On walking out

Tim Parks has a bad night at the theatre:

The play was advertised as Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. A friend had encouraged me to go and it was years since I had seen the piece. Only on arrival at the theatre did we realize that this was not quite what was on offer. The cast would not be using Pirandello’s script, or indeed any script. In an attempt to recover the revolutionary spirit of the original and unmask the bourgeois and authoritarian mechanisms of the theatre, each player would play his part as he chose. Actors they were not. Or not professional actors…

After about forty minutes … there came a moment when, quite suddenly, all the actors retreated into the deep shadow at the back of the stage. Whether they had actually gone and this was a scene change, or whether they had faded in order to rematerialize in some revolutionary statement of the way theater ought to be, I do not know. I grabbed my friend’s hand and said, Now!

Yes, I know that feeling. I’ve reached the stage in life, in fact,  where I now make quite a gesture of walking out of the living room when a DVD outstays its welcome. I would have done that during The Lunchbox the other night, only we were watching it at a friend’s house, and it would have been a little rude to disappear into the night. I’d been looking forward to it so much as well. Same old problem though: perfunctory plotting, minimal characterization, strange, unexplained holes in the storyline. Need I say that the reviews had been wonderful?

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: www.facebook.com/clive.davis.10 Instagram: clivephotos
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