Wednesday, July 18, 2007


i've come across this via the Guardian's online coverage of the Tour De France. What a story.

Consider this a sort of taster to the forthcoming "Why cycling is the most Beckettian of all sports", so i can talk about bikes whilst still pretending that this is some kind of arty blog.

...acting out stories...

"Theatre is the branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, mime, puppets, music, dance, sound and spectacle — indeed any one or more elements of the other performing arts."

News to me.

Friday, July 6, 2007

...this blog, for one, welcomes its new theatrical overlords...

My stats counter (which, of course, i check obsessively) is telling me that we have a sudden influx* of readers, thanks largely to nice things said by Dan Bye, George Hunka and Alison Croggan - all of whom are fine examples of the way the blogonets can open up a space for the citizen critic to articulate critcal thought about theatre which raises the level of discourse about our art. How great is that? Now Dan has to say nice things cos he's my friend, but it means a lot that such clever, articulate writers are linking here. Alison calls us a "cognac blog", from which i think we are to understand that she has correctly deduced that we smell of booze.

In the meantime, if anyone has 46minutes and 10 seconds to kill (and quite frankly, who doesn't?) then there is almost no better way they could conceivably kill them than by listening to Andrew Haydon talking to Chris Goode over at Theatre Voice. Lots about his career, but also some very interesting thoughts about the limitations of scratch culture, the position of language within theatrical performance and what we'll reductively call the nature of the audience experience. Feel free to discuss any point raised in the comments...

* "sudden influx" in this context means quite literally "some".

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


a quick one...

Thanks to Andrew Haydom for his big old comment below. Anyone else with any thoughts please do jump in. As i promise in the comments section, there will be more about theatre criticism, which is a subject close to my cold black heart. i bet you can't wait, you lucky lucky things.

So, recent news. Saw Longwave at the Lyric, which was beautiful. i agree with Andrew here. Also saw Angels in America parts one and two, also at the Lyric. On consecutive days. This meant three nights on the trot in West London for me, but pity poor Lily (Hi Lily!) who's working there, and so spent every single day for a whole week there. On Angels, i agree with Dan Bye here (last para). This week i have no thoughts of my own.

It was an interesting experience seeing Angels with that gap in the middle - being suspended mid-play for a whole day. My otherwise unremarkable day at the day-job was framed within its epic narrative, and i felt as though my real life, the life that matters, which here was the life of a theatre-goer, was on hold.

i'm fascinated by how performance extends beyond itself, how theatre - which by definition happens only at that time and only in that room - has meaning and an existence in the life beyond that point in time and space. This is one of the reasons that theatre criticism matters, but it's also one of the reasons that theatre matters, or at least, that theatre should matter (or, perhaps, to appropriate a phrase from persons unknown's official famous friend, why theatre that matters matters).

Of course the bleed works both ways if the life beyond seeps into the priveleged performance space (which is of course also a space in time). Oooh look! A dialectic!

Anyway, there'll be more on this at some point when i'm feeling like my head's working. Right now i just feel totally stuck, not just intellectually, but also creatively, and that's immensely frustrating. Gah.

On the plus side, here's a picture of me doing the 120 mile British Cyclosportive in a touch under 7 and a half hours last Sunday. i was the 1507th fastest! Apparently, Ian Wright was doing it as well, but he got lost. i was exactly one hour and 50 minutes quicker than him according to the official results. It is persons unknown policy never to knowingly be slower than former Arsenal players.