Wrights of Play
I joined the playwrights for their lecture this morning. (I'm an honorary writer, it seems.) On most occasions there is more conversation than lecture, which is definitely a good thing. An interesting point was raised: Do we ever really see, or read, or even write plays that take us to the pinnacle, that exemplify all that they are capable of? Or, rather, do we simply keep up with our attempts in the knowledge that some grander good is possible (having seen glimpses of it), even if we never reach such a summit? We may recognize moments of sublime truth in bits and pieces, and so we continue to chase that elusive completion of the whole.
It is that reaching that keeps us writing and creating, that striving that pulls us in new directions and allows new tactics, new voices to emerge.
I traveled to Trafalgar Studios this evening. Theatre has now become my prime means of relaxation: the thing to do when I want to turn off my echoing thoughts (well, that and watching What Not to Wear/ Project Runway...*sigh*...such a weakness for fashion-related programming. Please don't judge me adversely.) Colin Teevan has been on my list of contemporary writers to read for quite some time. Instead of reading, I listened to a little under 2 hours of incredibly melodious and textural speech, his written words flowing through the mouth of actor Greg Hicks. In Missing Persons: Four Tragedies and Roy Keane, Teevan reveals his poetic and rhythmic voice by giving us 5 monologues . The variety and depth of each separate character was an unraveling mystery to behold. And the space had accepted that same textural sensitivity as the text, with smoke, flame, wood, leaves, fabric, chains, water, smells,....every detail in place. Teevan himself describes it: "Missing Persons are stories of modern men in crisis, alienated and isolated from society: in other words, apt men to find in a black box."
This morning we discussed the notion that every play was in fact political. As was the process of writing one, of sending out a message into the world. You can't say anything interesting about human beings unless you are engaged with the world at large.
We've been grappling with our entry point into verbatim theatre and it's political/social responsibility. "Issues" are daunting, but people aren't. Just read Hare's "The Permanent Way" for proof that ANY subject or historical event has a human connection that should be explored.
And shouldn't we do our part to stir up a consciousness? To a degree, we want to be confrontational; asking questions should create a reaction of some sort. And perhaps we can start to inspire heated debates in the foyer post-performance. It's a hard thing to do nowadays, or at least it seems that way. We each wrote down a list of the five things we considered to be the most pressing issues in the world today, and what was #1?
(Getting someone to care. Drawing people out of their reality-tv bubbles. Educating ourselves. Becoming involved in politics. Looking past our own kinespheres. Finding a relationship to the bigger picture. Taking responsibility.)
Missing Persons: Four Tragedies and Roy Keane continues at the Trafalgar Studios through 25 February.