按：感谢[牟森]向我推荐了《纽约时报》剧评家弗兰克-里奇（FRANK RICH ），读他的文章才发现国内写的剧评（包括我自己写的）都是垃圾。《尼古拉斯-尼科尔贝》是狄更斯的小说，1981年被皇家莎士比亚剧团搬上舞台，成为一出经典剧目。
STAGE: ‘NICHOLAS NICKLEBY’ ARRIVES AS A TWO-PART, 8 1 2 HOUR DRAMA 《尼古拉斯-尼科尔贝》来了：一出分上下部、8个半小时的戏剧
By FRANK RICH Published: October 5, 1981, Monday
AND so, after eight-and-a-half hours of ‘‘The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,’’ we go home with an indelible final image. The time is Christmas, and a grand Victorian happy ending is in full swing. Carolers are strewn three stories high about the stage, singing ‘‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.’’ Families have been reunited, couples joined together, plot ends neatly tied. And our young picaresque hero, Nicholas, has vanquished the two enemies who have stalked him for five acts - his usurious uncle, Ralph, and the cruel Yorkshire schoolmaster, Wackford Squeers.
But is all right with the world? Not entirely. For as Nicholas sings along with everyone else, he spots, crouching far downstage center, a starving boy. At first our hero tries to ignore the sight, but he can’t. So he walks over to the youth, lifts him up into the cradle of his arms, and then stands to face the audie nce.
As the singing and lights dim, Nicholas stares and stares at us - his eyes at once welling with grief and anger -and what do we feel? What we feel, I think, is the penetrating gaze of Charles Dickens, reaching out to us from the 19th century, imploring us to be like his hero at this moment - to be kinder, better, more generous than we are. ‘‘If men would behave decently, the world would be decent’’ - that’s how Orwell distilled Dickens’s moral vision. It’s a vision that can still inflame us - and does - at the very end of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s marathon dramatization of Dickens’ third novel.
This climax is one of maybe a dozen such moments in this production, which officially arrived yesterday at the Plymouth. Working with 39 members of a great acting company, two ceaselessly imaginative directors, Trevor Nunn and John Caird, periodically reveal that they can indeed translate Dickens into pure theater. To show how ‘‘wealthy and poor stood side by side’’ in a nascent industrial world, for instance, they give us a horrifying, mimed image of lower-class humanity pressed flat against the window of a restaurant where the wealthy dine. When Nicholas is swallowed up by the city’s ‘‘huge aggregate of darkness and sorrow,’’ the directors choreograph a mob that all but eats him alive. Such staging techniques are not new in this post-Brechtian era -one thinks of Paul Sills and the Becks - but they are at times exquisitely consolidated here to root out the soul of Dickens’s book, and to recreate the cinematic techniques (from cross-cutting to dissolves) of his narrative.
结局可能仅是这部昨天正式在普利茅斯上演的这部大制作中数十个高潮之一。两位想像力不绝的导演，Trevor Nunn 和 John Caird与39位伟大演出剧团的成员合作，如期证明了他们确实能把狄更斯变成纯戏剧。例如，为了表现在工业革命初期，”穷人与富人站在一起”，他们视觉化出一段令人恐惧的哑剧，富人吃饭，穷人扒着餐馆的窗户在看。 当尼古拉斯被城市里的”黑暗与悲伤”所吞噬的时候，导演用舞蹈的形式表现出一群暴徒在活活吃他。诸如此类的舞台技巧在后布莱希特时代并不新，Paul Sills 和 Becks都用过，但是在这里确能准确地把狄更斯小说里的灵魂连根拔起，并且在叙事中对电影技巧（从平行剪辑到淡出）进行了再创造。
The novel’s atmosphere - that dense and sweeping social canvas of a Victorian universe - also receives its due. With the aid of unbeatable costume and lighting designers, John Napier and David Hersey, the directors effortlessly move us from teeming London to the dark gloom of Yorkshire to the bucolic countryside of Devonshire. The set consists only of platforms, scaffolding, cagelike balconies and ratty bric-a-brac, but it extends by catwalks and planks through both levels of the theater. When the actors fan out into every nook and cranny -sometimes merging together to impersonate coaches or even walls - bodies and light sculpture the large space until a vanished England falls into place.
