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The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

May the power of the brolly live on!

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In tribute to ... Ralph Fiennes
Raks New Profile Pic Square
rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly


Photo credit: http://www.urban-vacation.com/167/ralph-fiennes-in-shakespeares-the-tempest-showing-at-the-haymarket-theatre-royal-london/

Ralph Fiennes was the first actor I followed as a serious fan.

I genuinely feel that of all the actors I have seen doing Shakespeare live in the theatre or on film, Ralph Fiennes is the one who has the deepest understanding of the beauty and poetry of the verse and the iambic pentameter; and can speak the verse with the most poetry whilst at the same time completely conveying the meaning of the verse to a modern audience. The beauty of his verse speaking is completely on another level.

I was thinking about my favourite Ralph pieces in the theatre, on film and on the television and, ironically, none of them are Shakespeare.

Theatre - Ivanov at the Almeida. I queued for 6 hours on a freezing cold day, having set out at 5am from my home to get all the way across London, to get a day seat in 1997. Ralph introduced me to Chekhov.

Film - Spider. This portrays the return of an schizophrenic adult man, back into the outside "real" world, after he is released from a mental institution where he has been detained since childhood. I love the film and, like Stuart, it will always have a special place in my heart. I will run a feature on Spider in due course.

Television - Lawrence After Arabia. T E Lawrence is my all time hero - he was so complex, such an enigma, but so charismatic and inspirational. Ralph nailed the portrayal. I will be running a feature on T E Lawrence soon!

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I thought Ralph Fiennes was brilliant as Prospero, it was wonderful to see him in the theatre again, and I could quite happily listen to that man play any part or read anything.

I also thought Giles Terera (Caliban), and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Trinculo) were very good. But oh dear, where did they find Tom Byam Shaw (Ariel), not good.

I'm not really sure about the play either, I liked it but I think I'm going to have to read it at some point to see if that sheds a bit more light on what I saw. To be honest though I don't think I'm a traditional Shakespeare type of person, the other plays I've seen and liked have been taken out of their time frame and updated/modernised, (not sure those words are the right ones to use, but they'll do for now).

Back to Ralph - I agree with you whole heartedly about Ivanov at the Almeida. I went to see him in that too and thought he was amazing! He was absolutely incredible in Brand (Ibsen) which was also on at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and he was mesmerising as T E Lawrence in Lawrence After Arabia. T E Lawrence, by the way has a bust memorial in the cathedral.

Raks - have you seen a film Ralph was in called Strange Days? it's a very violent film, so I'm not sure you'd like it, but Ralph is amazing as the lead character, Lenny.

Ralph Fiennes. " I could quite happily listen to that man play any part or read anything". Obviously, I agree!

I also said that for me, Giles Terera as Caliban was the standout actor. I thought he was excellent.

The Tempest - definitely worth reading the play. My passion for it stems from studying it for my A Levels and therefore having all the contextual knowledge.

Ivanov. It was when I saw Ralph play that role that I began to grasp what depression actually was and how it affects you.

Thank you for telling me about the T E Lawrence bust - I will definitely seek it out when I - eventually! - come to the Cathedral.

Strange Days. You have got me all wrong. I have no issue with violent films and actually enjoy and relish them. It is just boxing that I can't watch. I have seen Strange Days a few times - never on the big screen, only on DVD - but I simply love the film. It really works on a whole range of levels. And so yes I love Strange Days and have actually recommended it to many people.

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