(If you have yet to see the broadcast of Coriolanus but have plans to see it I’m not sure if you should read this or not. I don’t want to ruin it for you).
Yesterday was a great day. Only the combination of my friend Erin, Shakespeare, and Tom Hiddleston could make me get up as early as I did yesterday and still claim that it was a great day. I should back up. Until a few months ago I have never really been a Tom Hiddleston fan. Some of you may recall that I wrote a blog a few months back about how I cannot be a Loki fan. Well I’m still not a Loki lover, actually I had a very passionate discussion with a die-hard Loki fan just a few days ago in which I got on the literary analysis train and did not make ANY stops. However, my friend Erin has shown me the error of my ways and brought me around to Tomfoolery.
Allow me to explain. A few months back I sat down to work on an essay (being a struggling writer of creative non-fiction) and watch Midnight in Paris. A ways into the movie I was sitting there pounding on my computer keyboard and lamenting how I will never be a truly great writer, this is how I feel every time I watch that movie, when who should come on the screen but F. Scott Fitzgerald. I angled my head to the left then back to the right and said, “is that? JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL! I had no idea.” I then continued on with my life. A day or two later I rented War Horse (because I had never seen it) and let it play while I cooked dinner. I had my back to the screen and was stirring something on the stove but turned around when I heard a certain voice. And there he was. That little… (I’m trying to censor my swearing with the “…”) he was taking off his hat and near tears and I said, “my word. I had NO idea.” I really didn’t. I don’t pay a lot of attention to actors. There are certain actors that I see that they are in a film and I say that it has to be a good film because all of their films are stellar.
That was the beginning of the end. I have heard the terms “hiddlestoners” and “loki’s army” thrown around on the interwebs but I would not classify Erin or I as any of those things. We certainly don’t flail around nearly so much as those girls (I was in close quarters with many of those girls yesterday so I now believe that I have the right to comment on the flailing). I am trying to find a way to explain the way in which we are fans but I can’t come up with anything that doesn’t sound super pretentious so I think I will just leave it at Erin and I do not fall into the fandom group. We really do just appreciate great talent (also attractiveness).
So after Erin sent my life into a downward spiral and I had to rethink all of these opinions I had in my head of great actors and celebrity crushes we discovered that there was going to be a broadcast of Coriolanus portrayed by Tom Hiddleston and that we had never needed to see anything more in our lives. We are both literary and theater nerds. We both like Shakespeare. We like seeing how theaters do things. We’ve both been involved in plays/ This was more than just seeing a specific actor. It was about seeing THIS production of THIS play. It’s a good thing that Mr. Hiddleston was not our only motive because Coriolanus is a hard play.
For those of you who do not while away your evening hours being super pretentious (you couldn’t see but I definitely slid my glasses up my nose after writing that) while reading all of Shakespeare’s work I will explain the basic idea of the play. Coriolanus is about a man who will let the world completely shatter and destroy him before he bends, before he changes who he is in the slightest. I would then say that it is also a play about how fickle humanity is when we are grouped into crowds. Basically Caius Martius Coriolanus is a man careening, moving at ramming speed, toward his own demise (its a Shakespearean tragedy so I think I can give away that little tidbit. The ending is not happy.) and he is hated by the people pretty much for the same reason he had been loved. And the play was FANTASTIC!
Everything about it was distractingly well put together and thought out. Particularly the character Virgilia. Virglia is the wife of Caius Martius Corilanus (you can tell he’s the main character because the play is named after him) and her role in the play (at least the Brigette Hjort Sorensen, who may be one of the most beautiful women on the planet, played her) is to show that Caius Martius is in the end just a man with feelings. He’s very tender with her, he yells and is sarcastic with everyone else but never her. She played the role so beautifully that I wished I could watch the whole play a second time without the camera moving around and focusing on the people speaking so that I could focus only on her. However the girl who was flailing (I nearly punched her) beside me only saw a woman who did not have to memorize many lines and spent most of her time on stage kissing Tom Hiddleston.
DID YOU NOT SEE HOW INCREDIBLE SHE WAS? This woman changed all of my pre-conceived opinions about the character because when I originally read her I did not catch all the subtleties that Brigette Hjort Sorensen brought to her and she went the exact opposite way of how I imagined the dynamic with the mother-in-law character to be. I was incredibly irritated by the fact that this young woman sitting beside me who only saw the character in connection with Tom Hiddleston. That poor teenage girl missed out on so very much.
Then there was Dean Thomas. That’s right. Dean Thomas of Hogwarts or should I say Alfred Enoch as that is his real name. Once again I wanted to watch the play another time ONLY watching his character and his reactions. This is how I felt about every single character portrayed on the screen in front of me. Sadly that was the only screening in my area so I cannot watch the play a dozen times just to focus on one character at a time. It was because of that very sincere wish to watch it over and over just to see and analyze (sometimes I jump on the literary analysis train and that don’t stop except for snacks) every little bit that I wished I was not surrounded by “Hiddlestoners.” I’m not sure if that is the correct term but I think it is and considering my life long search for irony in this world I very much appreciate that Erin and I sometimes refer to Tom Hiddleston as “British Meth” because like meth (not even once) Tom Hiddleston not even once (I use code names for most of the men in my life so I can talk about them without another friend of mine getting suspicious. Now I regret announcing this code name to the whole internet but what is done is done).
On the topic of Hiddlestoners and my life long search for irony I would like to point out that the character Coriolanus is very briefly loved by the people and affirmed by the people right before he is banished. I love that because I would like to come back to this film of this production in 10 years when Tom Hiddleston is no longer trendy and the masses have moved on to a new heartthrob, if you think that will never happen just look at the Back Street Boys. Then, once the squealing fangirls have abandoned him, people will be able to see how amazing this production of this amazing play was.
I had things to say about all the actors as well as the setting and staging but I think I have gone on long enough. Thank you Rochenda Sandall, Mark Stanley, Dwane Walcott, Mark Gatiss, Tom Hiddleston, Peter De Jersey, Alfred Enoch, Elliot Levey, Helen Schlesinger, Hadley Fraser, Deborah Findlay, Brigette Hjort Sorensen, Jacqueline Boatswain, Joe Willis, and every one else involved in putting together that production. You were contributors to a great day I had with one of my best friends.
Side note: I started wondering halfway through this blog post how many times I had written Tom Hiddleston’s name. The final count is: 10 which is less than I had expected