The Playgoer: Time for a break?

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Time for a break?

Need to catch up on much other business over the weekend, so will try, try not to blog.

Barring any sudden interesting announcements, of course.

Meanwhile, if you catch any interesting shows or want to share some cool theatre-related links, please drop them right here in Comments.

I'll start things off with this, another British appreciation of Harley Granville-Barker, from Lyric Hammersmith director David Farr. In passing he paints us an optimistic picture of a contemporary London theatre scene we can only dream about here:

In the past five years, London theatres such as the Lyric Hammersmith, the Young Vic and the National, and regional theatres such as the Bristol Old Vic, the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Theatre Royal Plymouth have caused a massive revival in theatre's popularity by refocusing on what it does naturally: the live, immediate, dangerous, collective and ephemeral experience. Our aim is to produce new, urban, diverse work that speaks to a modern audience. I emphasise modern, not young, because what is clear from the response to shows such as Nights at the Circus and Jerry Springer-The Opera is that when one gets this right, older audiences flock to the shows, and the holy grail of a crowd from varied backgrounds is gloriously achieved....

I think that far from being threatened by this collaborative way of working, the writer will emerge stronger. We are already seeing this in the relationship between the writer David Eldridge and the director Rufus Norris: their collaboration on Festen was the great hit of 2004 and has directly led to a hugely ambitious new piece for the National, Market Boy. In the autumn the Lyric will present Pool (No Water), a new collaboration between physical movement company Frantic Assembly and the writer Mark Ravenhill. There is an explosion of possibility in our form right now, and what we don't need is anyone pulling us back by the reins.

See you on May Day.


Larissa said...

not blog for a few days?!?! but....but....checking your blog five times a day will get so boring without your constant updates! I'll have start reading, like, the Times or Voice or some other such tediious rag, full of non-theatre-related "news" if it can be called that!

PeonInChief said...

Thank you, Playgoer. I may finally get the laundry done.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to put forth a thesis.

On and on critics rant and rave about Well. This lovely, thoughtful, funny, warm, human play about relationships. And yet audiences are staying away. "Why oh why" cry the critics.

My thesis is this: only in as smug a country as America -- where critics are privileged members of a blue state elite -- would this play be seen as really important.

Most people live in a country at war, a country in the grip of a theocracy that borders on fascism in its attempt to control reality and extend power. You might forgive them if they do not want to see a sweet mother-daughter drama right now -- if they feel it does not really apply to their situation.

Need I point out how Stuff Happens in thriving?

Or the crowds lining up to see Rachel Corrie on the West End?

Neither may be a great play but at least they acknowledge the world we live in as one that is dangerous and in a precarious situation.

I think to most people Well sounds maudlin and dull. Only the privileged elite who think The Daily Show means that the republic will be okay can sit back and enjoy a show so devoid from the contemporary political moment.

Anonymous said...

read detached for devoid, above

Anonymous said...

ok, anonymous, point taken re: the above. but if that's the case, why the success of three days of rain, wicked, jersey boys, mamma mia, etc., etc.?

also, i don't think critics have been saying well is "important," just that's a good play (which is, imo, a rarity).

ps-- i haven't seen well yet, will be doing so in the near future.

Anonymous said...

3 Days of Rain = Julia, the biggest movie star in the world

Wicked, Jersey, Mamma = musicals

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'd take you more seriously if you weren't so hellbent on attacking the "smug", "privileged", "blue-state elite" (what are you exactly, a monster-truck driver from Alabama, because calling our situation a "theocracy that borders on fascism" sounds pretty blue-state to me). Which "blue-state elite" are you complaining about--the one that knows things are awful but manages to express it through means of which you clearly disapprove, like "The Daily Show"? The one that leaves room in their brains for praising work by artists that isn't explicitly contemporarily political? Guess what? I can have a political conscience, hate the war and our corrupt and soulless government and be an activist and I'd STILL rather see "Well" that a politically "conscious" p.o.s. like "Embedded". And I'd argue that there's more to be learned from "Well" about America. Lighten up.

Aaron Riccio said...

Also, an important fact to consider is that "Stuff Happens" isn't playing a huge theater, is it? (I don't know about Rachel Corrie.) When "Well" was playing off-Broadway, wasn't it constantly sold out? And wouldn't it still be selling out, as another blogger pointed out, if the theater it's at now wasn't so darn big? I would think people who aren't smug, blue liberals are even LESS likely to go see a show like "Stuff Happens" than a show like "Well." After all, isn't a large problem with this country that over 24% of the population still thinks Bush is a strong leader?

freespeechlover said...

I'm glad there are two anonymouses; otherwise I'd be worried that someone on this blog was schizophrenic.