小说的气氛-维多利亚时期城中压抑的社会帷幕-也得到了恰当的表现。依赖不可匹敌的化妆师与灯光设计师John Napier and David Hersey之力，导演毫不费力地把我们从繁华的伦敦带到了幽暗的约克郡，接着进入田园牧歌的达文郡。舞台道具不过是些平台、脚手架、笼形阳台，还有耗子出没的老古董，但是通过安装栈道和木板，舞台延伸到整个剧场的两侧。演员们从每个角落和缝隙进出，有的甚至拼在一起用扮演沙发或者墙，形体和灯光在巨大的空间里雕刻出一个消失的英格兰。
What does not fall into place, I must report, is a sustained evening of theater. We get an outsized event that sometimes seems in search of a shape. While the high points of this ‘‘Nicholas Nickleby’’ are Himalayan indeed, they are separated by dull passages which clog the production’s arteries. The problem is not the length of work per se - it’s the use of that length. In adapting a long novel to the stage, the British playwright David Edgar has chosen a strategy that is as questionable as it is courageous.
Unlike so many stage and film adapters of Dickens, Mr. Edgar has gone whole hog: he gives us at least a glimpse of every plot development a nd character (over 50 of substance and 200 altogether) in the origin al book. But how is this possible, even in an adaptationof this lengt h? Many of the characters in Dickens’s novels - especially th e subsidiary ones - are not revealed through dialogue oraction, but b y the steady accretion of the writer’s vitally observed details. In t he theater, those details can only be conveyed if each actor is give n enough stage time to communicate them through performance - or if a narrator reads Dickens’s descriptions aloud. While Mr. Edg ar does use narration here (distributed cleverly among the entire ca st), he generally uses it to fill in plot rather than to supply cha racterizations (except in the case of a few major figures). And eight-and-a-half hours is not enough time for all the minor charact ers to occupy center stage as they can in a 800-page novel.
So Mr. Edgar gives some of them short shrift. The milliner Manatalini and her profligate husband, the Keswigs family, the cameoartist Miss La Creevy and the accountant Tim Linkinwater - among others - receive television’s Masterpiece Theater treatment: they appear in proper costume, in animated tableaus, but they whisk away so fast that they blur. The difficulty is not that they don’t measure up to the book - that’s not required - but that they don’t add up to anything much at all, whether one has read Dickens or not.
因此上，埃德加先生只给了他们很短的临终忏悔时间。卖帽子小贩Manatalini和他放荡的丈夫，Keswigs，Miss La Creevy 和 Tim Linkinwater会计，还有其他人，受到了”电视大剧场”中才有的待遇–合适的化妆，生动活现的表演，但是他们却一晃而过。困难不在于他们没有与书中的内容相配–那是不必要的；困难在于他们没有为这出戏增加任何东西，无论观众是否读过狄更斯。
Individually, their brief scenes aren’t bothersome, but, collectively, they pile up as dead weight - especially in the fourhour part one. There are two theoretical ways to solve this dilemma: to make ‘‘Nicholas Nickleby’’ twice as long as it is, or to cut some of these people out and take care of their plot functions (if any) by adding to the spoken narration. The latter, far more preferable route can be accomplished - if a scenarist is willing to exercise fully his right of esthetic selectivity.
When it is dealing with its major characters - those that do have the time to reveal all their human twists -‘‘Nicholas Nickleby’’ is far more effective. (Part Two moves faster precisely because the action increasingly narrows its focus to the principal players). And the cast fixes some of these roles with images that will endure as long as we can remember them. To the protagonist - a lesser Dickens hero, who, unlike Pip or David Copperfield, doesn’t really grow much during the narrative - Roger Rees brings so much flaring sensitivity and intelligence that he ta kes the goo out of the young man’s righteousness. Similar miracles are worked on his best friends. Though at times overmilked for curtain scenes , David Threlfall’s Smike - a frail, stuttering wastrel whose lam e body is bent almost into a Z - is the perfect apotheosis of those oppressed souls Dickenschampioned. As the tipsy clerk Newman Noggs, a fallen gentleman afraid of his own every move, Edward Petherbr idge elevates a comic type with rending poetry.
