Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sir Peter Hall – The Giant of British Theatre (22nd Nov. 1930- 11th Sept. 2017)

To me it was sad to hear of two Old Persean’s  dying within two weeks of each other, and I have written in my previous blog post about Sir David Tang the inscrutable raconteur, highly networked individual, who owned China Tang Restaurant in the Dorchester, who was my dorm mate a few years older than me, who died on 29th August.

From my very first day at the Perse, I was informed in NO uncertain terms of the Old Persean who won a scholarship to the Perse, Peter Hall the Theater Director and the Founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as possibly the greatest product of the Perse School in Cambridge of our times.

My English teacher or so I was told, had ONLY given Peter Hall an A in his class, over a 30 year career of being the head of English at the Perse. So that must have meant something, someone quite special.

I have shown the links to the various articles below and the last one in the Daily Mail is fully worth reading if the reader wishes to choose one.

However what I remember of him was his direction of the 1974Classic film Ackenfield,  with the cast from the village,  based on the (true stories with some name changes) book by Ronald Blythe, who was also from East Anglia describing the lives and history of those there.  of a travelogue of East Anglia, where my school was and from where Peter Hall emerged as a son of a Station Master of modest means.

His sheer output of work in all these forms of the performing arts, is a testament to his prodigious work ethic and indefatigable spirit, and brilliance a word because I fail to find a more suitable word to describe this genius. I am really glad that the Perse was able to sow the seeds of this Brilliance that, by giving him a scholarship and then it extended to Cambridge University that further developed his talent.

His four marriages meant that he was too exuberant a person for one wife only, and his actress daughter Rebecca Hall is also a testament to one child he leaves behind, in whom some of his talents have rubbed off.

The world is a loser by his demise but his dementia in latter years meant he has been out of the public eye for many years. Oh one only wishes  one had just an iota of his brilliance with all the faults as staging a play, acting in one, or directing one with a genius mind, something only those who were able to appreciate his productions, and act under his direction in the National Theater and elsewhere know, and miss out on.

A person who is interested in the British Theatre cannot fail to appreciate the contribution that Peter Hall has made to it, and new ideas he has brought to bring theatre to the masses. After all he insisted that the State Funds some of these projects and institutions, so that this talent both of the people to perform and others to enjoy this culture can be preserved, and enjoyed by the masses to improve our quality of life.

When times are hard sometimes we receive a lot of pleasure from the performing arts, music, dance and theater and the visual and audio bliss to the senses is NOT something money can buy.

In this context I wish we in Sri Lanka today, are able to get our people in all areas involved in the appreciation of the performing arts, but contributing to its resurgence as the talent is there, but not being harnessed to the pleasure of all due to short term goals of petty and selfish people who rule over us, who want to keep out citizens enslaved to their own ideas that are frankly BANKRUPT.

I don’t know how many people can appreciate why I noted this post, as it is to show what a man can do to change he course of history, and we in Sri Lanka desperately yearn for prodigious talent to emulate the likes of Amaradeva and others of his ilk, to maintain our culture, and bring the pleasure therefrom to the masses who are now merely sunk in musical shows of lesser talent, with no long term goal of reclaiming our heritage despite the pious words of the pompous~