Internationalist Theatre

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Angelique Rockas as Yvette , and Renu Setna as the Chaplain in 'Mother Courage and her children' Internationalist Theatre, 1982

Internationalist Theatre is a multi-racial and multi-national London theatre company founded by Angelique Rockas in April 1981 to perform great plays (usually cast with actors with standard English and cockney accents )performed by actors from all races and nationalities performing in their own country`s accent. The Stage.[1] The company was originally named New Internationalist Theatre.[2][3].

Resistance to diversity casting was expressed by 'Time Out ' magazine with regard to 'Mother Courage', "the casting only inspires a whole host of irreverent questions: what on earth, say, is an American sergeant doing in seventeenth century Europe? And how did a Pakistani chaplain get into the Swedish army?" [4]The Pakistani actor referred to was the Asian Parsi actor Renu Setna. The Financial Times questioned 'Liolà'`s multi-national casting "do we really need this peculiar medley of Italian accents for the English premiere? The problem is compounded by the commitment ... to a multi-national cast ... English, German, Sicilian, and Italian actors produce widely differing versions of the Latin lilt"[5]. Internationalist Theatre was granted charity status in 1986.[6]

Productions[change | change source]

  • Griselda Gambaro`s The Camp (October,1981), an anti-junta protest play which "relentlessly exposes and explores the psychology of fascism ... draws its political parallels by reference to Nazi concentration camps ... it`s incredible theatre" . "espectacular debut ... excelentemente actuado ... Emma ... al artista humillado y mutilado por la repression ... es en definitiva el grito primordial de Gambaro en esta impactante obra " (translation Emma ... the artist humiliated and mutilated by repression ... is the definitive primal cry of Gambaro."[7]
  • Jean Genet, The Balcony (July 1981): "a comment on power and political manoeuvre ... While the ruling classes, the icons and figureheads fiddle, society burns around them". The "production uses Theatre Space to its limits, Characters are not restricted to just the stage area; they leap out of the wall, appear from the audience so that there is no separation between the players and spectators. We are all voyeurs participating in Genet`s games. The surroundings of Theatre Space conspire to enhance the atmosphere of sleaze , a quality that eluded the last London production by the RSC". "L`atmosphere louche et malsaine est tres bien recreee par le New Internatlionalist theatre. Et s`ils sont aussi vivants et revelateurs les jeunes talents que on ne peut que s`en rejouir ... Ellen Thomas est pleine d`autorite dans le role de Madame Irma". [8]
  • Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children (1982 May)" "whose attack on the practice of war could not- with south atlantic news filling the front pages- have been more topical...prompted the questions it should." Performed in a London basement theatre located in old disused Charing Cross hospital, the Evening Standard observed that viewing three hours of Brecht in such an environment "might sound like noble endurance indeed ... but the Internationalist Theatre production of Mother Courage at the Theatre Space is not to be so lightly dismissed ... the serious straight forward workmanlike performances by actors who are prepared to let the play speak for itself"."The cast ... is made from experienced actors from all over the world, and perhaps their very cosmopolitanism helps to bring out new textures to a familiar dish "[9]
  • Luigi Pirandello, Liolà (July 1982): "It opened with a satiety of womens` gossip. some of it not very easy to follow with the various accents of the New Internationalist Theatre. But it picked up wonderfully" observed The Daily Telegraph "The pleasures of the performance with its occasional songs based on ballads and tarantellas, lay in the village vitality, the lusty folk element ... and the children romped about deliciously. A very good evening of an unusual kind". kind." "Il successo e stato particolarmente vivo e le recensioni della stampa molto positivo". [10]
  • Tennessee Williams, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel,(July 1983): "director ..dug powerfully into the nature of these 4 characters ... Stewart Laing`s designs caught just the right feel of an expensive impersonal hotel ... It was not a nice play, but the Internationalist Theatre players set up the bleakness of its atmosphere and held it taut!" "enjoyed the play `as a very characteristic and vibrant example of ... Williams` writing. The whole performance was very fine". [11]
  • August Strindberg, Miss Julie,(January 1984): "I have not seen a better production of Strindberg`s Miss Julie than the Internationalist Theatre`s staging. ... It is wild and raw, steeped in emotion and dramatic drive,like the play itself, and reveals the aristocratic Julie and the servant Jean in all their vivid colouring and depth of corruption"."Det blir ... en forestallning som ibland lyckas overflytta den Strindbergska till Hampstead . Specialkomponerad musik bidrar till atmosfaren." (it will be a show that sometimes manages to move it from Strindbergska to Hampstead. Specially composed music contributes to the atmosphere) [12]
  • Maxim Gorky, Enemies, (March 1985): "this is a great revolutionary play, by a great revolutionary writer, performed with elegance and style, great passion and commitment". Gorky`s "pseudo-populism" is done away with in this production by the actors speaking "without distinctive accents and consequently without populist sentiment". "every member of the huge cast ... sensitively and unobtrusively deployed by their director, Ann Pennington, each one of whom deserves more than a line or two of critical praise. A fine production of a great play- Don`t miss it!"[13]

"Internationalist Theatre staged dramas written in " continental, non-realistic, symbolically orientated drama of this century (20th) and ... proved most uncongenial to the tunnel visioned repertoire builders" of British theatre of that period." Nicolas de Jongh, The Guardian

References[change | change source]

  1. https://archive.org/details/TheStageTheatreNewsOriginal
  2. British Theatre Directory editor (1990). British Theatre directory Internationalist Theatre Entry. British Theatre Directory page 336. ISBN 9781870323055 – via books.google.co.uk.
  3. https://archiv.adk.de/objekt/2583471
  4. https://archive.org/details/TimeOutMalcolmHay13May1982_201809
  5. https://archive.org/details/LiolaFTReviewInternationalistTheatreCommittedToInternationalCastingJuly1982
  6. https://archive.org/details/InternationalistTheatreCharityRegistrationAngeliqueRockas1986
  7. Press File 'The Camp' https://archive.org/details/bbclatinamericanreviewelcampo1_202001
  8. Press File The Balcony https://archive.org/details/taylormadetheatrereviewgenetthebalcony_202001
  9. Press File Mother Courage https://archive.org/details/timeoutmalcolmhay13may19821
  10. Press File Liola https://archive.org/details/daily-telegraph-deceit-in-a-sicilian-village-harold-atkins
  11. Press File 'In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel' https://archive.org/details/southafricangovdigestlindsayandersononrockasperformance_202001
  12. Press File 'Miss Julie' https://archive.org/details/profoundconflictreviewbyjostanleyinmorningstarofmissjulie2feb1984_202001
  13. Press File `Enemies` https://archive.org/details/bbcrussianservicereviewgorkyenemiespage1a_202002

Other websites[change | change source]