National Theatre of London’s Live ‘Julie’ (review) | TheUnion.com

National Theatre of London’s Live ‘Julie’ (review)

Sandra Rockman
Special to The Union

August Strindberg's 1888 play "Miss Julie" is a staple of classic theatre.

In the National Theatre of London Live's latest offering at the Sierra Cinemas this past Thursday evening, this short and modern adaptation sets the drama in contemporary London.

This is a female-centered production — written by Polly Stenham and directed by Carrie Cracknell, two young, talented theatre artists who describe their process of adaptation and development of the script and production in a fascinating interview before the play begins.

It is mid-summer, the solstice, and upstairs, Julie, the daughter of a tycoon, is celebrating her 33rd birthday with a raucous party.

Downstairs, her father's black chauffeur, Jean, tidies up with his Brazilian fiancé Kristina.

Vanessa Kirby ("The Crown") as Julie, Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean, and Thalissa Teixeira as Kristina. The trio are outstanding in portraying their roles and relationships.

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In this abbreviated night, the approaching light of morning has Julie and Jean facing an explosive sexual tension as it works to unveil the realities and complexities of class, sexism, guilt, privilege, power, racism, trauma, depression and love.

The essential question for every actor's character is "What do you want?"

Julie wants conquest, oblivion, release, redemption. Jean wants to move up in life and back to Cape Verde with dreams of starting a restaurant. Kristina is present and absent and then present-while-absent as the developing tempest of Julie and Jean is overshadowed by the possibility of discovery by Kristina.

The tension from within and without is a pulse under the action.

The dialogue, situation and acting are compelling and disturbing at times. Yet, the able direction leaves enough quiet moments to allow us, the audience, time to breathe, as we delve into the characters' impulses, passions, dreams. They can be ourselves, our children, our parents at different times in our lives, perhaps; in different lives, perhaps.

If you love the stimulation of challenging theatre, go see "Julie" at its final showing at Sierra Cinemas at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. Run time is an hour and a half.

Once again, dear reader, I'd love to remind you that you don't have to purchase a plane fare to London, book an expensive hotel or buy a hard-to-get ticket to see this play and all the other, compelling and delightful classic and modern National Theatre productions that are offered to us right here in our lovely little Grass Valley.

Sandra Rockman is a local theatre director, actor, teacher. Her Fall 2018 Improvisation and Acting classes begin later this month. For information, email sandrarockman@outlook.com.

KNOW & GO

WHO: Sierra Cinemas Presents

WHAT: National Theatre Live: “Julie”

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12

WHERE: Sierra Cinemas, E. Main St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $18 Adults, $15 Seniors, Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at http://www.sierratheaters.com or at the Sierra Cinemas Box Office

INFO: Visit http://www.sierratheaters.com, or call 530-477-9000 for more information

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