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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Question

Having recently walked out of two acclaimed theatre shows (not managing to make it to the interval) I am left wondering what is it about modern theatre's insistence on being clever. Where did truth, humanity and tenderness go? The amount of times I sit in a theatre and wonder why no-one is actually speaking to each other, why nothing is really happening between people, where clever tricks and self-conscious staging has replaced the struggle to illuminate the human condition. And it seems to be getting worse.

When I see the type of theatre to which I aspire, such as the performances being given by the cast of TIME AND THE CONWAYS at the National, it's like a rare blast of warmth in a cold and increasingly desolate landscape. The rest of the time it's like living on another planet. What is it about our modern society that has driven theatre in this direction? Will we ever recapture the simplicity that makes theatre genuinely powerful? There are plenty of good-night's-out available in venues across the land, but how often are we providing theatre which can nourish the human spirit? Surely, in the end, that's what it's all about?

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