Author: Suse Coon

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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
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The Marriage of Figaro meets The World of Business

From the boardroom to the bedroom. It’s a ruthless journey.

Award-winning Scottish playwright D C Jackson re-locates Pierre Beaumarchais’ famous tale into the ruthless world of contemporary finance. Here, the real deals are done in bars and sexual politics rule the boardroom. Set against a backdrop of expenses scandals and big bonus payouts, Jackson brings his unique style of wit and humour to the touchy subject of big business.

The original play by Beaumarchais was at first banned in Vienna because of its satire of the aristocracy. It is the second instalment in the Figaro Trilogy, preceded by The Barber of Seville and followed by The Guilty Mother and recounts a single “day of madness” (la folle giornata) in the palace of the Count Almaviva near Seville.

Previously, Figaro had helped the Count and gained employment as a servant but as the Count is now pursuing Figaro’s bride-to-be, Susanna, Figaro has to protect his future wife. Through Figaro’s and Susanna’s clever manipulations, Susannah is saved and the Count falls in love with his own wife again, thus Figaro’s ingenuity was seen as a symbol of class action against the aristocracy.

Mark Thomson, Artistic Director of The Lyceum directing his first show of the theatre’s 2011/2012 season says, “I have always loved the play –it’s brimming with invention with a narrative agility that keeps the plot moving forward, its characters are vivid and energetically coined. However, one reason I had drawn back from the piece was that I imagine the impact Beaumarchais provoked in 18th century pre-revolution France was specific and strong.  I thought it might lose something as I’m not sure the aristocracy are our time’s villains.  I thought who they might be and it was pretty much on a plate that it would be the bankers: the ownership, power corruption of the French aristocracy travelled well to those of the bankers today.  (Sorry – I really don’t mean every banker is bad.  And I am sure there were some lovely Viscounts in France then too.)

“It was Daniel who came up with the wonderful ideas to reconstruct it for today.  It really is a version not a translation and that’s how we always imagined it.”

Human beings have always been driven by power and sex, so these topics have always been a rich mine  for drama both in tragedy and comedy.  “But also here’s the thing,” Mark adds. “Power and its abuse is only half, and I’d argue less than half, of Marriage.  The other half has a fruity cocktail of love, lust and sex.  They are all chasing these and often mistake one for another.  I’d have thought things haven’t changed much and that these are, alongside hunger and sleep the most powerful drivers in the universe.  Young lovers trying to survive their environment, an older man chasing a younger woman – well that’s all very familiar isn’t it?”

Daniel Jackson has stuck pretty closely to the plot but he concedes he has had to invent some things to deal with the updating. We all love to support the little man, whether he is a servant of the French aristocracy or a minion in the world of finance so you can go and see how today’s Figaro puts one over on his ‘betters’ at the Lyceum from Friday.

Cast includes: Stuart Bowman, Molly Innes, Briony McRoberts, Greg Powrie, Mark Prendergast, Jamie Quinn, Nicola Roy.

LYCEUM TICKETS & PERFORMANCES:
Performances: 23 March – 14 April 2012
Evenings: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.45pm
Matinees: at 2.30pm
Box Office: 0131 248 4848 Online: www.lyceum.org.uk/figaro
Mobile: m.lyceum.org.uk
Tickets
Evening performances (full price): £14.50- £29
Matinee Performances: Wednesday and Saturday Matinees £16
Concessions: £2 off full price for all Tuesday – Friday shows
Under 18s: Saturday Evenings £15/Tuesday – Friday evenings and Saturday Matinees £10/Wednesday matinees £5

 

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One Response to “The Marriage of Figaro meets The World of Business”

  1. Suse Coon Says:

    A brilliantly funny script by Daniel Jackson + a talented and surprising cast = a first class night out. The wit and humour of Beaumarchais’ original script translates ingeniously well to the world of Scottish finance where we find we’re all greedy, we’re all vulnerable, we all want love although some of us think we just want sex, we’re all guilty – but we all do the right thing in the end, don’t we?
    Stuart Bowman is terrific as the gruff Chief, matched by the cool Briony McRoberts as his wife, the Chair, who exemplified theatre tradition by appearing on Saturday despite a broken arm. Molly Innes as the PA comes close to stealing the show but Mark Prendergast ably sleazes his way through as Figaro Ferguson and Nicola Roy’s Suzanne is the perfect modern Suzannah. It’s pure farce mixed with Green Wing humour. The interns and security guards play their parts in the drama despite having hardly a word to say and the scene changes are punctuated by – surprise surprise – classically trained singer Mark turning out a few Mozart arias. Great fun for him and for us.

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