Some quick thoughts about the NT 50 celebrations:
1) I loved it. Sponge like whilst watching that television.
2) I realised that this is where some of our acting legends made their names.
3) Why doesn’t Tim Piggot Smith do more? Or Lindsay Duncan? Michael Gambon is Mr. Pinter.
4) Adrian Lester is sensational. He always just seems to become someone else. A friend of mine saw him in Peter Brook’s Hamlet and said this production ‘changed his life’ as an actor – Lester was the aspirational figure. It was interesting that he did a scene from Othello that was a ‘star turn’ moment – when I saw that production Iago (Rory Kinnear) stole the whole show. Decontextualisation I guess.
4) Denys Lasdun really was a pioneer in designing the building and Olivier helped champion a radical design. If we think about it, it’s only now that society has really accepted the NT as a building, 40 years after it was built. Lasdun had vision. The Olivier is based on the arenas of Greek theatre and that’s also fascinating. The actor who grew up in proscenium, but ‘his’ theatre is the ultimate in classicism, interaction, ‘for the people’ and (if we think Greek) democracy. I’m sure he’d have loved that reading. However, they really didn’t get the circle right in either the Olivier or the Lyttleton, but you can’t have it all.
5) Multiculturalism in the UK = Black British. And only one play. The history of minority theatre appears not to be the history of our ‘national’ theatre. Who is the nation represented here?
6) It was great to see diverse faces and voices, but it was, largely very white. Still some way to go, though I know strides are being made. We’ll keep pushing for those strides.
7) I really wish I’d seen London Road.
8) Can we have a broadcast like this more than once in 50 years?!