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July 21, 2012 11:33 am  #1


Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

Mark will be playing the part of King Charles I in the play 55 Days. This is at the Hampstead Theatre in North West London from October 18th 2012. Tickets are from £15-29. (This is near to where Benedict loves so maybe he will go and watch).

www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2012/55-days/


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Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.
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July 21, 2012 11:37 pm  #2


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

I  would LOVE  to see pics of the costumes,  if that's possible,  since I can't afford to fly over there and see it for myself.  I  LOVE  royalty  plays!!  Is there  a script available,  I wonder?   You are so lucky  to have these plays over there.


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SHERLOCK!!!!!!
 

September 19, 2012 5:44 pm  #3


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days


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Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from!
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October 16, 2012 6:57 am  #4


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days


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http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

October 16, 2012 9:13 am  #5


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

Just wanted to post the Sunday Times interview 

EDIT: Just saw you can't read the full interview on the  Hampstead theatre site nor the Sunday Times site.

Here's the full interview:

We start with a curve ball. “I’m not a royalist at all,�  Mark Gatiss says. Which is odd, considering that the actorwriter is about to spend 5 1/2 weeks on stage at the Hampstead Theatre, playing Charles I. It strikes me that there is something either masochistic or wildly mischievous about a man who professes to be firmly on the side of Oliver Cromwell putting on the cavalier’s wig to play the only king we ever sent to the chopping block.

Not so. Charles I was the Stuart king executed by Cromwell’s military junta in 1649 after seven years of brutal civil war, and he died for - among other things - the principle that he was literally God’s anointed. For Gatiss, playing him is the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition: a desire to immerse himself in the labyrinthine politics of the English revolution, when radicals and rebels tried to imagine a new nation out of the trauma of regicide.

“The civil war is one of my favourite periods,�  he says, leaning into an unthroney black swivel chair and tucking into a takeaway salad in an office above the theatre. “But it is also a rarely done period, I think possibly because it is complicated. It’s not as straightforward as ‘Here’s a king who needs a wife’. As Cromwell puts it [in the play], ‘We are not just trying a king, we are inventing a country.’�  This process of invention, undertaken amid the white heat of a military coup against the crown, is the basic interest of 55 Days, a new play by Howard Brenton (Never So Good, Anne Boleyn). Directed by Howard Davies, with Douglas Henshall as Cromwell, it examines the deceptions, betrayals and contortions of the soul experienced by each of the leading players in the dance to the death that ended on the freezing morning of Tuesday, January 30, when the head of the king of England, Scotland and Ireland was lopped off in Westminster Hall, the words “I am the martyr of the people�  on his lips.

For Gatiss, as for many of Charles’s biographers, the king’s decision to embrace martyrdom was the most profound - and successful - thing he ever did. I suggest a parallel between Charles and Thomas Becket, but Gatiss prefers the example of Oscar Wilde: “I think he just knows he is heading for a disaster and embraces it. No matter how you feel about it, you have to admire how he faced his death. He does not waver. For all the complexities that caused the civil wars, once he thought, ‘This is it’, everything became very clear to him. He had a direct path to the scaffold, and he went down with his principles completely intact.�

In telling that story, 55 Days fills a gap in the historical canon. “Essentially, there’s a missing Jacobean play called The Tragedy of Charles the Martyr,�  Gatiss says. “It just should be there, and isn’t.�  Well, now it is.

Born in County Durham in 1966, Gatiss grew up fascinated by the past. He recalls a classroom at school in which he can still see the kings and queens wall chart, with a curious unmarked gap where the interregnum (1649-60) fell. These were the days of cartoon history: “I remember growing up with the idea that the cavaliers were fun and the roundheads wanted to abolish Christmas. So you go, ‘Well, I know who I would have sided with!’�  Over the years, he says, his tastes have changed, but his love for history has not diminished. His CV fairly screams it: as writer of (and actor in) the BBC’s modern reboots of Doctor Who and Sherlock, he has crashed historical tropes, plots and backdrops into the primetime Saturday night schedules as often as possible. It may not be history as you’d find it in the rare books room of the British Library, but it’s a potent way to bring the past to life.

Is it true that one of the first episodes of Doctor Who he wrote featured Nazis taking over the British Museum? Yes, he says, but it was never made. Nevertheless, his favourite of the Time Lord’s adventures are those that throw him together with history’s heroes and villains. Gatiss has written episodes involving Dickens and Churchill. “And I have just written a new one with Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling, which is set in Victorian Yorkshire. I just love the historical trappings. It’s such a fun thing to play with. At its best, you can actually tell people something about the times. Beneath all the madness, you can smuggle things in.�

Ah, so history lessons by stealth? “When Doctor Who first started, they used to do purely historical stories - not stories of aliens coming into history. There’s a famous one called Marco Polo. The Doctor’s first two companions were teachers, and they were talking about an assassin. [The character] Ian Chesterton says the word ‘assassin’ comes from ‘hashish’ - they were driven to kill because they were doped up to their eyeballs. There still exists in the BBC archive a letter from a history teacher saying, ‘This is fantastic! This is my job done. Thank you very much.’�  Something of the same principle lies beneath Horrible Histories, another BBC vehicle in which Gatiss has appeared. Here, history is channelled through singsong and silliness: go to YouTube and check out the rap pastiche delivered by Charles II (sample lines: “King Charles, my daddy/Lost his throne And kings were banned / They chopped off his head/Then Olly Cromwell ruled the land� ). “I wish that show had been around when I was a kid,�  Gatiss says.

