Friday, 3 June 2016

3 Shows, 3 questions

It's a small thing, but I am going to insist that theatre asks me questions. I don't want to be told anything. I already have enough opinions. I demand questions.

Up all night for The 306 and my take-home party bag did not include the obvious message that war kills innocence. I spent my shivering journey home wondering what I would be willing to die to protect. Since the answer ending up being  'nothing', I am now pondering whether this is just egotism or a healthy scepticism. I mean, martyrdom sounds beautiful but to die for a cause ensures that the ass-wits within that cause can claim my allegiance, and I won't be around to correct them.

I mean, what would Sergius and Bacchus have to say about the current homophobia of 'Christian' politicians in the USA? Would Thomas Aitkenhead have died more content if he had realised that his execution would be part of a process that eventually allowed YouTube atheists to moan about bloody feminists?

Magnetic North's Walden revisits a classic text, and questions whether it is possible to escape the fuss of civilisation and uncover any essential mode of living. Lacking the skills to build my own house, or spend an hour without checking Facebook, I have to rely on director Nicholas Bone to represent Thoreau's hippy trip to the forest. 

The gentle tone of the production - and the minimal set - gave me plenty of time to think and listen. It's probably not that hard to encourage a man who is currently suffering from a bi-monthly abscess to consider where his lifestyle is going wrong, but Walden opens up the big questions. More than just another shrug that 'a crowd can be a lonely place', it measured out Thoreau's experiment in grains of sand and well-tempered thoughts.

Back to more vigorous events: Rosie Kay's 5 Soldiers outlined aspects of the military life (including getting pissed up and losing limbs). Perhaps its close relationship with the army in its making prevented the choreography from going down the 'war-is-hell' path. Oddly enough, I came out thinking about the role of women in the military - the ratio of dancers (4 men: 1 woman) set up, in one scene, the masculine bias of the army more immediately than an all-male macho action drama.

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