Saturday, 30 March 2013

the book of kingdoms

Photo: Rod Bryans / Adam Stones as King Charles II at St. Helier Town Hall

"You couldn’t book your theatre ticket in advance back then. The theatres opened at noon, you paid for your ticket on arrival, and then waited for three hours until the performance started at 3 or 3.30pm. It cost 2s and 6d for a seat on a bench in the stalls or 4s to sit in the box. There were anywhere between 700 and 1,000 people in the audience.

'Before the comedy begins, [so] that the audience may not be tired with waiting, the most delightful symphonies [were] played: on which account many people [came] early to enjoy this agreeable music.'

Those theatre-goers unwilling or unable to waste such time – like lawyers or diarists or members of Parliament even – ‘paid a poor man to get a good place in the pit’ at noon. He would then go off to do his business and then get back just before three o’clock when the house - the theatre - was full.

There was rarely a respectful hush during a performance: people ate and drank and chatted throughout. They would even throw their half eaten oranges if the performance failed to please.

Let’s try it now!

What? Throw oranges?

No! Let’s do a play.

I thought that was what we were doing?

It’s called a play-within-a-play.

But this is a play!

This isn’t a play! It’s theatre.

This sounds exciting.

Let’s do it!

We have to: it’s what comes next.

It’s what has to come next.

Ready everyone!

What shall it be about?

The law.

And law makers.

'The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom.'

Book number twenty-four: To Kill a Mockingbird."

Jersey Arts Centre
theatre-in-education tour
14 February - 30 March 2013

Saturday, 23 March 2013

a dream play

"Why were you born in pain?
Why do you torment your mother,
Child of man, when you should give her
The joy of motherhood, the greatest of all joys?
Why do you awake to life?
Why do you greet the light
With a cry of hostility and pain?
Why do you smile at life,
Child of man, since the gift of life
Is meant to be joy itself?
Why are we born like the beasts,
We children of gods and men?
Our spirit craved another dress
Than this of blood and dirt.
Will God's image change its form?"
Hush! A creation should not censure its maker.
No one has yet solved the riddle of life.
"And so begins our pilgramage
Over thistles, thorns and stones.
Wherever the track is beaten, it is forbidden.
If you pluck a flower, it belongs to someone else.
If the road is blocked by a field and you must go on,
You tread on others' crops.
Then others tread on yours to even matters.
Every joy that you have brings grief to others,
But your grief brings joy to none.
So grief follows grief,
So goes the journey until your death,
Which other men will harvest."
Son of dust, is it thus you would approach the Highest?

August Strindberg
translated by Michael Meyer

youtheatre: 21-23 March 2013