I’m In Love, Love, Love… And #RichardArmitage Sure Better Be!

hamish

Hi, my name is Hamish, and my mom is smitten…

I AM in love… with this little guy! *Oops, I did it again*… I brought home a new kitten. Who happens to be on my shoulder as I type, purring lovingly. I needed another cat like I needed a hole in the head, but gah! Hamish! It was just Love, Love, Love… mutual, and at first sight!)

And I’m practically purring with excitement, too! Please God let speculations be true about Richard Armitage appearing Off Broadway in Love, Love, Love this fall… because I may or may not have up and booked tickets for it.

WhatAnd therefore I may or may not be certifiably insane, since it’s not yet confirmed. (Don’t tell Hubby that part!) LOL

But let me just take a moment and have a little celebratory dance, because it is starting to look like an exciting fall for those of the Armitage persuasion! Bye, bye, Richard Armitage Drought! Between Berlin Station installments, a possible Brain on Fire release, and (*crosses fingers*) Live Theatre in New York…. WOW! I wonder if it’s too early to start pestering Digital Theatre… ?!

 

red mohawk

It’s pretty edgy… and I actually love it!

Speaking of the Armitage Drought conditions, I’ve been totally MIA in Armitageworld for quite a long while. While I’ve been gone, this happened… Young Love received the promised red mohawk in return for losing the rat-tail!

May was just ridiculously busy on the veterinary front, then we took the kids to glorious Colorado.

Ah, Colorado. My favorite place to be.

So I was in Colorado when the Alice movie came out… and I haven’t seen it yet. Not sure whether I want to, at least in theaters. As lovely as I’m sure his several minutes will be… I’m not really enough of a Tim Burton admirer to have a big interest.

BUT, I was also in Colorado when RA started tweeting hints about the suspected Mid-Life Crisis project (a British comedy!? RA playing guitar and possibly maybe hopefully oh dear Lord… singing?) An orgasmic YES to all of that, please!!

OK… that’s all the time I have for now! I may come back with a few pics from our Colorado trip in another post. But I’ll leave you with the best of the bunch…

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Electra Lake, evening, all glass. June 2016. Photo credit to Hubby!

 

 

 

 

 

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Expressionism in Theatre, #RichardArmitage?

 

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“I am hopefully going to go back on stage, probably directed by Yaël Farber again, sometime in 2016 or 2017. We’re developing an idea together and it will be a much more expressionistic, physical approach to theatre, which is the sort of theatre I’m really interested in. I can’t say what it will be but we have a play in mind, quite an ancient play.” – Richard Armitage with yet more clues about the future stage collaboration with (“probably”… what does “probably” mean?) Yaël Farber (source).

Richard has dropped another couple of hints in the excerpt above, namely that the next stage production he’ll be involved in will be an ancient play, and that they intend to adopt an “expressionistic” approach. This was in addition to his comments in another recent interview that hinted they plan to “push the physicality” of the theatre genre. I must admit, I’m incredibly intrigued by these statements.

expressionistpaintingsSo what, I asked myself, would expressionism in theatre look like? In terms of artwork, I’ve always thought of expressionists as artists whose work distorts the image in ways that enhance the viewer’s gut response, usually by dramatic color choices, exaggerated brush strokes, and often jarring or angsty subject matter. Translating that sort of thing to theatre, though… I was having a hard time imagining it. And maybe I still am.

So I googled “expressionism in theatre” and found out that there is/was indeed a movement that began in Germany that brought elements of expressionism to theatre. I came to this blog, which gave some descriptions of the movement in terms of its characteristics and techniques.

A few highlights, taken directly from that page:

Its atmosphere was often vividly dreamlike and nightmarish. The mood was aided by shadowy, unrealistic lighting and visual distortions in the set.

Settings avoided reproducing the detail of naturalistic drama, and created only those starkly simplified images the theme of the play called for (sounds familiar- thinking of Soutra Gilmore’s stark and simplistic set designs for The Crucible at The Old Vic, right?)