Back to Charles. I wonder if there’s something in the ringlets and codpieces that appeals to Gatiss as a member of the dark and vampish League of Gentlemen? You know: long hair, velvet capes, bizarre-o foppery? “The Russell Brand king, you mean?�  he asks, laughing. Then it’s time for my own history lesson. Beware, he says, conflating Charles I with Charles II: the Merrie Monarch was a gadabout, but Charles père was in fact “an incredibly undemonstrative man. He was stiff, he stammered… he’s not a strutter� .

The timing of the production is key here, he says. “There are certain times when it’s the right thing to put on King John, or Henry V. At their best, like Olivier’s film, they completely chime with the national mood. We live in uncertain times. This play reflects our country being invented, factions everywhere.�

As it is party-conference season in the UK, we mull the similarity between the narrow clique responsible for doing away with Charles I and the prevailing sense that today, too, lives are controlled not by true representatives of the people, but by a small, self-interested political elite. Tories and Labour get an equal kicking. “The posh boys are back in,�  Gatiss says. “But there’s something in the air that, to me, feels like people are demanding representation by people they know are real. My problem with the Miliband brothers is that… they’re f***ing weird, aren’t they? They’re political anoraks.

“The parallels between political popularity and darts or snooker are acute,�  he says with a grin. “People like the personalities.�  He warms to his theme. “It’s true! Super professional, unemotional, chilly Steve Davises and Stephen Hendrys do well, but what people really want is Dennis Taylor and Ray Reardon! That’s what Boris has done, you see. He’s playing the James I card - he plays the fool, but he’s canny. People love him for being eccentric, although, beneath the mop, there’s a much harder Tory than people give him credit for.�

We toss around some other modern civil-war parallels, from the religious (“The closest parallel to the Puritan movement is the Taliban - it’s unsettling to see people who are well-intentioned proto-democrats talking about the Lord in a way that we now find frightening� ) to the prosaic (“Look at the Puritan uniform. Shrink the collar and it’s the beginning of the suit. Put a bowler hat on them and you’ve got a civil servant!� ).

We end up with the present Prince of Wales. It starts off jokily. “Why was he named Charles? It’s an unlucky name. Why not go for William or George? It’s like calling a child Norman.�  Soon, though, real anger emerges. “We are supposed to live under a constitutional monarchy, [but] Prince Charles has an outrageous capacity to interfere.

His famous handwritten notes that we can see, under the Freedom of Information Act… You know he interfered over Chelsea Barracks, and he got his way, which is outrageous. The person Charles most resembles is Edward VIII. He thinks he is allowed to have a say. He’s a bit of a loose cannon, and, if he really believes he should have a say, then he should abdicate any rights and become a private citizen.�

It’s not quite “off with his head� , but it’s certainly more roundhead than cavalier. Gatiss’s Charles I will be a complex beast, but it’s cheering to know that, underneath the tousled hair and lank, well-tugged beard, this immensely likeable actor will be having the time of his life. “It’s fascinating,�  he says, “and I’m really enjoying the whole process. As Mel Brooks says, ‘It’s good to be the king!’�

55 Days is at the Hampstead Theatre, London NW3, from Thursday.

Dan Jones, Sunday Times, 14 October 2012


http://enigmaticpenguinofdeath.tumblr.com/post/33700228012/full-text-of-the-sunday-times-interview-with-mark

Last edited by Ivy (October 16, 2012 9:25 am)


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Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from!
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October 16, 2012 4:50 pm  #6


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

Thank you, it's excellent.


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October 17, 2012 7:34 pm  #7


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

Thanks for posting. A very interesting read.


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Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.
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October 24, 2012 6:37 pm  #8


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

There is a review of this play by Sherlockology on their website.


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Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdq1pcLCUR1rs9hrro1_500.jpg
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October 24, 2012 6:40 pm  #9


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

So wish I could see it...


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October 25, 2012 4:34 pm  #10


Re: Mark Gatiss in 55 Days

Stephen Fry went to see it yesterday and highly recommends it. Great acting by the two principals.

Last edited by Davina (October 25, 2012 4:34 pm)


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Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdq1pcLCUR1rs9hrro1_500.jpg
     Thread Starter
 

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