Sunday, June 03, 2007

'Broken Glass' - June 2007

We've been a fan of Rapture Theatre for a while, and have seen their last few productions at the Citizens' Theatre. This year they made their debut on the main stage there with 'Broken Glass', unfortunately we were out of the country, so made the trip to Greenock Arts Guild instead.

One of Arthur Miller's later plays, it focuses on a Jewish couple, the Gellburgs, in New York during Hitler's rise to power and in particular Kristallnacht (the broken glass alluded to the in the title). Sylvia Gellburg becomes paralysed, attributed to nervous hysteria by her doctor, and the play tracks her treatment and the revelations about her and her husband's relationship that arise as a result.

This is the end of a long punishing tour for Rapture, but I'm glad to say the performances remained fresh despite them zigzagging Scotland. In particular the dynamic between Sylvia (Fletcher Mathers) and her physician (Lewis Howden) and husband (Stewart Porter) worked well.

This is the third performance we've seen Stewart Porter in (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and The Collection (also Rapture)) and another strong performance as the increasingly pitied Phillip Gellburg was delivered. It's always interesting to see an actor in different roles to get a true idea of the abilities. We've now seen him act with a Scottish, Bolton and New York accent. Like the rest of the cast he coped with the accent well.

The Scottish premiere of a play set in 1930s New York with a large focus on the events in Nazi Germany is a slightly strange choice for Rapture but it's relevance comes from the relationship dynamics.

An enjoyable evening, and it's nice to see a company that's so committed to finding out audience views, and knows how to market itself. Every Rapture performance we've been at we've seen both Michael Emans (director and founder) and Lyn McAndrew (designer and actress) front of house and handing out comment cards and interacting with the audience. The programmes are always full of the info and interest - a lesson could be learned, in particular by the student productions we've seen.

1 Heckle

Statler said...

While this was undoubtedly an enjoyable evening and the performances were strong, the play itself did very little for me. I just wonder if Rapture were influenced too much by being able to bring it as a Scottish premiere when choosing it as their latest production? I certainly didn't think the text had the emotional strength of "Frozen" or "The Collection", or the cleverness of "Damages". But then again, the play is largely a series of two-handed scenes - which seems to be format I find generally irksome.

The set was gorgeous but I did feel that lighting could have been better used to make the bedroom "vanish" for the office scenes.

A good production, and we'll always try to see anything Rapture do, but I'm pleased to see their next production - "Shining City" sounds more to my taste.

And I'd definitely echo Waldorf's comments - Rapture are undoubtedly the hardest working creative team we've seen, with a punishing schedule and making themselves highly visible to audience members at performances.