Tonight I went to see a production of Howard Barker’s Gertrude – The Cry, which, like my Something Rotten, is derived from Hamlet but focuses on the Prince’s “elders and betters”. For all that it was brilliantly written, etc etc, I really did not like this play. If I were to scrutinise my motives for going to the theatre, I suppose I’d say I go in search of emotional engagement of some kind or other, and there was none that I could find in this. In the name of fairly full disclosure, let it be said that the play was staged by a friend’s theatre company, and neither his direction nor the acting could be faulted; it was a fearless production full of brilliant things, not least his own performance as Hamlet. It’s telling, though, that when at one point a deep rumbling shook the theatre, I thought, “Ooh, maybe it’s an earthquake; maybe we’ll have to evacuate!”
I don’t know, maybe I’m just too damn bourgeois, but it seems to me that no piece of theatre should make you wish for an earthquake.
Robert Cohen – a man in showbiz so stepp’d in that, should he wade no more, to go back were as tedious as go o’er. These are among his musings.