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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.

AboutTommy


Southwark Playhouse; love it.

It is a little bit tricky to locate, but a real treasure once you find it. Epitomizing independent fringe theatre, it is truly original both in its location and repertoire. It is the only theatre that I actually want to live in and a shame that they are moving to Elephant & Castle. Currently it is located underneath Hell-On-Earth aka London Bridge’s Platform 1. Inside the railway vault the brickwork and murky air makes my imagination run unusually romantic and it feels a little bit like being part of a revolting underground culture movement á la Swing Kids. The bar is a wicked place to be; they have a real confession booth standing in a corner, need I say more? So, great venue, great atmosphere but what about the show?

About Tommy is a Danish play (Om Tommy) by Thor Björn Krebs, which together with Europamestrene in 2004 gave him a double nomination for Årets Reumert as Best Playwright. It tells the story of Tommy who is a Danish UN-soldier placed at the centre of violent conflicts during the war in the Balkans in the 1990’s. The absurdity of war is exposed as the regulations of the UN Protection Force limits the soldiers to do little else but to observe the brutality of human evil. The cast impressed as several roles were split between a trio of two men and one woman. Tommy’s psychological development is given from the beginning, in the same way that it is in most recent war films, but a captivating performance makes it nonetheless engaging to follow. Tommy’s parents are made up by two dolls with pre-recorded performances projected onto their heads, which I thought was quite clever. It formed an illusionary view of that which is us; the people at home who can never come close to understand what war is like, making Tommy’s experience so much more real and affecting. The parents aside, I felt there was an excess of technology used on the stage. Call me old-fashion but I strongly object to the television screens planted randomly all over the set and Tommy’s video projections on the sand-bag wall. Maybe it helps create a documentary feeling, as the play is based on interviews and documents from the war, but I only found it distracting and annoying for my eyes. I don’t know, maybe I need glasses.

The effect of About Tommy is that you become painfully aware of the enormous breach between our ordinary, everyday secure lives and the terror and inhumanity of war, which I reduce to a Sky News feature, but is in fact other people’s reality. And even though this is nothing new, there is a constant need to be reminded. The paradox created by UN’s need to stay neutral also feels suitably current as the ongoing UN Racism conference is turning into complete shambles.

Running next at the Southwark Playhouse is The Exquisite Corpse, and it sounds well exciting.

on twitter

  • RT @artinsociety: Albrecht Dürer died #OTD 1528, almost 500 years ago, but his studies of animals and bugs live on ~ here’s his finely-obse… 10 months ago
  • RT @TheSyriaCmpgn: These photos show the devastating conditions Syrian refugees are facing in Lebanon after a brutal storm left their tents… 1 year ago
  • RT @jeremycorbyn: I, Daniel Blake will be shown on TV for the first time, tonight at 9.45pm on BBC 2. It shows the human cost of this Tory… 1 year ago

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