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I begin somewhere where work ends.
We have moved from Dionysus, through Orpheus, to Adonis and
each of us like you
has died once,
each of us like you
stands apart, like you
fit to be worshipped
I have stopped eating dairy (except when drunk or hungover which, in effect, means I still eat dairy). I have seen the House of Bernarda Alba set in الشرق الاوسط (which worked better than Bernarda Alba set in Pakistan but, please, what would be so terribly wrong with a Bernarda Alba set in an ordinary Spanish village?) and a flamenco version of Fuenteovejuna (which was so good I think I might give up theatre for dance). I have been inside parliament and been sat next to Lord Howe – that was grand (Hanging out with lords in the day and wiccan high priests in the night? Well, that’s just how I roll). I have listened to Roger Scruton talk about the supremacy of European culture (as you suspect he would); A.S Byatt talk about Ragnarök and other things I like; Richard Holloway talk about faith and doubt and speaking in tongues. This was also the week I decided that mixing every kind of alcoholic drink that exists on the planet would be a good thing to do at my boss’ birthday party – went down a treat. Coincidentally, at the same party, I realised my true vocation in a grande dame who, sat in a regency chair, was holding court throughout the night: “daaahling, do you remember Paris?” “Hockney? Well, daaahling I knew him in the 60’s”. Yes, such aspirations.
(Waterhouse, Adonis; H.D. Adonis)
I went to a wedding on Wednesday. Technically, not a real wedding but a theatre wedding. Blood Wedding to be more precise. I’m in general quite sceptic towards this Lorca-play, mostly because of the one scene in the woods where three woodcutters, who appears to be under some kind of hallucinatory influence, are followed by a talking Moon and a Beggar Woman who is not to be mentioned in the cast-list. I’m very suspicious towards this kind of hocus-pocus in the middle of an otherwise realistic play.
For a classic playwright like Lorca to be played at Southwark Playhouse, you know to expect a re-invention of some sort. The usual grandstand was gone and instead there was a pell-mell collection of chairs spread out across the room. We were not the usual audience either, we were the wedding guests. Equipped with wedding programmes, we were invited to join in the action, encouraged to both sing and dance. I’m very fond of meta-theatrical concepts like this, bridging the gap between the stage and the audience, and I’m also a big fan of sing-along on all sorts of occasions; karaoke, church singing, football chanting and drinking songs. It’s the only time you can get away with not knowing the words and/or singing off key. Partly because most people are not very good at singing either and partly because the important thing is not how it sounds but that you participate. So for me it worked. Unfortunately for the actors, who had a decent amount of singing to do on their own, it did not. Lorca put a lot of poetry into Blood Wedding, not an awful lot came out of it that night. It was all submerged in confused/confusing accents, high-pitched wailing and hooded costumes.
What did work however, was the move from a rather primitive setting to present time (motor bikes instead of horses, scrap yard instead of vineyard etc) and the emphasis on knife-crime. I never thought of Blood Wedding in that sense but of course, Lorca was quite the pacifist, was he not? These last lines did come through, thank god, it’s so beautiful:
With a little knife
that hardly fits into the hand;
but which neatly enters
the astonished flesh
and stops at the place
where lies trembling, enmeshed
the dark root of the scream
Tonight; England People Very Nice at the National, for which I queued up for at 8 o’clock this morning. As the weather is wonderful today it was rather pleasant, even if bloody early. And I did get terrific seats for £10 each. Have to do this more often, am terribly fed up with high altitudes. Nobody puts baby in the corner.