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Subject: "A Month in the Country" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1960
Reading Topic #1960
Paul A

06-08-01, 12:21 PM (GMT)
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"A Month in the Country"
   Hadn't seen this in over a decade so a pleasure to re-discover, but still very troubled by the ballet.

I really don't think that Ashton understood the play. Of course did - it's a very good distillation of a very long five act play, but to my eyes he seems to be trying to create a tragedy rather than a fairly ambivalent comedy. Guillem's performance just reinforced the disparity - she was on a different page to everybody else.

Did anybody see Seymour - I imagine she would have had the hard, self-interested, ambivalent, spiteful quality that Guillem brought to this. After Seymour (which is where I came in with this ballet) with Park, Conley, Porter, Sibley - the role was presented as much more romanticised, prettier, asking us to have sympathy for Natalia, in effect presenting her as the heroine of a romantic Hollywood weepy from the 30s or 40s. With such a mushy approach the ending did not work - why should we care about this woman? A reading trying to elevate to tragedy didn't convince. So - how did Seymour play it?

I remember Dowell being incredibly wet in the part - good to see Cope looking suitably gauche on his arrival (he is the naive catalyst) - but he looking too knowingly controlling when he grabbed and strongly held Natalia later.

Coming back to this struck again how ridicuously grand and OTT the set is - much too pretty and at odds with the spirit of the play. What hit me this time is how incredibly soupy the score is - all of which leads me to think Ashton just got it wrong. But what a great ballet!

(And an odd thing, first time I've noticed this - why does Beliaev change his trousers after his first scene, from nasty checks to equally pajama stripes?!).

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: A Month in the Country Anneliese 06-08-01 1
     RE: A Month in the Country Eugene Merrett 06-08-01 2

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06-08-01, 12:52 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: A Month in the Country"
In response to message #0
   I have to say, I think you're right - I'm re-reading the play now and haven't finished it yet (VERY tired after Saturday night) but I don't remember it as being that big a tragedy - a lot of the comedy seems to have got lost.

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Eugene Merrett

06-08-01, 01:50 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: A Month in the Country"
In response to message #1
   I thought the work was slighty frivolous - it did not have the emotional depth of some of the better MacMillan.

A good ballet but not a great one in my view!

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