Back to theatre, this time, and now for a list of the plays we’ve seen that recently have inspired us, or which we’ve generally thought were interesting/all-round damn brilliant.
The Drawer Boy, by Canadian playwright Michael Healey, which was directed by Eleanor Rhode at the Finborough recently, was a masterclass in the potential of a less-is-more aesthetic. The design dealt with the problem of creating a sense of the stark vastness of a Canadian farm in the intimate space of the Finborough auditorium by delicately evoking, rather than recreating, the play’s location with a series of upright posts and a blue/green floor-cloth that conjured up both the colour of the Canadian plains and the idea, which is so prominent in the play, of maps and map-markings.
She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange, by Amelia Roper, performed as a rehearsed reading as part of the OVNV TS Eliot US/UK Exchange was a fantastic script and wonderfully sly interrogation of contemporary mores. What was particularly exciting was the writer’s playful scalpelling of the language we use, and which subtexts we choose to acknowledge, and which we choose to suppress.
Minsk, by Belarus Free Theatre, at the Young Vic was a really interesting piece by a totally amazing company who remind you of the indubitable value of theatre urgently to question and evaluate the different societies in which we live. It’s sometimes a little easy to forget, with the wealth of productions on in London, that theatre is foremost for and about society, rather than for and about itself.
Coming up, we’re looking forward to Richard III at the Globe with Mark Rylance, which I’m exorbitantly excited about because (please dampen the cries of horror here) I’ve still never seen him perform; A Doll’s House at the Young Vic and Philadelphia, Here I Come at the Donmar. I am a sucker for Friel but all too rarely have the chance to see any of his plays live, so it’ll be great to be immersed again in his beautiful, heart-rending dialogue.
And finally, last night I saw Cape Town Opera’s Porgy and Bess at the ENO. To my ears the whole thing sounded indiscriminately wonderful. I’ve since read a review that questions the technical qualities of some of the singing, but the piece as a whole, clamorous and energetic, was a really great first dip into the world of opera.