Characters lost their individuality and were merely identified by nameless designations, like The Man, The Father, The Son

Crowds are also impersonalized, and move with mass rhythmic movements, often mechanically

The style of acting known as the ‘ecstatic’ style, it was intense and violent, and expressed tormented emotions. Actors might erupt in sudden passion and attack each other physically

All this, and knowing what a genius Yaël Farber is at “re-imagining” a classic such as The Crucible and presenting the play in a way that stays true to the script yet feels so much more visceral, so much more evocative, has made me all the more eager for whatever it is Richard Armitage has in store for us in 2016 or 2017. The juxtaposition implied by staging an “ancient” play in a modern “expressionistic” style… it’s a fascinating idea. Add in Richard Armitage in “enhanced physicality mode” and, well….

I don’t care where, or when… I’ll be there.

 

Staged. An Interesting Foray Into Richard’s Early Work

baby face

I have to admit, I didn’t find Richard Armitage as appealing as usual when he was a baby-faced twenty-something. Not sure if he’d have caught my eye “back when”… I guess some men really do improve with age.

So I finally got around to watching the DVD of Staged that arrived in the mail at some point a couple of months ago. Believe it or not, I do have a stack of unwatched early Richard Armitage material. You’d think that with all the time I devote to my Richarding, and having now been Richarding for about one year, I’d have long since watched this stuff, but always for one reason or another, I find myself rewatching favorites, reading blogs, playing games on the forum, and occasionally updating my own blog with this or that. But earlier this week I found myself with about 15 minutes, charts all caught up, nothing much else to do, and Staged sitting next to me. Knowing it was a very short production, I decided to pop it in and have a look at a very baby-faced Richard Armitage.

Staged Laughter

This is just a cute gif of RA as Darryl Newman, busting out in laughter. Something that made me smile. Can’t help but wonder if he’d laugh like that that looking back on his own alleged American accent in the film. =)

Overall, I don’t think my ~$25 (if I recall what I paid correctly) was necessarily worth it. The script certainly didn’t merit $25, and the performance wasn’t exactly of the caliber I’m accustomed to from Richard Armitage. If he’s embarrassed that this is “out there” (which I seem to have picked up on somewhere, but can’t recall who implied it), then I think that’s a little harsh on himself… but nonetheless, I would have to agree that it’s a bit of a sophomoric effort. Especially if that’s supposed to be an American accent. Um, if so, it was terrifically bad. I have to say, I thought his American accent in Into The Storm had a few sketchy moments, but overall was decent. If I hadn’t known he was British, I might not even have noticed anything was off. So props to RA for making a huge improvement there in the decade and a half since Staged was created. But even if that was not an early failed attempt at an American accent, there were other aspects that didn’t exactly wow me.

That being said, I did enjoy Staged simply because it offered an opportunity to see Richard Armitage when he was such a fledgling. I don’t think I’ve seen him in another black and white film, so that was interesting. I was definitely intrigued when RA’s character, Darryl Newman, spoke the lines that turned out to be, if not prophetic, then certainly somewhat of a mirror to his real life, when his counterpart, Lily, asks Darryl what caused him to want to return to the stage after a successful run as a film actor:

Darryl: You know why. It’s been 12 years since I’ve done theatre. Stage is what made me. I miss the days when I’d  pour myself into a role. One you could really sink your teeth into. You can go lost in a character for days… and it’s emotionally draining but for some insane reason I loved it. Get a kick out of really shaking people up, making them actually believe I was somebody else.

Lily: You like to keep your true nature hidden, don’t you?

Darryl: People see what they want to see. Trouble is once you become a commodity, you have to play into people’s fantasies of who they think you are. Unfortunately after a while they stop taking you seriously as an actor.

jptheatre

Richard Armitage as John Proctor in the critically acclaimed production of The Crucible, Old Vic Theatre, London 2014

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Himself looking a bit exhausted when I met him the second time at the Stage Door in London. Exhausted, emotionally drained, but satisfied, I think.

