No Man’s Land starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley (Broadway Review)
Rather than a proper review of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land (starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley), I will present you with a gushing about the show and the lavish ambiance that is the Cort Theatre – including video of the post-show Talk Back Q&A session with the cast!
Pinter’s No Man’s Land is one of those shows that, after seeing, one may not be able to articulate exactly how they feel about it or what it meant, but you know you just saw something exceptional. I found it to be the sort of show that an audience member needs to break in, like a new pair of shows. It’s a little restrictive at first, but after a while, it becomes comfortable and even familiar. It’s full of long-winded monologues, tense situations and every manner of language one could stuff into a script, from the highest, smoothest sentences of praise to the most vulgar of insults. Yet no matter what is being delivered, I was happy to receive all.
Like any play, No Man’s Land is riddled with that which annoys me about all theater. For example, I don’t find it particularly plausible that someone would speak for several moments without break and without someone interrupting them, but this is a regular device in theater and film. In film, the editor can break this up by cutting away from the speaker and showing another actor’s reaction and then cutting back to the speaker, which gives the viewer a break and also helps the audience understand what the speech is meant to drive home by showing the listening actor’s reaction. Yet in theater, you’ll often find that the person who the comments are directed at could be 20 feet away, and holding them both in the same gaze is difficult if not impossible. Meanwhile, the listening stage actor can’t do much to indicate their reaction without distracting from the speaking actor and as an audience member, you don’t want to stop watching Sir Ian McKellen because the man is a brilliant actor! It’s not a huge problem, but it’s certainly the reason I prefer film to theater… but frankly, this show is excellent theater, so my complaint is fairly meaningless.
I should mention a few words about the actors, but what can I say? The foursome making up the cast was excellent, pure and simple. Oh, and the Cort Theater is beautiful; “ornate” hardly does it justice – you just need to see something at this theater and appreciate its intimate smallness and beauty. I didn’t think our Mezzanine seats were especially comfortable, but after the first act, I found that using my knit cap as lower back support solved my issues and allowed me to sit comfortably through the remainder of the evening.
That’ll about do it for me, but enjoy this except of the post show Talk Back question and answer session with the cast!
No Man’s Land is closing on March 29, 2014, so see it while you can!
Dr. Girlfriend’s FUN FACTS!
Facts about No Man’s Land:
1. No Man’s Land was written in 1974 by Harold Pinter. Pinter won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, being a man “who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”.
2. Harold Pinter himself played the role of Hirst in the 1993 revival of No Man’s Land at London’s Almeida Theatre.
3. Ian McKellon is not the only wizard to start in a production No Man’s Land! In 2008, Michael Gambon, of Professor Dumbledore fame, played the role of Hirst in the production of No Man’s Land at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. His costar in that production was none other than David Bradley, aka Argus Filch.
4. In the play, Foster (played by Billy Crudup in the current broadway production) is referred to as Hirst’s “amanuensis”. This refers to a personal secretary or literary assistant. According to Oxford, the word comes from 17th century Latin from (servus) a manu ‘(slave) at hand(writing)’ + -ensis ‘belonging to’.
Posted on February 7, 2014, in movie review and tagged Billy Crudup, broadway, cort theatre, dr. girlfriends fun facts, Harold Pinter, Ian McKellen, no man's land, Patrick Stewart, Shuler Hensley, talk back video, two plays in repertory. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.