9 Apr 2019
A GERMAN LIFE

Hm. It’s hard not to be influenced. There had been so much written about Maggie Smith retiring from acting 10+ years ago on account of struggling to remember lines properly, coupled with this play having been custom-written for her to perform… The text had a lot oh uhs, ums, erms, and pauses, it did make me wonder if that was just a vehicle to give her some proverbial wiggle room. It’s a one-person play, so she hardly needs to be precise…
The upshot of it all is… well… it’s based on interviews with and memoirs of goebbels’ secretary, who, after Berlin was taken by the Russians went to prison for 5 years.
I was with the play till almost the end (and it was bloody hard–it was dark, and she was rather monotonous; people around me were dozing off). But she (well, the secretary) talks about serving the bulk of her sentence in Buchenwald, talking about it like it was summer camp. And how she doesn’t believe she did anything wrong, and the German people [of her generation] didn’t do anything wrong when they were willingly oblivious to hitler gassing people. Fair enough, that’s her opinion. But this popularises it somewhat I think, and that didn’t sit quite right.
Tbh, I’ve never seen her on stage, but it did feel like she is rather past her prime, 3-minute standing ovation notwithstanding.

Cheapskate enjoyment value: £0 +£5 booster just to see her live on stage for the first/last time.

Bonus: some drunk guy tried to get in the door and walked into the plexiglass wall at full speed. So funny. He actually bounced off it. Was not hurt 🙂

P.S.: Was upset at the start of the show in my edge seat of Gallery 2, as she was completely obscured by the sides of the set. In the end the staging was not a problem. The middle bit of the stage moves forward ever so slowly but continuously, and the walls move back. So I had a clear view 5 mins into it (tho by the end it’s not quite the back of her head but not far from it)

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