010.
Movie stars serve up a taste of Hollywood (Tottnham Journal 9-15-10)
[text of article]:
A RESTAURANT has become the set for a new BBC film.
San Marco Italian restaurant in Bruce Grove, Tottenham, will feature in a BBC2 dramatisation of Christopher Reid's narrative poem The Song of Lunch.
The film, due to appear on television screens on October 7, stars Academy award-winning actress Emma Thompson alongside veteran actor Alan Rickman, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films.
The Song of Lunch follows the story of a book editor played by Rickman who, 15 years after their break-up, plans to meet his former love (Thompson) for a nostalgic lunch at Zanzotti's, the Soho restaurant they used to frequent.
Tottenham-based San Marco appears in approximately 40 minutes of the one hour film.
Owner of San Marco, Graziano Parletta, 45, describes meeting the stars as "a surreal experience".
He believes his restaurant, which was hired for a two-week period, was partly chosen to avoid the high fees of filming in a central London location.
He said: "Given the economic times that we're in, they just decided to come to Tottenham. The restaurant was dressed up to look like they were in Soho. People walking past during the filming did notice us, but I tried to keep it low profile."
Like the restaurant in the film, Parletta is considering giving his restaurant a re-brand.
"There are parallels between us and the story - it was a catalyst for me changing my business," he said.
Does anyone know if this will air on BBC America?
TX USA - Tuesday, September 21, 2010
From a translator:
"New this year is no doubt that "poets between the towers of Volterra Dante D'Annunzio" conceived, written and directed by Migliorini and his comrades Avventuracolorata see that even in the challenging recital written by Luigi Lunar "Bad, very bad bastards and, in the theater of Shakespeare, the festival's program is enriched by the participation of the Hollywood actor Alan Rickman, who will appear in recital on 17 July, and 18 replicate reciting from the towers, before the is conseganto Award "Franco Cristaldi" Shadow of the evening for the cinema. "
It'a a Theater festival in Volterra, home to alabaster craftsmen.
Actually I'll be in Florence July 17. Hmmm. The recitation from the tower on Sunday sounds divine. (In Riomaggiore that night.) If you're in the area don't miss the Umbria Jazz Festival. , - Thursday, July 01, 2010
A little more on BBC Reid project with a split photo:
"The new film tells the story of an unnamed book editor played by Rickman who, 15 years after their break-up, is meeting his former lover, played by Thompson, at a Soho restaurant they used to frequent.
Thompson's character, also unnamed, is now living a glamorous life in Paris, married to a famous writer, while Rickman's character has failed in his writing career, detests his publishing job, and regrets the end of their love affair.
The BBC2 controller, Janice Hadlow, called the commission "truly ambitious" and described the poem as "touching and witty".
The drama will be directed by Niall MacCormick and produced by Pier Wilkie.
New (to me) photo of them togetherhere.
- Thursday, July 01, 2010
From BBC today:
Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman will play former lovers in a BBC Two adaptation of Christopher Reid poem The Song Of Lunch.
The pair previously played an unhappily married couple in the 2003 movie Love Actually and have also appeared together in Harry Potter films.
Reid's poetry collection, A Scattering, won the Costa Book of the Year in 2009.
The TV adaptation, described as a blend of drama and poetry, will be aired on National Poetry Day on 7 October.
Rickman plays a disillusioned editor who has lunch with his former mistress at the Soho restaurant where they used to meet.
BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow said Reid's poetry would be brought to life "with a truly ambitious project and a stellar cast".
"We hope that audiences will enjoy this dramatisation of Christopher Reid's touching and witty poem and maybe feel inspired to indulge in a little more poetry themselves," she added.
Bury St Edmunds, UK - Thursday, July 01, 2010
Thought this was pretty widely known but apparently not.
Alan will appear in a production of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at BAM. He will be acting, not directing, and most likely play the title role (none of the others seems appropriate). Not beyond the imagination to think they will be using the David Eldridge adaptation presented at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007 but I'm just guessing.
Temporarily in the wilds of Preble County, OH USA - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Alan Rickman from the BAFTA Tribute to Mark Shivas (Producer of "Truly, Madly, Deeply") 8 March 2009.
I hadn't seen that tribute before. , - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales, to which Alan contributed two tracks, has just won Audiobook of the Year (also Best Multi-Voiced Performance). Congrats to all involved!
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, May 26, 2010
You can listen to the entire BAM Director's talk here.
[Source: WNYC Culture]:
Love, Marriage, and Cruelty: Alan Rickman Explains Strindberg’s 'Creditors'
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
By Sarah Montague
The packed house at BAM's Harvey Theater was probably eager to have a look at the protean actor whose dulcet malevolence has brought many nasty characters to life, including Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard. But Alan Rickman was just as wily and entertaining as the director of Strindberg’s “relentless” (his words) marriage a trois, in a conversation with the New York Public Library’s Paul Holdengraber.
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A blog review of Creditors-- a jello mold of disjointed errors of grammar, spelling, word choice and nearly every writing transgression I can think of--though the author seems Earnest with a capital "E". Maybe he just watches too many movies.
[text of review]: