Sir Peter Hall and Michael Boyd in conversation last night at the Armory to celebrate the 50th Birthday of the RSC. What a terrific event! The fabulous Noma Dumezweni acted as moderator, posing questions to the two as they discussed legendary actress Peggy Ashcroft, experiences in Russian theatre, and inescapably, the pros and cons of the thrust stage.
Sir Peter Hall stood up, walked down center stage and showed how one actor would have to ration out lines, turning and maneuvering bit by bit so that everyone gets a chance to see the actor. “O for a Muse of fire” is suddenly washed out by concerns with angles, etc. He reasoned well, and his wit had everyone laughing. He was met with a thunderous applause.
Not to be outdone, Michael then proceeded to stand up and defend the thrust, making full use of the space and showing how even on the stage right entry walk-in, nearly everyone in the theatre gets a view of the actor. He too was applauded for his well-substantiated opinion, and of course for the humor he employed.
These two had such a rapport and it was quite a spectacular evening. Backstage tours were given so everyone had a chance to see the magic that happens backstage, and Greg Hicks brought out a birthday cake where Michael and Sir Peter blew out the candles together. Happy Birthday to the RSC!