Saturday, 4 July 2009

Three pieces of string

The culmination, last night, of the theatre thing (New Connections, commissioned new plays being performed by youth groups all over the country, an initiative I’ve said before that has me awestruck and I’ll say it again). The Things She Sees, adapted by Ben Power from a short novel I wrote some six years ago, was performed by a group from Lancaster at the Cottesloe at the NT. The play was chosen largely because it offered opportunities for audio-visual stuff and all kinds of hi-tec fandango, and the groups who chose the play were encouraged down that route. And the production at the Cottesloe was good, more than good, to my mind not least because it ignored all that: a few boxes, a couple of screens, three pieces of string, and actors who spoke and moved with feeling proved entirely sufficient for a play that involved staging, among other things, breaking into a house, a motorbike ride, a massacre of French soldiers in Morocco in 1924, a hut set on fire and, crucially, a series of drawings in a notebook. An overload of story, and back-story too, was what might have decided them to simplify the means of telling it. They were brilliant.

The Murray-Roddick match ended ten minutes before the performance started, one-on-one giving way to a team performance. For Murray to have prolonged the match into a fifth set would have been disrespectful.

PS: there’s a (short) piece about Nicky Singer’s Knight Crew with a (postage-stamp) preview of the cover in the new issue of The Bookseller. CBe is referred to as an ‘indie’.

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