Friday, January 7, 2011

The Many Lives of Albert Nobbs

The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs is a story worth hearing and a life worth knowing. So much so in fact, it is being filmed in Ireland for a new film starring Glenn Close in the title role. The original story, written by George Moore, has long been adored on the international stage and also on the Irish stage.
Premiering on Broadway in June 1982, the stage version of the story, devised by Simone Benmussa, tells the story of a young woman in the male-dominated Dublin society of the 1860’s and who disguises herself as a man in order to get ahead in the city. Described in review from the New York Times, the production “[was] an oddly haunting piece of theatrical chamber music, at times so low-key as to be dim wattage, but one that holds our attention like a tale told at the fireside”. The 1982 review can be read in full here. The standout performance of this production was by none other than actress Glenn Close, described as follows: “Miss Close, so lovely in ''Barnum'' and as Elena in ''Uncle Vanya'' at the Yale Repertory Theatre, is almost unrecognizable as Albert. It is not simply a matter of her boyish hairdo -darkened and cut short - but of her manner, movement and sensibility. She is a timid youth who is efficient at work but without grace, eager to please but afraid to be expressive. The play is a curio, but the performance is transforming”
This story was given the Druid theatre treatment is a production in 1996 and also designed and directed by the renowned Simone Benmussa who brought Albert Nobbs to the Broadway stage in 1982. Jane Brennan starred in the title role alongside an ensemble cast of Clara Simpson, Jayne Snow, Dawn Bradfield, Aoife Kavannagh, Melanie McHugh, Natalie Stringer, Allen McLelland, Dermot Crowley and Kevin Moore. The Druid Theatre archive in NUI Galway holds the production files for this production. The files include the scripts used by Druid Theatre, press releases, playbill, flyers, invitations as well as a file of photographs taken during rehearsal and production of Albert Nobbs.
Glenn Close as 'Albert Nobbs'

Adding even more to this story of the recurring presence of life of Albert Nobbs, Glen Close will reprise her role of some 30 years ago as filming is currently underway, with Close back in the title role. It will be directed by Rodrigo Garcia, the son of the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and co-written by Man Booker Prize winner John Banville. Read more about this coup for Irish film here.
The Druid files for The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs will be available soon in 2011.

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