Tuesday, 27 March 2012

World Theatre Day

As it's World Theatre Day, I really thought I ought to do a very quick blog. Well, to be honest, after writing in the sun all morning, I was feeling a bit sleepy but my mind is a little active and the nap I promised myself has been foregone. I'm sorry.

So what to write about on this special (?) day? I mean, it can't be that special because no one sent me a card to mark the occasion. I've received no flowers and I'm pretty sure I've seen no mention of it on the news. In fact, the only reason I realised that it was supposedly today is because I saw it on Twitter (of course.) So I thought that maybe I should write about how little we seem to care about theatre but that seems a bit sad, especially on such a gorgeously sunny day, and also because even I sometimes get a little tired of being negative all the time. So instead, I thought I'd write about a few of my theatre highlights from my life. Excited? You better be.

The first play I will always mention when someone asks about a standout show is Light by Complicite. I saw this way back when I was in 6th form when I still didn't quite realise how magical theatre could be. I remember going into the theatre being annoyed that I had ended up next to one of the tutors when really all I wanted to do was to be sat as far away from them as possible so I could carry on chatting to my friends. However, as the lights went down in the Almeida, I was transfixed by a tale of a village ravaged by an illness. The use of puppetry and staging was something that I'd never witnessed before and, since then, every other play I've seen has been measured up against this mesmerising show.

While we're still with my 17 year old self, let's look beyond the dubious bob I decided to get and the dodgy jeans and look at another play I first witnessed during this time. The Woman In Black. For anyone who has ever seen this, I think we'll all agree that this play showed us just what can be achieved on stage. Never did I realise just how terrifying theatre could be. I mean, I don't know why I was surprised just how frightening real people could be when they're right in front of you but it surprised me just as much as every single surprise in this play. It's a play that caused me to sleep with the light on for three weeks and one that I would gladly take anyone to see. I've now seen it three times having dragged other people along and I get such delight watching their distraught little faces as scare after fright after horrificness happens on stage.

And now, as I seem to be working in chronological order, we have another excellent play which has stuck with me ever since. The Pillowman. I first saw this when a reasonably unknown David Tennant was in it. It's all about a writer who is interogated about the gruesome stories he has written and how they mirror a number of child murders. It's grisly, funny and utterly magical. And another play that I've seen several times as I continuously insist on dragging others, trying to make them enjoy all the things that I like.

And finally we move into the heady days of last year's Edinburgh festival when T dragged me to see a show by the theatre company Theatre Ad Infinitum. He'd seen a show by them the year before and was fascinated by it so on one of our rare afternoons off, we went to see their new play, Translunar Paradise. Played with only two actors and an accordion player, it looks at the process of grief. This play is, without doubt, the most moving piece of theatre I have ever witnessed. For a play that contains no words, it's unbelievably touching and if you don't have tears streaming down your face throughout much of it then you have a heart of stone and a soul of iron.

So there we have it. My humble opinion on what's good. I apologise that it's not full of whinges and whines and complaints. We'll save that all up for tomorrow. And now, to celebrate World Theatre Day, I'm off to the cinema. Hooray!

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