I can’t help but notice that Armitage really has wanted to “return to his roots” and recently, after 12 years onscreen, did exactly that with his phenomenal debut as the leading character with The Crucible… while unlike Darryl, I don’t think that the stage was originally “the making” of Armitage- (I’d argue that North and South was “the making” of Armitage)- it is true that he did start out there, and upon his return to the stage, he most certainly did “pour himself into the role” of John Proctor, and was rewarded with critical acclaim and even an Olivier nomination for his efforts. One can’t look at the many stage door photos toward the end of that run and not feel that the process was draining for him, as he looked increasingly haggard and exhausted, and I think most would agree, too, that he really shook people up in the process. So in that sense, Darryl’s words did in the end rather eerily forecast Armitage’s career in real life.

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Richard Armitage, circa 2013 Berlin Premiere of DOS. Definitly looking like a hot commodity here. And see what I mean? He’s like a fine wine. Improved immeasurably with age. (Photo found on Something About Love!)

I have to wonder how much the second line from the script above also might echo reality for Richard Armitage. He’s inarguably now entering a stage in his career when he’s something of a commodity, and I think some of the debates that rage in the fandom more often than not stem from the very problem Darryl muses about… how much does he feel he has to play into people’s fantasies of who they think he is? I know it comes with the territory, but I’d imagine it’s not always easy, living up to expectations. And I have to wonder if he ever feels like he’s not taken seriously, (*coughs* thinking of my own Nipplegate Spoof) despite his recent success leading The Crucible. Well, RA, you’ll just have to knuckle down and do another play. Wow everyone again. I’ll try not to look at your nipple next time.

 

 

moles2

I’m afraid I wasn’t swept away by the passion in this scene. I was instead captivated by Richard’s former moles.

moles1

We see here how nicely Richard has filled out, and we don’t see the same moles from circa 1999. I think that’s a scar on his right deltoid muscle. Either that, or the mole has lost pigment and flattened quite a bit….

Speaking of nipples, Staged did offer another opportunity to ogle a much younger Richard Armitage in bare chest mode. I’m happy to report that he’s filled out nicely and put on some impressive muscle since then, but he was nevertheless attractive even when he was more of a bean pole. Some other important considerations that viewing Staged has created for me: did Richard Armitage have some moles removed since then, or do his new muscles just distract me? I had to have a look, and yes, I do believe he’s had some of his moles removed since then, though he hasn’t had them all removed. I think the rather prominent mole on his right deltoid area has been removed, but left a little scar. And those on the right trapezius area have also disappeared even as the muscle has notably developed.

staged kiss

Kiss approach circa 1999…

Kiss 1

Kiss approach circa 2004…

Right. So, moving along… I did notice one other interesting thing about Richard’s performance as Darryl Newman. I couldn’t help but notice that his “approach” as he went in for a kiss with his ex-wife, who we are supposed to understand he still carries a torch for, was really rather similar to his “approach” as he gazed at Margaret as John Thornton in North and South. Check out the tender gaze, the blinking eyes… the little eyebrow lift. I have to say the addition of that very eloquent and gentle hand on Margaret’s face was an inspired improvement, but Darryl’s approach was really quite well done.

That’s about all I have to say regarding Staged. It was enlightening. He’s put on muscle. He’s lost some moles. He’s matured both in appearance and in his performance. All in all- I’m glad I watched it, but probably won’t spend much time on it in the future.

Limerick: Richard Armitage Savings Fund

YF-RA

Like many others, I made a New Years resolution
I had a problem that needed a solution
With my “preoccupied” status
Showing no hiatus
I decided my funds needed redistribution.

The idea to start a Richard Armitage savings account
Came to me when I saw the final amount
My abrupt trip to London
Was not easily funded
But this problem in future I hope to surmount.

When Armitage announced he’d collaborate with Yael again
I knew myself well enough to know I’d never refrain
Seeing RA in live action
Is an irresistible attraction
But a huge chunk of money makes the Hubby complain!

That problem I’ve solved, and now Hubby is cool
Just a little from each paycheck, will be my new rule
My fund slowly grows
As I save for those shows
And scheme about travelling to admire and drool!