Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Welcome back to 2010

Okay, okay, so here's your probable question - "Miss Pearson - Where the *heck* were you?" (I'm doing you now. Excuse the funny accent.) "I only read this blog because you post relatively often, it's not for the quality, oh no, it's for the consistency, because obviously you prioritize one over the other - and suddenly you swan off like it ain't even a deal, and you just stop posting for a month. So you know what I did? I walked out on you. In fact. I'm not even reading you now. I'm not. This is just you typing imagining what I would say because I, seriously, seriously, stopped reading when you stopped posting. How do you like that? Just a voice in your head from now on. That's all you can expect from me." Oh boy, that's horrifying. Can you stop now?

Right, basically for those of you who don't know me personally and therefore reasonably wondered what was up, I went on a break from what I (briefly - thank goodness) termed the leisurenet. Which means any use of the internet that is primarily with the objective of wasting time - which I counted as facebook, wikipedia trolling, twitter, but not email, because I use that for work. What was odd is that I had to ask myself whether this blog counted as work or leisure - and I think nicely for both of us, it's leisure. So no fun until now, dear friends. But now I'm back and ready to rock.

So - let's start with what I've seen since 2010 - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello, and Innocence at the Arcola.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - let's put it this way, on the scale from awesome to not awesome, the rating for this one is definitely not awesome. NA. The set was distracting, the acting was poorly directed (I often felt that the actors were saying lines without exploring the meaning behind those lines. I hate to be a stickler for actioning - which means assigning every line an actionin the rehearsal room, but in a pressure cooker play I'm convinced it is essential that the audience feels a conversation has directive, and when a director doesn't use actioning it's always more obvious than when they do) and the space, a gilt proscenium arch, made the play itself feel tired, which is unfortunate, because Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar showed me that a revival could be absolutely fresh. Not so with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - it was stale as your grandmother's attic. Everything interesting was hidden in a corner somewhere or covered in dust.

One fun thing that did come out of the experience was based on a suggestion of Andy Field's - making a piece based on a classic you haven't seen about what you think probably happens in the play. My version of the play was not unlike Hedda Gabler - expect it in the next post.

Now on to Innocence - which does rate as Awesome. Why is it that Germans and Americans are much more consistently playful with form in text based shows? With the exception of Martin Crimp, Tim Crouch and Anthony Nielsen, I just feel like I want to see plays in the UK give the audience more credit in terms of how far we are willing to follow a story, and how absurd we are willing to let it get. I think that contemporary audiences are craving more play in their plays. The excitement in the crowd when the characters in Innocence started narrating each other's thoughts was palpable. We were confused - yes - a little confused - but we were engaged, having fun, and always confident that the piece would reach a satisfying conclusion, which it definitely did. I would highly recommend both my writerly and non-writerly friends go see this as an example of how well risks can pay off in a piece of writing. I'm just so tired of realism I'm practically unconscious. Innocence sounded alarm bells. Thank goodness.

Okay those are my theatre thoughts for 2010 so far. I still maintain that I don't really blog about theatre, except in 2010, when I sometimes I do.

A scene in which I nearly commit to New York

With the Under the Radar festival at the Public Theatre in full swing it seemed particularly apt that I post this little nugget on the blog as the first offering of 2010. I wrote this just before leaving New York city after a week's stay at the end of November last year.

New York and I are walking hand in hand. We come upon Penn Station.

Me: So. This is my stop.

NY: Sorry?

Me: I’ve got to go home. I’ve got a bus to catch.

NY: Waitaminute, you’re going?

Me: Well, yeah. I told you I was only here for a few –

NY: You’re not staying?

Me: No, I mean, I’ve got a bus to –

NY: I know all about your bus.

Me: So?

NY: It’s just – like – I was so nice to you.

Me: Well, yeah. We had a great time.

NY: I mean, I’m usually a real bitch to people, did you know that?

Me: I – I’ve heard, but - It’s just, this was never meant to be a permanent - I always told you I lived somewhere else

NY: Yeah that bitch London.

Me: She’s not that bitch, she’s my bitch.

NY: She’s emotionally abusing you. It’s such a joke. You can’t even see it.

Me: That may be true, but –

NY: You never stop complaining about her. How do you think she’d like it if she knew all the horrible things you say about her when she’s not around?

Me: She does know. She’s okay with it. That’s sort of the way we roll.

NY: And besides, everybody likes me better.

Me: Well, I’m not everybody.

(Pause. NY takes this in.) Whatever. Do you really think I need you? I’ve got the most famous and powerful people in the world at my beck and call.

Me: I know.

NY: So I don’t need you.

Me: I know.

NY: And I’m usually a real bitch, did you know that? You should be kissing my feet for showing you such a good time.

Me: You said that.

NY: Bowing down and kissing them.

I kiss NY’s hand.

NY: But… you said you loved me?

I do. And I’ll miss you. Thank you for this.

NY: Well that’s fine cause I’ll forget all about you.

Me: I know you will. But thanks all the same.