Of nursing, couches and theatre

Work has been crazy busy this week and then on my day off on Wednesday I accompanied my daughter to a nursing college she had applied to so she could take an entry test there (she really wants to be a paramedic one day). The test was an aptitude and character test, to see if she would potentially be up to it, and in the afternoon we heard she had done brilliantly and that yes, they would love do admit her. Pending her passing her finals in June, she’ll start nursing school next September. Baby girl is growing up!

Mr Esther had taken the day off as well, because on Wednesday our new couch arrived. Our old one was worn out, holes popping up everywhere from the fabric getting thin and the seating was getting hard and uncomfortable. You can see the fray on the side of the couch Mr Esther is sitting on, and that long piece of fabric behind my daughter on the other couch is covering up holes.

In January we went couch shopping and found an L-shaped one we really liked. It was quite huge, even in the shop, but oh so comfortable! We were doubting in the shop whether to go for it or not, so the seller lowered the price. When we were still in doubt he threw in an armchair for free as well. So, in the end we measured it all up at home and went for it, along with the decision that we will now definitely get rid of our piano (we’d been wanting to do that for a while now). So, the couch came on Wednesday. Yes, the piano is still there, the piano shop I have provisionally sold it to still needs to get back to me on when they’ll come pick it up. So, for now it’s a bit crowded with the new big couch and chair, but it is all oh so comfortable! Takes up some extra space but no regrets, we love it. My daughter even fell asleep in the huge armchair last night. The screws for the chair legs weren’t delivered, so they’ll be coming back with the right screws for the legs soon.

Mr Esther stripped the leather from the old couch for repurposing and the old stripped couches are now gone too. I almost hated going away on Thursday evening to the cinema, I want to live on that couch! Having said that, I did not regret going to the cinema as my friend and I went to see the National Theatre live performance of James McAvoy in Cyrano de Bergerac. We were not disappointed!

The trailer can be seen here and we loved it. The staging was minimalist (with no long prosthetic noses) and unusual with the actors mostly facing the audience when they spoke. A lot of the dialogue was rapped in rhyme and while it was set in the 17th century, the costumes were contemporary. There was a lot of cast on stage at the beginning (I also loved the diversity of the cast), the build up seemed a bit confusing and long, but a little while later it really hit its stride for me. The play worked best in the more intimate scenes with less actors on stage, the intensity then hitting you right in the heart. James McAvoy blew me away, he is such a great actor, totally disappearing into his role. The scene when Roxane tells him of her love for Christian is heartbreaking, the friendly touches she bestows on his arm mean so much more to him than to her; that whole scene moves from secret ecstasy to secret despair and is pure torture. There was another scene where Cyrano has this soliloquy in which he expresses his love for Roxane and that had me riveted. I think out of everything, that will stay with me the longest. I consciously caught myself not wanting to blink during that scene, I didn’t want to miss even a split second. I also really enjoyed Anita-Joy Uwajeh as Roxane.

Yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing this again, just to make sure I catch everything I might not have caught the first time around from the dialogue. My friend was afraid she’d not understand fully as there were so subtitles (her English is alright but not great) but she needn’t have worried. She understood fine and loved this too.

Two weeks ago I had also gone to see the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of Porgy and Bess with my mother in the cinema and had loved that too (despite the sound not being great in the cinema we were at).

porgy and bess

It seems I’m in full on theatre mode these days, with more to come (this time live, in the flesh, and not on a cinema screen) as I fly to London tomorrow to see Richard Armitage in Uncle Vanya. I hope I like it as much as the hype promises… And if not, I can find comfort on my new couch when I return.

25 thoughts on “Of nursing, couches and theatre

    1. Couch potato life is not looking so bad now… 😉
      Yes, it really was powerful. I have always thought James McAvoy is one of the absolute best actors out there and this proved it to me yet again. He’s brilliant. And I was glad to be introduced to Anita-Joy Uwajeh.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. McAvoy and Tennant are both very attractive stage actors to me. It’s a pity that he hasn’t done much on the big screens that interests me in recent years though. I really had both plays in mind for London assuming they would be quite different. And they are! Anita-Joy Uwajeh was brilliant too. Now go and have a look at Chekhov! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Esther the couch is beautiful! I love the whole set up very cozy and the coffee table and pillows are just grand!!
    So glad you got to the cinema with your friend and of course big congrats to you daughter for going to nursing school in September!!
    Safe travels tomorrow lovely !! 😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Servetus

    Congrats to your daughter, and on the sofa! I feel like new furniture in general is too big for old spaces (this is a big problem in the US where houses turned open concept and got bigger in the 90s) so I’m glad you were able to work it in.

