A Scandinavian Start…
Posted on Thu 1 Dec 2011 by Stephen Unwin
In agreeing to write a regular blog for the snazzy new Rose website, I was reminded by a cynical friend that the average readership of most blogs is three people.
But I also know that if I say anything too foolish, let alone scurrilous or wildly controversial, the wires will be humming. So, balancing the sensation that I am singing for my supper to no-one at all, with due control of my self-expression, is going to be hard. But let me try.
It’s an amazing time at the Rose. We’re just about to open our new production of The Snow Queen. It’s already one of our best selling shows, and has – even before it’s opened – sold more tickets than several of our other productions in total. The set is amazing, the story is terrific, and we’ve assembled a brilliant cast and team. All fingers and toes are crossed: it’s an important moment for us.
Believe it or not, one of my biggest headaches at the moment is working out what next year’s Christmas show should be. Conventional wisdom says that you should put next year’s title on sale the day that this year’s show opens! Apparently, people want to buy tickets a year in advance! As a man who does all his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, I’m envious and impressed by their foresight…
And when I’m not worrying about Christmas, I’m working on The Lady from the Sea, my next production at the Rose. It suddenly struck me that we’ve got a full Scandinavian season with Hans Christian Andersen followed by Henrik Ibsen – we just need Ingmar Bergman and Skol on sale at the bar! It’s an astonishing piece of writing, that asks how it’s possible for men and women to live together, and comes to a surprisingly optimistic conclusion. The casting is nearly complete – an incredibly intricate job, getting it right. And I’ve been working away at my translation, which is getting better all the time. I hope.
What else am I up to? Well I saw We Need to Talk about Kevin, with an amazing performance from my old friend, Tilda Swinton. It was brilliant in many ways – although I did worry that it seems to suggest that some people are born ‘evil’, and doesn’t offer much insight into how a middle class American kid can turn into a murderous psychopath. But Tilda is one of our great actresses, and every time I see her in a film I’m taken back thirty years to the stuff we did together when we were just starting out. And I also saw (another old friend), Michael Pennington, in Judgement Day, a new production of Ibsen’s last play, more usually entitled When We Dead Awaken. An extraordinary event: bold, brave and brilliant. At the risk of being accused of name-dropping, just keeping up with stuff that my friends are doing can feel like a full-time job.
And I’m reading Bulgakov’s short stories and Victor Serge on the Russian Revolution (Serge is amazing, especially The Case of Comrade Tulayev) and listening to Laura Marling and the new Keith Jarrett. The brain is loaded, I just need to remember where the on-switch is!
Let me know what you think of the new website, and help me make this blog more interesting – even if there are only three of you out there reading it!