keskiviikko 4. tammikuuta 2012

Rebecca - Operettszínház, Budapest 2010

I really really like the production. There's the certain Operettszínház stamp on it (lots of smoke, random dancers, people being lifted up on platforms to sing big solos, etc.), but far less than I've this far seen in any other production there. The directing worked nicely, people had contact and chemistry with each other and I don't remember any scenes where something would have really felt wrong. No songs were removed or changed, but there were some little pieces of dialogue that I haven't heard before. For example, in the scene where Maxim tells about Rebecca's illness to Frank, in the end Frank says something like "You're free now" and Maxim answers "No, I'm not so sure".

Ensemble. All photos: Operettszínház
The Operettszínház has a strong tradition with operettas (well, duh) and you can see it in their musicals. For example, in Elisabeth they have attempted to transfer the directing style, sets and choreographies of an operetta into a drama musical, and IMO the result doesn't work. There's too much everything on stage. They've gradually learned something, though, so in Rebecca the operetta tradition is already much less visible, and the Epilogue must be the first time in the history of the theatre when we actually see a completely empty stage. :-P The choreographies of Ákos Tihányi worked very well, they were clear enough to look good and they didn't use too much people at the same time.

The sets were beautiful. They are very much based on the Vienna sets (lots of blue colour, the big staircase, the hotel, Rebecca's room with balcony and so on), but the set designer had created something original out of them and they mostly worked very well. There wasn't half as much useless props on the stage as usual, and people had enough space to move and dance and just be. They used a lot of projections and those looked natural.
Zoltán Bereczki & Dóra Szinetár
Acting-wise, I liked the actors. In Hungary actors generally can bring out emotions and details like in no other country where I've been to theatre, and the characters worked very well alone and together. But, but... I've got a general problem with the Operettszínház actors, and that's unfortunately their singing. It's not Hungarian actors in general, it's the actors of Operettszínház. I don't know why, perhaps they all have a common singing teacher. Apart from some exceptions, they tend to sound very forced and unnatural to my ears. I can't explain it very well, but it's like the sound wouldn't be coming out freely, there's something keeping it down. Every time they have to get even a tiny bit more voice out of them, they seem to be more shouting than singing. In most cases it doesn't disturb me too much and I can watch a production without agony, but I just don't enjoy the singing. Some voices really hurt my ears, though, and for example Zsuzsi Vágó (Ich) is one of them.

In the 2nd cast everyone except László Sánta sounded more or less bad to me. I like for example Zsuzsi's voice when she doesn't shout, but now she shouted a lot. I had feared what Kata Janza would sound like as Danvers, but in the end she wasn't that bad. Not good, but better than I had expected. The theatre has some sound tech problems too, and in some parts of the theatre the sound is quite sharp.

Danvers clearly had something wrong in the head, and I'm not yet sure if I like it or not. During "Sie ergibt sich nicht" she takes dead orchid petals in her hands and lets them slowly fall on floor while she sings, and in the end of the song she's sort of singing in a light rain of white orchid petals. Then she kneels at the orchid pots like at an altar. It worked nicely, but I could also do with a bit less of Danny's weirdness. Kata is a decent actor, very stiff and scary and powerful, but nothing spectacularly genious. I still kind of liked her obsessive interpretation, though it took some effect off of Danny's last snap when she hears the truth about Rebecca's death, as she had been crazy already before that. Veronika Nádasi was more normal and I liked her. Lilla Polyák has the best voice of the three, but I somehow couldn't get hold of her idea of the character well enough, I felt that she concentrated more on singing than on acting.

Kata Janza & Zsuzsi Vágó
László Sánta's Ben is scared of Rebecca. He's shaking, desperate, nearly hysterical, and IMO one of the strongest characters in the production. In him you can so well see what Rebecca really was like, and László played him excellently and had the best voice of the cast. Dávid Pirgel as Ben overacted a bit too much and was rather annoyingly retarded, more like a stereotype.

László Sánta
Szilveszter Szabó was quite stiff, but as Maxim he can at least use all that angsting potential he has and he did it well. This must be the first time I've seen him smile on stage. I'd have liked to see a bit more of the Maxim who feels at home in society, because there is also that side of him and he's not just a big bundle of angst and dark thoughts, but I assume Sziszi will find it sooner or later. In some ways he was very much like the Maxim in the novel. When I first saw the musical in Vienna, Uwe's romantic gestures as Maxim annoyed me because "my" Maxim never was very visibly in love. Here they had emphasized the lack of romance in Maxim's behaviour. It showed both in Sziszi's acting and in the scenes. In the wedding scene Ich had no bridal dress or flowers or anything, and after them another couple came out of the church with all that normal wedding fuss. Ich caught the bridal buquet, but Maxim took it and gave it to some wedding guest, making her much happier than what Ich seemed to be. Zoltán Bereczki as Maxim was more energetic, even hyper at some points, and though it wasn't exactly the way I'd imagine a British gentleman, in a way it still worked. Besides, he sings well.

Zsuzsi Vágó & Szilvester Szabó
Zsuzsi Vágó was a very sweet and fragile Ich, and I got the feeling that Ich really tried to be what she should be and make both herself and Maxim happy. The change in the 2nd act was amazing. Already the small hand gesture with which she told Frith that she doesn't want bread was full of lady-like attitude. She still had the scared side in her, but in the house she was now confident. I liked Dóra Szinetár's voice a bit more, but I preferred Zsuzsi's acting.
Dóra Szinetár & Lilla Polyák
I got the feeling that lots of the atmosphere we see is in the head of either Mrs Danvers or Ich. The production has a very psychological feeling in it, and it emphazises the dark sides of the story more than what I've seen in the other productions. One nice example I paid a lot of attention to are the shadows or ghosts or whatever they are. There are four female, a bit zombie-like creatures going around in Manderley, mostly in the darker scenes with Danvers and Ich. For example, they walk around Ich in the Prologue, and later she sees them in the mirrors of Rebecca's room, which I totally adored because there's a lot of mirror symbolism in the original novel and I'm fond of it. In the novel Ich sometimes sees Rebecca as her own mirror image, so they had used that idea here. During the Rebecca song in the 2nd act the mirrors start to haunt and follow Ich, and after that the creatures move more and more outside the mirrors, for example around the balcony when Danny tries to persuade Ich to jump. In that part they slightly disturbed me, they seemed to be too much and generally the scene wasn't very scary. I liked the creatures more when they were in the mirrors or just among the ensemble and not too highlighted, so they disturbed a bit in some scenes.

All in all, the directing was the best I've seen in this musical, and I also liked the staging a lot.

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