    I had mixed feelings about Cyrano de Bergerac (review on my blog). Totally agree re: McAvoy and the part of the scene where he confesses his love for Roxane being intense and memorable (all in all I thought Act 2 was probably the strongest), but while i also appreciated the changed ending, the rap annoyed the heck out of me (we’re in agreement about the beginning as well, it seems) and I felt significant pieces of the staging and script were contrived. re: the cast — I feel like the point of color-blind casting is that it’s supposed to defuse race as a category in the viewer’s mind. You’re supposed to notice it and then turn it off. That didn’t happen for me in this case at all, unfortunately, I think in part because there were way too many people on stage: so I was constantly saying “oh — he’s Jamaican! She’s a little person! What an interesting headpiece!” and so on. It (along with the intrusive rap) made it hard for me to concentrate on the actual plot. Since the script gives them 10 minutes to explain everyone’s character and motivation, I felt like they were doing way too much.

    I enjoyed Porgy too — Eric Owens has an amazing voice and the Gershwin music is as good as I remembered. The main thing that seemed dated was the dialect (the performers seemed to be struggling with it, too — maybe it’s harder to sing a opera when you understand the words? Or especially if you’re black and singing these obscure / out of date words Ebonics words?). I ended up buying the performance CD, mostly because of the announcement that Owens had a cold during that performance. I honestly could not tell, but I’ve been enjoying listening to him. Even on my lame car stereo he is astounding.

    I got really involved in going to NT Live and Met Live in HD performances in the last 2-3 years. I think part of it was that I realized at some point after LLL that while I loved seeing Armitage perform significant art, he was never going to be able to satisfy my need for it. Part of it is pure escapism, esp since dad’s stroke. It captures my attention, for which I’m very grateful.

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    1. Interesting. I’m not a huge rap fan but the rap didn’t bother me, I quite liked it actually. But then I have surprised myself in the past few years (through my son) by also liking Eminem’s rap for instance. I like rap when there’s a real story to be told and this Cyrano certainly had a story.
      Yeah, too many people also confused me at the beginning – who were they and what were they doing there? They didn’t seem essential to the story. The diversity did pique my interest but unlike you I was able to not notice and just focus on the story after that. For me the true strength of the play was especially McAvoy, he was magnetic as soon as he appeared on stage.

      I’m glad you’re able to distract yourself with NT live! And thanks for the congrats on daughter and couch. 🙂

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      1. Servetus

        yeah, I have no time for Eminem either artistically or politically. if I were going to listen to rap, it would almost have to be women — the male rappers I’ve heard are unacceptably misogynistic — but I don’t like the genre itself enough for that. I need melody.

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  3. Great news on your daughter passing the test. What an interesting choice of career. I am glad that young people are still interested in helping others. My fingers are crossed for her finals now.
    And oh, big time envy here for the gorgeous couch. (We have an L-shaped number, too, and our cat has definitely left his marks on it…) I also love your cushions – do I spot the Norwegian flag and a union flag on it? Nice!
    Safe flying to London tomorrow. Hope the stupid storm will have calmed by then. And then lots of fun in London and an enjoyable performance at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the finger crossing and travel vibes! Apparently it won’t quite be a storm tomorrow, I understand, so hope all will be alright.
      Yes, we bought those flag cushions a few years ago. Mr Esther really likes flags and the reds fit well with the colours in our living room. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Fangirling Armitage at the theatre | The Book of Esther

  5. Oh ich wollte ihn so gerne sehen, den Cyrano de Bergerac. Aber er lief bei uns am 16.3. bzw. er lief nicht, das war der Tag wo alle theater, Kinos etc. schließen mussten….
    Ich hoffe, sie wiederholen es irgendwann 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: She did it, it’s official! | The Book of Esther

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