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Canterbury Tales

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Friday 8 July 2005 8.31am
There is a difference between sniping (which is what you call it when you don't like it), and criticism [GJF].

...if you press it, they will come.
Friday 8 July 2005 5.57pm

There is a difference, sure, but I wouldn't agree with your distinction.

'Sniping' to me suggests a closed-minded determination to find fault. Criticising a play you haven't even seen stikes me as sniping. Uncritically accepting the say so of someone whose job it is to criticise and exclude strikes me as sniping. All I suggested is that j might want to go along and make up her own mind. Might even enjoy it, talking of which the weekend looms. Smile.....
Friday 8 July 2005 10.14pm
GjF - I am neither 'janet' nor 'j' .

Having witnessed at first hand the sound checks, rehearsals of three of the sections of this production and several live performances of the part that takes place in St Georges Gardens, and the part in Borough Market, I formed a personal view that it was a completely cringe worthy production and not something I would ever buy a ticket to see. So, I had enough information to make up my own mind and your assumptions are quite simply wrong.

The critic I quoted reflected my views. Those views do not coincide with yours [or several others I have spoken to recently who all enjoyed the production] but please accept that an informed opposing view does not amount to 'sniping', whatever your definition of that term may be.

The organisers of the production did not have the courtesy to give any sort of notice of this production to local residents, and the sound levels, possibly amplified by the walls of the park and the building in which I live, were uncomfortably high - fact.

All of which doesn't matter a flying f*ck after the events of Thursday, of which I also had personal experience.
Saturday 9 July 2005 10.42am
GjF Wrote:
My congrats to Southwark
> playhouse for putting on a good production that
> also succeeds as a community event.

Thanks for defending the Playhouse. I also saw the production and thought it was fabulous. My husband won't stop raving about it and all the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. It was great the way they brought Chaucer to life, and in such an appropriate setting. The production was witty, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable and I felt like I got five plays for the price of one. As they led us down back streets to historic locations such as The George Inn, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market I felt proud to be living in the area.

The cost of this enjoyable evening was just 15. I paid more than double that for tickets to a West End show two days later. Good as The Producers was, the memories will be forgotten long before the wonderful evening of Chaucer bawdry and entertainment on Bankside.

The whole Canterbury Tales run was sold out - which just goes to show that people can make their own minds up without being overly influenced by the critics.

Well done Southwark Playhouse for pulling off something so magical!

Saturday 9 July 2005 8.56pm
We went to the opera 'Anna Bolena' last night on the green of the Tower of London. Like The Tales, how relevant to see that performance where it actually happened, especially if it happens to be down the road of where you live.

Sadly, it lacked all the magic we experienced during the Canterbury Tales. The stage was on a small, cramped piece of green right next to the Tower of London and the only historic feel you got was a big, blind wall. The performance was dull, uninspired and the singing very mediocre. The sound quality was comparable to wartime radio. After the interval many, many had left and we were wondering why indeed we stayed.

We had the 'cheapest' tickets (60) and had to pay 7.50 for a program and disgusting prices for drinks. It was all a major rip off and very pretentious. I am not normally very negative, but this act of robbery made realise (once again) that the Southwark Playhouse have done a marvelous job in delivering more than just value for money!
Monday 11 July 2005 10.14pm
Dear each and every,
Having just finished working on the production of Canterbury tales which so clearly offended the ears of some (deepest apologies.) while bring more than just a smile to others, I would like to point out a few things.
The use of radio mikes is clearly a relatively recent thing. Technology doesn't exactly drag it's heels when looking for ways to destroy and, in many cases, the art of story telling needs little more than ear to listen, but working in out door venues calls for considerable vocal projection. Given that and the choices of using part live part pre recorded music, in order to provide a balanced aural experience for the audience it was decided that radio mikes would be helpful. Added to this, the differences between each of the venues during our mini pilgrimage, it could be, as has been argued in this tread, that the effect of the walls surrounding St Georges Gardens produced a pleasant level and mix for those in the audience but became distorted and amplified at a greater height having been bounced off the walls. Indeed, it took we who were performing within that scene a couple of days to overcome the urge to respond to the echo produced.
As for the critics ...... well, it is important that these people who write articles for our informative and wholly accurate news sheets actually have opinions. It is also important that they have a personality in order that they get a following and bring more readers to which ever repository of truth and clarity they opine. Having worked for some time in the story telling line, I have learned to ignore the rantings of these people. whether they be positive or negative they, more often than not, have more to do with a notional production which bides within the critics mind rather than the performance of the evening.
These opinions can be the death blow to productions trying to bring accessible, challenging and groundbreaking new things to the theatrical experience.
I'm not trying to say that Canterbury Tales was providing all this for the audience. In truth it is often hard to imagine what a play looks like when one is on stage. One tends to leave it to the public to respond and judge things from that.
I do wish, however, that those critics who find it in their hearts to judge would do their research before banging on about how far away something is from the original.
Chaucer did not produce a play. His work was an epic poem. It's content was Iconoclastic and bawdy while still being steeped in morality and beliefs of the day. More than one of the critics had said that the production detracted from Chaucer's original work with phrases like "Why don't you let it all out with a jolly good poo?". Chaucer wrote almost exactly that line. Ah well, Thanks for coming if you did.
I have to say that I loved the experience.
God Speed.

Tuesday 12 July 2005 6.59am
Well I'm just gutted to having missed it. And even more so for the Professor who is a Chaucer scholar and has written "the book"...we'd have LOVED to be there. Perhaps SPH will do it again next will also help ME because ploughing through the CT has always had me foundering at the third fence.
Tuesday 12 July 2005 1.26pm
Well, if they do repeat the experience may I make a [reasonable] request - as a matter of simple courtesy next time, could the organisers please give local residents notice of what is happening. A tiny note put on the park railings the day before kick-off as an afterthought isn't enough. Those of us to whom this sort of production doesn't appeal [yes, there are quite a few] can then plan to be out / buy some ear plugs / turn up the music - or shock, horror, there may even be some of us who will want to buy some tickets!
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