Talking Heads: Maggie Smith + Alan Bennett

Seeing that Alan Bennett had a new play out and another touring sent me back to his mid-80s monologues, Talking Heads, which were originally written for the BBC and later performed as stage pieces (including at DC’s Studio Theater). Wonderful examples of giving an actor a deck of narrative cards and letting them turn them over one by one over the course of 40 or so minutes. The result reveals an arc that neither the audience nor the performer quite expected, often a quietly devastating report on the compromises and indignities of everyday life, and yet droll and funny.

The performances were also great–Bennett himself in one–and most memorably Maggie Smith as a vicar’s life in an Anglican parish in  A Bed Among the Lentils. It’s long, but worth watching the whole thing.

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