Plays by Deborah Freeman

I have completed `Remedies,` a play about M E.  Background research...

Writing Groups

I am setting up a new writing group in East Finchley, to be held in the atmospheric location of an East Finchley...

Novels by Deborah Freeman

 A few years back. I answered an ad on the Radio 3 website, from the conceptual art company, Blast Theory...

Poems by Deborah Freeman

These appeared in the journal Jewish Renaissance, 2008.  `Fish.` `Fasting.` `Open a Gate for Us. ` `After the...

On Leaving a Play at the Interval.

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I rarely do this. And the play in whose interval I left last night was so full of good things, I hesitate to confess my act.

However, leave I did. If, reading this, you want to write to tell me why I should have stayed, then fine. Please do. 

I felt perturbed on the way home. Was I insulting the writer, the director, the actors, by leaving? I recalled that the odd person - or couple, usually a couple - had walked out of one of my plays at an interval. Not many, I`m pleased to say. 

The play was called `Oil. ` It was by a sharp, thoughtful writer, committed to depicting both character and relationships, and also to a strongly held world view about... well, I suppose about oil. Or `oil and all that that entails.` Words like imperialism, capitalism, colonialism, climate change,  coal reserves, industrial revolution, figured in the articles delivered in the programme by people like Dr Robbie McLaughlan,  a lecturer in English Literature at Newcastle University, who also works on postcolonial studies and psychoanalysis. (A person with a wide world view, clearly.) In fact reading of someone who claims an equal interest in postcolonial studies and psychoanalysis - brought to mind the saying ( who said it first?) `The personal is the political.`

I just googled `T p i t p ` and found that many eminent feminists have refused to admit to inventing the phrase, but all agreed that collective ownership of it belongs with millions of women, in public and private conversations, probably from time immemorial! 

The writer of `Oil` was Ella Hickson. I will definitely look out for more of her work. The director was Carrie Cracknell - ditto. The theatre was The Almedia. I will continue to love it. Anne-Marie Duff acted with passion and drive - and I wanted her character to keep going, to drive on through the next century, and somehow cross the gaping chasm created by the play, between the personal and political!

So what, you might ask, so unsettled me that I chose to leave at the interval?

It was something that jarred about the way the play was put together, or stitched together, something to do with what I call the inner flow of the piece. Something I find hard to put into words, though as I am trying to blog about it, I need to try!  Something to do with the mismatch between a brilliantly staged ( lots of sound and flashing lights and pictures) history of capitalism, of energy, of the development of the industrial world, and an account, depicted in vivid scenes, (lots of sex, laughs, pathos) of a mother daughter relationship which at first appeared to ground each successive scene - but then, on reflection, didn`t seem to have done so at all. And neither did the inexorable process of economic development that took me as far as the 1970`s, give enough backcloth to the mother daughter scenarios I saw played out - strong and entertaining as they were.

 In which play did a character say:  `I trust I make myself obscure.` ?

 

 

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