Despite yesterday’s exhilarating announcement that Digital Theatre would be making The Crucible available for worldwide download in little over a week, my PreoccupationWithArmitage did not allow me to sensibly cancel today’s afternoon date plans with Hubby. No, the Hubby had dutifully made the effort to troubleshoot the streaming of the Digital Theatre Plus academic/educational opportunity available to us through his faculty status at the college, and we had childcare arrangements in place long before. I did offer him an “out” when he enquired about the remarkable nature of my deviation from the normal morning routine yesterday, as I’d leapt out of bed like a kid on Christmas and happy-danced my way across the bedroom… I did not conceal the source of my joy, no, I did not. To his credit, he knows me well enough to have proceeded to make his arrangements yesterday at the college, projecting that the announcement would dim my enthusiasm for the planned classroom date not at all! (Love him!!)
So this afternoon, we took ourselves off to the classroom, and we watched together. I gave him a bit of background on my experience of the live production, mentioning the aspects that I predicted could not be experienced in the DT film, such as the incense, the ominous low reverberations of sound, the way that the theatre had been draped to conceal the ornate décor… but I didn’t give him my impressions of the characters, the theme, or the actors. Obviously he knew I was heavily invested in the program, but I left it at that. Being a bass player, Hubby was naturally most interested in my description of the low-end sound resonance, postulating that the notes may have been, in bass player’s parlance, somewhere in the 30 Hz, low B (bodyshaker) frequency. Trust an engineering prof to be concerned with these details! Lol
I’d seen it three times in London, and I have to say, I thought the screen version was extraordinarily well-done. I can’t say that I had exactly the same level of exhilaration while watching it onscreen that I experienced when I was just a few feet from the action, in the presence of the most charismatic performer I’ve ever had the pleasure of observing, but I did feel the same level of awe at the performances by the entire ensemble, and felt the same physiological reactions (goosebumps, chills, tachycardia, light-headedness, and tears) at various points in the performance, which says a lot. It was powerful, and just as devastating as I’d remembered. My initial impressions remained the same, with the stand-outs in the cast of characters (aside from John Proctor) being the roles of Rebecca Nurse, Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams, Mary Warren, and Elizabeth Proctor. I guess I’m still processing it, and may have more to say after a few more viewings.
As for Hubby, he didn’t have a lot to add. He said he thought it was really good. He especially complimented Natalie Gavin’s performance as Mary Warren, loving how her eyes would bulge and her face would turn red. At one point, in Act 4, as John Proctor gives Elizabeth his fierce stare, and tells her to “Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them!” Hubby commented that he thought Richard Armitage would make a good Greek. (This is in reference to the speculation that Armitage might collaborate with Yael in some sort of Greek Tragedy in the future, which I’ve floated past him before!) This was the only time during the entire viewing that he made a comment. Afterward, he said he enjoyed it, went so far as to recommend it to a colleague as we exited the building, and thanked me for spending the afternoon with him! He thought the entire ensemble was strong, reassured me that he was never bored, that he thought it was powerful, and I noticed he was pensive afterward. After a quiet few miles on the drive home, we did discuss the context in which the play was written by Miller, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and how that kind of absolute authority paired with general paranoia and hysteria was deeply disturbing. It turns out that Hubby hadn’t really known where the play was going. He didn’t remember if he’d ever been required to read it, and said that if so, it hadn’t made much of an impression on him. When I asked if it had made an impression on him now, he said, “Oh yeah.”
I can’t wait to read the impressions of the many who will see it for the first time in the weeks to come. I loved it. I was entirely immersed, once again. What a way to spend the afternoon… my favorite actor for over three hours, with my favorite person. I’m deeply content tonight.