Posted on Fri 26 Oct 2012 by Stephen Unwin
Well, my production of Pinero’s The Second Mrs Tanqueray closes on Saturday. It’s been a huge pleasure seeing our audiences encountering a play that most of them didn’t know, and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback. It’s so important that the Rose keeps stretching the boundaries of what it does and a forgotten masterpiece of the Victorian theatre is a good example. Most of the critics were very positive too, and the show has received more stars than a good Greek brandy. It’s been a very happy company and Saturday night will be an emotional send-off.
But then on Monday morning I’m going to the ‘meet-and-greet’ and first read through of Cinderella. These first days of rehearsal are always a strange affair. Although I’m not directing this, I’ll make a welcome speech and be generally supportive. Rachel Kavenaugh’s assembled a terrific cast and it’s a charming version. Fingers crossed!
I’ve been to quite a lot of theatre recently: dear friends Timothy West and Adrian Lukis were in Richmond recently with The Handyman, and I caught up with the brilliant, modern-dress production of Three Sisters at the Young Vic, and Caryl Churchill’s startling sequence of tiny short plays, Love and Information, at the Royal Court.
Tonight I’m taking part in a debate at ‘The Argument Room’ (I hope it isn’t just an argument!) about whether the British theatre does too much Shakespeare. People often tell me that we should do more at the Rose, which, of course, I’d love (the problem is money). But I do think we should ask whether the British theatre’s devotion to the great bard is squeezing out the new or the less well-known.
I’ve been reading two history books. The first is Keith Lowe’s Savage Continent, an amazing study of the continued violence, ethnic cleansing and general misery of Europe immediately after the end of the Second World War. And John Abulafia’s The Great Sea is a comprehensive history of the Mediterranean.
I’m off to the States next weekend for a fortnight. I’m teaching at two of our partner institutions, Emory University in Atlanta Georgia and the University of South Carolina. I’ll be there for the Presidential Election…. Wow!
I’m delighted that Timothy West and Prunella Scales are being recognised at this year’s TMA Awads. Few people have done more for the spread and range of British theatre, and both have supported the Rose.
And, finally, I’m on Twitter: @RoseUnwin Follow me!