Friday, January 31, 2014

Loki Does Shakespeare

Last night I found myself in a line-up for a streamed performance (from the Donmar Warehouse in London) of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Significant Other, who teaches Shakespeare for a living, was the reason I was there. Coriolanus, he has informed me more than once, is one of his favourite Shakespeare plays. He had prevailed upon me to accompany him, and I had prevailed upon our bank account so the offspring could accompany us, because, well, because I think that culture is a Good Thing to inflict upon one's children every so often. And this looked like a fairly serious bit of culture, judging from the price of the tickets.

And, as you might have noticed from the publicity still, the actor who plays Coriolanus is none other than Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in Thor 1 & 2. We all like Loki here. So while Significant Other was looking forward to seeing a Serious Production in a Serious Theatre with Serious Actors, the kids and I were looking forward to seeing Loki Do Shakespeare. Not that we said as much, but there you are. We all have our motivations.

We were there an hour before the presentation was to start, to scout out the line-up because it was showing in a smaller theatre. I had insisted on this, given the cost of the tickets and the fact that we had a party of five. Significant Other thought this an indecently early arrival; he likes to swan into films long after the trailers have already shown, but as a veteran of many a movie premiere I knew we'd be hard pressed to get five seats in a row. Plus, I am one of those people who likes to sit in a certain place in the theatre. No lower front or upper right (or left) for me. I like it front and slightly upper centre. I am picky. So there we were, in the line-up. At that point there were only two people ahead of us, which encouraged Significant Other to roll his eyes a little at me. "Just wait," I told him, "just you wait."

The kids were wandering around, Max wondering which movie he could sneak into without anyone noticing, Dominic wishing he had an iPod because standing there doing NOTHING might actually cause him to DIE RIGHT THEN AND THERE, and FDPG was busy, as she always is, trying to find free wifi with her new iPod. This last activity may or may not have had everything to do with Dominic's imminent expiration: he, as we all are told frequently, does not have an iPod to pass the hours with but that's just because he's too cheap to buy his own

There was a vase of fake flowers and battery-operated candle on a table in front of the theatre entrance, along with a programme of sorts, so, in an effort to ignore Mr We Came Here Too Soon and Mr I Don't Have An iPod, I grabbed one and concentrated on it. The girl in front of me tapped my shoulder. "Where did you get that?" she asked. I pointed at the table. She grabbed one and scanned it swiftly. "I've had my ticket since December," she told me, rather breathlessly. We stared at each other for a few seconds. She looked slightly unhinged. I noticed that she was wearing a LEGO Loki necklace, a t-shirt with a picture of Tom Hiddleston's face on it, and a hoodie with Loki horns in the hood. It might have been at that point that Significant Other sidled away from the line-up slightly. Desperate Passions of the Celebrity Sort always make him uneasy, but I found her endearing. I asked her if she'd seen the Super Bowl Jaguar commercial with Loki Tom Hiddleston in it. She hadn't. She pulled out her phone. Her iPhone had a Loki cover AND a Loki screensaver on it. She even had Loki hair: slicked back from the forehead and in black curls on her shoulders. She was evidently there to see Loki. Surrounded by all that Loki-ness, it was hard not to feel excited.

Eventually we were allowed to file in, which we did politely, being Good Canadians. The place was packed. "Wow," said Max, "did everyone here pay as much as we did?" The glee in his voice was almost as embarrassing as the way in which his voice carried over the entire theatre.

Significant Other whispered that there was supposed to be a shower scene. "Oooh! Loki Girl will be thrilled," I whispered back. We both glanced down at her. She was sitting four rows below us, staring hungrily at the screen in between replaying the Jaguar commercial on her iPhone. "It's not gratuitous, according to the Guardian, it's apparently done quite well," S.O. whispered back, giving me what he hoped was a Quelling Look, no doubt worried that I was getting a case of Loki Fever myself.

It certainly was not gratuitous. Here's a shot I pulled off the internet. It was both alarming AND unnervingly thrilling. In fact, the whole production was alarming and unnervingly thrilling. I couldn't help but be impressed by Loki's Tom Hiddleston's charisma. When he's on stage it's hard to look away.

And that goes for the entire cast, although it took me a bit before I got used to Mark Gatiss as Menenius. His first speech was riddled with awkward rhythms, but once that was over he gave one of the strongest performances. As did Deborah Findlay as Volumnia. 

Here's another clip, of Coriolanus in all his bloody, war-torn glory.
The kids loved it, even though it went on for close to three hours, and even though it was an odd sort of way to watch a play. We all filed out of the theatre bathed with the glow that comes after a particularly riveting experience.

Now all we have to do is hope they put it on DVD, which, given the legions of Loki fans out there, just might happen.

UPDATED: Someone just mentioned to me that their blog feed shows photos but no words. I went to Feedly, my blog reader, and it too has no words. Not sure what's going on there, but let me know what you see. I'm viewing the faulty version on Safari, which is always a PITA. 


Sarah said...

How cool! I'm not a big Loki fan, but I do love a good Shakespeare (says the girl who has repeatedly sat through the David Tennant version of Hamlet). I definitely hope this comes out on DVD, as it's apparently not playing anywhere near me. What a great treat!

sheila said...

Have you seen the Hollow Crown? It's spectacular: Richard II, Henry IV (1 & 2), and Henry V. Tom Hiddleston is in this as well, along with Jeremy Irons and Ben Whishaw (the new Q in James Bond).

sheila said...
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