当这出戏处理主要人物时，这些人物有足够的时间揭示人性的扭曲，尼古拉斯-尼科尔贝的效果远远更好。（下部的进行更快了，因为活动都集中到主要人物身上）。一些演员所展示的角色能够在我们心中存留很久，只要我们还能想起这些人。主人公，狄更斯小说中次一等的英雄（不像PIP和大卫科波菲尔），在故事中并没有怎么成长。Roger Rees为他带来了太多光艳的敏感和知性，并从正义中去除了这个年轻人身上的感伤。同样的奇迹发生在他的好朋友们身上。David Threlfall饰演的Smike虚弱、口吃、窝囊废，弯曲的身体呈Z形，是一个完美的配角，代表了狄更斯小说中那些受压的灵魂。Newman Noggs，一个醉意朦胧的职员，曾经跌伤于是害怕自己迈出的每一步， Edward Petherbridge用一种富有诗意的喜剧形式表现了他。
The two major villains are equally impressive; they never devolve into mere heavies. Alun Armstrong finds Breughelesque comedy in the sadistic schoolmaster, and John Woodvine turns Uncle Ralph into a near-Shakespearean tragic figure. When this cool, imperious businessman must finally confront the humane impulses he’s suppressed for a lifetime, we see a man unravel to the terrifying point where the audience’s loathing must give way to a compassionate embrace.
两个主要反角都同样让人难忘，他们从没有被消解成简单的坏人。Alun Armstrong 在虐待狂校长身上找到了Breughelesque式的喜剧效果。而John Woodvine差不多把拉尔夫大叔变成了一个莎士比亚悲剧人物。当这个冷酷傲慢的商人最终不得不面对自己压抑了一生的人性时，我们看到了一名演员演绎出一个令人震惊的点，在这个点上观众的厌恶必须化成同情的拥抱。
Through no fault of the actors or Mr. Edgar, some of the saintly characters are not so memorable. Nicholas’s beloved Madeline, his sister Kate, and his benificent saviors, the Cheerybles, don’t register in the novel, either. In the secondary roles, most of the company handles its multiple assignments as sharply as the script allows. Not suprisingly for a man of the stage, Mr. Edgar gives the fullest treatment by far to those supporting characters who belong to the fleabag acting troupe that Nicholas joins in Portsmouth. These provincial theatrical hams are all hilariously rendered, and their bowdlerized performance of ‘‘Romeo and Juliet’’ ends Part One on a high parodistic note that echoes the mechanicals’ ‘‘Pyramus and Thisbe’’ in ‘‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’’
Interestingly enough, both the ‘‘Romeo and Juliet’’ and the production’s brilliant crowning moment are the creations of Mr. Edgar. One wishes he had taken more such liberties, for these inventions are more Dickensian in spirit than many of the scenes in which he tries to be literally faithful to the book. Yet if this mammoth show recreates the breadth and plot of a Victorian novel without consistently sustaining its exhilarating mixture of pathos and comedy, one must treasure those instances when it does rise to the full power of Dickens’s art. The rest of the time ‘‘Nicholas Nickleby’’ is best enjoyed - and, on occasion, endured - as a spectacular display of theatrical craft.
A Vanished England THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, by Charles Dickens; adapted by David Edgar; co-directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird; assisted by Leon Rubin; music and lyrics by Stephen Oliver; musical director, Donald Johnston; designed by John Napier and Dermot Hayes; costumes by Mr. Napier; lighting by David Hersey; American production designed in association with Neil Peter Jampolis, sets and costumes; Be verly Emmons, lighting; Richard T. Fitzgeral d, sound. Presented by James M. Nederlander, The Shubert Organization, Elizabeth I. McCann and Nelle Nugent. At the Plymouth Thea ter, 236 West 45th Street. Nicholas Nick leby ……………………..Roger Rees Kate Nickleby ………………………Emily Richard Ralph Nickleb y ……………………..John Woodvine Mrs. Nickleby ……………………Priscilla Morgan WITH: Alun Ar mstrong, Christopher Benjamin, Suzanne Bert ish, Sharon Bower, Janet Dale, Jeffrey Dench , Ian East, Nicholas Gecks, Alan Gill, Patrick Godf rey, Lucy Gutteridge, Cathryn Harrison, And rew Hawkins, Rose Hill, Roderick Horn, Lila K aye, Teddy Kempner, Timothy Kightley, Sh irley King, John McEnery, Ian McNeice, Wil liam Maxwell, David Lloyd Mere- dith, Sally Nesbitt, Bob Peck, Edward Petherbridge, Clyde Pollitt, Stephen Rashbrook, Christopher R avenscroft, Hubert Rees, Richard Simpson, Mar k Tandy, David Threlfall, Hilary Townley and Thelma Whiteley.