Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekend Diversion: Improvisation

The video above is something I saw somewhere else on the web this weekend, and thought I’d share it. However, it requires some explanation.

As part of rehearsals for her 2010 film The Tempest, director Julie Taymor asked comedic actor Russell Brand, who played Trinculo, to talk about his character. This video is how he responded: A nearly 5-minute monologue, completely improvised and in character the whole time, in which Brand provides a back-story for Trinculo. I was fascinated.

The film was not a commercial success and received, shall we say, “mixed reviews”. Taynor changed the character of Prospero to a female, Prospera, played by Helen Mirren, and some people didn’t appreciate that level of alteration to Shakespeare’s play.

I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t comment on it. However, I do like reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s plays, including several modern-dress stage productions I’ve seen over the years, as well as Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, so I’ll withhold any judgement until and unless I do see it.

I just thought Brand’s improvisation was fascinating to watch. In the video below, Helen Mirren, interviewed to promote the film, refers to Brand’s improvisation, which is why I include it.

NB: This was meant to be posted on Sunday night, but didn't happen, so I had to fix that on Monday.

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