Glengarry Glen Ross stage fright was well handled (your views, November 30)
For the record, I was watching Glengarry Glen Ross when Robert Glenister was taken ill (‘Stage fright is a gut-rotting terror even for the greatest actors’, November 23, p7). He neither clutched his chest, nor fell to the ground.
Robert is a superb actor, but was obviously experiencing difficulties and needed help, which he swiftly obtained. Everything was handled gracefully and efficiently, and everyone, including the excellent understudy, rallied round.
Following Christian Slater’s lead, the audience wished him well and turned the show around to make it a memorable, if unconventional, evening. It’s a first-rate production of an amazing play – catch it.
Greedy landlords ruin the fringe
Lyn Gardner is right to focus on rogue fringe operators (Comment, November 23, p7). There is no quality control when it comes to hiring a fringe theatre. There are some artistic directors in name only – they are really landlords. It’s nothing new. When I attended a fringe theatre debate at the Cottesloe (now the Dorfman) in the 1990s, I spoke up about greedy “landlords”. Several of them walked out.
In 1986, when a play of mine was produced at the Old Red Lion, the Latchmere invited me to transfer the play for a mere £1,000 per week – a lot of money at the time.
Retain or rebuild our local theatre
The nationally acclaimed Redgrave Theatre in Farnham was closed by Waverley Borough Council in 1999. The council’s regeneration scheme for the town did not include a theatre. In 2002, developers Crest Nicholson Sainsbury were appointed but, after 15 years, not a brick has been laid and the theatre is still boarded up in the centre of the site.
Last week, CNS submitted its sixth listed building consent application for the demolition of the Redgrave. The Farnham Theatre Association believes the scheme is too big and out-of-date to attract funding. A theatre at the centre of the development would attract people through the retail area, but so far the council has not listened. It should be possible for the current plans to be changed, or an alternative scheme to be adopted, putting culture and the local community at its heart.
Anyone who would like to see the Redgrave Theatre retained or replaced can object to WA/2017/2028 by writing to: Head of Planning, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming GU7 1HR; or online at: bit.ly/redgrave-theatre-planning
Chairman, Farnham Theatre Association
Having been a regular theatregoer for 17 years, attending performances at regional and London theatres, I am infuriated by people talking, eating and using mobile phones during shows.
But I have another pet hate: when my ticket rightly states “Latecomers may not be admitted”, and having struggled to get to my seat on time, it annoys me when we have to wait five or 10 minutes for the curtain to go up.
Do the venue and cast believe their time is more important than mine? Does it come as a surprise that the curtain should go up on time?
As a high-street retailer, I know my customers would be less than impressed if I didn’t adhere to my published business hours. Perhaps if the curtain always went up on the dot, the attitude and behaviour of patrons might improve.
Spur to action
I found the interview with director Sam Yates (November 9, p32) one of your most inspiring and enlightening to date.
There is a continuing struggle in our profession for those from a working-class background – it never seems to abate.
But there are clearly many exceptions, and this article will spur many on to overcome the insecurities that abound in our industry.
Shipley, West Yorkshire
Quotes of the week
“Fringe theatre is on the cusp of a massive change. For many years in London the number of fringe theatres stayed constant, then suddenly over the last five or six years, a dozen theatres or more popped up. And that brings its own challenges for a 50-seat venue paying market rent.”
Neil McPherson, artistic director of the Finborough Theatre in London (Mr Carl Woodward blog)
“It would be the most painful thing, presenting an early years’ show, to hear: ‘I’m bored. Had enough now. I want to go home.’ The pain of that. It would mean I hadn’t done my job properly. But the joy of seeing a five-year-old properly gripped, that’s so overwhelmingly satisfying.”
Director Sally Cookson (Guardian)
“Dear actors, does it annoy you when programmes list ‘cast’ and ‘creatives’ as separate things, as if you’re not creative? I get annoyed on your behalf, but if you’re not fussed, I’ll stop.”
Playwright Dan Rebellato (Twitter)
“I’ve been directing theatre since I was very little, using it as a bribing strategy to stop any bullying! I acted when I was growing up and at university I made the twist, realising that when I was acting I was always thinking about the bigger picture rather than just my own performance.”
Director Alexandra Spencer-Jones (ThisWeek London)
“What I love about the Greek theatre is that it’s huge drama and it’s singing and it’s dancing, it’s the most intense thing you could possibly do.”
Playwright Anne Washburn (Guardian)
“There is so much negativity and her message is so strong: to be yourself, to define yourself, don’t be defined by society, stand strong, celebrate yourself and you become your own role model.”
Actor Josie Walker on playing Jamie Campbell’s mother in the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Evening Standard)
“The last time I spoke to my grandfather before he died, I finally told him I was writing about the journey he and the rest of my grandparents took to be here. My version of a story standing on the shoulders of his; an original myth for me and those like me.”
Vinay Patel on his new play An Adventure (Twitter)
What you said on Facebook…
The fringe has never been the means to a financial reward. It is a place to experiment and put on new and interesting work, not to receive a minimum wage.
Some fringe theatres do pay an Equity-based wage, such as the King’s Head and Above the Stag. However, there is a fine balancing act to be done here. If fringe venues did not exist, many actors would not benefit from the experience of performing before a live audience, and would not go on to achieve greater things in their chosen career.
Nigel P Herbert
We don’t say ‘doctress’ or ‘chiropractress’, so it’s actor. It’s a profession – even an identity if you want – but not a gender description.
I’m an actress and the last time I looked, my dignity was still intact. Who wants to be a ‘female actor’?