October 27, 2005
Don’t try this at home, kids.
8:15 am Wake up
1:15 pm – lunch with Jane and Roy
2:30 pm – Sadlers Wells Theatre. Birmingham Royal Ballet – Solitaire, Checkmate, Lady and the Fool
5:15 pm – matinee ends. Get on packed No. 38 bus to Holborn, walk to Covent Garden.
6:00 pm – sit in
Vilar Floral Hall and transcribe notes. Note running times of ballets carefully. Solitaire is 27 minutes, La Fête Étrange is 35 minutes long.
7:30 pm – Miss Solitaire at Sadlers Wells.
7:30 pm – See La Fête Étrange at Covent Garden with alternate cast you won’t see otherwise.
7:57 pm. Solitaire ends at Sadlers Wells. 20 minute intermission begins.
8:07 pm – Attempt to leave Covent Garden during applause. Realize you are penned in by placid applauding couples and infirm ladies.
8:10 pm – Applause ends. Permanently cripple only two infirm ladies as you clamber over them, to be penned in on the stairs out of the stalls circle by waddling men.
8:12 pm – Break free of waddling men and chattering ladies on stairs, head out to Bow Street.
8:14 pm – Catch cab while heading towards Strand.
8:20 pm – Arrive at Sadlers Wells.
8:23 pm – Checkmate begins, blessedly slightly late.
10:25 pm – program at Sadlers Wells ends. Walk to Angel, take extremely circuitous route home because of infrequency of subway trains (Northern line south to Moorgate, Hammersmith Line to Edgeware Road finally after passing up three previous Hammersmith trains when you realize that the Circle Line train you should take just isn’t coming, District Line to High Street Kensington)
11:30 pm – arrive at High Street Kensington. Grab a salad to take back to hotel room.
midnight – head for my stray wireless curb at Iverna Gardens to quickly download email.
12:15 am – back to room. Eat late supper, finish note taking and other writing for the day.
1:45 am – bed.
It was quite exhausting, but a very illuminating day filled entirely with English character ballets that I would never see otherwise. No one is making one-act narrative ballets any more. We seem to only think now in terms of full-evening story ballets or one act abstract works. La Fête Étrange has links to Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Solitaire to Robbins’ Interplay. I found Checkmate the most interesting; I had never seen Ninette de Valois’ choreography before, and it is very competent. It’s very much of its time (immediately prior to the Second World War) and uses a chess game as a metaphor for negotiation and combat. It isn’t like The Green Table but you can tell they were made in the same era.
Posted by Leigh Witchel at October 27, 2005 4:19 AM
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I wonder if this tendency against one-act narrative ballets is the cultural parallel to the decline of the short-story in favour of larger and larger novels? -john
Posted by: John Schrag at October 27, 2005 11:12 AM
Did I know you're in England?
It's the UNDERGROUND, not the subway.
Sounds like you're having fun!
Posted by: Grace at October 28, 2005 9:57 PM
I hadn't thought about the connection between the 1 act ballet and the short story in terms of their non-popularity, but that sounds like a good theory. I've been on a tear lately about works that start but don't really begin and finish but don't really end -- perhaps they are the choreographic equivalent of free journal-writing?
Posted by: sandik at November 1, 2005 4:28 PM
I'm jealous and want your life.
Posted by: Lisa at November 1, 2005 4:51 PM