The return of Cate Blanchett to the London stage, it is proving much louder than the star's name would suggest. The scenes of brutal sex and violence in which the work is lavished When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each OtherThe poster of the Australian actress has shocked a certain sector of the public (they even caused a faint during one of the performances of the prestreno) and monopolized headlines in the English press. The commotion is not due to any advertising trick: all entries of the work – which will be performed until March 2 at the National Theater – have been sold out since the end of last year.
A risky performer in the cinema, who has procured seven Oscar nominations, of which he has won two, Blanchett understands theater as a provocation. She has repeated it in recent statements and has already shown it before with an unpleasant program in her capacity as co-director of the Sydney Theater Company (2008-13) with her husband, playwright Andrew Upton. As he admitted to The Guardian two weeks before the premiere, he waits and looks for reactions from the audience to Martin Crimp's latest work, starring alongside Stephen Dillane (known to Spanish viewers for his role as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones), described by the host theater south of the Thames as "a dangerous game of sexual domination and resistance".
The piece is a very free and contemporary version of the epistolary novel Pamela, published by Samuel Richardson in 1740 and described by some as a sort of 50 shades of Gray of the eighteenth century, in which a teenage maid is a victim of the abuses of his lord but, after several twists of a nut, ends up marrying him. Crim's proposal to use that basis to explore "the conflicting and often violent nature of desire, and the complicated roles played by men and women" is translated on tables in scenes as shocking as the simulation by a quartet of actors in the act. Sex in a car that culminates in violence against the two females. Something more than two hours, without interval, that for some spectators of the passes previous to the official premiere, that took place last night, were unbearable.
After the fainting of an old lady, the theater has redoubled the warning about the highly sensitive content of the production, whose impact is especially powerful in the intimate space of the Dorfman room. That was the purpose of the director Katie Mitchell when she chose the smallest stage (450 seats) of the three that make up the National Theater complex despite the foreseeable high demand for tickets. To manage it the theater was forced to organize a raffle on-line in November and immediately hung up the poster "Sold out". Many of the discarded then star in these early morning queues in front of the box office to try to get some of the tickets of the obligatory but small catch that are sold before each performance.
The hook of the performer of films like Elizabeth, The aviator or Blue Jasmine, 49 years old, it is unquestionable. Already propelled full in the grandiose stage of the Barbican theater, seven years ago, with a surrealist work by the German playwright Botho Strauss (Groß und Klein) that hardly would have destroyed at the box office without his presence. His performance had good reviews; the work, much more measured, and a part of the public did not understand it (this newspaper could verify in one of the representations how several spectators surrendered to dream).
But, although it seems that in the theatrical field Blanchett only force the most difficult challenges in terms of the pleasure of the audience, the truth is that its initial purpose was to return this year to London with a title as popular as Eva naked (All About Eve). Agenda problems forced the actress to get off the poster of a production inspired by the famous film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1950), which opens on February 12 in the West End. Gillian Anderson, always remembered by The X-Files, will replace her in the juicy leading role of Margo Channing.