Saturday, July 26, 2008

I saw my first festival show last night. Although it isn't technically a festival show yet but only a preview. But I daresay it won't change all that much between now and its official start next weekend.

It was Fall by Zinnie Harris at the Traverse. Zinnie of my Traverse writers' workshop fame. So I looked forward to it with extra enthusiasm because in some small pathetic way, I felt like I knew her a little. And interesting from a student's point of view to see how well she practised what she preached.

All of this goes to say that I had high expectations on arrival at the theatre.

And 12 hours on, I'm still not quite sure what I thought.

The biggest problem I think was that I wanted to like it so much - political so meaningful content, written by Ms Harris, directed by Dominic Hill - that perhaps it would never quite have met my expectations.

The set was lovely. Dingy but that was intentional and made it very atmospheric. It was a series of room sets really with odd pieces of dingy furniture and all set on casters so it could smoothly roll to and fro. Beautifully lit although I couldn't help feeling they were still tweaking. JGH would have known. Pertinent and poignant sound effects. Some nice use of projected images.

And the acting was excellent. Really (mostly) convincing characters. An odd mix of people flung together and forced to rub along which I guess is how some of the best plays start out. A few fluffy lines which (meanly) amused me but I guess they're only second night in and I'm glad to see it happens to even the best of us. It could perhaps have done with a bit more pace but again, second night in, they'll have sped up by next weekend.

Maybe it was the plot I didn't quite like. Or a couple of the characters that I couldn't quite believe in. The dramatic climax I particularly struggled with. Do you know it's maybe that it felt - in places - that it was better suited to being a film - although in other places, it was self-indulgently theatrical so maybe that's not right either. Clutching at straws, I thought that maybe this is the future of theatre and I'm just not imaginative enough to get it. Or maybe I was just too tired / drunk (two beers on the train on way back from meeting in Glasgow and then dash to the theatre) / grumpy.

I think the upshot of all of this is that I need to discuss it with someone else that has seen it. Ross sees it next week I think. Then I shall be able to put my thoughts in order!

Or maybe it's just that I wanted so much to like it but I didn't that I am inevitably disappointed. I saw Zinnie in the bar as I came out from the show and - though I don't believe for a second that she will have noticed - I couldn't bring myself to give her a grinning smile in case she did somehow horrifyingly make me talk about it. Small Siobhan.


Blogger Bluedog said...

I also saw this - on Friday. Very stylish, well acted and directed. I loved the storytelling.

Also the problem of what to do with war criminals is suddenly hugely topical.

I agree they were still making changes - the piece over-ran for a start.

Like you, I was disappointed by the ending, and found the character of the activist from London did not ring true.

The play was more of a challenge than entertainment, which is OK for me, and there were some very challenging scenes indeed.

It gets the thumbs up, although I need to gather my thoughts on it a bit before blogging about it.

Also went to see Pornography - also in preview, but was disappointed. Very disjointed, unfocussed and with a spectacularly pointless set.

10:37 pm  
Blogger claire said...

I shall look forward to seeing it. I'm going this weekend!

8:13 pm  

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