Today The Druid theatre company performed the three Tom Murphy plays they have grouped together for their DruidMurphy cycle in one day: Conversations on A Homecoming, A Whistle In The Dark, and Famine. A tour de force – it had been to London and Galway and next will move to Washington. I will explain more tomorrow about the experience. For tonight a photo
I have just had the most peculiar evening of performance and interaction, thought provoking and fun
I am always curious about the experimental elements in theatre. Interaction within a performance piece entirely alters the experience as the audience becomes either cast or prop or device but no longer simply voyeur. As a result, what you take from such a performance varies greatly depending on how you approach it. The Company (for such is the name of the theatre group) created an interesting set up and incrementally drew the audience into the action as the night progress. Some looked incredibly uncomfortable, others slightly bemused. My Intelligent Other (American so fairly open to this) took to the whole thing like a screaming duck to a bath of fish (or something similarly offbeat but smile-inducing simile).
I noted as we arrived and were directed to different types of seating that the audience at such interactive theatre productions are visibly more funky, chilled and hip. Be-suited festival goers tend to be less comfortable diving to the floor or cuddling up with cast members on their lap. Admittedly as I had come straight from an office situation I looked unlikely to get as involved and I clearly surprised some people in my area by playacting with gusto.
The experience was relaxing and uplifting and left me with an intermittent fit of the giggles for some hours after. But strangely the thing that I took away was a feeling that I had not been on a night out to the theatre. It was much more like a games night with role players.
Nothing wrong with that. Right?
When a play is not sure if it is still a book it can suffer from an existential crisis. That was my experience last night sitting in the Abbey theatre in Dublin. I felt the story and language and themes of a novel attempt to force itself out through the skin of a play and it was uncomfortable viewing. Brave attempts to push together themes and speak through conceits. But ultimately unsatisfying.
Today, another theatre, another cast, another book. Or to be specific a book of short stories. And yet these mini moments, our glimpses of epiphanies were so vividly and robustly rendered as if the characters had stepped from the page in front of us.
This is why theatre is so addictive, voyeuristic draw among the artifice. For a few hours I held my breath, the world stilled its incessant spin and I was a world away…..in Dublin.