The Last Ship: F*ck The Bishop!

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Sting. Photo credit Frank Ockenfels 3

Sting. Photo credit Frank Ockenfels 3

Sting’s The Last Ship closed on Broadway last night, after a disappointing run of just over 100 performances since it opened on October 26. At the final performance, he gave a moving curtain speech in which he said:

’Before we take our final bow, I feel it’s incumbent on me to say something. I’m not sure I’ll get through it without breaking down. I need to be a better actor, but I will try. There’s no point in pretending [this] is not incredibly emotional. I think I can speak for all of us onstage, not least because there are so many parallels between the closing of a play and the closing of a shipyard. Some of the lines that we were saying as actors are so appropriate to our lives, just as they’re appropriate to the lives of the shipyard workers fighting for their livelihood.

”One of the ideals that an actor will strive for is for the needs and emotional landscape of the character to coincide with the needs and emotional landscape of the actor playing that character. We have that in spades up here. (Audience cheers.) That somewhat might explain some of the intensity onstage at every performance.

”One of the lines that hit me tonight, more than any other, was [from] young Collin [Kelly-Sordelet], who plays young Tom. (Cheers.) Toward the end of the second act, he says to his mother: ‘There’ll never be another ship like this one. Not one that I built.’ And every actor on this stage owns that line: ‘There will never be another Ship like this. Not one that we built.’ (Cheers.)

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Sting. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

”I’m so honored to be allowed to join this wonderful cast, thanks to my great friend, Jimmy Nail. (Cheers.) I have never felt such love and support from this wonderful group of human beings. I will never forget this as long as I live. Not only the people onstage, but the people below the stage: the musicians. (Cheers.) And behind the stage, the stagehands. (Cheers.) The sound, lights, wardrobe, the front-of-the-house staff. (Cheers.)

”Tonight, we are gonna celebrate. We are unbowed. We are unashamedly, unapologetically proud of the work we’ve done here. I would like to invoke the spirit of the late Father James Patrick O’Brien with those immortal words, which kind of sum up [everything]. After three, everybody: One, two, three: ‘F*ck the Bishop!’ ”

But this show is far from over — Sting will himself perform songs from its score in concerts at the Sage Gateshead on April 24 and 25. I plan to be there!

The Arts(less) Independent On Sunday Celebrates An Anniversary

Today the Independent on Sunday has looked back on its first quarter of a century of publication.

Strangely, however, they don’t mention the almost total annihilation of their arts desk. A Sunday paper without an arts section is simply not doing its job. Shame on them! But they also started a trend, alas: the Sunday Telegraph, too, no longer covers the arts.