Town Mouse

Am­a­teur the­atri­cals

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THIS week had three theatri­cal high­lights, al­though only two of them were planned and con­ven­tion­ally set on the stage. I took a god­daugh­ter to Shake­speare’s Globe for The Mer­chant of Venice and any crit­i­cisms I might have felt for the pro­duc­tion were en­tirely drowned by her self-ev­i­dent de­light at the ex­pe­ri­ence. Rather more try­ing, in my view, was a pro­duc­tion of Ivanov at the Na­tional Theatre.

It was well acted, but Chekhov’s world­view is hardly con­ducive to an en­joy­able night out. The plot, not to men­tion the ac­tions of the prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters, seemed scarcely cred­i­ble. So, when the nar­cis­sism of the epony­mous hero fi­nally and in­evitably drove him to sui­cide, I in­wardly felt that the fa­tal gun­shot came at least 20 min­utes too late.

But all this drama was as noth­ing to the third per­for­mance. This was an am­a­teur pro­duc­tion staged at home, in the early hours of the morn­ing, by one of the chil­dren. It took the form of a vi­o­lent fit of vom­it­ing. As if in mock­ery of our ef­forts to clear up the mess, the other child slept peace­fully through­out. When I got back to bed, I felt a dan­ger­ous flicker of sym­pa­thy with the out­look of the ego­tist Ivanov. JG

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