Sunday, 20 September 2009

All's Well that Ends Well (National Theatre)

It looked magical. Same Art Director in charge of War Horse methinks- silhouetted trees and torn paper all over the place. It was extremely pretty and the performances were all top-notch. I didn't know this Shakespeare, I knew it was supposed to be a comedy (in other words nobody dies) but by the end of the first act I didn't see how it could possibly End Well!! It did end well, I suppose, if being trapped in a loveless marriage means ending well!
The plot is that an orphan girl is in love with a young boy who is called up by the terminally ill King to join the army (which he is super excited about btw) the girl cures the King (her dad was a wizard or something) so to reward her the King marries her to the boy she loves- turns out though he's SO not interested, so he leaves for war hoping that she'll die! She wanders around for a bit, meets a pretty maid and hatches a scheme so that her husband will sleep with the pretty maid (who he totally fancies) but actually he'll be blindfolded and it will be HER! It ends with the husband coming back home to find that his wife is not dead but pregnant so he admits defeat and says "ok, I suppose I'll be your husband."
HORROR! This is not a happy ending!!
I felt so awful for the heroine! Because he was such a shit!! But I realise that in Shakespeare's day the audience reaction would have been the complete opposite! Because she was a tricky woman with lots of schemes! Scheming to be married to him, scheming to trick him into sleeping with her, scheming to trap him in a marriage!! So she would have been the scheming villain rather than him the shit who liked her but ugh, didn't want to marry her!
I guess I felt extra bad because I'm sort of fond of the old schemes myself. If I ever get me a husband it'll be by a scheme.

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