Fuente Ovejuna Southwark Playhouse 09 August

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Some kind of an idea....

This was the first of the previews of ‘Fuente Ovejuna’ by Tangram Theatre at the Southwark Playhouse.  Actors mingled with the audience, making friends with them and encouraging them to join in before the beginning and involving them in community singalongs and pieces of comic business during the action itself.

To me it just didn’t work.  The timing was off, partly because there was too much space to fill which meant that things didn’t happen quickly enough and partly because a lack of positive direction meant that you would have one exchange or piece of action and then things would slip into neutral before the next one began.  The only consistent performance I saw was that of Richard Cunningham as the exaggeratedly villainous villain Fernán Gómez de Guzmán; a lot of the rest of the time it was the panicky kicking of arms and legs when you fear the water won’t bear you up–if you don’t believe in the play, then don’t put it on.

All of those involved seemed like very nice and enthusiastic people to me, and I hope that things work out for them.  There’s an English synopsis of the play here, and a Spanish text here.

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