The amazing/deep-digging/thinking blogs/tweets/posts about Three Kingdoms at the Lyric Hammersmith that I’ve been unable to see (I’m in Wales). I wish I had, I suspect I might have found it hard-going, while simultaneously being glad that men theatre makers were engaged in investigating the trafficking of women for sex, and that a question of the glory of capitalism (or not) is being raised on stage at all*. And not being raised by yet another young woman actor getting her kit off to tell us what it’s like getting your kit off. I also expect I’d have been interested to see something that sounds like it is so theatrical – when so much theatre I see simply isn’t.
At the same time I also have a question around why we make work about these things at all, the heartbreaking things, the hard things, the stuff more usually addressed in documentaries on tv – it’s also the question about why we write and read crime fiction. Are we re-creating it to remind ourselves that rubbish things happen and we need to be aware/step up to make change? Or are we doing it because human beings have always told each other hard stories, ghost stories,scary stories, dark stories and we have a yen, somewhere deep in us, to see them/read them – perhaps as a way to process what is hard, dark and REALLY out there?
I’m sure there are other reasons too. I have no answers, nor even a preference, it interests me though.
What twitter has given me, at a remove, is a sense of the immediacy and urgency people feel about this production. That even when it’s upset them they’ve wanted to share that. That when they’ve loved it, they’ve wanted to share it. And that when they liked it with larger or smaller reservations, they also wanted to share. I’m grateful to twitter for sharing that sharing and also to the theatre bloggers who are engaged in such tough THINKING that my heart goes out to their poor frazzled brains.
Here’s some of the blogs I’ve been very grateful to for strong thinking and enormous honesty :
Of course, what all this reading and tweeting and being hugely engaged with something I can’t even see** also did, was take time from my own writing. So now I have to get back to that not-theatre script. In which the stag (not the deer/doe) is the central motif. (It has also made me think too much about the audience, which is not at all a helpful place to be when only on a second draft.)
nb – the misogyny thing. I find MOST (mainstream) theatre and film (at least mildly) misogynist. The women-on-stage-and-screen-as-wives-and-girlfriends-only. The way that women’s lives are portrayed as domestic but men’s as universal. The constant assumption of protagonist as male. The way women writers (in books too) are taken more seriously when we write about men than when we write about women (and then we wonder why our young women playwrights seem – also – to be choosing not to write for women!). The time after time I’ve seen naked or semi-naked women on stage or screen and fully clothed men. The way women are largely silent or absent most of the time in most of our representations of ourselves as human beings on stage or on screen at pretty much all times. And the way critics barely seem to notice, most of the time.
* yes, I know there are (two? three?) women in the cast, but it’s written by a man, directed by a man, and in a building headed by a man, dealing with an issue that – essentially – is one that affects all women (imo) but is about and for the consumption of men. I’ve also been a woman in rehearsal rooms where I’m the only, or one of just two women, and it doesn’t matter who you’re working with, it is different to working in a room that is gender balanced. Not better or worse, but definitely different.
** also reminded me how very frustrating it is when London people go on about London things all the time. sorry.