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Author Topic: New Article in The Times today  (Read 3957 times)

Offlinegoon525

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New Article in The Times today
« on: February 20, 2019, 10:37:52 AM »


Few Scottish films have so perfectly captured the appeal of the simple life than Local Hero, the tale of an American oil executive captivated by the beauties of a remote fishing village.

Next month in Edinburgh, half a lifetime after he wrote and directed the original, Bill Forsyth’s film is being transformed into a stage musical, one of the most anticipated productions of the year.

The show is built around 21 new songs from Mark Knopfler, the Dire Straits co-founder, who wrote the score for the 1983 movie, and is directed by John Crowley, whose 2015 film Brooklyn was nominated for three Oscars. Forsyth worked on the script with David Greig, artistic director of the Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre.

Knopfler said that the prospect of writing his first musical had been too “fascinating” to resist. While his greatest pop songs of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Sultans of Swing and Romeo and Juliet, were hits around the world, writing for characters had proved an entirely different challenge, he said. It required him to reveal the inner workings of their personalities while developing the plot, something he had never done before.

Matthew Pidgeon will play Gordon, Katrina Bryan will play Stella and Damian Humbley will play Mac on stageMatthew Pidgeon will play Gordon, Katrina Bryan will play Stella and Damian Humbley will play Mac on stage
“You have to try to get inside their lives, there is that sense of a soliloquy,” he said. “If you are singing about your own predicament, there is a reveal, and that is the wonderful thing with a song for the stage.”

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Going Home, the most famous track from the film, features in the musical and Knopfler, who has a passion for Celtic and country music, has resisted being “stereotypically” Scottish.

Whatever the obstacles faced by the songwriter, Greig appeared delighted by the outcome. “There has to be a reason to do a piece of work like this,” he said. “If a film is brilliant, what are you adding? Precisely what we are adding is what Mark describes: getting inside the characters, opening their interiority in the form of a song.

“That is a different way of exploring a story that brings its own challenges, and its own rewards.”

As director, Crowley had a different problem: how to realise the wonderful scenery of Local Hero, as well as the streets of Pennan, the tiny Aberdeenshire harbour that stood in for a west coast village.

“Cinema does landscape effortlessly,” he said. “It felt like a really interesting problem to work that out theatrically. Part of the answer lies in Mark’s music and part of it is in how we stage the show without just banging projections on the back wall.”

While reluctant to reveal his solution Crowley promised something “a little more theatrical and bespoke”. “We’re not docking anything: we’re doing the northern lights, the reveal of the sky, the comets, and so on, it is all up there. But rather than social realism, this is a little more abstract,” he said.

All the participants had been inspired by the idea of “making a beautiful piece of theatre”, the director added, and the first objective was to satisfy an Edinburgh audience, before the show transfers to London’s Old Vic. There was no expectation of extended runs in the West End or Broadway, he insisted.

“That course has never been plotted,” Crowley said. “You cannot reverse-engineer — the point is to make something very beautiful here. It’s the same thing when you’re making a film.

“People wonder why some films are so bad. It is because people see other films that work and say, ‘Let’s do it that way.’ It just won’t work, because what went before made its own mould. Audiences can smell cynicism a mile away. We all know it.”

Forsyth suggested the musical four years ago to Patrick Daly, a producer based in New York. He then contacted Greig, who invited Crowley on board. The director recalled the first workshop: “We had about six songs, six actors and David and Bill were in a corner rewriting scenes”.

The problem for Knopfler, meanwhile, was “how do you turn all these little pieces to face the right way?” It had been, he said, “a huge amount of work, like trying to work out a Rubik’s cube while flying a glider.”

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Local Hero is one of the most popular Scottish movies made, bringing together a brilliant cast that mixed Hollywood stars with outstanding British character actors.


Burt Lancaster played the megalomaniac boss of Knox Oil, while Peter Riegert as “Mac” MacIntyre perfectly captured the confusion of a US executive beguiled by the locals’ charms. Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson, Peter Capaldi and Jenny Seagrove provided exceptional support.

In the stage version Simon Rouse, an experienced West End actor, fills Lancaster’s shoes as Happer, while Damian Humbley plays Mac. Fresh from An American in Paris, Julian Forsyth plays Ben, the old fisherman memorably portrayed by Mackay.

As well as Mark Knopfler, John Crowley and David Greig, the creative team includes Scott Pask, a three-time Tony award winner who designed the set for the hit show The Book of Mormon.

Greig said: “We will all be nervous [before the first night]. People want it to be good, they want to be excited by it. It has been such fun to make. Mark said he wouldn’t have done it if he had known how to do it. That’s true of all of us.”


Offlinejbaent

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Re: New Article in The Times today
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2019, 10:54:30 AM »
Great! Around 21 new songs are quite a lot!
You might get lucky, now and then

My book about Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Jbaent

OfflineRobson

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Re: New Article in The Times today
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2019, 05:21:32 PM »
Wow! It will be a lot short:)
I know the way I can see by the moonlight
Clear as the day
Now come on woman, come follow me home

Offlinejbaent

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Re: New Article in The Times today
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 11:27:58 AM »
Wow! It will be a lot short:)

Obviously, it's a musical!
You might get lucky, now and then

My book about Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Jbaent

 

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