Rakshita (Raks) Patel (rakspatel) wrote in mycroft_brolly,
Rakshita (Raks) Patel

Simon Annand: The Half, Idea Generation Gallery

David Tennant, Royal Shakespeare Company, 2000
Photo credit: http://gallery.ideageneration.co.uk/blogs/909/view

Cut and pasted from the Idea Generation Gallery Website:

Capturing the mystery and magic of backstage theatre photographer Simon Annand captures the intimate moment where the actor enters psychological negotiation in the final half an hour before curtain up. Idea Generation Gallery has had a major exhibition from his celebrated book "The Half" as well as a series of new and unseen images of London’s leading theatre performers.

For over 25 years Simon Annand has been given unprecedented access to the secret backstage world of London’s West End, shooting everything from Chekhov to Panto. Idea Generation Gallery has been showcasing a stunning exhibition of his dazzling photographs, including shots from his 2008 book The Half, as well as a series of new and unseen images of some of the world’s most illustrious stage actors.

The Half or ‘final call’ is the half an hour before the curtain rises, when an actor is left in solitude to focus on the performance ahead of them. This world of preparation is intimate, yet Simon Annand has witnessed these intriguing moments that the audience never sees. Portraying each actor as a worker, his subtle, engaging and intimate portraits allow the viewer to see the physical and mental preparation that is required as the actor leaves their day behind, in readiness for performing on the stage that evening.

The exhibition closes tomorrow (Sunday 8 April).

Follow the link to read more and for the full details:

Photo credit: http://www.culturelabel.com/blog/2012/03/22/best-of-british-actors/

Raks's Reaction

As I think everyone knows, I know next to nothing about art and photography, although I am a keen amateur photographer, especially of people. So I came to this exhibition as someone primarily interested in theatre, as I wanted an insight into how actors prepare themselves for going on stage every night.

I just LOVED this exhibition. I had only intended to go once, with a friend, but I enjoyed it so much I went back on another day just to spend some quality time with my favourite pieces. So what were my favourite pieces?

My favourite piece in the whole exhibition, because of the joy and laughter that it captured, and because the production will always have a special place in my heart, was not Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature in Frankenstein, but Mark Gatiss as Bernard in Season's Greetings, holding his puppet pigs. The photo is a positive joy.

My other favourites were VERY predictable! and were:
- Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature in Frankenstein
- Tom Hardy
- Mark Rylance in Jerusalem
- Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot
- Eddie Redmayne
- Jude Law
- David Tennant
(The Ralph Fiennes photo was not in the exhibition - travesty!).

Benedict Cumberbatch, the Creature in Frankenstein, National Theatre, 2011
Photo credit: http://www.culturelabel.com/shop/idea-generation-gallery?limit=16&p=1

Tom Hardy, 2004
Photo credit: http://www.culturelabel.com/shop/idea-generation-gallery?limit=16&p=1

Mark Rylance, Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre, 2011
Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/uk/london/galleries/9103172/Famous-theatre-actors-caught-offstage.html?image=16

Eddie Redmayne, Red, Donmar Warehouse, 2009
Photo credit: http://www.culturelabel.com/shop/idea-generation-gallery?limit=16&p=1

There are lots of images in the book which are not in the exhibition eg a stunning photo of Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, an extra image of Benedict Cumberbatch, extra images of Mark Gatiss, a stunning photo of Rory Kinnear. In fact the book is just a goldmine of photographs and information and as I leafed through it I was reminded of many productions that I had seen and loved, as well as many productions which I hadn't seen but I wish I had! If you want to have a look at the book and you are based in London, it is stocked in the National Theatre bookshop.

You can buy "The Half: Photographs of Actors Preparing for the Stage" from Amazon. Follow the link:

Contextual Information

Cut and pasted from Simon Annand's Website:

Whatever theatre actors do during the day, each evening they go on stage to give a performance as “somebody else”. The dressing room is a physical space that allows for concentration and privacy so the psychological negotiation between the actor and this fictional character can take place. When ‘The Half’ is called over the loudspeaker backstage, it is the start of a 35 minute countdown to facing the audience and there is no escape. It is rare to see actors at this point in their work.

Over 25 years SIMON ANNAND has been given unprecedented access to photograph this in-between world that the audience never sees.

Follow the link to read more, see more photos, and to view videos of Simon Annand being interviewed and talking about his working process plus a bonus video of Andrew Scott preparing:

Finally, I just love this image of Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2009.

Photo credit: http://www.simonannand.com/the-half/
Tags: andrew scott, art, benedict cumberbatch, national theatre, theatre
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