Posts Tagged ‘theatre news’

where now: when critics relent and punks dance

In life elsewhere on June 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Body Map

The second of my strictly irregular surveys of theatreland semi-news starts with the triumphant return of two culture heroes – one of them is, admittedly, dead as anything, but that shouldn’t stop us celebrating on Terence Rattigan’s behalf. The NT’s production of After the Dance is currently being positively smothered in polite cuddles. Meanwhile, Michael Clark is concluding his latest tour and giving long-sighted interviews over his shoulder. The picture in the header is from long-time costumier collaborators Bodymap – and, for those less familiar, I now present two videos of his post-punk crossover work…

‘The Shivering Man’, music courtesy of Wire’s Bruce Gilbert, powder FX and micro-moves of Clark’s own genius.

…and The Fall live, with Michael Clark dancers. Bez they are not, and the prospect of radical band plus avant troupe now feels like a curio, a path not taken (the even more integrated ‘Kurious Oranj’ show here).

Meanwhile, Tricycle are halfway through their ambitious Women, Power and Politics series of events including specially-commissioned plays, documentary screenings and an exhibition. Make it a success and we’ll hopefully see a lot more of these very self-reinforcing, complicatedly-engaged seasons.

Last, I have been a beast in other people’s comment boxes recently. It feels weird to link to them, but feeling weird is a sign you’re doing something new (if not necessarily right), so… a) me on plays-as-literature, b) on regional theatre / coverage, c) aaand…

Seems to me another happy symptom of the shift in theatre away from plays which claim to anatomise a very defined individual via rooted psychology. When a character is written this way, it’s an attempt to illustrate Freud’s biology -as-destiny (plus past-equals-future). The achievement is in  the ingenuity and beauty of their clockwork mechanism (exposed accommodatingly to the audience). The play is the process of solving the character – it’s a modernist whodunnit – the further we move on faster the batter.

Refusing biographical specifics will back to the older, more open forms. And, if ‘human universals’ are just as suspect, what we need is theatre-makers to worry less about representing The Truth, accepting no one of us knows The Truth (whose truth?) and approaching the work as a genuinely experimental process. This means a string of irresponsible chemical weddings – gender-shifts, narrative shuffles, perspective-reversals. We have to accept that our initial unexamined ideas, views and even questions are often banal – it’s in joining dots which look initially distant that we often make the real insights.

Which is to say, the more radical our fantasies, the more they follow a real scientific method, the better the chances of us hitting on new (lower case, y’see?) truths, the closer we get to an art as open as life.


where now: funding, forts, futures, pasts

In life elsewhere on May 25, 2010 at 6:13 am


Thinking about how to shunt Subjectiviste forward, I’m adding performance video compilation posts (under the recurring title some productions) and stories from theatreland (links to news, reviews, interviews, etc – as where now). These will flank the ongoing core studies of plays and playwrights (expect Genet, Lorca, Churchill nextish), and I’m hoping I can mange one of each a week (hopelessly hopeful…)

Starting with economics, an American’s view of UK funding culture was slight, but triggered the kind of mutinous banquet that comment boxes can be at their best – my high point: “…the arguments have to be about what kind of civilised country we want to be.” (JHolloway)

In the real world, Brighton Festival entered it’s third or terminal week and, as one of the judges of the best new play in fest award I saw many, many pieces that I cannot talk about. But I am going to glance toward The Arts Desk’s article on I Am a Warehouse because I got to spend an evening exploring Newhaven Fort which was more fun than blogging by a factor of how-long-have-you-got?

Love or hate him, it’s time to say goodbye (or, um, get out, I guess) to The Times’ Benedict Nightingale, who wrote a quite-sweet-actually last column looking over his career (meanwhile, The Stage surveyed the position of the critic in 2010).

George Hunka angled David Mamet’s new book, Theatre, as a prism to scout the old master’s recent right turn and how that might tie to the wider mindset of American theatre circa now.

Finally, I wish I could have gone along to the ICA’s Futures and Pasts symposium, which hosted, and probably prodded at, possibly tickled, some of the wildest minds in live art. Read (or hear) Chris Goode’s thirty one-minute lectures for an idea (well, thirty ideas). Finally plus one: in a similar vein, why not mainline primary evidence from Forest Fringe’s Mayfest Microfest page? Energising times.